The Ten Best Kids Sunscreens

sunscreen at the beach

You know you’re a parent when the laborious process of putting on sunscreen becomes the bane of your existence, especially in the summer months. Kids love playing outside, but what they don’t love is standing still long enough to have greasy, sticky, smelly sunscreen slathered on all over their tiny bodies. If your child acts like applying sunscreen is equivalent to torture, you’re not alone. The whining and meltdowns are enough to drive parents crazy – because honestly, you don’t like putting on sunscreen, either. It’s messy, it’s inconvenient, and the harsh chemicals found in many sunscreens dry out and irritate skin.

Due to the risks of sunburn and skin cancer, though, you know you can’t let your little one go without sun protection. It’s time to find a better sunscreen – one that won’t feel so unpleasant but will keep your kids safe.

As we narrowed down thousands of sun care products designed for babies and children to identify the top 10 best kids sunscreens, we had a lot to think about. The number-one ranking factor we considered was the quality of sun protection. After all, if your sunscreen isn’t protecting you, what’s the point in wearing it? Every sunscreen on our list is considered broad spectrum, meaning that it blocks both types of dangerous ultraviolet rays, UVA and UVB.

We also considered SPF levels. SPF, which stands for Sun Protection Factor, is a well-known but widely misunderstood numerical representation of a sunscreen’s effectiveness at blocking UV rays. Although a higher SPF is beneficial to a point, the ideal SPF is in the range of 30 to 50 – even among people who burn easily, according to the Environmental Working Group. Beyond SPF 50, the benefits you get from a higher SPF sunscreen are insignificant. Worse, when you believe your 100 SPF sunscreen will protect you twice as well – and for twice as long – as a 50 SPF sunscreen, you’re likely to be less vigilant about reapplying and end up getting burned.

Next, we considered the quality of the ingredients used in the sunscreen. We looked both at what’s in the bottle and what’s not, awarding scores for the ingredients used and for how irritant-free each sunscreen is.

As part of our methodology in scoring the ingredients, we awarded more points to sunscreens that use a physical mechanism of sun protection than to chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens work through the use of natural minerals that sit on the surface of the skin and reflect rays. When you apply chemical sunscreens, your skin absorbs these harsh chemicals and uses them to change the wavelengths of UV rays, making them less dangerous.

Although the Skin Cancer Foundation says both physical (mineral-based) and chemical sunscreens are effective, experts are increasingly recommending that consumers switch to physical sunscreen for health reasons, even though they are more expensive and more difficult to apply. The Food and Drug Administration is reevaluating the safety of many of these chemicals in light of research that suggests that oxybenzone, which is commonly used in chemical sunscreens, could be linked to hormonal disruptions, cancer and other health problems. Every sunscreen included in our ranking has at least one mineral-based active ingredient, though some also contain some chemical-based active ingredients, as well.

We also gave credit to products that add natural and organic ingredients used to nourish, hydrate and sooth skin for a better feel, both during and after wear. When we scored a sunscreen on how irritant-free it is, we looked at the list of potentially harmful or irritating ingredients that the manufacturer specifically steered clear of, such as parabens and added fragrances.

Another factor we considered is eco-friendliness. An additional reason why switching to mineral-based sunscreens has become so highly recommended is because of the harm these chemicals can do to the environment, particularly the oceans and reefs. Sunscreens that use biodegradable formulas and exclude damaging chemicals are often labeled as reef-friendly. Unfortunately, some sunscreens that call themselves reef- or eco-friendly still use these chemicals that are hazardous to the environment, so we looked closer at the ingredients of each sunscreen to determine its true environmental impact.

Finally, we looked at the value and cost of each sun protection option. Unfortunately, mineral-based sunscreens are often more expensive than chemical-laden ones, which can make it difficult for families on a budget to afford to purchase sunscreens that are truly safe to use. The sunscreens on our ranking list range from costs of less than $2 per ounce to more than $11 per ounce, but fortunately, we found several options that provide excellent coverage with quality ingredients at a reasonable price point.

