7 Best Reef Safe Sunscreens For All Skin Types

Protecting our reefs and your skin! Discover the best reef safe sunscreen brands, ensuring both sun-filled fun and marine conservation go hand in hand.

True Reef Safe Sunscreen Brands

The marketing and labeling of products can be confusing, especially when it comes to sunscreen. Many major sunscreen brands claim to be "reef-friendly," but they often fall short in avoiding all compounds potentially hazardous to both our health and reefs.

The Best Reef Safe Sunscreens
All of our recommended reef-safe sunscreens are mineral-based, harnessing the power of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide for physical sun protection rather than chemicals.

While some brands avoid well-known toxic ingredients like Oxybenzone and Octinoxate, they still use other active chemical ingredients harmful to coral reefs, such as Octisalate, Homosalate, Octocrylene and Avobenzon.

Considering this, we have excluded these so-called "reef-safe" brands from our list. Instead, we recommend sunscreens that only use Zinc Oxide and/or titanium dioxide, balanced with other natural and mostly organic ingredients.

Now, let's dive into our top 7 mineral-based sunscreen picks, carefully selected for their exceptional credentials and application qualities.

1. Best Value SPF50+

Investing in SPF50+ sunscreen, despite a slightly higher upfront cost, brings enhanced protection and potential health benefits. Additionally, its longer sun exposure duration reduces the need for frequent reapplication, resulting in less sunscreen washing off into the ocean.

Best Value Reef Safe SPF50 Sunscreen by Blue Lizard
Easy on the wallet, gentle on the reef. The generous 5 fluid ounce size provides ample product, ensuring extended use and longevity, making it cost-effective compared to smaller-sized mineral sunscreen options. That’s why we rank Blue Lizard 50+ as the best value reef safe sunscreen on our list.

Blue Lizard Sensitive

Blue Lizard Sensitive sunscreen provides robust sun protection with a high SPF factor of 50+, safeguarding the skin from harmful UV rays effectively. Considering its high sun protection, gentle formulation, ample quantity, and reef-safe properties, this option is excellent value for those seeking an effective and reliable SPF50+ mineral sunscreen.


  • Milky texture, spreads easily.
  • Non-irritating for sensitive skin.
  • Scentless formula.
  • Sun-induced color change on bottle prompts reapplication.


  • No travel-friendly size available.
  • Initially leaves a slight residue, but fades with rubbing.
SPF 50
Size 5 fl oz
Type Lotion
Water Resistance 80 minutes
Active Ingredients 10% Zinc Oxide, 8% Titanium Dioxide
Inactive Ingredients Alumina Aluminum Stearate Beeswax C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate Caprylyl Glycol Cetyl Dimethicone Cetyl PEG/PPG -10/1 Dimethicone Chlorphenesin Dimethicone Disodium EDTA Ethylhexyl Palmitate Ethylhexyl Stearate Hexyl Laurate Hydrogenated Castor Oil Methyl Glucose Dioleate Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate PEG-7 Hydrogenated Castor Oil Phenoxyethanol Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate Polyhydroxystearic Acid Propanediol Purified Water Sorbitan Oleate Stearic Acid Tocopheryl Acetate Trimethylsiloxy silicate VP/Hexadecene Copolymer
Fragrance None
Price $13.10 ($2.62 / fl oz)
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2. Best Packaged Sunscreen

Tins are our top pick for travel containers as they are eco-friendly, compact, lightweight, space-saving, and reusable. Moreover, their sturdy and tightly sealed design minimizes the risk of leakage, preventing wastage and mess, making them an ideal choice for your sun protection on the go.

Best Reef Safe Travel Sunscreen by Raw Elements
We adore Raw Elements' reusable plastic-free tin packaging, and the all-natural ingredients make us feel confident about applying it to our skin regularly. They also have a tinted option.

Raw Elements Face and Body

Raw Elements' dedication to sustainability and eco-friendly packaging is commendable. Their Reef-safe SPF 30+ sunscreen, enriched with certified organic ingredients, is free from soy, gluten, and nuts, and contains no synthetic chemicals. Packed with nourishing antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, it's an excellent choice for protecting both yourself and the environment.


