Stun The Sun With Our Reviews Of The 15 Best Cruelty-free Sunscreens

by Sneha Manandhar
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No matter your age or skin type, sunscreen should be the most essential part of your skin care routine and is a product that should not be skipped at any cost. With instances of skin cancer increasing, it’s crucial to do our best to protect ourselves from harmful UVB and UVA rays and therefore, one must apply sunscreen every day of the year, no matter the season. But with growing consciousness about our planet and environment, it also pays to pick a cruelty-free sunscreen.

Environment-friendly, cruelty-free sunscreens are not only great for the planet but are also great for your skin as they often skip harsh ingredients in favor of natural or vegan sun-protection products. So, choosing a cruelty-free daily sunscreen for UV protection is an absolute win! With our review of the 15 best cruelty-free sunscreens, we hope picking one for yourself will become easy.

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Australian Gold Extreme Sport Spray Gel Sunscreen SPF 30
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Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen
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Acure Radically Rejuvenating SPF Day Cream
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Sun Bum Premium Moisturizing Sunscreen Spray
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COOLA Organic Classic Face Sunscreen
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Thrive Daily Defense Sunscreen Balm
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Panama Jack Sunscreen Tanning Lotion
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Kiss My Face Cool Sport Spray Sunscreen
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Goddess Garden Mineral Sunscreen
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Om Botanical Skin Soft Organic Moisturizer
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Top 15 Best Cruelty-Free Sunscreens Reviews And Buying Guide

1. Australian Gold Extreme Sport Spray Gel Sunscreen SPF 30

Made from a special formulation of Australian ingredients, this is a gel-based sunscreen that is oxybenzone-free, PABA-free, phthalate-free and gluten-free, apart from not being tested on animals. It’s spray bottle makes it easy to use during a sporting event or outdoor activities and it’s broad-spectrum formulation provides protection from the sun for up to 80 minutes. A blend of kakadu plum that has vitamin C, and tea tree oil, they act as antioxidants that help in fighting free radicals, while it’s ultra-chill formulation derived from the use of menthol helps soothe irritated and burned skin.

Pros

  • Gel-based formulation
  • Non-greasy
  • Uses an ultra-chill formulation
  • Oxybenzone-free
  • PABA-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • Gluten-free

Cons

  • Needs reapplication after 80 minutes
  • May not be suitable for children

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2. Alba Botanica Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen

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This is a formulation that is not only free of animal cruelty but is also certified as reef-friendly, making it great for the planet. It contains chamomile and aloe vera juice that nourish the skin and fights the signs of aging, while its use of a mineral and botanical formulation makes it suitable for sensitive skin. It absorbs into the skin easily and leaves it non-greasy. This liquid sunscreen also boasts a lightweight formulation and a mild yet pleasant scent.

Pros

  • Reef-friendly
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • Fights aging and sunburn
  • Easily absorbs into the skin

Cons

  • Unclear if it is suitable for acne-prone skin

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3. Acure Radically Rejuvenating SPF Day Cream

With turmeric, ferulic acid, and vitamin C, this is a reef-safe zinc vegan sunscreen that is also free of parabens, sulfates, mineral oils,and formaldehyde. Enriched with ingredients such as aloe vera leaf juice, coconut oil, shea butter, and blue tansy flower oil, this sunscreen helps fight sun damage, rejuvenates the skin, and has antioxidants that fight the early signs of aging caused by sun exposure. Prolonged exposure to the sun can also cause skin cancer but a liberal application of this product 15 minutes before stepping out helps in protecting your skin.

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Fights sun-damage and early signs of aging
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Uses non-nano reef-safe zinc oxide

Cons

  • Might leave a white residue on the skin

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4. Sun Bum Premium Moisturizing Sunscreen Spray

This is a dermatologically-approved non-comedogenic formula with SPF 30 is an easy-to-use spray and lends a sheer finish. This vegan cruelty-free sunscreen is also hypoallergenic and free of oxybenzone, octinoxate, gluten, and parabens. It also contains vitamin E and antioxidants that helps fight premature aging of the skin and free radicals. Other than offering sun protection and shielding your skin from UVA and UVB rays, the sunscreen spray smells amazing too!

Pros

  • Non-comedogenic
    Hypoallergenic
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Vegan

Cons

  • Has to be reapplied every 2 hours

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5. COOLA Organic Classic Face Sunscreen

This is a broad spectrum cruelty-free sunscreen containing SPF 50 and is rich in antioxidants. It is a fantastic choice for your face and is resistant to sweat and water for up to 80 minutes. The sunscreen acts as a daytime lotion and a facial moisturizer that leaves a sheer, dry finish, and is great for use before applying make up. The sunscreen uses the brand’s Plant Protection blend of ingredients like safflower oleosomes and cucumber. Additionally, ingredients like red raspberry seed oil, buriti oil, meadowfoam seed oil and prickly pear extract help in rejuvenating the skin by fighting free radicals.

