Beauty

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Photo courtesy of Tom Watson/The Licensing Project

The 8 Best Clean Sunscreens

Challenges drive change and innovation, says goop’s VP of product development, Akshay Talati, who’s a registered pharmacist and a long-standing member of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists, where he sits on the board of the committee on scientific affairs. And in the realm of clean mineral sunscreens—those made only with zinc oxide 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.

MINERAL 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

    Made with prickly pear cactus, bitter orange, and cucumber, this unscented, ultramoisturizing lotion from Katonya Breaux (fun fact: She’s singer Frank Ocean’s mom) blends effortlessly and helps shield skin from UV rays with broad-spectrum sun protection. There’s also baobab oil for an extra boost of moisture, leaving skin glowy and gorgeous. It comes in a vibrant yellow tube so you can easily find it in the bottom of your bag and reapply as needed.

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  • Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30

    Grown Alchemist Natural Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30

    For Face and Body

    A lightweight cream that melts into your skin, blocking both UVA and UVB rays with zinc oxide. Made with nourishing rose hip oil, it also moisturizes and firms as it protects—and leaves your skin silky soft. Plus, have you ever seen a cuter, chicer tube of sunscreen?

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  • Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen

    Unsun Mineral Tinted Face Sunscreen

    For Face

    We love this beautifully textured everyday mineral sunscreen because it blends flawlessly, and it comes in two super wearable shades: The medium/dark blends with skin tones from olive to dark chocolate, while the light/medium works for tones from very light to light sprinkled with freckles. It’s made with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to block both UVA and UVB rays, as well as skin-coddling aloe and shea butter. It’s reef safe and great on its own or under makeup, and we love the finish: glowy, protected, natural-looking skin, with absolutely no whitish cast left behind.

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  • Saie Sunvisor

    Saie Sunvisor

    For Face

    Shield your skin with this sheer, gorgeously textured, hydrating, lightweight zinc oxide sunscreen—it blends beautifully into skin, leaving it dewy and fresh. It works for all skin types, but it’s especially brilliant for those with sensitive skin. It comes out of the tube with a sheer beige tint, but if you warm it between your fingertips for 10 seconds or so, the finish is more translucent. It protects against both UVA and UVB rays and is infused with skin-care ingredients like grape-seed oil, hyaluronic acid, aloe, and vitamin E to plump, hydrate, and soothe skin. Plus, we love that the tube is made of 100 percent bioresin (sugarcane) as a substitute for virgin plastic.

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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 hydrating, light SPF 50 cream smooths right into skin, and it makes a brilliant face sunscreen or body sunscreen. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide block both UVA and UVB rays, while shea butter, aloe, rose hip, and calendula nourish skin.

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  • MARA Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum

    MARA Algae + Zinc Sea Kale Sunscreen Serum

    For Face and Body

    Made with the brand’s GlowDefense technology, which uses non-nano zinc oxide for broad-spectrum UVA and UVB sun protection, this milky oil-meets-serum-meets-sunscreen leaves skin moisturized and nourished with raspberry seed, moringa, and avocado oils. Maritime botanicals and the brand’s algal blend help soothe and protect from environmental stressors for radiant, healthy-looking skin.

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  • Supergoop Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40

    Supergoop Zincscreen 100% Mineral Lotion SPF 40

    For Face

    This creamy, lightweight zinc oxide lotion is fantastic for every type of skin—even sensitive, oily, and acne-prone. The light-pink color helps it blend into any skin tone, and it’s made with winter cherry, coconut fruit, and blueberry extracts to help brighten, nourish, and moisturize.

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  • EleVen Unrivaled Sun Sun Serum SPF 35

    EleVen Unrivaled Sun Sun Serum SPF 35

    For Face

    Venus Williams created this velvety-smooth broad-spectrum SPF 35 zinc oxide serum to protect and hydrate skin. The silky, semimatte formula sinks in in seconds for a dewy, translucent finish, so it’s brilliant for everyday wear over moisturizer or under makeup. It helps block UVA and UVB rays, and it’s infused with skin-care ingredients, like prickly pear and safflower oils, to moisturize and soothe skin.

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