Beauty

The 8 Best Clean Sunscreens

Written by: the Editors of goop

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Updated: August 30, 2022

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Photo courtesy of Tom Watson/The Licensing Project

Challenges drive change and innovation, says goop’s VP of product development, Akshay Talati. And in the realm of clean mineral sunscreens—those made only with zinc or titanium dioxide to physically block UVA and UVB rays by sitting on top of the skin—what’s changed is that they’re easier than ever to blend seamlessly into skin.

It wasn’t always that way. While chemical sunscreens work by absorbing the sun’s rays in the skin and contain some of the most irritating chemicals used in the beauty industry—including endocrine disruptors and even sun-sensitizing ingredients—they also blend easily. But clean beauty has caught up: “Formulating elegant, all-mineral-based broad-spectrum sunscreens that are SPF 30–plus, with no white cast on any skin tone and without a shiny, pasty, or sticky texture, was difficult,” says Talati. “But better premade dispersions with small and uniform particles, advanced coating tech that allows for transparency, elegant wetting agents for lightweight textures, film formers to enhance sweat and water resistance, and SPF boosters for improved efficacy have made a huge difference.” So we’ve been able to fill the goop shop with clean sunscreens that both meet our standards of safety and apply beautifully. We winnowed this story down to the eight that feel particularly luxurious and go on like a dream. Below, some more details on what made the cut and why.

CHEMICAL VS. MINERAL SUNSCREENS

Chemical sunscreens employ a potent combination of chemicals like oxybenzone, octinoxate (octyl methoxycinnamate), homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and avobenzone, many of which are endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors are scary because they’re most harmful in small doses, as they mimic the hormones that our bodies create daily and can interfere with everything from our reproductive systems to our metabolism. They’re particularly bad for young ones, whose systems are rapidly developing.

CLEAN SUNSCREENS: WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Active Ingredients: Mineral sunscreens will list zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide only. Be wary of the term “mineral-based,” which often means zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide has been mixed with chemical sunscreen. The sunscreens in the goop shop are mineral-only.

Water Resistance: A sunscreen can claim to be water-resistant only if it has undergone a 40- or 80-minute test. If water resistance is not stated clearly on the label, the sunscreen will most likely wash or sweat off. Not all the sunscreens in the goop shop are water-resistant.

Broad-Spectrum: This is important, as it means that the sunscreen blocks both UVA and UVB rays. All the sunscreens in the goop shop are broad-spectrum.

Even if the active ingredients are mineral, make sure that the formula is not otherwise loaded with toxic ingredients. Red flags include phthalates, sodium laureth sulfate, fragrance, and anything ending in “-paraben.” Our picks in the goop shop are free of these ingredients.

8 Clean Sunscreens

  •  Unsun Hydrating Full Coverage Body Lotion SPF 30

    Unsun Hydrating Full Coverage Body Lotion SPF 30

    For Body

    This hydrating, unscented, lightweight lotion—from the radiant Katonya Breaux, who is also Frank Ocean’s mom—protects and nourishes skin at once. Moisturizing baobab oil luminizes as prickly pear, bitter orange, and cucumber extracts help soothe skin for a more fortified, glowy complexion.

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  • Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30

    Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30

    For Face and Body

    Soothing rose hip, lavender, and parsley seed oils combine in this chic, silky mineral sunscreen that nourishes, firms, and moisturizes skin. It protects against UVA and UVB rays, sinks right in, and fits easily in your bag.

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  • Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen

    Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen

    For Face

    This silky-soft everyday mineral sunscreen is perfect worn on its own or with makeup. It comes in medium/dark and light/medium shades for lightweight, reef-safe, ultramoisturizing sun protection that works for virtually any skin tone. Breaux created this formula after struggling to find eco-friendly sunscreens for people of color. This one combines soothing aloe and skin-loving shea butter to nourish and hydrate, as well as titanium oxide and zinc oxide to protect against both UVA and UVB rays.

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  • Saie Sunvisor

    Saie Sunvisor

    For Face

    This sheer, silky, gorgeous sunscreen melts beautifully into skin. It’s slightly tinted, but if you warm it with your fingertips for about 10 seconds, it blends into skin invisibly, leaving a translucent, dewy finish. Skin-loving grape-seed oil, hyaluronic acid, and aloe soothe and hydrate while vitamin E plumps and firms. It’s perfect for all skin types—especially sensitive—and comes in a chic, plastic-free tube made from eco-friendly bioresin.

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  • The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sun Cream SPF 50

    The Organic Pharmacy Cellular Protection Sun Cream SPF 50

    For Face and Body

    This nourishing SPF 50 sunscreen works beautifully for both face and body. Titanium oxide and zinc oxide block the sun’s harmful rays as aloe, shea butter, rose hip, and calendula soothe and moisturize skin.

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  • MARA Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum

    MARA Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum

    For Face and Body

    This silky serum sunscreen uses nonnano zinc oxide to protect against UVA and UVB rays as moringa, sunflower, raspberry seed, and flaxseed oils intensely hydrate. A proprietary blend of marine botanicals and algal extracts deliver an additional dose of nourishment and protection and leave skin looking radiant.

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  • Supergoop Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40

    Supergoop Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40

    For Face

    The gorgeously textured, perfect-for-any-skin-type sunscreen blends beautifully into skin. Zinc oxide blocks UVB and UVA rays while coconut, blueberry, and ashwagandha extracts soothe, nourish, and hydrate.

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  • EleVen Unrivaled Sun Sun Serum SPF 35

    EleVen Unrivaled Sun Sun Serum SPF 35

    For Face

    This sheer mineral sunscreen—created by Venus Williams—feels more like a serum than a sunscreen, instantly sinking into skin to give it a luminous, dewy finish. Prickly pear and safflower oil nourish, soothe, and moisturize skin as zinc oxide protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

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