  • Eco-friendly packaging (recyclable, reusable, compostable, plastic-free).
  • Convenient application (easier than tube).
  • Certified organic.
  • Small enough to fit in a pocket.


  • Thick consistency.
  • Requires warmth for easy application (challenging in cold environments).
  • SPF 30, necessitating more frequent reapplication.
SPF 30
Size 3 fl oz
Type Cream
Water Resistance 80 minutes
Active Ingredients 23% Zinc Oxide (Non-Nano)
Inactive Ingredients Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Green Tea, Organic Black Tea, Organic Coffee, Organic Hemp Seed Oil, Organic Cocoa Butter, All Natural Mango Butter, Organic Beeswax, All Natural Rosemary Oil Extract, All Natural Vitamin E ***all Ingredients Marked Organic Are Usda Certified Organic.
Fragrance Mild (Rosemary)
Price $14.99 ($5.00 / fl oz)
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3. Best Tinted Sunscreen

Tinted sunscreens are an excellent choice for a flawless face glow. They contain pigments for light coverage, evening out skin tone and blurring imperfections, offering a polished look without heavy makeup. With sheer coverage, they enhance the skin's natural appearance, perfect for a "no-makeup makeup" effect.

Available in various shades, they suit different skin tones and prevent the white cast associated with some sunscreens. Tinted sunscreen simplifies reapplication, serving as both sunscreen and light foundation, crucial for all-day sun protection.

Reef Safe Australian Gold Tinted Sunscreen for Face
Say goodbye to white cast with the Botanical Tinted Face by Australian Gold. Availble in three shades: Fair-Light, Medium-Tan, and Rich-Deep. For those with in-between skin tones, blending shades allows for a customized and perfect match.

Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face

Face the sun with confidence! Australian Gold's mattifying daily sunscreen is not only compliant with the Hawaii Reef Compliant Act 104 but also enriched with soothing Eucalyptus & Red Algae, creating a unique blend of antioxidant-rich plants to combat free radicals and nourish the skin. This fragrance-free sunscreen doubles as a blemish balm foundation, providing seamless blending and improving complexion by reducing uneven color, fine lines, and wrinkles. It dries quickly, offers decent coverage without feeling too thick or greasy.


  • Tint prevents white cast.
  • Smooth consistency, non-greasy, blends easily.
  • High SPF compared to other facial sunscreens.
  • TSA-friendly size for travel.


  • Leaves tint/residue on fingers.
  • May require makeup remover to cleanse fully.
  • Limited shade range.
  • Can stain clothing.
SPF 50
Size 3 fl oz
Type Lotion
Water Resistance 80 minutes
Active Ingredients 4% Titanium Dioxide, 4% Zinc Oxide
Inactive Ingredients Cyclopentasiloxane, Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Silica, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Terminalia Ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Fruit Extract, Porphyra Umbilicalis Extract, Eucalyptus Globulus (Eucalyptus) Leaf Extract, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Stearic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Squalane, Panthenol, Disodium EDTA, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Alumina, Phenoxyethanol, Iron Oxides (CI 77492, CI 77491, CI 77499).
Fragrance None
Price $16.99 ($5.66 / fl oz)
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4. Best Travel Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreen sticks offer precise and effortless application, directly on face, body, or specific areas without using hands. They're compact and portable, fitting in pockets, purses, or travel bags, allowing hassle-free reapplication. Unlike lotions or creams, they avoid spills and leaks, preventing messes in bags or on clothing. For a good reef-safe travel sunscreen, opt for a TSA-compliant 3.4 fl oz (100 ml) size to carry in your carry-on bag hassle-free.

Reef Safe Blue Lizard Mineral Sunscreen Stick
Pocket-sized and mess-free, Blue Lizard Sunscreen Stick is a convenient and precise way to apply sunscreen.

