15 Zero Waste Sunscreen Options

Zero Waste Sunscreen : better for your skin, better for the environment.

Let’s talk about zero waste sunscreen.

Sunscreen protects your skin and cells from the sun. It helps prevent wrinkles and fine lines. Most importantly, it helps prevent skin cancer. Good news is we researched countless different sunscreen options and curated this list of the top 15 options for you to check out.

zero waste sunscreen

I graded the sunscreens based on these criteria:

  • Zero waste packaging (No disposable plastic bottles or tubes)
  • Safe for skin (No harmful chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate)
  • Environmentally-friendly (No water pollution or chemicals, safe for coral reefs)
  • Socially conscious (Responsibly-sourced ingredients, fairtrade, fair wage)

Note: I’ve tried out some of these products, but the other ones have only been recommended to me by personal friends or through social media. (You’ll have to let me know if you try any of these, we’d love to hear from you!)

But first–let’s get familiar with why choosing a great sunscreen matters.

Sunscreen and sun damage

zero waste sunscreen

Sadly, most people think sun damage only happens when you get a bad sunburn. You’ve probably been there. You stayed out in the pool for too long during a hot summer day, and hours later, your skin’s red and painful to the touch. The top of your shoulders and tip of your nose start to peel a few days later. Ouch!

If you’re lucky, you’re one of those people who can stay out in the sun as long as you want without burning.

The fact is, even if you don’t burn or see immediate damage, the sun is still hurting your skin.

sunburn

Look at it this way: we think wrinkles and lines on our skin is part of growing older, but most of it is actually because of sun damage. This is because the sun shoots out radiation other than the sunlight we can see with our naked eye. To put it simply, we call these stronger, skin-damaging rays ultraviolet radiation.

Sounds serious, right? It is!

So why should you be worried about ultraviolet radiation? Well, ultraviolet radiation exposure changes and harms your skin cells’ DNA forever. This is terrifying if you really think about it.

You wouldn’t want to go near a radioactive spill site, so you should take every precaution against sun damage. Yes, we need some sun exposure to make vitamin D, but we should always be careful even when soaking in our daily sunshine.

Now, what’s the deal with UV radiation and why does it matter?

Listen up: There are two types of UV radiation you should know about.

zero waste sunscreen

The first is Ultraviolet A (UVA). Although UVA is weaker than the other type of radiation, it’s what causes skin tanning and aging. It is the type of radiation that we’re exposed to the most. Think about it. We’re exposed to UVA all day and all year long, but we only put on sunscreen when it’s 90 degrees outside. Obviously, we should think and do differently.

UVA reaches our deeper skin layers. Amazingly, it can even penetrate glass and clouds. So if you work in an office or space that faces the sun, you should also put on sunscreen indoors.

And that golden color people covet from tanning beds? It’s actually a defense mechanism your body uses against sun exposure. Here’s how it works. When the sun hits your skin, it damages your skin cells’ DNA. In response, your body tans itself to prevent further harm.

To sum up, UVA rays are dangerous because they damage DNA and the layer of skin where most skin cancers occur.

The second type is Ultraviolet B (UVB). Just one percent of ultraviolet radiation on Earth comes from UVB. Luckily, our ozone layer filters out most of UVB, which is stronger than UVA. Nevertheless, this type of radiation causes the most damage to the top layer of skin.

Typically, UVB rays are strongest from ten in the morning to three in the afternoon. Try to limit your time in direct sunlight during these hours. Of course, we don’t experience much UVB, but this type of radiation is known to cause skin cancer in the long term.

Speaking of skin cancer, there are type main types. Melanoma is more serious and is usually fatal. Non-melanoma is less fatal, especially if detected early.

But there is hope even with all this bleak information. When you use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher everyday, you reduce your risk of non-melanoma and melanoma cancer by 40 and 50 percent, respectively.

Let’s back up. What exactly does SPF mean, anyway? We know that a higher number offers more protection, but how does it work?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It measures how long the sunscreen can protect you from UVB rays based on your skin type.

Put it this way. If your skin starts to burn after 5 minutes in the sun without protection, an SPF 30 zero waste sunscreen will protect you for 150 minutes, or two and a half hours. Whew, I bet you didn’t expect to do math today, but it’s simple enough, right?

zero waste sunscreen

Here is the calculation: 5 minutes x SPF 30 = 150 minutes

Note: a higher SPF doesn’t necessarily mean it’s stronger or better at protecting your skin. Up to a certain number, a higher SPF will only provide a little bit more protection. By this logic, you don’t really need SPF 70 or higher, especially if you’re on a budget.

Moving on. It’s also important to find sunscreen that’s labeled broad spectrum. This means it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.

So we’ve covered ultraviolet radiation and SPF, but what about ingredients?

Safe sunscreen ingredients–what to look for

There are two main types of zero waste sunscreens. The first is mineral-based. Almost all sunscreens contain some form of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which absorb UV rays. These minerals provide a protective layer on the skin. Remember: mineral-based equals safe.

