Green Living: 5 ecofriendly sunscreens to swap with your big-brand tube

    1 of 6 2 of 6

      The sunscreen aisle of your local drugstore isn’t always so bright. Though they’re meant to shield your skin from harmful UV radiation, many mass-produced sun-care products are loaded with hormone-disrupting chemicals, allergens, and other irritants that may interfere with the functioning of endocrine systems, trigger symptoms related to asthma, and damage our oceans’ coral reefs when exposed to open waters, among other dangers.

      But with so many big-name brands dominating the shelves, it can be difficult to separate the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ve already mentioned Canada’s Rocky Mountain Soap Company and Green Beaver as go-to names for safe (and reliable) UV ray protection—here are five more sunscreens that offer the same.

      Goddess Garden Organics Everyday Natural Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30, from $3.99 for 1 oz

      This all-natural sunscreen from Goddess Green Organics uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide—the two most effective organic ingredients in sunscreen—as active components. Together, these minerals offer your skin broad-spectrum protection against two hazardous forms of UV rays. (UVA rays can cause wrinkles and age spots, and UVB rays can cause sunburns, so it’s important to protect yourself against both.) The lotion has a non-greasy formulation that goes on smooth, and it’s also certified organic, coral reef–safe, and biodegradable.

      Available at Whole Foods Market (various locations), Welk’s General Store (3511 Main Street), and various other shops.

      ThinkSport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+, $19.95 for 3 oz

      Serious beach bums and water athletes will love this high-performance—and environmentally safe—sunscreen by ThinkSport. Active zinc oxide offers the greatest level of UV ray protection available, and resists sweat and water for up to 80 minutes. It’s paraben-, oxybenzone-, and phthalate-free, and packaged in an ecofriendly tube that doesn’t use BPA or vinyl. By offering an SPF of 50-plus, this sunscreen also abides by the rules of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which states that sunscreens labeled with an SPF of any number more than 50 can be “misleading”.

      Available at Choices Markets (various locations), My Little Green Shop (1010 Burnaby Street), and various other shops.

      Coola Suncare Mineral Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish, $48 for 1.7 oz

      Coola Suncare prides itself in its “farm-to-face” philosophy, so you can expect only the most natural ingredients in the California-based company’s sunscreens. This mineral face cream uses active titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that protects you against harmful UVA and UVB rays, and rose hip oil to further fight signs of aging. Natural shea butter moisturizes your skin, and cucumber fruit extract imparts a cooling scent. The formula is also water-resistant, and is free of parabens, petroleum, and phthalates.

      Available at Kiss and Makeup (various locations).

      Badger Balm Baby Sunscreen Cream SPF 30, $15.99 for 2.9 oz

      Listed as one of 203 safe and effective sunscreens in the Environmental Working Group’s latest sun-care report, this pediatrician-tested and –approved cream is made for kids and babies. Badger Balm employs zinc oxide as an active ingredient, which provides broad-spectrum protection, as well as an organic oil and beeswax base to soothe gentle skin. The sunscreen is water- and sweat-resistant for up to 40 minutes, biodegradable, and coral reef–safe. It’s also packaged in a BPA- and phthalate-free—and fully recyclable—plastic tube.

      Available at Whole Foods Market (various locations), Dandelion Kids (1206 Commercial Drive), and various other shops.

      Soleil Toujours Mineral-based Sunscreen Continuous Mist SPF 30, $46 for 6 oz

      Spray formulations increase the likelihood of inhaling zinc oxide and titanium dioxide nanoparticles—which may be harmful in large doses—so it’s best to avoid them when shopping for sunscreen. But if you can’t bear to part with the convenience of a spray style, this mineral mist by Soleil Toujours is probably your safest bet. Made without nanoparticles, parabens, oxybenzone, and a host of other damaging chemicals, it combines zinc oxide and vitamin-rich, anti-aging components for broad-spectrum UV ray protection that leaves your skin radiant. It’s hypoallergenic, vegan, and gluten-free, and unlike the majority of spray sunscreens, it goes on white so you can ensure no spots are missed.

      Available at Kiss and Makeup (various locations) and Green & Pure Organic Beauty (2165–4000 No. 3 Road, Richmond).

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.