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Sunscreen: Top 10 Best Cruelty Free Sunscreens

I'm sharing the top 10 best cruelty free sunscreens you can currently get your hands on. These are the ones that work best for my sensitive dry rosacea skin

Sunscreen: Top 10 Best Cruelty Free Sunscreens

Happy Makeup Wars Monday! Today we’re talking about sunscreen. I’m sharing the top 10 best cruelty free sunscreens you can currently get your hands on. These are the ones that work best for my sensitive skin.

Now, so  you are aware, I do not like spray-on or brush-on sunscreens. I don’t trust that I (or most people) can carefully coat themselves 100% in a spray or brush-on, which means that instead of getting SPF 30 or whatever the spray is rated, you may only end up getting SPF 10. So I didn’t include any of those on my list.

I also don’t care much for sprays in my hair. Instead, I recommend wearing a hat. This also helps to prevent your hair color from fading if you dye your hair like I do. (See my tips on how to make hair color last longer.)

Just so you are aware, no matter your skintone, you should use SPF to prevent skin cancer and sun damage.

I know a lot of people also say that SPF 30 is sufficient, but I still prefer SPF 50. This is backed up by many dermatologists stating that most people don’t apply enough sunscreen, so the higher the SPF, the more likely you are to be protected. (i.e. if you buy SPF 50, don’t apply it properly, you’ll still end up with closer to SPF 30 protection).

If you have sensitive skin like I do, you’re likely to prefer physical sunblocks for your face. Normally are less irritating to my skin. A physical sunblock will have titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

PR + purchased by me.

Below I’ve listed the sunscreens, plus their active ingredients. When I could find the information, I also included the percentage of each active ingredient.

Top 10 Best Sunscreens

1. Ocean Potion SPF 50 ($7.99 for 8 oz at Walgreens)
Ocean Potion is one of the best cruelty free sunscreen brands currently available. They’re even rated highly by Consumer Reports (87 out of 100). They have a lot of different varieties available but this is the one I personally use. Ocean Potion is water-resistant, making it good for the beach or the pool. It’s my all-time favorite body sunscreen.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 15%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 7%

2. MD Solar Sciences SPF 50 ($30 for 1.7 oz, department store)
MD Solar Sciences SPF 50 is an excellent face sunscreen. After I went through my first 2 oz tube, I quickly decided to buy the 4 oz tube. If I’m going to be outside, it’s the one I put on my face. I trust it to keep me from burning. When I went to the beach recently with my parents I used MD Solar Sciences on my face and Ocean Potion on my body and reapplied every 2 hours to prevent burning.
Active Ingredients:  Titanium Dioxide 2%,  Zinc Oxide 17%

3. No Ad SPF 60 ($14 for 16 oz at Amazon or Publix)
The No Ad SPF 60 in the purple bottle is another favorite around my household. It’s what Ray wears when he mows the lawn. I love that I can find this at my local Publix grocery store. It’s a good body sunscreen.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Oxybenzone

4. Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief SPF 30 ($29 for 2 oz at Paula’s Choice)(vegan)
Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief SPF 30 is what I’ve been wearing inside my home for daily wear if I’m staying inside because I sit next to a window. Glass only filters out UVB rays. UVA rays can get through the glass and cause photoaging of your skin, as well as increase your risk of skin cancer, so I believe in preventing this by wearing sunscreen every day. This is a more moisturizing SPF for the face than my MD Solar Sciences.
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 3.85%, Zinc Oxide 3.12%.

5. Mad Hippie SPF 30 ($25 for 2.1 oz at Anthropologie)(vegan)
Mad Hippie is another nice facial sunscreen. It’s got red raspberry seed oil, avocado oil, carrot seed oil, vitamins C & E, and ferulic acid.
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (non-nano) 16%

6. Mineral Fusion SPF 40 ($24.99 for 3.4 oz at Mineral Fusion)(vegan)
Mineral Fusion SPF 40 is an excellent facial sunscreen. It’s very soothing for sensitive skin and has shea butter in it, as well as a lot of anti-aging ingredients. I’ve repurchased this one many times, though I was extremely disappointed when Ulta stopped carrying it.
Active Ingredients:  Titanium Dioxide 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 5.0%

7. Dr. Dennis Gross Dark Spot SPF 50 ($42 for 1.7 oz at Sephora)(vegan)
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is a great facial sunscreen that I’ve repurchased a few times. It has ceramides, hyaluronic acid, and evening primrose oil hydrate and improve skin elasticity.
Active Ingredients:  Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide

8. Supergoop Everyday SPF 50 ($19 for 2.4 oz at Sephora)
The Everyday Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is a wonderful facial sunscreen. I’ve loved almost every single sunscreen product by Supergoop, except the facial oil one. This sunscreen is very comfortable, even for dry skin.
Active Ingredients:  Avobenzone 3%, Octisalate 5%, Octinoxate 7.5%, and Homosalate 10%