The second type is chemical-based. More traditional sunscreens use chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate to absorb radiation under the skin. Ever wonder what the big deal is with chemical-based sunscreen? There are considerable reasons why most people are against them–including myself.

beach

The first problem with chemical-based sunscreen is that they enter your body and disrupt various systems like your hormone system. Negative effects include lower fertility and even lower birth rates for babies exposed to these chemicals in the womb.

Want to hear something even more unbelievable? These chemicals can even be found in breast milk, which just shows how easily we absorb them. This is especially concerning to vulnerable groups like expecting mothers and children, but it affects everyone.

The second problem with chemical-based sunscreens is that they harm coral reefs. I’m sure by now you’ve seen a documentary or news report on dying coral reefs. The cool thing is, coral reefs live in harmony with algae that help them stay healthy. Algae gives corals their different lively colors and protects them from various diseases.

reef safe sunscreen

Unfortunately, sunscreen chemicals in the ocean break this relationship. This leaves corals vulnerable and white in a process called coral bleaching. When sunscreen chemicals are in oceans, coral reefs ingest these tiny chemicals (nanoparticles) and lead to coral death.

The point is, within mineral-based sunscreens, you should look for sunscreens that list “Non-Nano Zinc Oxide” as the main ingredient. This means the particles are big enough that corals can’t eat them.

Here’s another reason why non-nano mineral sunscreens are better than chemical-based sunscreens. UVR encourages free radicals to form, leading to cancer and other negative health effects. It’s thought that when sunlight reacts with nanoparticles in traditional sunscreen ingredients, they create free radicals.

In case you need a reminder, free radicals are single rogue oxygen atoms looking for partners. Just imagine that they’re one half of a heart looking for another half. The scary part is, they might grab a partner from a whole heart, which starts a chain reaction of atoms ripping apart whole cells, tissues, and even organs.

Unsurprisingly, a lot of diseases like cancer are caused by this chain reaction. However, free radicals seem to be a natural part of life. Free radicals come from food, chemical reactions, and other things we put into our bodies. Our job then is to discourage them from forming in our bodies by making better choices like choosing mineral sunscreen with non-nano particles.

Another thing to look out for is if the zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in your sunscreen is coated. Companies might do this to make the sunscreen more easy to spread. The big catch is the chemicals in the coating pollute oceans, contribute to coral bleaching, and harm other fish.

Besides the environmental impact, there are other factors you should consider when buying sunscreen–or any product, really.

It’s your money, so why not support sustainable businesses? If you’re deciding whether or not to buy from a certain company, you might want to check out their company partners and/or where they source their ingredients.

zero waste sunscreen

I looked at how the different sunscreen companies fared on ethical sourcing standards. Ethical sourcing partly means the ingredients are carefully selected for quality. More importantly, the ingredients must come from businesses that utilize environmentally-friendly practices such as organic farming. These businesses should also treat employees with dignity through fair wages, good working conditions, and workers’ benefits. 

If applicable, these businesses should employ fairtrade practices. Basically, the importing country or company supports small producers/farmers/entrepreneurs and pays them fair prices.

It’s no surprise that small producers usually can’t compete with big companies who sell much more at a lower price globally. With fairtrade, small producers are connected with companies/countries/businesses that will pay them a fair wage. Bottom line is, small producers usually create products using sustainable processes. By contrast, big companies typically use environmentally-damaging methods to maximize profit.

My point is, when you support fair-trade products, you support sustainable production and small businesses.

So let’s recap.

When looking for the best sunscreen for you and the environment, here is what to look for. I carefully reviewed 15 zero waste sunscreen choices and checked how they fared based on these characteristics:

  • Zero waste packaging
  • Safe for skin
  • Environmentally-friendly
  • Socially conscious

15 Zero Waste Sunscreen Options: Graded

1. Raw Elements Sunscreen

zero waste sunscreen
RawElements Sunscreen (19.99$)

Raw Elements Zero Waste Sunscreen is available on EcoRoots. It provides broad spectrum coverage up to SPF 30. The sunscreen comes in a 3-ounce (85 grams) reusable tin can with a biodegradable paper label. As always, we ship with zero waste packaging.

All the inactive ingredients like sunflower oil, beeswax, and mango butter are either natural or certified organic. This makes it safe for the environment and for all skin types–even children’s. What I love about it are the natural antioxidant ingredients like sunflower oil and green and black tea. I mean, how often do you come across sunscreen with tea or sunflower oil? My skin feels great after using this sunscreen–much better than greasy, chemical-based sunscreen.

In terms of the environmental impact, the sunscreen is labeled reef safe. The active ingredient is non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide.

I support Raw Elements as a company because they donate to nonprofits that help preserve ocean health. They are a socially-conscious company who are serious about providing products that are safe for humans and the Earth–something EcoRoots also stands for.

2. EiR NYC

zero waste sunscreen
EIR Sunscreen (30$)

If you’re about holistic healing, but also need a strong sunscreen that’s been tested by pro surfers, check out EiR NYC. Their Surf Mud Pro facial sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection of up to SPF 50. It’s packaged in a compostable 1.5-ounce cardboard stick.