Every time you apply chemical sunscreen, these mystery ingredients are being absorbed into your child’s body and introduced into the world around us. It’s time to start making thoughtful selection of a sunscreen product a priority, for your family’s sake as well as that of the environment – and our list of the 10 best kids sunscreens is exactly what you need to get started.

1. Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50

Aveeno Baby Sunscreen Lotion

Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Zinc Oxide Sunscreen has a secret ingredient: oat extract. Thanks to this soothing ingredient carefully harvested from prebiotic oat kernels, the non-greasy mineral sunscreen leaves skin feeling nourished, not dried out or irritated. A top contender on list after list of best sunscreen products, including the Skin Cancer Foundation’s and the Environmental Working Group’s lists, Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunscreen blocks both types of UV rays while providing water-resistant coverage up to 80 minutes. The hypoallergenic formula is designed for the sensitive skin of infants, but babies are far from the only users of this popular skincare product, which is gentle enough to have been awarded the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Physical sunscreen uses naturally sourced 100 percent zinc oxide, rather than harsh chemicals that get absorbed into the skin, to reflect and scatter the dangerous rays from the sun.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 50 exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations of at least 15 SPF for daily use and 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is sweat and water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which puts it in the highest category of water resistance recognized by the FDA.
  • Hypoallergenic and recognized with the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance for its compatibility with sensitive skin conditions.
  • Oat extract helps soothe skin to protect from drying and irritation.
  • The gentle, tear-free formula won’t hurt children’s eyes if accidental contact occurs during application or while sweating.
  • The sunscreen is free of irritating, parabens, phthalates and fragrances.
  • Recommended by pediatricians, this is a sunscreen choice parents can feel good about.
  • Many purchasers report that the whole family, not only babies or even children, use this sunscreen because it is safe, gentle and effective.
  • Free of nanoparticles, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate and avobenzone, this mineral-based sunscreen meets the standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly, although it’s not specifically labeled as such.
  • Recommended by both the Skin Cancer Foundation and Environmental Working Group.
  • This sunscreen has a 4.4-star rating on the manufacturer’s website out of more than 200 positive customer reviews, as well as a 4.4-star rating on Amazon, with dozens of additional reviews there.
  • Although parents may face some sticker shock when they first see this sunscreen’s above-$20 price point, it’s one of the cheaper products on our list, ounce for ounce. The bottle is more than twice the size of many of its competitors and will last your family much longer.

Cons

  • Like other mineral-based sunscreens, Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunscreen can be difficult to rub in and leave a slight white tint to the skin, especially if not fully rubbed in.
  • Although formulated to be non-greasy, some users reported a “sticky” or “goopy” feeling.

Score

Sun Protection: 99/100

Ingredients: 98/100

Irritant-Free: 98/100

Eco-friendliness: 97/100

Value: 98/100

Overall score: 98.0/100

2. Coppertone Pure & Simple Kids Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

Coppertone Pure and Simple Kids Sunscreen

Coppertone is among the most widely recognized sunscreen brands in America, dating back to 1944, yet most of the company’s offerings are still chemical-based, able to be absorbed directly into the skin and dangerous to the environment. The Coppertone Pure & Simple Zinc Oxide Sunscreen line – which includes lotions formulated for babies, kids and adults – is a game-changer for the company, eliminating those harsh chemicals in favor of a mineral-based option. This sunscreen still provides the broad-spectrum, water-resistant coverage you expect from Coppertone, but this time with 100 percent naturally sourced zinc oxide as the active ingredient. What makes the product even better is an added blend of hydrating natural botanicals, like tea leaf and lotus extracts, that keeps skin happy.

Pros and Cons 

Pros

  • Physical sunscreen uses natural mineral-based active ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals that get absorbed into the skin, to reflect and scatter the dangerous rays from the sun.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 50 exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations of at least 15 SPF for daily use and 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which puts it in the highest category of water resistance recognized by the FDA.
  • The sunscreen is free of irritating parabens, phthalates, sulfates, alcohol, PABA, fragrances and dyes.
  • Free of nanoparticles, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate and avobenzone, this mineral-based sunscreen meets the standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly, although it isn’t labeled as such.
  • The hypoallergenic formula is dermatologically tested and found safe for sensitive skin, without irritants and with the soothing nourishment of natural lotus, tea leaf and sea kelp extracts.
  • The sunscreen is formulated not to clog pores.
  • Recommended by the Environmental Working Group.
  • On the manufacturer’s website, the item has a 4.8-star rating out of nearly 1,000 customer reviews.
  • Ounce for ounce, this is the most affordable sunscreen on our list – surprisingly inexpensive for a mineral-based sunscreen.

