In this article, we explore the best options for cruelty-free sunscreen which include reef-safe ingredients. We tested all the best options!
We are all about supporting ethical brands that protect us from the sun’s harmful rays while respecting the sanctity of all life forms and the health of our oceans.
Dive in as we unmask the truth about these compassionate skincare choices, revealing why they matter and how they offer a glimmer of hope for our planet.
And hint – if you don’t want to wait, our #1 pick for the best cruelty-free and reef-safe sunscreen is this one!
Top Cruelty-Free Sunscreen Brands: Reef-Safe Sun Protection
These are the most loved sunscreens from high-quality brands that do not test on animals.
Here are the cruelty-free sunscreen brands our beauty editors recommend for healthy, glowing, skin and reef-safe sun protection.
1. best Tinted SPF: Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte™ Physical Daily Defense SPF 30
This is our #1 pick for the best cruelty-free sunscreen!
Drunk Elephant tinted sunscreen is specifically designed to provide a luxurious feel with its delightful texture, pleasant aroma, and proven effectiveness against the sun’s harmful rays.
It offers sun protection with a subtle tan-colored tint.
I hate it when a sunscreen leaves a white cast on my skin. So, I love this product because it’s not white!
I appreciate the tan tint of color this product offers. It’s a lightweight and lightly tinted hue for a healthy glow.
- UMBRA TINTE SUNSCREEN. A hint of tint for a gorgeous, glowing finish with a sheer physical sunscreen that delivers powerful broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and helps aid in the prevention of free radical and oxidative damage as well as photoaging for a more youthful-looking complexion.
- DAILY DEFENSE SPF 30. With a universally flattering tint, it’s ideal for most skin tones and leaves the complexion gorgeous and glowy. It’s loaded with antioxidants and delivers essential moisture that helps minimize the look of fine lines and wrinkles.
2. Best Invisible SPF: Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen
Five stars go to Unseen Sunscreen for sure. If tinted sunscreen isn’t your thing, but you still don’t want any white cast; this invisible sunscreen is for you.
Supergoop! is a premium, luxury skincare brand with a particular emphasis on sun protection, offering products that are gentle on marine ecosystems.
Adhering to ethical standards, Supergoop’s offerings are cruelty-free and provide vegan alternatives.
Their products are also free from parabens, ensuring a health-conscious approach. Plus, Suppergoop! sunscreen smells awesome!
As for skin concerns, their range is formulated for many skin types and aims to address common issues such as redness, dryness, and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- GAME-CHANGING SUNSCREEN – Our most popular SPF, Unseen Sunscreen is a totally invisible, weightless, scentless formula that provides oil-free sunscreen protection for all skin types, tones, & lifestyles.
- COMPREHENSIVE PROTECTION – This feel-good, antioxidant-rich facial sunscreen helps filter blue light (skin-damaging light emitted from your phone, computer, & tablet), UVA, UVB & IRA rays.
3. Best For Acne-Prone Skin: Starface Clear As Day SPF 46
This is another invisible sunscreen that is cruelty-free and reef-safe, and we love it!
Starface Clear As Day goes on silky smooth and 100% invisible so there’s no mess.
It’s non-comedogenic, oil-free, and formulated for acne-prone skin, too.
It’s made without oxybenzone or octinoxate making it a reef-safe choice.
- 🌤️ AWARD-WINNING SUNSCREEN GEL: Clear as Day SPF 46 is a powerful sunscreen gel that protects, hydrates, and smooths acne-prone skin.
- ✨ INVISIBLE PROTECTION: Made to protect skin without clogging pores or leaving a white cast. With a lightweight, silky texture, Clear as Day is an easy addition to your routine.
- 💦 WATER RESISTANT 80 MINS: Keeps skin protected while you’re swimming and sweating. Plus, it’s recommended by The Skin Cancer Foundation as a safe and effective UV protectant.
4. Best For Dark Skintones: Black Girl Sunscreen
Black Girl Sunscreen is specifically formulated for women of color.