Blue Lizard Sensitive Stick

This excellent sunscreen stick by Blue Lizard is reef-safe, free from parabens, fragrances, and dyes. Perfect for kids who dislike sunscreen, its stick form makes application easier. Goes on clear, no residue. A win-win for parents and kids!


  • Easy stick application for kids.
  • Clear, no residue.
  • Gentle on sensitive skin.
  • Convenient and portable.


  • Limited coverage area.
  • Potential for missed spots.
  • Some may find a slight waxy texture.
SPF 50
Size 0.53 fl oz
Type Stick
Water Resistance 80 minutes
Active Ingredients 20% Zinc Oxide
Inactive Ingredients Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Behenyl Behenate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Wax, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Squalane, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Tocopherol.
Fragrance None
Price $9.99 ($19.98 / fl oz)
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5. Best Non-greasy Sunscreen

A matte sunscreen specifically formulated for oily skin is an excellent choice for individuals with acne-prone skin. Such sunscreens often have oil-absorbing properties, which help reduce excess oil and shine on the skin's surface. They are non-comedogenic, meaning they won't clog pores, reducing the risk of breakouts.

Best Matte Sunscreen by Australian Gold
Stay matte and blemish-Free with this non-greasy sunblock by Australian Gold. Featuring Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, this mineral formula has a delightful citrus scent.

Australian Gold Botanical

The Australian Gold Botanicals range is formulated without Parabens, PABA, Phthalate, Petroleum, SLS (Sulfate), Dye & Oil, and is cruelty-free. Its lightweight, non-greasy texture makes it an ideal makeup base. This mineral sunscreen truly delivers on its matte promise. It dries quickly, stays matte all day, and doesn't transfer or look oily. Impressive formula!


  • Very affordable compared to other mineral sunscreens.
  • Leaves no white cast on the skin.
  • Non-greasy and non-sticky texture.


  • Thick consistency, feels a bit heavy after reapplying.
  • Challenging application near the hairline or on eyelashes, resulting in a noticeable white cast.
SPF 50
Size 5 fl oz
Type Lotion
Water Resistance 80 minutes
Active Ingredients 4% Titanium Dioxide, 4% Zinc Oxide
Inactive Ingredients Alumina, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Fragrance, Glycerin, Hexyl Laurate, Panthenol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Porphyra Umbilicalis (Red Algae) Extract, Silica, Squalane, Stearic Acid, Terminalia Ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate*, Water *Vitamin E
Fragrance Mild (Citrus)
Price $15.69 ($3.14 / fl oz)
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6. Best Sunscreen for Babies

For babies aged 6 months to 4 years old, a good sunscreen should be gentle, devoid of harsh chemicals and fragrances. Choose a baby sunscreen with zinc oxide as the sole active ingredient, providing broad-spectrum protection with at least SPF 30. Note that marketing sunscreen to babies under 6 months is regulated, and younger infants may need a doctor's prescription. To safeguard their delicate skin, it's best to avoid direct sunlight for babies under 6 months.

Best Baby Sunscreen by Thinkbaby
Thinkbaby SPF 50+ Sunscreen is perfect for little water lovers! Available in 6 fl oz and travel-friendly 3 fl oz (89 ml) sizes.

Thinkbaby SPF 50+

Thinkbaby sunscreen is a trailblazer, being the first to meet Whole Foods Premium Care standards, and since 2010, it has consistently held EWG's top rating. Being paraben-free, PABA-free, gluten-free, and vegan, this sunscreen guarantees no harmful chemicals and derives its fragrance solely from natural oils, ensuring a pleasant scent without any adverse effects.


  • Not too thick SPF 50+ lotion.
  • Highly rated by EWG.
  • Gentle for sensitive skin.
  • 6 fl oz and travel-friendly 3 fl oz (89 ml) size available.