Cons

  • Like other mineral-based sunscreens, Coppertone Pure & Simple Kids Sunscreen can be difficult to rub in and leave a slight white tint to the skin, especially if not fully rubbed in.
  • Some users found the product to be too greasy or oily, although others didn’t mind the lightweight feel.

Score

Sun Protection: 99/100

Ingredients: 99/100

Irritant-Free: 97/100

Eco-friendliness: 95/100

Value: 99/100

Overall score: 97.8/100

3. Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Baby SPF 30

Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen

What’s so special about Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen? As it turns out, everything from the bottle cap to what’s inside. This effective broad-spectrum mineral sunscreen composed of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide is as safe for the environment as it is for your child, with no harsh chemicals, fragrances and parabens to irritate the soft, sensitive skin of babies. The Australian sunscreen company has been in business for more than 20 years and is recommended by both pediatricians and dermatologists. When you see the cap turn pink, you know that UV rays are present – and that it’s time to slather on some sunscreen.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Physical sunscreen uses natural mineral-based active ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals that get absorbed into the skin, to reflect and scatter the dangerous rays from the sun.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 30 exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendation of at least 15 SPF for daily use and meets the organization’s recommendation of at least 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 40 minutes, although Blue Lizard also makes a Kids Sunscreen that is water resistant (and sweat resistant) up to 80 minutes for older children.
  • The sunscreen is free of irritating chemicals, parabens and fragrances.
  • Recommended by dermatologists and pediatricians, this is a sunscreen choice parents can feel good about.
  • Free of nanoparticles, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate and avobenzone, this mineral-based sunscreen meets the standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly and is labeled as such.
  • Special packaging uses Smart Cap Technology to change color when UV light is present, so you don’t have to guess when it’s time to apply sunscreen.
  • This product is not tested on animals.
  • Though not labeled hypoallergenic on the product packaging, many purchasers praise the gentle ingredients found in this project and report that it did not irritate sensitive skin.
  • Many purchasers report that the whole family, not only babies or even children, use this sunscreen because it is safe, gentle and effective.
  • Although mineral-based sunscreen is often harder to rub into the skin than chemical sunscreens, users found that Blue Lizard Baby Sunscreen is less greasy and easier to rub in than many comparable physical sunscreens.
  • Recommended by the Environmental Working Group.
  • On Amazon, this product has a 4.6-star rating with dozens of positive customer reviews.

Cons

  • This sunscreen is not as water-resistant as others on our list, being rated for just 40 minutes rather than 80 minutes.
  • Like other physical sunscreens, this product isn’t as easy to rub in as many chemical sunscreens.
  • This product’s comparably high manufacturer listed price point equates to nearly $5 per ounce of product, making it one of the more expensive options on our list.