Pros

  • SPF 50 protection
  • Rich in antioxidants
  • Doubles as moisturizing lotion
  • Sheer finish
  • Cruelty-free

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

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6. Thrive Daily Defense Sunscreen Balm

A light, mineral, cruelty-free sunscreen that is great for daily-use, it uses non-nano zinc oxide that acts as a physical barrier for the skin, protecting it from the harsh rays of the sun. This sunscreen contains juanilama and fierrillo that are rich in antioxidants, along with ingredients such as Arabica coffee oil, wakame seaweed, and Tazman Pepper, that help in repairing the skin from sun damage, pollution, and the irritation caused by them.

Pros

  • Light, mineral-based formulation
  • Uses non-nano zinc oxide
  • Broad spectrum SPF
  • No synthetic colors or fragrances
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • GMO-free
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Might not be suitable for sensitive, acne-prone skin

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7. Panama Jack Sunscreen Tanning Lotion

This is a cruelty-free sunscreen lotion that combines antioxidants, moisturizing oils, and tropical lotions for those who want to get tanned but with sun protection. Free of gluten, parabens, PABA, oxybenzone, and dyes or synthetic preservatives, this product is ideal for those looking for moisturizing qualities in their sunscreen. This is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, which lets you have all the fun in the sun for a long duration.

Pros

  • Contains moisturizing oils
  • Great for a deep tan
  • Free of gluten, parabens, PABA, oxybenzone,dyes or synthetic preservatives
  • Protects for up to 80 minutes

Cons

  • With SPF 4, it may not provide adequate protection from sunburn

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8. Kiss My Face Cool Sport Spray Sunscreen

A cruelty-free sunscreen suitable for application during playing sports, it is made of aloe vera, vitamin E, and cucumber coolers that help refresh the skin. Armed with an SPF 50 protection, this sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. The spray is quick-drying and non-greasy, and cools your skin while protecting it from the sun. This does not use chemical propellants, along with being vegan. With its spray formulation, this is easy to apply to all parts of the body so that you can enjoy yourself under the sun.

Pros

  • Broad-spectrum SPF 50
  • Cooling technology
  • Non-greasy
  • Fast-absorbing
  • Spray sunscreen for ease of application
  • Gluten-free
  • Vegan
  • Cruelty-free
  • Oxybenzone-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Fragrance-free

Cons

  • Not tested for allergies

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9. Goddess Garden Mineral Sunscreen

Made of non-nano minerals that offer protection from UVA/UVB rays with its SPF 50 formulation, this sunscreen also contains organic shea butter and coconut oil for nourishment of the skin and provides ample hydration. It is sheer and light and has a mild lavender fragrance. This is also well-suited for kids and sensitive skin types for its use of minerals and no harmful chemicals.

Pros

  • Suitable for kids and sensitive skin types
  • Broad spectrum SPF protection
  • Sheer and light on the skin
  • Uses non-nano minerals
  • Reef safe

Cons

  • May leave a white residue

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10. Om Botanical Skin Soft Organic Moisturizer

Made of botanical ingredients like aloe vera juice, shea butter, coconut esters,and safflower, this all-day moisturizing cream offers protection from the harmful rays of the sun with a little help from the micro algae present in it. It is free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, and synthetic preservatives, and blocks UV rays without filtering out the essential vitamin D. An ayurvedic formulation, it also contains natural humectants, emollients, and cucumber and rosemary extracts to keep your skin hydrated throughout the day, while also helping with oil-control.

Pros

  • All-day moisturizer
  • Fragrance-free
  • Non-greasy
  • pH-balanced
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Some users felt that this lotion made their wrinkles look slightly more prominent.

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11. Pacifica Mineral Bronzing Sunscreen

For those looking for a healthy glow in a cruelty-free sunscreen, this is the answer that they are looking for. This sunscreen moisturizes the skin thoroughly and also doubles up as a bronzer. It is formulated with 14.5% zinc oxide and other ingredients such as bentonite, bisabolol, caprylyl glycol, iron oxides, and jojoba esters that work actively to keep the skin nourished and protected. It comes in a spray formulation for easy application and also boasts a pleasant fragrance. .

Pros

  • Free of harsh chemicals including petrolatum, parabens, silicones, retinyl palmitate, phthalates and chemical UV absorbers
    Cruelty-free
  • 100% Vegan

Cons

  • Some may find the formula slightly sticky

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12. Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer

A non-greasy, chemical-free formulation made with natural ingredients, it leaves the skin feeling hydrated, smooth, and radiant. The SPF 47 used in this is derived from zinc oxide and titanium dioxide that protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Argan oil, jojoba oil, and green tea are the main ingredients in this formulation, along with the brand’s SunBoost ATB blend of antioxidants.

