reef safe sunscreens

by | Apr 7, 2024 | reviews

At Picnic Makers, our philosophy is rooted in the understanding that we’re all part of a larger ecosystem. We’re profoundly conscious of the deep connections between all beings and our magnificent planet 🌍

Opting for reef-safe sunscreen isn’t just a choice; it’s a commitment to our planet’s health. These slightly pricier but invaluable sunscreens help us preserve our oceans. To aid in this mission, we’ve selected the best reef-safe sunscreens, offering protection for your skin and our shared home. Join us in making conscientious choices for a healthier planet 🐠☀️

The Best Reef Safe Sunscreen Overall

🏆 Sun Bum Sunscreen Spray

Sun Bum Original SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray embodies the essence of summer with its signature scent and robust sun protection. Its formula is enriched with Vitamin E, providing moisture without leaving an oily residue, making it suitable for all skin types.

reef friendly sunscreen

Rating: 4.8 four and a half stars based on 25,200+ reviews

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  • SPF: 50
  • Size: 6 oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 80 minutes
  • Key Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Vitamin E
  • Features: Vegan, Hawaii 104 Reef Act Compliant, Oxybenzone and Octinoxate free, Moisturizing, Suitable for all skin types

The spray application ensures ease of use, but users should be mindful to apply it liberally and evenly to avoid missed spots. While the product is water-resistant, reapplication is crucial after swimming or excessive sweating to maintain protection.

Perfect for individuals and families, this best sunscreen is an excellent choice for those who care for the skin and the environment.

The product’s high customer satisfaction rate highlights its effectiveness and pleasant scent, although some may find the price a bit high for the quantity. However, the consensus is clear: Sun Bum’s sunscreen spray delivers on its promises, offering reliable sun protection while being gentle on the skin and the environment.

Excellent Alternatives to Consider

Badger’s Mineral Sunscreen

Let`s move to the first alternative! Badger’s SPF 40 Sport Mineral Sunscreen shines for its commitment to simplicity, safety, and environmental responsibility. Crafted from just four organic ingredients—zinc oxide, sunflower oil, beeswax, and vitamin E—this sunscreen offers a minimalist approach to sun protection that is hard to find elsewhere.


Rating: 4.5 four and a half stars based on 2,500+ reviews

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Key Features:

  • SPF: 40
  • Size: 2.9 fl oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 80 minutes
  • Key Ingredients: Zinc Oxide, Sunflower Oil, Beeswax, Vitamin E (98% Organic)
  • Features: Broad Spectrum, Hypoallergenic, Non-comedogenic, Reef Safe, Sustainable Packaging

The commitment to reef safety, sustainable packaging, and solar-powered manufacturing underscores dedication to the planet beyond skin deep.

This product meets the needs of the most demanding outdoor activities while being gentle on the planet and your skin.

While the sunscreen’s thick consistency provides robust protection, it requires effort to rub in thoroughly and avoid a white cast, a common trait among mineral sunscreens. Users with sensitive skin appreciate the formula’s gentleness, though some may find it greasy.

Reef Repair’s Sunscreen

Reef Repair’s SPF 30+ sunscreen is a game-changer for environmentally conscious consumers seeking effective sun protection without harming marine ecosystems. Its commitment to being free from oxybenzone, octinoxate, parabens, and silicones aligns with the highest standards for reef safety and consumer health.

coral safe sunscreen

Rating: 4.3 four and a half stars based on 1,800+ reviews

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Key Features:

  • SPF: 30+
  • Size: 4 fl oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 80 minutes
  • Key Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 20% (Non-Nano), Coconut Oil, Avocado Oil, Shea Butter, Red Raspberry Seed Oil
  • Features: Broad Spectrum, Coral Reef Safe, 100% Natural Ingredients, Moisturizing, No White Cast

Why we love it: Reef Repair’s sunscreen is excellent for those prioritizing eco-friendly and skin-friendly sun protection. Its performance in tropical locations and during water activities has garnered positive feedback, although experiences with its texture and scent vary. Its commitment to safety, both for the user and the environment, makes it a noteworthy option for families, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone looking to impact ocean conservation positively.

While it’s designed to be water-resistant and effective for outdoor activities, reapplication is necessary for prolonged exposure, especially in water.

Kokua Sun Care’s Lotion

Kokua Sun Care’s SPF 50/80 Lotion is a standout product in the sunscreen market, especially for those seeking high-performance sun protection that’s also kind to the environment.  Beyond its protective capabilities, this sunscreen doubles as a luxurious skin treatment, thanks to a blend of Hawaiian superfoods like kukui nut oil, macadamia nut oil, and Hawaiian spirulina that nourishes and hydrates the skin.

reef safe sunblock

Rating: 4.5 four and a half stars based on 1,200+ reviews

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Why It’s Essential for You:

  • SPF: 50/80
  • Size: 3 fl oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 80 minutes
  • Key Ingredients: Non-nano zinc Oxide, Kukui Nut Oil, Macadamia Nut Oil, Hawaiian Spirulina, Noni, Plumeria
  • Features: Broad Spectrum, High Zinc Content, Reef Safe, Vegan, Moisturizing, Non-Comedogenic

Kokua Sun Care’s sunscreen is an exemplary choice for anyone seeking a high-quality, environmentally friendly sunblock that doesn’t compromise protection or skin benefits. It’s designed for various activities, from casual beach days to intense water sports, ensuring durability and effectiveness in all conditions.

