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Kate's Favourite Good Clean Healthy Sunscreens

With the Victoria Day weekend coming up, I know most of us are hoping to spend some time outside, which is a good idea because being outside in nature has s
May 12, 2015 | Kate McDonald Walker

With the Victoria Day weekend coming up, I know most of us are hoping to spend some time outside, which is a good idea because being outside in nature has so many health benefits.

One thing that isn’t among those benefits, though, is a sunburn. Not only are they painful, but they can also increase your risk of skin cancer. As someone who has had skin cancer once already, I’m pretty adamant about the need cover up (hats, long sleeves, sunglasses, etc.), but both the impending summer heat and upcoming summer fashions mean that there will be times when skin will be exposed to the summer sun. Luckily, we’ve got sunscreen to keep us covered when our clothing doesn’t.

I’ve already talked about the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreens on the blog, as well as what I look for in a sunscreen. Personally, I tend to be a fan of mineral sunscreens because 1) they tend to have more natural ingredients and 2) they act as physical sunscreens, so you don’t have to wait between application and sun exposure before you’ll get maximum effectiveness.

That said, there are a lot of mineral sunscreens out there, and some of them are cleaner – and nicer to use – than others. And “what sunscreen should I buy?” is probably the most frequently asked question I get every year as the weather warms up.

So without further ado, here are some of my favourites.

Best for Sport (or a Day at the Beach): COOLA Sport Mineral SPF 35 Citrus Mimosa. (Note: There is a cream and a spray product with very similar names. The one I'm recommending is the cream.) This is my go-to sunscreen for an active day outside. It’s thick, but still goes on smooth, and it’s pretty darned water-resistant, thanks to the beeswax. It even holds up pretty well when I go for a run. (But you still need to reapply after swimming or sweating, no matter how good your sunscreen is!) Also, over 70% of its inactive ingredients are certified organic and it smells pretty darned good too.

Best for Face: Cyberderm Simply Zinc Sun Whip.You wouldn’t use body lotion as a face cream, right. Well, the same goes for sunscreen. The delicate skin on your face deserves a sunscreen that is specifically designed for it. Mineral-based sunscreens can have a slight whitening effect, which is another reason why it’s often worth it to invest in a separate face sunscreen, since formulas designed for the face tend to be lighter, and have almost no whitening effects. Joy actually recommended this one to me. It’s practically invisible and goes on silky smooth. Prefer something with a bit of a tint? Check out Consonant’s Perfect Sunscreen.

Best for Budget: Green Beaver SPF 40 Adult Body Lotion. Mineral sunscreens with certified organic inactive ingredients can be pricey, but this Green Beaver one is cheap enough to use every day without breaking the bank.

Best Lip Balm: Hurraw! Sun Protection Balm SPF 15. Yes, your lips can get sunburned, so you’ll want to protect them with a sunscreen that’s clean enough to eat, because you’ll probably end up eating at least a little bit of if by accident. It can be tough finding a lip balm with zinc that doesn’t leave you looking like a corpse and that doesn’t taste like a chemical factory. This lip balm goes on almost clear and tastes like oranges, and its ingredients are all organic and either raw, cold-pressed and/or wildcrafted.

Did I miss your favourite sunscreen? Let me know in the comments if you think there are any other sunscreens that should be on my list!

Aleisha   •   May 12, 2015

Thanks so much for this helpful guide! I was wondering if you can also share your recommendations for the best natural and clean bug repellents. Especially ones that are safe for kids. Thanks!!!

Kate McDonald Walker   •   May 12, 2015

Jennifer   •   May 12, 2015

Thanks for these tips. Do you have any recommendations for kids?

Kate McDonald Walker   •   May 12, 2015

Allyson   •   May 12, 2015

Arbonne has a new sunscreen out that I am loving! It is a mineral based sunscreen and it is so light weight and mess free when applying!,7723,255.aspx


Jen Mooney   •   May 12, 2015

Hi! First, I love this site, a definite go-to for great health and wellness tips. :) Swiss formulated and California, USA-produced company Arbonne just released mineral sunscreen aptly named Liquid Sunshine. It is an entire line, including SPF 30 for body, one for face, an SPF 15 lip balm and mineral sunless (and streakless) tanner!! It provides UVA/UVB broad spectrum protection from the sun’s harmful rays in a non-whitening, moisturizing lotion. Allergy- and dermatologist-tested, certified vegan and gluten free! You can't get better than that. :) Check us out at THANKS!

Zoe   •   May 12, 2015

Mel   •   May 12, 2015

Hi Kate where do you find the cyberderm facial sunscreen? Can it only be bought online or in health stores as well?

Kate McDonald Walker   •   May 13, 2015

So Beautiful   •   May 14, 2015

Great tips! Each summer i try a different brand. But you made the search easier ! Thank you so much

Kate McDonald Walker   •   May 14, 2015

Vaishali   •   May 15, 2015

Hi Kate, The post came at the right time. Where can I buy these products esp. the Coola, Cyberderm and the LipBalm? Thanks,

Kate McDonald Walker   •   May 18, 2015

Samantha   •   May 19, 2015

Paula's Choice has some great mineral sunscreens for the face, with added antioxidants and no fragrance. And they're not quite as expensive as the Cyberderm sunscreen.


John   •   May 21, 2015

I would like to add that a rich diet in carotene can boost up the skin protection products against the bad UV.


Lorraine   •   May 22, 2015

Thank you so much for your advices, it’s really helpful, and I was sorry to hear about your cancer. In fact I’m planning to spend a week in a little village near the beach in Morocco, where the heat can reach 38 degrees, what can you type of sunscreen would you recommend ? Again you have my thanks.

Kate McDonald Walker   •   May 25, 2015

Karen Kerr   •   May 24, 2015

What would you recommend for children?


Helen T   •   January 20, 2016

Hi Kate, My friend swears by applying coconut oil as sunscreen. Now we know that coconut oil is popular for applying to the skin as a moisturizer or in the hair as a conditioner. Mind you, my friend is not the beach-type, but she does spend considerable time in her backyard in the summertime and while she hasn't gotten sunburned, her tan comes out very dark. It begs the question...doesn't rubbing coconut oil on my skin make me a roasted chicken of sorts baking in the sun? I may come out smelling delicious, but does coconut oil suffice as sunscreen? What are your thoughts?


David   •   February 3, 2018

Watsthe easy way to buy a medicine an put

Rachel Molenda   •   February 13, 2018

Marisa   •   June 17, 2018

Hi We would like to know what is best sunscreen for kids/toddler?

Joy McCarthy   •   June 18, 2018

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