3 Best Cruelty Free Sunscreens (Reef Friendly)

Cruelty free products have seen a huge increase in supply and demand in recent years and this is certainly the case with sunscreen.

As we prepare ourselves for the upcoming summer months, it’s important to research what brands are cruelty free whilst also providing that quality service and keeping your skin protected from sun damage. 

Purchasing a cruelty free sunscreen boasts an array of advantages that are not found in lotions that are not cruelty free such as boasting more natural ingredients which are more suited for sensitive skin that may be agitated by artificial ingredients and chemicals.

Cruelty free products are also better for the environment as the majority of sunscreens in this list are reef friendly meaning that you are doing even more to live an eco friendly lifestyle.

With so many sunscreens available on the market, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the choice which is why we have selected the best of the best so you don’t have to!

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OUR TOP PICK

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion | Vegan and Reef Friendly (Octinoxate & Oxybenzone Free) Broad Spectrum Moisturizing UVA/UVB Sunscreen with Vitamin E | 8 oz

Our top recommendation is Sun Bum’s Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion which is an industry defining formula.

The high SPF provides full protection which makes it ideal for all skin types.

The formula has been approved by dermatologists and is high in vitamin E whilst also delivering UVA and UVB protection.

This lotion is great for those who want a product that is as natural as possible whilst also remaining oil free, water resistant and reef friendly, making it a perfect choice for those who are conscious about the manufacturing and testing process of the lotion. 

This lotion works best when applied 15 minutes before exposure and requires an equal coverage on the skin to avoid any burning or damage.

The bottle is a great size so can be taken around in your bag and reapplied throughout the day with ease.

This hypoallergenic lotion is ideal for those with sensitive skin who are prone to irritation and the formula is oxybenzone, octinoxate, gluten, cruelty and paraben free to ensure that the lotion is as natural as possible and is going to give the skin the best protection possible.

For those who want the best on the market, Sun Bum’s lotion is the best product to go for. 

Pros

  • The formula has been approved by dermatologists and is high in vitamin E whilst also delivering UVA and UVB protection

  • The bottle is a great size so can be taken around in your bag and reapplied throughout the day with ease

  • This hypoallergenic lotion is ideal for those with sensitive skin who are prone to irritation and the formula is oxybenzone, octinoxate, gluten, cruelty and paraben free to ensure that the lotion is as natural as possible

Cons

  • Typically a premium product with the price tag to match.

EDITORS CHOICE

Australian Gold Extreme Sport Spray Gel Sunscreen SPF 30, 8 Ounce | Broad Spectrum | Sweat & Water Resistant | Non-Greasy | Oxybenzone Free | Cruelty Free

Our second selection is the Australian Gold Extreme Sport Spray Gel Sunscreen which boasts an ultra chill formula for extreme sports.

Providing SPF 30 sun protection, this lotion contains menthol which gives an instant cooling sensation to provide sweat activated cooling and odor fighting properties.

Ideal for those who lead active lifestyles, the formula is a rich blend of Kakadu plum extract with a high content of vitamin C and tea tree oil which is a powerful antioxidant, leaving the skin fresh and the refreshing breeze scent isn’t overwhelming.

The broad spectrum sunblock shields the skin from both UVA and UVB rays and also reduces the adverse effects of sunlight.

When generously applied, this lightweight, non-greasy spray lasts for 80 minutes at a time and should be applied 15 minutes before stepping out.

This lotion is ideal for everyday use and can be used for both outdoor sports and swimming sessions as well.

The easy to use spray pump bottle makes this lotion easy to apply while also water resistant, giving lasting protection from the Sun.

This time tested formula has been designed to be oxybenzone, PABA, phthalate and gluten free whilst making your skin feel refreshed.

Specially formulated to be as natural as possible, you can be assured that this cruelty free lotion is going to give you protection no matter what your lifestyle is. 