Score

Sun Protection: 99/100

Ingredients: 96/100

Irritant-Free: 96/100

Eco-friendliness: 97/100

Value: 93/100

Overall score: 96.2/100

4. Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Protection

Badger Baby Sunscreen

Badger Baby Sunscreen Cream offers broad-spectrum SPF protection and so much more. The gentle mineral-based sunscreen uses non-nano, uncoated pharmaceutical-grade zinc oxide for sun protection. Although made from just a handful of ingredients, it includes a hypoallergenic sunflower oil base for easier application and soothing extracts of chamomile and calendula – and every ingredient other than the zinc oxide is certified organic. These natural, environmentally friendly ingredients make for a moisturizing sunscreen that won’t leave your skin feeling or smelling unpleasant and still provides effective protection against UVA and UVB rays. Badger is an especially great choice for families who are passionate about the environment, because, in addition to its organic ingredients, it is reef-friendly, biodegradable and cruelty-free.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Physical sunscreen uses natural mineral-based active ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals that get absorbed into the skin, to reflect and scatter the dangerous rays from the sun.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 30 exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendation of at least 15 SPF for daily use and meets the organization’s recommendation of at least 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 40 minutes.
  • Hypoallergenic sunflower oil and other natural, certified organic ingredients make this sunscreen not only safe for sensitive skin but also soothing and moisturizing to leave skin burn-free and more comfortable than before.
  • The sunscreen is free of irritating chemicals, phthalates, PABA, phototoxic or photosensitizing essential oils and added vitamin A.
  • Users enjoy the pleasant, not overwhelming smell of the natural ingredients used in the sunscreen, which is free of unnatural fragrances and dyes.
  • Tested and approved by pediatricians, this is a sunscreen choice parents can feel good about.
  • Many purchasers report that the whole family, not only babies or even children, use this sunscreen because it is safe, gentle and effective.
  • Free of nanoparticles, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate and avobenzone, this mineral-based sunscreen meets the standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly. The sunscreen is also biodegradable, made with cruelty-free practices and comes in recyclable packaging.
  • On Amazon, this product has a 4.2-star rating with nearly 700 positive customer reviews.
  • Recommended by the Environmental Working Group.
  • Certified gluten-free.

Cons

  • Although most users found that the sun protection from Badger Baby Sunscreen was excellent, some reported some sunburn.
  • Like many mineral-based sunscreens, Badger is often harder to rub into the skin than most chemical sunscreens, and some users characterize it as “pasty” or “chalky.”
  • This sunscreen is not as water-resistant as others on our list, being rated for just 40 minutes rather than 80 minutes.
  • This product’s comparably high manufacturer listed price point equates to more than $5 per ounce of product, making it one of the more expensive options on our list.

Score

Sun Protection: 92/100

Ingredients: 99/100

Irritant-Free: 98/100

Eco-friendliness: 99/100

Value: 92/100

Overall score: 96.0/100

5. All Good SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Lotion

All Good Products SPF 30 Kid's Sunscreen Lotion

All good? Well, almost. Due to its non-nanoparticle zinc mineral protection and other natural, beneficial ingredients, All Good SPF 30 Kid’s Sunscreen is a popular choice among parents with a passion for organic and eco-friendly products, and rightly so. The lightweight kids formula is specially developed for a child’s sensitive skin, with soothing ingredients such as aloe, organic chamomile, shea butter and cocoa seed butter. At once water resistant and non-greasy, it’s an excellent option for broad spectrum coverage and is easy on the environment, with its biodegradable, reef-friendly formula. Although most reviewers love it, a few had complaints about spreadability and, unfortunately, about sunburns. Overall, All Good is a solid choice that seems to work well for people with most skin types but requires a little patience with the application.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Physical sunscreen uses natural mineral-based active ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals that get absorbed into the skin, to reflect and scatter the dangerous rays from the sun.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 30 exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendation of at least 15 SPF for daily use and meets the organization’s recommendation of at least 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which puts it in the highest category of water resistance recognized by the FDA.
  • The sunscreen is free of the common chemical oxybenzone as well as nanoparticles, GMOs, gluten and animal products (vegan).
  • The lightweight, non-greasy feel makes this sunscreen a hit even with people who hate putting on sunscreen (and who doesn’t?).
  • Many purchasers report that the whole family, not only babies or even children, use this sunscreen because it is safe, gentle and effective.
  • Free of nanoparticles, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate and avobenzone, this mineral-based sunscreen meets the standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly.
  • Recommended by the Environmental Working Group.
  • On Amazon, this product has a 4.3-star rating with well over 85 positive customer reviews.

Cons

  • Some complaints of difficulty applying the lotion, although it’s easier to rub in if skin is thoroughly moisturized to begin with, rather than being dry.
  • A few users complained about getting sunburnt, despite applying as directed.
  • This product’s comparably high manufacturer listed price point equates to more than $5 per ounce of product, making it one of the more expensive options on our list.

