Vegan Sunscreen Products That Will Protect You From the Sun

Getting enough sun protection for your skin is essential to proper skin care. Sunscreens often get neglected when they should be one of the most important skincare products.

A vegan lifestyle does not stop with your diet of not consuming animals or animal byproducts.

Veganism is an ideology of coursing through every day with respect for the environment and all the life it sustains. That respect also translates to choosing vegan skincare items.

Today, there are many vegan sunscreens. Namely, skin care products have now become progressively vegan and eco friendly.

Finding the right vegan sunscreen can take a lot of trial and error. As we go through our suggestions, bear in mind that some options may not work for your particular skin type.

Before we start, let’s cover a couple of basic terms that are going to recur in this article.

  • Broad Spectrum- sunscreens that can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays (more on this below).
  • Filer/ Active Ingredient- the ingredient in your sunscreen that protects you from UV radiation.
  • Reef safe-some UV filters are very harmful to coral reefs and many brands have taken steps to ensure their sunscreens don’t have these filters.
  • Chemical and Mineral sunscreens- Chemical sunscreens have organic filters in them while mineral sunscreen only uses mineral filters.
  • Water resistant- this does not mean waterproof. Water resistant sunscreens are those that last for 40-80 minutes in the water or when sweating.

That being said, here are sunscreen brands that we’ve researched extensively, and thus recommend.

Juicebeauty
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Juicebeauty
  • Water resistant 
  • Organically derived ingredients
  • Active avoidance of pesticide & petroleum 
Pacifica Beauty
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Pacifica Beauty
  • Water resistant 
  • Spray application
  • Recycling program
Supergoop
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Supergoop
  • Makeup compatibility 
  • EU compliant
  • Awareness program

Coola

Coola FACE Vegan sunscreen
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Image by Coola.com

Creating cosmetic products that are clean and healthy, Coola uses at least 70% organic ingredients in all of its products.

Their products are completely vegan, cruelty-free, non-GMO, paraben-free, gluten-free, and of course, they are reef-friendly.

About the sunscreen

Coola has a pretty wide range of products with SPF to choose from. They’ve got everything from lotions to tinted moisturizers. They even have BB creams with great SPF.

Our pick from their collection is their Full Spectrum 360° Sun Silk Drops Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30. This item provides broad spectrum protection and helps protect against blue light and pollution.

It is a light and breathable formula. Perfect for everyday use. It’s also moisturizing while providing excellent coverage.

The product is great for sensitive skin, so if you’ve got acne-prone skin, consider giving it a try. Nevertheless, their formula might not still react well with all skin types.

This vegan sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before stepping outside. Don’t be shy and apply generously. Coola recommends applying 3-5 drops in each desired area.

On the other hand, it smells great and is perfect for wearing under makeup. You can also blend it with your daily moisturizer, but that may dilute the SPF effects.

Other vegan sunscreens from them worth mentioning are the Classic Organic Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 in Tropical coconut and the Full Spectrum 360° Refreshing Water Cream Organic Face Sunscreen SPF 30. The brand also has mineral sunscreens.

Filters and Ingredients

Their Silk Drops Organic Sunscreen uses chemical filters. Specifically, they use the following UV filters:

  • Avobenzone – 2.0%
  • Homosalate – 10.0%
  • Octisalate – 5.0%
  • Octocrylene – 6.0%

This sunscreen also has hyaluronic acid, aloe leaf extract, jojoba seed oil, and neroli flower extract.

Like all of their other products, this one is 70%+ made of organic products, so you know you are putting on clean sun defense.

Their claim of using at least 70% organic ingredients is backed by third-party USDA-accredited certifying agents like Quality Assurance International.

The product itself does not have any synthetic fragrance, so the scent of this sunscreen is minimal and subtle.

Since fragrance can be irritants to some skin types, this could be a good choice if you have sensitive skin.

Coola discloses all of its product components, including what may be used as a fragrance. This is a really good transparency practice since the buyer will be able to determine exactly what is in the product.

Ethics and Sustainability

The ethics and sustainability standpoint of Coola is excellent. They believe in sourcing their ingredients ethically without harming the environment.

They have a “farm to face” philosophy in production where they use ingredients that support local communities and are sustainably harvested.

80% of their cosmetics are packaged in glass, which is easy to recycle. They only use plastic when they think it will improve the functionality of the product.

And even then, they try to use recycled materials as much as they can.

However, not all of Coola’s product packaging is recyclable, though they aim to be 100% recyclable by 2023.

Overall, Coola is an excellent brand to start with. They have plenty of options whether it be mineral sunscreen or chemical.

The variety in their products also allows them to cater to many customer preferences.

Pacifica

Pacifica Beauty Vegan Sunscreen
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Image by Pacificabeauty.com

Pacifica has been in the business for nearly 25 years, with more than two decades of clean skin care.

This brand is vegan and more importantly, they have never conducted any animal testing, confirming their commitment to their beliefs.

About The Sunscreen

Pacifica has plenty of products. They have skincare, makeup, fragrances, and even nail polish! All of these are vegan and cruelty-free, of course. They also have plenty of sunscreen options.

We love their Sport Sunscreen Coconut Probiotic SPF 50. It offers broad spectrum protection and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes.

Its spray application makes it easy to reapply throughout the day. Additionally, since it’s water resistant, you can use it when you go to the beach.

It’s designed for clear and streak-free application if you utilize the spray feature correctly.

Do NOT spray this product directly onto your face. Instead, spray the product onto your hands and then rub it into your face.

Reapplication should be whenever you wipe with a towel, after 80 minutes of swimming or sweating, or if it’s already been two hours.

Filters and Ingredients

The UV filters used are:

  • Avobenzone 2.9%
  • Homosalate 9.8%
  • Octisalate 4.9%
  • Octocrylene 9.5%

These four active components are all chemical filters.

Other product components include aloe leaf juice, sunflower seed oil, and rosemary extract. Pacifica may reformulate their products, so you should always refer to the product labels for a full list of ingredients.

On the other hand, let’s not forget that this sunscreen has a coconut scent. If you aren’t a fan of coconut scents, it is best to avoid this one.

Ethics and Sustainability

Pacifica focuses on making its cosmetics clean for the environment, for animals, and for you. Their items are always clean, vegan, and cruelty-free.

Their dedication to their mission is pretty evident in their product creation. All of their products are made in the United States using globally sourced elements.

Pacifica has this interesting recycling program in partnership with Preserve that offers customers an option to ship their #5 plastics and get 100 loyalty points in return.

The brand then turns these into razors that they sell in-store. It’s a great initiative because it offers people a way to benefit from recycling plastic.

JuiceBeauty Vegan Sunscreen
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Image by juicebeauty.com

Science-backed and organic, Juice Beauty focuses on creating effective and clean products for the beauty community.

The brand has been around since 2005 and they now have a wide array of products that have been clinically tested. Juice aims to create organic solutions for the beauty community.

About the Sunscreen

The brand only has one sunscreen on their product list, but there are other items with SPF (lip balms, moisturizers, cc creams).

Their SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen is perfect for those who live an active lifestyle and go outdoors a lot. It is water resistant and is great for swimming(Just make sure to reapply properly).

The optimum reapplication period is every 80 minutes.

This sunscreen is great for people of all ages. Basically, this is a great one to keep handy.

However, there is a possibility it could leave a white cast/film on your skin. That may not necessarily be your experience, since we’ve seen it absorbs nicely, but it may not be the best for everyday wear. Nevertheless, we are not doctors, so if you have any doubts, we encourage you to visit your dermatologist before using these products.

Filters and Ingredients

The active ingredient in their SPF 30 Sport Sunscreen is Zinc Oxide 20%. This is a mineral filter and Juice Beauty does not use chemical filters in their sunscreen.

Its key elements are aloe leaf, jojoba oil, and coconut oil, all of which are organically derived. Most of their other components are organic as well.