  • Leaves a slight white cast
SPF 50+
Size 6 fl oz
Type Lotion
Water Resistance 80 minutes
Active Ingredients 23.4% Zinc Oxide (Non-nano)
Inactive Ingredients Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Methyl Abietate, Magnesium Sulfate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Hyaluronic Acid.
Fragrance Mild (Citrus)
Price $19.39 ($3.23 / fl oz)
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7. Best Application for Kids

The ingredients in adults' and kids' sunscreens are often identical, with the primary difference lying in marketing and branding. However, when it comes to getting kids to apply sunscreen themselves or putting it on squirmy toddlers, making the application process fun and engaging becomes crucial.

Best Kids Sunscreen Applicator by Solar Buddies
Fun and Easy for Kids! Enjoy the freedom to use the sunscreen lotion of your choice with this convenient Solar Buddies Sunscreen Applicator applicator. Available in blue, pink, and green.

Solar Buddies Sunscreen Applicator

Solar Buddies, the award-winning refillable sunscreen applicator, provides a mess-free and speedy application method. Its kid-friendly design encourages independent use, making kids more inclined to apply sunscreen willingly.

Say goodbye to messy sunscreen hands! Just fill the container with your preferred sunscreen, shake it towards the roller ball, and apply effortlessly. The sponge ring aids in smooth lotion application, preventing wastage from squeezing excess sunscreen.

For the best results, we suggest combining this applicator with Thinkbaby SPF 50+ Sunscreen.


  • Kid-friendly application.
  • Non-greasy hands.
  • Minimizes sunscreen waste.
  • Fully recyclable components.
  • Travel-friendly 100ml capacity.


  • Challenging with thicker mineral sunscreen.
  • Potentially large for young toddlers' faces.
Size 3.4 fl oz (100 ml)
Price $15.98
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Why Use Reef Safe Sunscreen?

Approximately 25% of marine life relies on coral reefs for survival. Sunscreen chemicals, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, have become so harmful that locations like Hawaii, Florida, and several Caribbean islands have banned their sale.

Hawaii reef safe act signage
Reef-safe sunscreen is now mandatory for snorkeling in Maui or Oahu. Numerous national parks worldwide are also prohibiting the use of toxic sunscreens.

These toxic substances cause detrimental effects on developing coral, including increased vulnerability to bleaching, DNA damage, abnormal skeleton growth, and severe deformities in baby coral. Once coral reefs perish, they cannot be revived.

Protecting our oceans and coral reefs is vital, and choosing reef-safe sunscreen is a responsible choice.

Is Your Sunscreen Reef-Friendly?

Regrettably, the term "reef-friendly" lacks regulation, leading to uncertainty about its validity. To ensure sunscreen or personal care products are truly reef-friendly, carefully inspect the "active ingredients" label at the back, excluding any reef-harming chemicals.

To determine if a sunscreen is "reef-friendly," look for the following characteristics and labels:

Inspect the label: Avoid products with harmful substances from the "HEL list," including Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Octocrylene, Homosalate, 4-methylbenzylidene camphor, PABA, Parabens, and Triclosan.

Mineral size: Look for sunscreens that use non-nano-sized mineral particles. Larger particles are less likely to be absorbed by corals and are considered safer for marine ecosystems.

Packaging: Choose sunscreens with eco-friendly packaging, such as reusable containers, high recycled content, or biodegradable plant-based materials, to reduce single-use plastic waste.

Sunscreen formats: Opt for lotions and roll-on sunscreens while avoiding spray or misting variants, particularly those containing titanium dioxide, as inhaling it can pose health risks.

Alternatives To Mineral Sunscreen

Mineral sunscreens containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are optimal for the reef and your skin, but extended exposure can be costly in sunscreen usage. Combining sunscreen with UPF-rated swimwear, such as rash guards and full-suit skins, notably decreases the amount of sunscreen needed.

UPF-rated full suit skin by Cressi
We recommend the Cressi fullsuit skin, crafted from 1 mm nylon material, offering flexibility, durability, and comfort ideal for tropical snorkeling.

Elevate your swimming and snorkeling experience with a one-piece fullsuit, contouring to your body shape and minimizing drag. By wearing this Cressi fullsuit skin, you can significantly reduce your sunscreen usage.

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