Pros

  • Hydrates, smoothens and makes skin radiant
  • Uses SunBoost ATB formulation of antioxidants
  • SPF 47 protects from UVA and UVB rays
  • Cruelty-free
  • Vegan
  • Paraben-free

Cons

  • Slightly expensive

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13. Eve Hansen Daily Defense Intense Moisture Cream

For those looking for an advanced moisturizer suited for use on the face and neck and offers good protection from the sun, look no further than this cruelty-free avatar with SPF 30. It is mattifying and absorbs into the skin fast, while leaving it hydrated. Suitable for oily skin, dry and combination skin-types due to its non-comedogenic formula, it is also great for daily use. Some of the ingredients used in this are octinoxate, zinc oxide, water, stearyl alcohol and glycerin and this sunscreen does not provide any white residue behind.

Pros

  • Daily-use moisturizer
  • Non-comedogenic formula
  • Suitable for oily skin
  • Matte finish
  • Does not leave a white residue behind

Cons

  • May only suitable for face and neck

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14. SALT & STONE Natural Mineral Sunscreen Lotion

A sustainable, cruelty-free sunscreen, it repairs and hydrates the skin with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory ingredients. This is ultra-light in texture on the skin and has been designed to be sweat and water-resistant. The key ingredients are ashwagandha that stimulates production of natural skin oils, hyaluronic acid that moisturizes and green tea that is an antioxidant. It uses non-nano zinc oxide to fight rays of the sun such as UVA and UVB.

Pros

  • Sustainable
  • Repairs and hydrates
  • Contains anti-inflammatory ingredients
  • Sweat and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes

Cons

  • Can get chalky in texture if stored for long periods

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15. Surface Sun Systems Non-Nano Zinc Sunscreen

Formulated to provide heavy-duty protection from the sun, this cruelty-free sunscreen uses SPF 50 derived from non-nano zinc oxide. It is hypoallergenic and does not use any oxybenzone or octinoxate, this is good for the planet and the skin and can be used both on the face and the body. It is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and needs reapplication after that. This is great for athletes and people looking for protection for longterm activities in the sun.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Uses SPF 50 for heavy-duty protection
  • Can be used on face and body
  • Free of oxybenzone or octinoxate

Cons

  • Not specific to any type of skin

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After looking at the 15 best cruelty-free sunscreen creams, sprays and lotions, here’s what you can use to guide you in your purchase of the same.

Thing To Keep In Mind While Buying A Cruelty-Free Sunscreen

  • SPF

Depending on your usage, you should pick a sunscreen that offers protection accordingly. Sportspersons, for instance, prefer products with SPF 30 and above. However, if you’re not looking to be in direct sunlight for long periods, you can pick anything starting at SPF 15.

  • Medium of application

From creams and gels to lotions and sprays, there’s a cruelty-free sunscreen for every need. You should pick depending on your preferred means of application. While creams and gels are great for the face and neck, sprays and lotions are easier for other parts of the body.

  • Type of skin

Sunscreens are made keeping in mind various needs of the skin. Apart from protection from the sun, they take care of a host of issues such as sun-damage, aging, nourishment, hydration and even cooling the skin. It is important to buy one based on what you want for your skin and what suits it the best. For oily skin, look for ingredients such as green tea and cucumber that soothes the skin, while for drier skin, look for a cream-based sunscreen with hydrating ingredients. For acne-prone skin, look for sunscreens with natural ingredients that combat your skin problem and that does not sit heavy or clog your pores.

So, go ahead and pick out the best cruelty-free sunscreen of your choice and go about your day in the sun without a care in the world. Like our reviews suggest, there is a sunscreen for everyone’s needs. As we prepare for the summer months with more outdoor activities, do so at peace without thinking about the harsh UV rays putting you at risk of cancer or giving you premature wrinkles. Wear that cute skirt or swimsuit at ease as you trust your sunscreen to keep your skin safe and nourished from the harmful effects of the sun.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Is sunscreen really necessary?

Yes, sunscreen is the most necessary item in your skincare as it keeps you safe from the sun’s harmful rays that can cause premature aging, dullness of skin, or even skin cancer.

Is mineral sunscreen safer than chemical sunscreen?

Yes, they are as naturally-derived minerals are gentler on the skin than chemicals.

Is a higher SPF better?

Higher SPF is better as it gives you a broader spectrum of coverage. However, the SPF you pick depends on how much time you spend in direct sunlight on a daily basis.

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Sneha Manandhar

Sneha Manandhar holds a Master’s degree in English from the University of Pune. She has previously worked with media and publication houses in varied capacities as a lifestyle writer, an editor, a copywriter, and a translator. She reviews beauty, skin care, and wellness products from specialized curated lists. She believes that SEO-driven content is the present and the future and keeps herself busy by dabbling in SEO-related tools and honing her editing skills.
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