Ethics and Sustainability

The brand indicates that they are completely vegan and they have never tested on animals. Since they don’t use chemical sunscreens and synthetic dyes, they don’t do any damage to the coral reefs. However, they mentioned in their FAQs that they use honey, which is NOT a vegan ingredient, so keep that in mind.

Regardless, the sunscreen product is still vegan, so there should be no issue in regards to sunscreen.

Since they mainly use organic and sustainably sourced elements, they have estimated that they avoided 3 tons of pesticides and 26 tons of petroleum over the last decade.

Supergoop!

supergoop vegan sunscreen
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Image by Supergoop.com

Making waves in the clean beauty community since 2007, Supergoop! is one of the most recognized clean sunscreen brands today.

About the Sunscreen

Supergoop! has a ton of vegan sunscreens. Being in the business for more than a decade, they’ve had plenty of time to create new and innovative formulas to protect you no matter your skin type.

They have just about anything you can think of. They have your typical mineral and chemical sunscreens, body oils with SPF, a setting powder with SPF 45, and they even have an eyeshadow line!

Our personal pick from their lot is Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40. This is also one of their most popular products, let’s see why.

Unseen is specifically formulated to be lightweight and perfect for everyday use. It leaves no white cast and is suited for wearing as a standalone product, or under your daily makeup. In any case, it does not feel heavy or cakey on the face.

It glides smoothly onto the skin without any oils. Plus, it’s a broad spectrum so you know you’re sufficiently protected.

One of the best things about this vegan sunscreen is that it stays invisible on all skin shades!

Many people with darker skin tones have trouble finding the right sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white cast. Unseen is one of the best solutions for this issue.

It is also vegan, reef safe, and cruelty-free; ensuring that you have a clean experience with your sun defense.

A worthy runner-up is their Mattescreen SPF 40. It leaves the skin matte and poreless, though the outcome is less of a totally matte finish and more of a hydrating one.

Filters and Ingredients

Unseen is a chemical sunscreen with the following UV filters:

  • Avobenzone, 3%
  • Homosalate 8%
  • Octisalate 5%
  • Octocrylene 4%

This product also has shea butter, frankincense, and meadowfoam estolide.

All of Supergoop’s products are EU compliant and they have an extensive list of ingredients they do not use in any of their products.

The SPF in Unseen is verified by a third-party laboratory and they even provide a full report of the results!

Ethics and Sustainability

All Supergoop products are made in the United States. However, they don’t expound on how ethical their source materials are.

The brand also aims to be more inclusive and diverse in its workforce in all areas of business.

Supergoop has a great program called Ounce by Ounce, which aims to give free sunscreen to schools all over the U.S. to raise awareness about the importance of sunscreen.

We think it’s pretty great that they’re using their reach to make positive changes in how people, especially children, view sun defense.

Unfortunately, although they are 100% cruelty-free, they do have two products that are not vegan: the “100% Mineral Sunscreen Stick” and the “Sunnyscreen™ 100% Mineral Stick”, which both have beeswax in them. If you want to buy from a 100% vegan brand, we suggest skipping through this one.

Dirty Hippie Cosmetics

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Image by Dirtyhippiecosmetics.com.au

Dirty Hippie is an eco-conscious, family-run business based in Australia. Don’t let their quirky name mislead you. All of their cosmetics are clean, organic, and made without toxins.

This brand makes its products in small batches and they are hand-made when ordered.

About the Sunscreen

Dirty Hippie cosmetics only offers one product with SPF and it’s their Coconut Sunscreen Balm. This product is reef-safe, cruelty-free, and vegan.

It’s also formulated for sensitive skin as it has a very low amount of pure essential content. It’s a creamy but nongreasy formula that will apply nicely to your skin.

However, since it uses mineral UV blockers, it has a white sheen to it, especially at the beginning of application. Nevertheless, it is supposed to dry very nearly clear.

Do note that the SPF in this is not lab tested. It’s an approximate measure of SPF, but that doesn’t mean it won’t work.

Still, regulation is important and if you’re looking for a tested product, we recommend just browsing through the other brands on this list.

Filters and Ingredients

The active ingredient in this product is Zinc Oxide. It is broad spectrum and will protect against UVA and UVB radiation. Their Zinc Oxide is not made with nano particles.

Other components include vitamin E, lime essential oil, virgin coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, raspberry seed, and others. Most of these ingredients are certified organic.

Ethics and Sustainability

Dirty Hippie takes sustainability seriously. All of their products are cruelty-free, vegan, ethically sourced, fair trade (where required), organic, and free of any toxins.

The best part about this brand is that its packaging is eco friendly and geared towards zero waste. Their sunscreen comes in tub, tubes, or tin options.

All of which you can recycle or compost(We have another article on zero waste sunscreen, we highly suggest you check it out for additional recommendations).

They also offer refills for their tin as long as you are from AU. Hence, they don’t accept refills for international orders due to the ultimate carbon footprint it takes to ship internationally.

Sunscreen for Your Lips

Hurraw Lip Balm
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Image by Hurrawbalm.com

Most people think that you don’t need to apply sunscreen on your lips, but that couldn’t be further from the truth!

Harmful UV rays can also penetrate your lips and cause possible issues. Because lip care is such a neglected aspect of sun protection, we wanted to highlight vegan lip balms with SPF.

Pacifica

Pacifica is one of the best brands out there when it comes to clean and effective skincare and beauty. We’ve talked about them earlier, but it’s also worth noting that they have a lip balm with SPF.

Their Pineapple Mineral Lip Balm SPF 15 is made with Zinc Oxide. Notable components include coconut butter and shea butter.

It uses mineral UV blockers and is a broad spectrum sunscreen. There isn’t much more you can ask for in a lip balm.

Plus, it’s water resistant for up to 80 minutes. It’s great for everyday use and is easy to reapply throughout the day.

Hurraw!

Hurraw’s SPF 15 Lip Balm will protect you from the sun while keeping your lips moisturized. It glides on silky and creamy, and will apply clear unless you apply a very thick layer of balm.

Its active ingredient is Zinc Oxide which makes it a mineral sunscreen. The SPF level in this balm is verified once every other year by an independent laboratory.

Other ingredients in this lip balm include red raspberry seed oil and pomegranate seed oil.

Hurraw’s lip balm is 100% reef safe, vegan, and cruelty-free.

SunBum

SunBum’s Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lip Balm in Pineapple is our pick from this sunscreen brand. Nevertheless, they’ve got plenty of other options on their website as well. You’ll quickly fall in love with their beach aesthetic and lifestyle.

The filters in this lip balm are Avobenzone 2.00%, Homosalate 15.00%, and Octisalate 5.00%. It is a chemical sunscreen.

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free. If you’re browsing through their site, do note that not all of their products are vegan.

There are plenty of vegan lip balms and lip balms with SPF available. But vegan lip balms with SPF can be a bit of a challenge to find. If you don’t like the ones we listed above, you can also look for your own.

In your quest of looking for a vegan lip balm with SPF, consider that many lip balms list themselves as cruelty-free but are not vegan.

Many lip balms use beeswax, which is not a vegan ingredient. Make sure what you purchase is 100% vegan and not merely cruelty-free.

Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

You might think that conventional sunscreen itself is enough to protect yourself from the sun’s UV rays. But a better option would be broad spectrum UV blockers.

To start, let’s talk a bit about UV rays. What are they anyway?

In essence, UV rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun. They have the benefit of giving us Vitamin D, but overexposure can increase your risk of skin cancer and premature aging [1].

There are two types of UV rays that are relevant to this discussion: UVA and UVB rays.

Out of the two, UVA rays, are more present and they comprise about 95% of the UV rays that reach the surface [2].

They also penetrate deeper into the skin which can cause photodamage. On the other hand, UVB rays are more responsible for increasing the risk of skin cancer.

Not all sunscreens can protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Most of the time, sunscreens just protect you from UVB rays. Whether you’re protected from UVA and UVB rays depend entirely on the filters used.