Because when launching the brand, the company learned that the #1 reason dark-skinned women don’t wear sunscreen is that most sunscreens are white and leave an unflattering white cast on their skin.
Black Girl Sunscreen is scent-free, vegan, and reef-friendly. It doesn’t go on invisible (like the previous 2) but rather it goes on white and then dries invisible.
5. Best Organic SPF: Coola Organic Sunscreen
6. Best SPF Spray: Alba Botanica
Alba Botanica sunscreen is made with natural ingredients that work harmoniously to shield your skin, making it an excellent choice for those with sensitive skin types.
This product boasts of ethical and clean beauty credentials—it’s cruelty-free reef-safe, and free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates, artificial dyes, and aluminum, underlining its commitment to safe and responsible skincare.
It’s important to remember that frequent reapplication of any sunscreen—at least every two hours—is crucial.
- SPF 50 SUN PROTECTION: Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, this water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen helps shield the skin from harmful UV rays
- BEACH ESSENTIAL: Made with 100% vegetarian ingredients and botanicals, our biodegradable SPF 50 formula offers sun protection your skin will love
7. Best Powder SPF: Jane Iredale Powder-Me SPF
This SPF powder and brush combo is so handy. It comes with refillable powder pods, and the brush is retractable. It fits in your purse so you can take it where you go.
Powder sunscreen is where it’s at.
8. Juice Beauty
10. Sun Bum
11. Babo Botanicals
12. Bare Republic
- CLEAN SUNSCREEN LOTION. A clear, clean lotion you’re going to love! Our non-greasy SPF blends in invisibly to provide healthy, high-performance protection that’s clearly best-in-class.
- SHEER + LIGHT. Now more transparent than ever, our most advanced sunscreen lotion from Bare Republic is super sheer and light, but tough enough to keep up with all life’s adventures!
Why Is It Important To Buy Cruelty-Free Sunscreen?
Cruelty-free sunscreen means the sunscreen is from a brand that does not test its products on animals, or use any ingredients that are tested on animals.
These ethical brands also do not allow their products to be sold in China, where cruel, barbaric animal testing on imported products is sadly mandatory.
It’s important to support cruelty-free brands for ethical animal welfare reasons, as well as to send a message to brands that DO test on animals that we as consumers will not stand for animal testing.
Why Is It Important To Buy Reef-Safe Sunscreen?
The importance of buying reef-safe sunscreen lies in its potential impact on marine ecosystems, specifically coral reefs.
Many traditional sunscreens contain chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate, which are known to be harmful to coral reefs.
Whereas reef-safe sunscreens are those that do not contain harmful chemicals, and instead use mineral-based ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide which are believed to be less harmful to reefs.
When you support a reef-safe or reef-friendly sunscreen brand, you are helping the environment.
Why Is Non-Reef-Safe Sunscreen Bad For The Environment?
It can be confusing to wonder how a traditional sunscreen can affect a coral reef. So we will break it down.
Direct Contact From Swimmers
When people wearing traditional sunscreen go into the water, the chemicals can wash off and cause issues for the marine environment.
High concentrations of these chemicals can cause coral bleaching, a condition that weakens the coral, makes it susceptible to disease, and could potentially lead to its death.
Impairment of Coral Growth
Oxybenzone and octinoxate (ingredients that are found in traditional sunscreen) can impair the growth and development of young corals.
Toxicity to Marine Life
Beyond coral reefs, these chemicals can also be toxic to other forms of marine life, including fish.
Given the importance of coral reefs in maintaining marine biodiversity, providing a habitat for a multitude of species, and role in protecting shorelines from storms and erosion, it’s vital to take steps to limit further damage.
Cruelty-Free Sunscreen Brands And Reef-Safe Sun Protection – Conclusion
Buying and using cruelty-free sunscreen which is not tested on animals is an ethical, eco-conscious way to help lower the demand for products from non-CF brands do test on animals.
As well, ensuring that the cruelty-free sunscreen you purchase is also reef-safe sunscreen is one simple action that individuals can take to contribute to the effort of environmental protection.
Read this next: