• Leonie de l'Orme

Tried & Tested: 7 Clean(er) beauty sunscreens

With the sun out, we are all in search of the perfect sunscreen to protect our skin from UV radiation. But what about protecting our skin from chemicals used in the product or protecting the oceans from harmful microplastics? Here is what you need to know before buying your sunscreen + super honest reviews of 7 clean(er) beauty sunscreen products I’ve tested. Ranging from everyday sun skin care to active water sports proof.


Products tested

Salt & Stone - SPF 30

Dr Jetske Ultee - SPF 30 Family bottle

Suntribe - SPF 50

Origins - Ginzeng SPF 40

Seventy One - Eco Sun Shield SPF50 Nuura - Mineral Sunstrick SPF 50

This Way - Aloe Vera After Sun


Wear mineral based sunscreen to save your skin and the oceans

While you definitely need to wear sunscreen to protect your skin from UV radiation, you need to take into consideration that most sunscreens contain 100,000,000,000,000 plastic particles in one single product. Ultimately this will reach your food and drinking water too.

Besides microplastics most sunscreens contain chemicals, which can harm coral reefs. Don't want to be part of that - avoid Oxybenzone, Octinoxate and Avobenzone.

Always check the ingredients before buying sunscreen.

What you don’t want:

  • Oxybenzone - the most problematic of all.

  • Octinoxate

  • Homosalate

  • Octisalate

  • Octocrylene

  • Avobenzone

  • Titanium

Why? They are all chemicals, that might cause allergies, hormone disruptions and skin irritations. Read more about that in the article 'how clothes affect your skin and health.'

Research from the FDA (US Federal Food and Drug Administration) discovered these ingredients are absorbed into the body and were detected on the skin and in the blood weeks after no longer being used. Other studies even detected sunscreen ingredients in breast milk and urine samples. They especially raised concerns about titanium, homosalate, avobenzone and oxybenzone. Those last three might cause mood swings, fatigue, feeling weak, changes in blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

The usage of titanium is questionable since there are two forms used in beauty products, of which one is said to mess with the structure of the outermost layer of the skin and could damage cell DNA. The other - more commercially used - don’t.

Unfortunately, there’s no way for you to tell which type of titanium dioxide is in the bottles in your sunscreen. So it's better to avoid this ingredient as much as possible.

Non-Nano Zinc Oxide is best

Meaning that it's currently considered to be the safest UV-filter for human health, If your (getting) pregnant or breastfeeding I would choose this ingredient over any other. It blocks both UVA and UVB rays.

Best advice is still, to spread often, yet use as little sunscreen as needed, by staying out of the sun as much as possible, wearing a super big and cool hat and cover your body in loose fitting organic clothes.

Image courtesy to Pardo Hats

SPF 30 is the new SPF 50

I used to believe my skin needed the highest protection possible, Suntribe shed a new light on that. According to their research SPF 30 blocks 97% of all UVB rays, while SPF blocks 98%. The difference is only one percent! And to reach that SPF 50 rating sunscreen brands add a whole lot of potentially damaging and dangerous chemicals. Feels out of balance don’t you think?

Since your body is your largest absorbing organ, what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your body. It is better not to wear or spread anything on your skin that you wouldn’t eat either. No chemicals, no toxins and certainly no synthetic materials.”


7 super honest product reviews of clean(er) sunscreen products I’ve tested

SALT & STONE - SPF 30 All day every day protection for the face

+ All natural ingredients

+ Non Nano Zinc Oxide to block UVA + UVB rays

+ Water and sweat resistant (80 mins)

+ Reef-safe (free from oxybenzone and octinoxate)

+ Hydrates and soothes the skin

+ Lightweight texture which easily applies

+ 100% vegan

+ Comes in biodegredable tube

+ Manufactured by renewable solar and hydroelectric energy

- Leaves your skin a bit sticky

- Leaves an almost invisible white residue (might be there because I apply too much

This natural mineral sunscreen feels like putting on a cream. It's texture is like lotion, yet a tad bit sticky. The lotion is water and sweat resistant and comes in a handy sized tube. Perfect to put in your bag, carry around all day and apply multiple times. I use it for my face and body. Big plus, it does not leave white residue. Well it does leave the tiniest, vague residue for the first 30 minutes, but it fades out as soon as the lotion is absorbed into the skin. The Ashwagandha ingredient makes it fit my partly Ayurvedic diet ;-).

Order it at Salt & Stone (US based)

Order it at the UK based boutique Naturisimo

Image courtesy to Salt & Stone

DR JETSKE ULTEE - SPF 30 FAMILY BOTTLE Your go-to bottle when in charge of big groups or families

+ Block UVA + UVB rays

+ Non profit product, therefor super good priced

+ Comes in mega size packaging perfect for kindergartens, schools and sports clubs

+ Water and sweat resistant

+ Lightweight non-greasy texture which easily applies

+ 100% vegan

- Not 100% mineral sunscreen

- Comes in a plastic bottle

Dr Jetske Ultee, a Dutch skin doctor, is on a mission to make all kids and parents aware of the dangers of too much sun exposure. This led to the giant (1000 ml) not for profit bottle of SPF 30, specifically meant for kindergartens, schools and outdoor sports clubs. The brand gets my sympathy points for this. Ordering this bottle marks my summer preparation. Having a 4 year old kid who spends most of his days outside makes me a heavy skin care user. I take it for granted that it’s not a 100% mineral sunscreen. While the sunscreen is water resistant it feels like it comes off easily. Re-apply after every swim.

Order it at DR. JETSKE ULTEE

Image courtesy to DR. JETKSE ULTEE

A little note: sometimes comfort wins it from being 100% natural. What I do: I combine different sunscreens for the face (a water resistant mineral sunscreen) and body (this one). I also prefer to use this sunscreen later on in the season, when the skin is a bite more used to sun exposure.

SUNTRIBE SPF 30 Safest choice for your kids

+ All natural and organic ingredients

+ Non Nano Zinc Oxide to block UVA + UVB rays

+ Water and sweat resistant (40 minutes)

+ Reef-safe (free from oxybenzone and octinoxate)

+ Cruelty free

+ Tube made of sugarcane

+ Has very educational content

+ Perfect for outdoor activities

- Leaves visible white residue for at least the first 30 minutes (might be there because I apply too much) which fades out, but never completely absorbes.

- not vegan - beewax is used

- Bit thick, does not apply easy

For me this is the best sunscreen I’ve tested. Especially love this for my kid, because it’s all natural and organic. And all we want for our kid is the best. Right?! Because it’s quite thick and water resistant it won’t come off easily. They state it’s only water resistant for 40 minutes, yet it feels like I only have to apply it once or twice a day.

Order it at your local Big Green Smile

Image courtesy to Suntribe

ORIGINS GINZENG SPF 40 For going out and business meetings in bright sunny daylight.

+ Tinted day cream

+ Energizes the skin

+ Non Nano Zinc Oxide to block UVA + UVB rays

+ Water and sweat resistant (40 minutes)

+ Reef-safe (free from oxybenzone and octinoxate)

- Contains ingredients from the blacklist above (Titanium and Octocrylene)

- Is not vegan - beewax and honey is used

- Comes in a plastic tube

I don’t use makeup, I do use Origins Ginzeng 40. It makes my skin look energized and flawless while it protects me from UV rays. I wear this when going out, having a work appointment or on a date. It’s for the less daily moments in life. It’s not my most conscious product, but sometimes I just want my skin to be protected and look like a million dollars. Will be testing Salt & Stone and Suntribe daycream options as soon as I ran out of my Origins tube.

Order it at ORIGINS

Dutchies order her at Douglas

SEVENTY ONE ECO SUN SHIELD SPF 50 your best option as a surfer

+ 99% natural ingredients

+ Non Nano Zinc Oxide to block UVA + UVB rays

+ Highly water and sweat resistant

+ Reef-safe (free from oxybenzone and octinoxate)

+ Perfect for active water sports

+ Can be applied to wet skin

- Made for the face only

- Leaves white marks

- Contains Titanium

This was my first clean beauty sunscreen expecting it to leave no white marks. While that might be their claim, I never managed to put it on without looking like a clown. Which is okay for me in the water. It’s my surfers go-to sunscreen. I put it all over my face, neck and ears before putting on my extra surfers' sunscreen warrior stripes (check next review). Does not come recommended if you’re not an active water sports kind of person.

Order at the SEVENTY ONE

NUURA SPF 50 SUNSTICK >> for eco friendly surfer style warrior strips

+ All natural ingredients

+ Non Zinc Oxide to block UVA + UVB rays

+ Highly water and sweat resistant

+ Reef-safe (free from oxybenzone and octinoxate)

+ Perfect for active water sports

+ Comes in cardboard tube

+ 100% vegan

- Small package - Made for the face and delicate areas only

- Leaves white marks for sure

- Contains Titanium

I use this to make my surfers warrior stripes. It’s white (tinted is also available). And that’s how I like it. Ready to hit the waves. I am slightly jealous when someone comes across wearing pink stripes, which only lasts a few seconds, before I realize I’m going natural and protecting the oceans. Isn’t that what surfing is all about, Love for the ocean!?

Shop at the NUURA

THIS WAY ALOE VERA AFTERSUN end a hot day on a calming note

+ Calming Aloe Vera gel

+ Moistures your skin

+ Increases hydration

+ Tube is made of eco-certified plastic from ECOCERT

- Sticky texture

- not 100% if it's all natural

I love this slightly sticky Aloe Vera after sun gel after a long day on the beach. It’s calming and restoring. Have to admit, you have to like the gelly kind of feel. I find it refreshing. Not 100% sure about the full ingredient list, just love Aloe Vera on my skin after a long sunny day.

Shop at THIS WAY

Image courtesy to This Way