I have inadvertently become a sunscreen tester of sorts. I’ve been trying so many different sunscreen products for my girls and myself that it’s become an unintentional mini hobby of mine!
The first year of Clara’s life I was oblivious about the importance of natural skin products. We lived in Chicago (not as hippy-dippy of a culture as Seattle) and I used whatever sunscreen I had around our apartment, which was usually Banana Boat or whatever else was on sale at the drugstore. I happily slathered it on Clara and thought nothing of it.
One day we were at a church picnic and a mom friend asked me if I had extra sunscreen she could use on her son. I pulled out my tube of Banana Boat and felt like a super-mom for even remembering sunscreen at all. Well, she very politely declined my offering in favor of a different brand of a natural sunscreen that another mom had. And that got me thinking… what’s the big deal about sunscreen? Are some sunscreens better than others?
You can read the research yourself, if that’s what interests you, but suffice it to say that after I started reading some articles I threw away all of my sunscreen and bought new, ‘better’ (aka less chemically made) natural sunscreen products. (Also, every single mom I know in Seattle uses the ‘hippy-dippy’ stuff, so this makes it easy to get recommendations from other moms!)
I’m still on the hunt to find a sunscreen that works the best for my family, hence me having six different brands around my house!
Here are my thoughts on these six natural sunscreen products:
This was the first natural sunscreen I tried, and to be honest, my immediate reaction was that natural sunscreen just wasn’t for us. This stuff is hard to get out of the tube and hard to rub in. Plus, because it’s so hard to rub in, Clara got a sunburn in patches of her skin that we didn’t coat well enough (because the lotion doesn’t spread as easily as the lotions we were used to). Plus, this stuff definitely gives us a pasty white glow. The positives are that Badger has an EWG ranking of 1 (the best!) and I like the smell. We have a few tubes around the house and in our diaper bag for emergency situations, but it’s not my personal favorite.
At around $15 and an EWG ranking of 1 (the best score), I wanted to love this brand. I find that it rubs in a little better than Badger, but not by much. Basically, I have a lot of the same thoughts as I did with the Badger lotion I previously mentioned, so after using this stuff, I was still on the search for something better.
This sunscreen is more expensive than I would normally buy, but it rubs in easily and I use it as my everyday moisturizer. Unfortunately, there is a wide range of EWG scores for the Coola products, but the Baby Mineral Sunscreen is given a score of 2, which is pretty good. Although now that I look at this list, the one I use on my face isn’t the best (actually, it’s the worst of all the Coola products!). Sigh. I definitely still recommend looking into this brand, just be aware that some of their sunscreens are more natural than others. I’ll be looking for another face moisturizer since mine received an awful EWG score of 7. YIKES.
The Alba Mineral Sunscreen has an EWG ranking of 2 and is the most inexpensive sunscreen on this list at around $10. A friend generously gifted me the sunscreen because her kids have sensitivities to the essential oils used in it. (This is an important point to mention, probably! A lot of these sunscreens use essential oils as the scents, so be careful if your babies have sensitive skin.) For whatever reason, I found this sunscreen was impossible to get out of the tube, but once it was on my hands, I could easily rub it in. But really, I hate how hard it is to get out of the dang container, so I’ll leave it on my diaper bag for emergencies but I probably won’t rush to buy it again.
I hadn’t even heard of this brand until Audrey mentioned it on Instastories as her new favorite for her daughter. Since she’s from SoCal, I took her sunscreen recommendation seriously and bought some Supergoop! immediately. I love that it’s a mousse and rubs in super easily. Plus, it isn’t too expensive. This is our current everyday sunscreen product because it’s so easy to apply and doesn’t leave a white shine. It only has an EWG score of 3 (not the best, but decent), but we still use it because (honestly) I’m more likely to apply sunscreen often if it’s easy-peasy and at this point I’m really just trying to make sure my girls don’t burn in the bright PNW sun.
This is the favorite sunscreen of a few of my friends, so after seeing various people use it and love it, I went right out and bought a tube. I’m happy to report that I think I’m going to start using this as my go-to for my family. It has an EWG score of 1 (yay!), it isn’t too expensive, and it comes right out of the tube. Plus, I like the scent, which is always a bonus.
All in all, thinkbaby is the new favorite for my family, but we will continue using Supergoop! often, too. And I’m going to use Coola until I run out but then
may will look into a different, even more natural, face moisturizer. I think it’s important to find a product you love and will use often on you and your babies. For me, even if it doesn’t have the best score, if it’s at least ranked as ‘ok’ and I know I’ll happily use it, then it works at this stage in my life. Right now, as the mom of a 1 & 2 year old, convenience is everything!
Of course the best way to protect skin is to keep it covered!
+ Here’s a list of the worst sunscreens for kids (according to the EWG). They also recommend avoiding spray sunscreens, really high SPFs, and the ingredients Oxybenzone and/or Retinyl palmitate.
And to think that when I was a teen and into my early 20s I tried to get as dark as possible and never even wore sunscreen… how times have changed! Now I really, really want to take care of my skin and encourage my girls to do the same!
Do you have any favorite sunscreens I should try out?! (And ideally a favorite natural moisturizer with SPF?)