Its coconut-vanilla scent, derived entirely from plant extracts, adds a pleasant sensory experience without resorting to artificial fragrances.

Discover more options in our review of the best non-toxic sunscreens, featuring top picks for all skin types and needs.

BLUE LIZARD Sensitive Sunscreen

BLUE LIZARD Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen offers SPF 50+ protection. It combines the benefits of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to form a potent barrier against UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen stands out for its 80-minute water resistance, making it an excellent choice for water sports enthusiasts and those seeking reliable sun protection for daily activities.

eco friendly sunscreen

Rating: 4.6 four and a half starsbased on 3,400+ reviews

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Key Features:

  • SPF: 50+
  • Size: 5 fl oz
  • Water Resistance: Up to 80 minutes
  • Key Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 8%, Zinc Oxide 10%
  • Features: Broad Spectrum, Fragrance-Free, Suitable for Sensitive Skin, Smart Cap Technology, Reef Safe

Its gentle formula and innovative features, like the smart cap, make it a preferred sunscreen among families, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone with sensitive skin. Despite its thicker consistency, its protection and environmental benefits make it a worthwhile addition to your sun care routine.

The sunscreen is praised for its effectiveness and suitability for sensitive skin. Looking for more exceptional sun care products? Check out the best body sunscreen to keep your skin protected and healthy all year round.

The benefits of reef-safe sunscreen 🐠

Opting for reef-safe sunscreen is straightforward and has significant positive impacts on health and environmental preservation.

  • Marine Life Protection: Avoids chemicals harmful to coral reefs, supporting marine biodiversity.
  • Human Health: Utilizes mineral-based ingredients, safer for sensitive skin, and reduces exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.
  • Promotes Biodiversity: Helps preserve coral reef ecosystems, which is crucial for marine diversity.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Meets requirements in areas where certain sunscreens are banned to protect local ecosystems.


What exactly makes a sunscreen “reef safe”?

Reef-safe sunscreens are formulated without chemicals known to harm marine life, such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. Instead, they rely on minerals like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect your skin from UV rays, making them safer for coral reefs and aquatic ecosystems.

How do I apply sunscreen correctly for maximum protection?

For best results, apply reef-safe sunscreen generously to all exposed skin at least 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every two hours or after swimming, sweating, or towel drying. Using a mineral-based sunscreen requires thorough blending to ensure even coverage.

Protecting your face from the sun requires special attention. Find the ideal formula in our review of sunscreens for the face designed for sensitive skin and daily wear.

Can reef-safe sunscreens expire, and how can I tell?

Yes, like all sunscreens, reef-safe versions also expire. Check the expiration date on the packaging. Expired sunscreen may change color, consistency, or smell and will not be as effective in protecting against UV rays.

Are there sunscreens for different skin types?

Absolutely! Reef-safe sunscreens come in various formulations to cater to different skin types. Look for non-comedogenic options for oily skin, hydrating formulas for dry skin, and fragrance-free, gentle sunscreens for sensitive skin.

How does wearing safe sunscreen benefit my health?

Using reef-safe sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV rays while minimizing environmental footprint. By avoiding chemicals harmful to marine life, you contribute to preserving coral reefs and aquatic habitats.

Can I use reef-safe sunscreen under makeup?

Yes, many reef-safe sunscreens are designed to be worn under makeup. Look for lightweight, non-greasy formulas that can serve as a protective base layer. Allow the sunscreen to absorb fully before applying makeup.

Are sunscreens only necessary when swimming near reefs?

While particularly important for protecting marine ecosystems when swimming in oceans, using reef-safe sunscreen is a good practice everywhere. Chemicals from traditional sunscreens can reach aquatic environments through wastewater systems, so switching to reef-safe options benefits all water bodies.

In summary, choosing reef-safe sunscreen for any outdoor activity offers effective UV protection and ensures environmental responsibility and skin health. With various formulas and eco-friendly options available, embracing sun care has never been more crucial.

Upgrade your sun protection essentials with these coral-safe sunscreen brands, ensuring a memorable and conscientious experience for you and the planet.

Affiliate Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a commission if you purchase through these links at no extra cost.

Olga and Vlad Picnic Makers

Vlad and Olga

Hello, beautiful souls! 🌸 We’re Vlad and Olga, the storytellers behind each journey. Join us on this adventure as we share tales of joy, celebration, and a life well-lived. Thanks for being part of our magical story! 🌟

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