 Score

Sun Protection: 95/100

Ingredients: 98/100

Irritant-Free: 95/100

Eco-friendliness: 99/100

Value: 92/100

Overall score: 95.8/100

6. Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 50

Neutrogena Pure and Free Baby Sunscreen

Neutrogena has long been a trusted name in skincare products for all ages, so it comes as no surprise that the company’s Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen is so popular – and not only with consumers. This tear-free dermatologist-recommended baby sunscreen is one of the few sun protection products to earn spots on the recommended sunscreen lists of both the Skin Cancer Foundation and nonprofit Environmental Working Group. The broad-spectrum mineral-based sunscreen uses the company’s proprietary Purescreen technology of sun protection through 100 percent naturally sourced zinc oxide and is moderately-priced. Free of many of the irritants that creep into many mass-market sunscreens produced by mainstream brands, Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen received the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance, won a Best of Beauty award from Allure in 2017 and is unlikely to trigger allergic reactions even in infants with the most sensitive of skin.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Physical sunscreen uses natural mineral-based active ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals that get absorbed into the skin, to reflect and scatter the dangerous rays from the sun.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 50 exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations of at least 15 SPF for daily use and 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which puts it in the highest category of water resistance recognized by the FDA.
  • Hypoallergenic and recognized with the National Eczema Association Seal of Acceptance for its compatibility with sensitive skin conditions.
  • The gentle, tear-free formula won’t hurt children’s eyes if accidental contact occurs during application or while sweating.
  • The sunscreen is free of irritating chemicals, parabens, phthalates, fragrances and dyes.
  • Tested and recommended by dermatologists, this is a sunscreen choice parents can feel good about.
  • Many purchasers report that the whole family, not only babies or even children, use this sunscreen because it is safe, gentle and effective.
  • Although mineral-based sunscreen is often harder to rub into the skin than chemical sunscreens, users report that Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen is a thicker lotion that goes on smoother and is easier to apply without being overly runny or greasy.
  • Free of nanoparticles, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate and avobenzone, this mineral-based sunscreen meets the standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly, although it’s not specifically labeled as such.
  • Recommended by both the Skin Cancer Foundation and Environmental Working Group.
  • On the manufacturer’s website, this product has a 4.6-star rating with well over 100 positive customer reviews.

Cons

  • Complaints of a greasy feeling are common among sunscreens, and although Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Baby Sunscreen is among the more lightweight and less greasy lotions on the market, some users still noticed a grease factor.
  • Like other physical sunscreens, this product isn’t as easy to rub in as many chemical sunscreens.
  • Some users found that the sunscreen dried out their skin.

Score

Sun Protection: 99/100

Ingredients: 95/100

Irritant-Free: 97/100

Eco-friendliness: 93/100

Value: 94/100

Overall score: 95.6/100

7. MDSolarSciences KidCreme Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 40

MDSolarScience Mineral KidCrème SPF 40

The “MD” in MDSolarSciences KidCreme Mineral Sunscreen stands for “Doctor of Medicine.” Specifically, it was a dermatologic oncologist who developed this sunscreen based on firsthand experience treating skin cancer patients. It’s no surprise, then, that the product is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. What might surprise you is how it feels. Despite consisting of only zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as its active ingredients, this mineral sunscreen has a surprisingly creamy texture – hence the name – that rubs in easily and feels lightweight and smooth once applied. Beneficial ingredients like antioxidants, vitamin E and extracts of cranberry, pomegranate and green tea makes this formula gentle and nourishing to skin, and its clear color means you won’t have the whitening effect that’s so common with zinc-based sunscreens. Probably the biggest downside to this well-performing product is the cost – a tiny 2.54 oz. tube is at a price point of almost $30.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Physical sunscreen uses natural mineral-based active ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals that get absorbed into the skin, to reflect and scatter the dangerous rays from the sun.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 40 exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations of at least 15 SPF for daily use and 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which puts it in the highest category of water resistance recognized by the FDA.
  • The gentle, tear-free formula won’t hurt children’s eyes if accidental contact occurs during application or while sweating.
  • The sunscreen is free of irritating chemicals, parabens, oils, synthetic fragrances and gluten and is never tested on animals.
  • Created by a dermatologic oncologist, this is a sunscreen choice parents can feel good about.
  • Many purchasers report that the whole family, not only babies or even children, use this sunscreen because it is safe, gentle and effective.
  • Although mineral-based sunscreen is often harder to rub into the skin than chemical sunscreens, users praise MDSolarSciences KidCreme for its silky, spreadable texture that doesn’t leave skin feeling oily, tacky or visibly coated white.
  • Free of nanoparticles, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate and avobenzone, this mineral-based sunscreen meets the standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly.
  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
  • On the manufacturer’s website, this product has a 4.4-star rating, although the total number of reviews is small.

