In fact, natural sunscreens seem to be hitting their stride, with many products flaunting new light-weight textures and great skin-care ingredients. These are the six that won us over and we predict will give their chemically laden cousins a serious run for the money this summer.
Vive Sana Solar to Polar Ultra SPF 40 ($29)
This fantastically popular synthetics-free sunscreen is laced with plant extracts and skin-nourishing jojoba, apricot kernel, and olive oil. It quickly absorbs leaving no white cast. I’ve put it to use on my sensitive, summer-shiny skin, where it almost does double duty as a moisturizer. Contains zinc and titanium dioxide.
MyChelle Sun Shield SPF 28 Coconut ($10)
MyChelle sunscreens should replace Neutrogena’s in every Duane Reade. Its anti-aging Solar Defense SPF 30 is free of titanium dioxide for those concerned about the mineral’s small particle size, and Sun Shield SPF 28 evokes that Coppertone coconutty scent of childhood before there were natural sunscreens. (There’s an unscented version, too). All use ZinClear, refined zinc to avoid that Morticia Adams hue, plus great skin-care ingredients like macadamia nut oil and anti-inflammatory red algae.
Pratima Neem Rose Face Sunscreen SPF 30 ($28)
I’ve waxed poetic about the Ayurvedic doctor’s amazing sunscreens before, and for me they remain two of the best overlooked, under-rated products in a New York woman’s medicine cabinet. They have about five ingredients a piece, go on like a light and elegant organic skin-care moisturizer, and never sting, run, or cause a breakout.
Goddess Garden Facial Sunscreen SPF 30 ($16)
Not to be confused with a salad dressing, this non-greasy, 79 percent organic sunscreen has a lavender scent that I love, contains zinc and titanium dioxide, and landed a great EWG score of 2 out of 10 (10 being the most toxic).
True Natural Sunscreen SPF 40 Active ($11)
With a super clean ingredient list, this zinc-only sunscreen for face and body has an aloe-beeswax base and goes on clear. The consistency is a a tad tacky, which on the plus side lends to its water-resistance. EWG gave it a top safety rating.
La Roche-Posay Anthelios 40 Sunscreen Cream ($22)
You might want to sit down for this one: I’m a huge fan of Mexoryl, a chemical sunscreen ingredient. It blocks a range of UVA light that no others ingredients approved by the FDA do. I wish it didn’t contain some of the other back-up sunscreen filters, like avobenzone and octocrylene. But even so, the EWG gives it a score of 2 out of 10—and it’s widely available at New York drugstores.
What are your favorite sunscreens?