Pros

  • Providing SPF 30 sun protection, this lotion contains menthol which gives an instant cooling sensation to provide sweat activated cooling and odor fighting properties

  • The broad spectrum sunblock shields the skin from both UVA and UVB rays and also reduces the adverse effects of sunlight

  • This time tested formula has been designed to be oxybenzone, PABA, phthalate and gluten free whilst making your skin feel refreshed

Cons

  • The spray mechanism can be quite strong if pushed too hard

BEST VALUE

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Clear Spray, SPF 50, Nourishing Coconut, Clear, 6 Fl Oz (Packaging May Vary)

Our third recommendation is Alba Botanica’s Hawaiian Sunscreen  which is a clear spray and is ideal for those who are extremely sensitive to sunburn.

Boasting an SPF of 50 which gives complete protection with a fresh coconut fragrance, this sunscreen will have you feeling protected and refreshed immediately.

The clear spray is great as it rubs right in without leaving any white marks on the skin.

This lightweight sunscreen has been made with coconut extract, shea butter and avocado oil meaning that the ingredients are as natural as possible and can be used on all types of skin.

It provides broad spectrum protection and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Perfect for travelling around with, this bottle will easily fit into your bag so you can reapply throughout the day with ease. 

This lotion is so effective that it has been recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation so you can be assured that it has been approved by experts.

With no oxybenzone, octinoxate, gluten or synthetic fragrances, you can purchase this lotion with peace of mind that it will be suitable for your skin no matter how sensitive it is.

The light coconut fragrance is a natural scent from the coconut extract that is used in the ingredients and is not overpowering unlike other sunscreen products that boast a very strong fragrance. 

Pros

  • Boasting an SPF of 50 which gives complete protection with a fresh coconut fragrance, this sunscreen will have you feeling protected and refreshed immediately

  • This lightweight sunscreen has been made with coconut extract, shea butter and avocado oil meaning that the ingredients are as natural as possible and can be used on all types of skin

  • This lotion is so effective that it has been recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation so you can be assured that it has been approved by experts

Cons

  • The texture can be a bit sticky

RUNNER UP

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30, Aloe Vera, 4 Oz

Our penultimate choice is the Alba Botanica Sunscreen Lotion.

At SPF 30, you will receive plenty of protection from the sun and it also contains aloe vera for extra soothing.

This emollient sunscreen is suitable for all skin types and the design of the bottle makes it perfect for carrying around in your bag so you can reapply during the day with no problem.

With a long lasting formula that provides both UVA and UVB protection so for those who are prone to sunburn, you can have peace of mind that this lotion is perfect for you and will prevent any damage to your skin.

What makes this such an effective lotion is that it is fast absorbing and the lightweight formula makes it comfortable to apply and wear.

This is perfect for those on a stricter budget as it boasts a great price point while giving you the protection you need.

Made from botanicals such as chamomile and aloe leaf juice, your skin will feel nourished and protected while also reducing premature signs of aging in the skin.

The reef friendly formula is made from 100% vegetarian ingredients and does not contain any oxybenzone, octinoxate, synthetic fragrances or gluten so you can be assured that this lotion is as natural as can be. 

Pros

  • This emollient sunscreen is suitable for all skin types and the design of the bottle makes it perfect for carrying around in your bag so you can reapply during the day with no problem

  • With a long lasting formula that provides both UVA and UVB protection so for those who are prone to sunburn, you can have peace of mind that this lotion is perfect for you and will prevent any damage to your skin

  • The reef friendly formula is made from 100% vegetarian ingredients and does not contain any oxybenzone, octinoxate, synthetic fragrances or gluten so you can be assured that this lotion is as natural as can be

Cons

  • It can leave a white cast on application 

RUNNER UP

Babo Botanicals Zinc Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 with 100% Mineral Actives, Non-Greasy, Water-Resistant, Fragrance-Free, Vegan, For Babies, Kids or Sensitive Skin, Clear, 3 Fl Oz

Our final choice is the Babo Botanicals Zinc Sunscreen Lotion which is a fast absorbing, non whitening and lightweight sunblock that is perfect for very sensitive skin.

Water resistant and ideal for babies, anyone and everyone can use this sunscreen and utilize the benefits.