Cons

  • As the highest-priced option on our list – and more than double the cost per ounce of the next most expensive sunscreen we ranked – this sunscreen is out of the realm of affordability for many families.

Score

Sun Protection: 99/100

Ingredients: 99/100

Irritant-Free: 97/100

Eco-friendliness: 96/100

Value: 85/100

Overall score: 95.2/100

8. thinkbaby Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50

thinkbaby Sunscreen Lotion

With thousands of reviews on Amazon, it’s safe to say that thinkbaby Sunscreen Lotion is a popular and top-selling sunscreen designed for little ones. It’s also a top-performing option and moderately priced compared to competitors. Besides earning the endorsement of the Environmental Working Group, it was the first-ever sunscreen product to meet Whole Foods Premium Care standards. This standout mineral sunscreen by thinkbaby has won awards and recognition from dozens of publications and influencers as well-known as People Magazine, Men’s Health and The Bump.  Reef-friendly ingredients, a biodegradable formula and cruelty-free with no animal testing and vegan composition, this sunscreen lotion is as good for the environment as it is for protecting your family’s skin.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Physical sunscreen uses natural mineral-based active ingredients, rather than harsh chemicals that get absorbed into the skin, to reflect and scatter the dangerous rays from the sun.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 50+ exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations of at least 15 SPF for daily use and 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which puts it in the highest category of water resistance recognized by the FDA.
  • The sunscreen is free of irritating chemicals, parabens, phthalates, PABA and gluten.
  • Many purchasers report that the whole family, not only babies or even children, use this sunscreen because it is safe, gentle and effective.
  • Free of nanoparticles, oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, homosalate and avobenzone, this mineral-based sunscreen meets the standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly, although it’s not specifically labeled as such.
  • Recommended by the Environmental Working Group.
  • On Amazon, this product has a 4.3-star rating with well over 1,780 positive customer reviews.

Cons

  • Some users felt that thinkbaby’s sunscreen didn’t perform as well in terms of resilience as other top-rated products, and a number of users reported sunburn despite applying as directed.
  • Some users found the thick texture of the sunscreen “chalky” and too difficult to apply, especially to a squirming baby.

Score

Sun Protection: 92/100

Ingredients: 94/100

Irritant-Free: 96/100

Eco-friendliness: 97/100

Value: 94/100

Overall score: 94.6/100

9. Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+

Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Lotion

Babyganics Mineral-Based Baby Sunscreen Lotion provides broad-spectrum sun protection and incorporates some great natural ingredients as a bonus, but purists may take issue with the formula’s chemical components. Specifically, minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are both active ingredients in the sunscreen, but the number-one active ingredient is the chemical octisalate. If you can get past the main active ingredient being a synthetic chemical instead of a natural mineral, there’s actually a lot to love about this product. It’s non-allergenic and tear-free. Babyganics’ proprietary NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend incorporates cold-pressed oils from cranberries, tomatoes, black cumin, sunflower and raspberry seed oils, ideal for the soft, sensitive new skin of babies and toddlers.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Uses a combination of physical and chemical active ingredients to block harmful ultraviolet light using different mechanisms.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 50+ exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations of at least 15 SPF for daily use and 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which puts it in the highest category of water resistance recognized by the FDA.
  • The gentle, tear-free formula won’t hurt children’s eyes if accidental contact occurs during application.
  • Thanks to a non-allergenic formula made with certified organic ingredients and the company’s special NeoNourish Seed Oil Blend, Babyganics is gentle enough to use even on sensitive skin.
  • The sunscreen is free of irritating parabens, phthalates, fragrances, nanoparticles and PABA.
  • Tested and recommended by pediatricians and dermatologists, this is a sunscreen choice parents can feel good about.
  • Many purchasers report that the whole family, not only babies or even children, use this sunscreen because it is gentle and effective.
  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
  • On Amazon, this product has a 3.9-star rating with well over 800 positive customer reviews.
  • This thinkbaby sunscreen is among the most modestly-priced products on our list, especially when you opt for a two-pack of the large 6-oz. bottles – but unlike most of these other sunscreens, it’s not a fully mineral-based option.