What is SPF?

Sun protection factor or SPF is a factor of time. The SPF tells you how much faster your skin would redden without the proper sun protection.

For example, an SPF of 30 tells you that if you’re not using it, your skin would redden 30x faster. The same is true with SPF 15, 50, and all other SPFs.

Take note that the SPF only applies if you are using the product as directed. This means constantly reapplying throughout the day. If you are swimming or sweating make sure to reapply immediately.

In laboratory conditions, a higher SPF will protect you better and for a longer amount of time. SPF 30 should give about 97% UV protection and SPF 50 will give around 98%. It’s a marginal difference, but it’s worth it.

However, never let a high SPF lead you into being more complacent about your sun exposure. Apply as directed for full maximization of the product.

A common occurrence in people who use higher SPF is that they feel more protected, and may expose themselves to the sun more, or forget to reapply.

What's the deal with chemical UV blockers?

You’ve probably noticed that there’s a major distinction between chemical and mineral filters. If you came here looking for mineral filters specifically, you don’t need this primer.

But if you’re not familiar, the terms chemical and mineral are all dependent on the filters used.

Mineral filters are Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide. All the others are chemical filters.

Though not all chemical filters are proven bad, they get a bad rep due to the capacity of some chemical filters to harm coral reefs. This is also the reason for reef safe labels on sunscreen.

However, note that the label reef safe is not regulated. Many brands refer to their sunscreens as reef safe as long as it does not contain Oxybenzone. The problem is that Oxybenzone is not the only problematic chemical filter, which raises concerns about whether reef safe sunscreen is truly safe.

Generally, the safest UV blocker available is Zinc Oxide. Titanium Dioxide is okay too, but there are some issues with it.

Overall, it depends on what you believe in and what you want to put on your skin. In either case, there are chemical and mineral sunscreen options available on our list, so you can take your pick.

Do you need sunscreen?

Yes! The answer will always be yes. Sunscreen is one of the most important parts of your skin care routine, if not the most important. Add it to your morning routine and reapply throughout the day.

It can help guard you against skin cancer and prevent skin damage, premature skin aging (sun spots), and photodamage. It’s essential if you want to keep your skin healthy.

But it shouldn’t be your only line of defense. Using sunscreen should only be a single aspect of your sun protection regimen.

If you can, don’t forget to stay in the shade as much as possible, wear a sun hat if you’re going on an outdoor activity, wear sunglasses, and use lip balm with SPF!

You should also make sure that all exposed skin is covered. This might sound a bit extreme but there are so many parts of our skin that we tend to neglect, which need protection as well.

With all the changes in our climate and more UV radiation penetrating the ozone layer, protecting yourself from the sun has never been this important.

Final Thoughts

These vegan sunscreens above might not be for you. They might not ship to your country or the ones you like aren’t within your price range.

Looking for a vegan sunscreen that will suit your skin type can be a bit of a chore. Therefore, we hope this round-up gives you a bit of guidance.

If you are looking for vegan sunscreen on your own, here are some additional tips:

  • Choose one with an SPF 15 or higher. 15 is usually the minimum that’s acceptable to give you the necessary protection from the sun.
  • Many sunscreens (just like with lip balms) are cruelty-free but may have beeswax. Always double-check for a vegan certification or go through the product’s ingredients. A common replacement for beeswax is candelilla wax.
  • The best way to guarantee that your sunscreen’s SPF will serve you well is if the brand had its product officially lab-tested for SPF efficiency. There are some brands that do not get theirs tested, it’s up to you to determine whether they’re worth it.

Resources:

  1. https://uihc.org/health-topics/what-difference-between-uva-and-uvb-rays#:~:text=There%20are%20two%20basic%20types,are%20responsible%20for%20producing%20sunburn.&text=In%20addition%2C%20the%20UVA%20rays,including%20wrinkle%20formation%20(photoaging).
  2. https://www.livescience.com/50326-what-is-ultraviolet-light.html
Coola FACE Vegan sunscreen
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