This lotion has been formulated for very sensitive skin and guarantees 100% non nano zinc which provides you with 80 minutes of water and sweat resistant coverage that is also fragrance free.

The zinc based and mineral formula has been made with skin soothing organic oils such as sunflower and is oxybenzone and octinoxate free.

It is also enriched with Babo’s Organic Nutri-Soothe Complex to ensure that it is extremely sensitive to the touch.

The reef friendly formula prevents it from being environmentally harmful and keeps it cruelty free.

Made with no harsh chemicals or irritants, this lotion is hypoallergenic which reduces the risk of allergic reactions.

It has been clinically tested and rated number 1 by the Environment Working Group for its safety and is free from gluten, soy, dairy, peanut, almond and walnut.

Made in the USA and B Corp Certified, this lotion is sure to see you through many days and reduce that risk of sun damage.

Pros

  • This lotion has been formulated for very sensitive skin and guarantees 100% non nano zinc which provides you with 80 minutes of water and sweat resistant coverage that is also fragrance free

  • The reef friendly formula prevents it from being environmentally harmful and keeps it cruelty free

  • Made with no harsh chemicals or irritants, this lotion is hypoallergenic which reduces the risk of allergic reactions

Cons

  • This lotion can take a while to properly rub in

Best Cruelty Free Sunscreen Buying Guide

When researching which cruelty free sunscreen is the best for you, it’s important to consider other factors as well as the fact that it is cruelty free.

This is because you want to ensure that the lotion is as natural as possible whilst also providing that full protection that you need.

Always consider whether the product is reef friendly, portable, free from chemicals and the budget.

Once you’ve thought about all of these factors, then you’ll be in a position where you can make a fully informed decision that is going to give you the best protection. 

Reef friendly

The first thing to check for is whether the formula is reef friendly.

This means that as well as being cruelty free, this formula is also not harming the environment.

For those who want to ensure that the products they buy are as harmless as possible, always check to see whether the lotion is reef friendly before purchasing.

This will guarantee that no important natural resources have been taken from the ocean when creating the formula.

Unfortunately, a lot of brands do harm the environment when making their formulas so for those who want to ensure that they are being as eco friendly as possible, reef friendly products are the way to go.

Portable

The next thing to think about is how portable the lotion is.

This is because you will have to reapply the lotion every 80 minutes throughout the day to ensure maximum coverage.

If you have particularly sensitive skin then selecting a lotion that is easy to carry around in your bag is essential so you’re not opening yourself to sun damage throughout the day.

Most of these lotions are available in a variety of sizes so you can choose a smaller bottle should you want to have a portable option. This way you can reapply with ease.

Free from chemicals

Similar to being cruelty free and reef friendly, another factor to consider are the chemicals used in the formula.

The majority of cruelty free formulas are free from chemicals which is great as this makes them hypoallergenic and prevents any irritation on sensitive skin.

Chemicals are often used in lotions that test on animals but be sure to double check because for those who like cruelty free products that provide less irritation, these chemicals can cause redness and not provide the protection you want.

Budget

Lastly, think about the budget you have in mind.

Cruelty free products tend to cost a little more than products that are tested on animals because the testing process is more costly as they will be tested on humans.

However, as this list shows, there are plenty of affordable options meaning that you don’t have to compromise your ethics for your bank account. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Neutrogena cruelty free?

Unfortunately, Neutrogena is not cruelty free due to the rules of its parent company, Johnson & Johnson.

You’ll find that a lot of larger brands will avoid testing on animals but when it comes to selling products in certain countries where testing is required by law, they will do so.

Smaller brands that don’t rely on this tend to be more reliable when it comes to being cruelty free. 

Are sunscreens vegan?

As you can see from this article, there are plenty of vegan sunscreens available but not all sunscreens are vegan.

Aside from being cruelty free, there are some sunscreens that contain animal byproducts meaning that the formula itself isn’t vegan.

Always look for the vegan and cruelty free logos when looking at the products and double check before making that final decision. 

Last update on 2021-12-08 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API