Cons

  • Not a true physical or mineral sunscreen, since the first active ingredient is a synthetic chemical.
  • Despite being categorized as a mineral-based sunscreen, the inclusion of the synthetic chemical octisalate prevents this Babyganics product from meeting standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly.
  • Like other physical sunscreens, this product isn’t as easy to rub in as many chemical sunscreens.
  • Some users felt that this best-selling option was thicker, more difficult to spread and ultimately inferior to the less popular non-aerosol spray-on lotion.

Score

Sun Protection: 99/100

Ingredients: 89/100

Irritant-Free: 92/100

Eco-friendliness: 83/100

Value: 91/100

Overall score: 90.8/100

10. Sunshine & Glitter Sea Star Sparkle SPF 50+

Sunshine and Glitter Sea Star Sparkle

Parenting is all about picking your battles. For the days when putting on sunscreen is a bigger battle than you’re willing to fight, this sparkly, deliciously scented sunscreen might just be your secret weapon. Whoever said applying sunscreen can’t be fun clearly never tried Sunshine & Glitter Sea Star Sparkle. This line of glitter-infused combination mineral and chemical sunscreen comes in unexpected fragrances like Coco Lime, Cotton Candy, Mango Tango and our favorite, Party Cake. Despite the sparkle and kid-friendly scents, it doesn’t skimp on coverage, providing water resistant broad spectrum 50+ SPF protection. Now onto the downsides: for a sunscreen that doesn’t have purely mineral active ingredients, it’s a little pricy. Despite claims to the contrary on the product packaging, just how eco-friendly this product really is remains a matter of debate. The biodegradable glitter formula sounds great and the product is self-appointed reef-friendly, but it contains chemical active ingredients that disqualify it from true reef-friendliness. If the questionable environmental impact and chemical active ingredients alongside the zinc oxide mineral sunscreen aren’t deal breakers for you, pros like its irritant-free formula (yes, even the glitter) and added antioxidants may outweigh the cons. This unique product puts an unexpected twist on sun protection and is a good option for kids who hate applying sunscreen.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Uses a combination of physical and chemical active ingredients to block harmful ultraviolet light using different mechanisms.
  • Broad-spectrum coverage means the sunscreen filters out both UVA and UVB rays, which are both dangerous.
  • The SPF number of 50+ exceeds the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations of at least 15 SPF for daily use and 30 SPF for a day spent outdoors.
  • The sunscreen is water resistant for up to 80 minutes, which puts it in the highest category of water resistance recognized by the FDA.
  • The sunscreen is free of irritating parabens, nanoparticles and PABA, and the glitter is non-irritant as well as biodegradable.
  • Beneficial ingredients like green tea extract, antioxidants and natural preservatives add a nourishing element that keeps skin from feeling dried out.
  • On Amazon, this product has a 4.0-star rating, although the total number of reviews is on the small side.

Cons

  • Not recommended by either the Skin Cancer Foundation or the Environmental Working Group.
  • Not a true physical or mineral sunscreen, since the first active ingredient is a synthetic chemical.
  • Despite labeling itself as reef-safe and using biodegradable glitter, the inclusion of the synthetic chemicals homosalate, octocrylene and octisalate prevents this product from meeting standards listed by The Kohala Center to be considered reef-friendly.
  • This product’s comparably high manufacturer listed price point equates to nearly $5 per ounce of product, making it one of the more expensive options on our list.

Score

Sun Protection: 97/100

Ingredients: 87/100

Irritant-Free: 90/100

Eco-friendliness: 87/100

Value: 90/100

Overall score: 90.2/100