9. Murad City Skin Age Defense SPF 50 ($65 for 1.7 oz at Sephora)
Murad City Skin Age Defense SPF 50 is a sunscreen that many of my friends have raved about. It’s the first sunscreen that I’ve noticed that claims to prevent skin damage from blue light from devices.
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 10%, Titanium Dioxide 2.7%

10. Alba Botanica Hawaiian SPF 30 ($7 for 4 oz at Amazon or Publix)(vegan)
Alba Botanica Hawaiian SPF 30 facial sunscreen is an excellent drugstore option. I’ve found it to work well for my sensitive skin. If you’re interested in more drugstore skincare check out my cruelty free drugstore skincare brands list.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone – 3.0%, Homosalate – 7.5%, Octocrylene – 7.5%, Octyl Salicylate – 5.0%

Bonus: Lip Protection

Supergoop Lip Balm SPF 30 ($9.50 for .5 oz at Sephora)
Supergoop Lip Balm has been my go-to lip protection for years. I prefer the mint flavor. I think it works quite well to moisturize and protect my lips. I wish I’d been doing it my entire life!
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Octinoxate, 7.5%, and Octisalate 5%

The Best Cruelty Free Sunscreens for Summer. Consumer Reports rated Ocean Potion as one of the top 50 sunscreens on the market! See the best sunscreens for face and body, plus lips!

What are your picks for the best sunscreens? Do you prefer SPF 30 or SPF 50?

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13 Comments

  • I love physical sunscreens myself. I like your floppy hat, it also protects the head and face in addition to sunscreen. Even eyewear should have 100% UV protection. Yay for being a sunscreen advocate!

  • So I know you are not a fan of sunscreen sprays. But what about when you are at an outdoor gathering, like a friends and family picnic or a day at an amusement park, you want to wear makeup, and you put on sunscreen before your makeup. What happens a few hours later when it’s time to reapply ? How do you reapply sunscreen over your makeup if you know you’ll still be outside for many hours ? I always assumed a spray would do it…but I can’t find one. What do you do in situations like this ? I’m an outdoor girl so I need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day…over top of my makeup. HELP!

    • For outdoor situations like that I prioritize not getting burnt. I burn in 5 minutes or less outside if I’m not wearing sunscreen, so I apply sunscreen liberally and often. I set a timer on my phone for when I’m at the beach or Walt Disney World so that I don’t miss re-applying my sunscreen. On those days I will wear a matte long wearing liquid lipstick, something like Wunderbrow on my brows and a waterproof mascara. I skip foundation, even though my skin is blotchy and red from rosacea, because it’s more important to me to be able to reapply sunscreen. I also pack a powder foundation in my bag for later in the evening so that I can try to even out my skintone for when we’re heading to dinner. I don’t know of any spray I would trust to apply on top of makeup. I know Supergoop sells a SPF setting spray. The problem with those sprays is that you spray them on and they claim to be SPF 50, but in reality you’re getting anywhere from SPF 5 to 15, according to most dermatologists.

      At the end of the day you have to do what’s best for you. For me that means preventing sunburns at all costs.

    • Oh! You could look for a tinted sunscreen! That’s what Kath recommends from the Fabzilla! Then you’re just re-applying the tinted sunscreen.

  • Thank you for the list of this sunscreen, i am also searching for a good one for my son (10y), do you have any that you can recommend?

  • Great list! I, too, prefer SPF 50 for sunscreens.

    I love Kiss My Face and Alba Botanica sunscreens. I am a fan of the spray sunscreens for my body, especially for running during the summer months. For me, as long as I let them dry completely first, they don’t sweat off nearly as easily as lotion sunscreens. Kiss My Face’s Cool Spray SPF 50 sport sunscreen is my favorite and it smells great to boot. Their Face Factor SPF 50 lotion is another favorite.

    FYI last time I was at Costco, they had some Alba Botanica Hawaiian sunscreen packs. It had 2 bottles of spray SPF 50 and a smaller bottle of the SPF 30 lotion. I can’t remember the exact price, but it was a good deal so I stocked up!

  • Thank you for this list and for including the active ingredients. I have to avoid Zinc Oxide because it gives me a rash. I’m so glad that Supergoop made the cut, because they make some of my favorite sun protection products. I always have one of the AcaiFusion lip balms in my bag and have used and loved several of their face and body products. The new mousse formula for the body is next on my list and I will check out the Ocean Potion, too.

    • So sorry to hear that zinc oxide gives you a rash! It’s one of the ingredients that I find soothing. Some of the brands made it difficult to find their ingredients online, which I think is frustrating as a customer because of allergies. Ocean Potion is pretty amazing and very highly rated by Consumer Reports. I’ve been using it for almost 2 years now.

  • This is an absolutely amazing list of CF sunscreens, Courtney! I only have the one from Mad Hippie, and think that it is fantastic! I need to try some of these others that you have suggested, too!

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