It features cocoa powder, which naturally protects from ultraviolet radiation. This sunscreen is based on a Mayan chocolate mask, which has beneficial antioxidant properties. Bonus!

The active ingredients are non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Furthermore, the all-natural ingredients coconut oil and cocoa butter hydrate and soothe skin.

Their short ingredient list leaves out harmful chemicals, making this sunscreen safe for the environment.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much on their website about social impact, but their environmental rating gets an A!

3. All Good

zero waste sunscreen
AllGood Sunscreen (10.99$)

All Good’s organic zero waste sunscreen butter comes in SPF 50+ in a 1-ounce (28 grams) recyclable tin container. Admittedly, one ounce might be a little too small for an everyday sunscreen, but it’s great for travel.

On the bright side, it’s broad spectrum and uses non-nano zinc oxide among six organic ingredients like calendula flowers and jojoba oil. Don’t believe me? This sunscreen was deemed safe by the Environmental Working Group, which is a nonprofit that brings awareness to issues like chemicals in consumer products.

Lastly, this sunscreen is coral reef safe, but works even in harsh conditions. Note that if you have dry skin, the sunscreen will work best if you apply moisturizer under. Otherwise, it’s a little harder to apply the sunscreen on smoothly.

All Good is a responsible company. For example, they partners with nonprofits to tackle environmental issues. To top it off, they recently added workers’ benefits throughout their company.

4. Balm! Baby

zero waste sunscreen
Balm!Baby Sunscreen (13.95$)

Balm! Baby is made by Taylor’s–a family owned business. I resonate with their story because they started out by making their own plastic-free alternative soap. Today, they make all-natural products from cosmetics to postpartum care. How awesome is that?

Let’s look at their zero waste sunscreen a little closer. Their natural SPF 30 sunscreen is available in either a 2-ounce (57 grams) glass container with a tin lid or a 2-ounce biodegradable cardboard stick. Honestly, I have too many reusable jars at home, so I prefer the stick.

Moving onto their ingredients. Their ingredients are GMO-free and safe even for the lips and face. Parents, take note! You can use this as a diaper rash cream–it’s safe enough for the gentlest skin.

Frankly, a lot of smaller companies like Taylor’s don’t have the funds to get certified for broad spectrum. Nonetheless, they use similar ingredients that companies who are certified use for sunscreens. The owners claim that by the Environmental Working Group standards, this sunscreen is safe. Personally, I don’t doubt them at all.

Here’s why:

The active ingredient in this sunscreen is non-nano zinc oxide with all-natural parts like extra virgin olive oil, sesame seed oil, candelilla wax, coconut oil, and macadamia oil. If you’re allergic to any of these oils, don’t worry! The cool thing about Balm! Baby is that they can customize every order to fit your exact needs. Yes, supporting small business has its perks! Just think: mass-produced chemical sunscreens doesn’t really cater specifically to your skin.

As for responsible sourcing, this zero waste sunscreen is made in the USA from sustainably-sourced, local ingredients like Hawaiian coconut oil. Finally, Taylor’s is a family-owned business that supports others companies who treat employees and the Earth with respect.

5. Avasol

zero waste sunscreen
Avasol Sunscreen (19.95$)

Say goodbye to chalky sunscreen! A lot of people would say sunscreen turns them off because it leaves a white residue that makes them look ghostly. Thankfully, Avasol seems to have solved this problem. One common praise I hear about Avasol is how their sunscreen comes in three skin color shades–light, tan, or dark.

The broad spectrum and all-weather sunscreen is available in SPF 30 or 50+ in recycled paper sticks. The solid stick weighs only 1 ounce (28 grams), but you can buy the sunscreen in cream form which comes in a refillable packet.

The active ingredient is non-nano, non-coated zinc oxide, along with high-quality herbs and oils. Avasol prides themselves in using safe ingredients that also serve a higher purpose besides just using exotic ingredients for no reason. For instance, most of their ingredients are unrefined because they are most potent in that form.

If you see “wildcrafted” on their ingredients list, this simply means that that specific ingredient was picked straight from the Earth. What better way to make sure a product is safe for you and the environment than supporting natural and sustainable farming practices?

Avasol is part of 1% FOR THE PLANET. If you’ve never heard of this organization, you’re in for a treat! Most socially conscious business are part of their membership program. Here’s how it works. Businesses join the 1% for the Planet membership program so they have access to a network of eco-friendly peers that they can learn from. Each company donates 1% of their proceeds to nonprofit organizations within the community. Sounds too good to be true, right?

Well, this is just one way Avasol keeps their promises on sustainability and innovation. From production to disposal, they pay attention to their environmental footprint and social impact.

6. Elevated Sun

This is another great product from Taylor’s--a family who started their own business to provide plastic-free products for families. This SPF 30 zero waste sunscreen comes in a 2-ounce (56 grams) glass jar with a tin lid.

As I mentioned, small companies don’t often get certified for things like broad spectrum or organic because it costs too much money. But this doesn’t mean the products aren’t organic or broad spectrum. In fact, this sunscreen is rated safe on the Environmental Working Group website. Now’s a good time to say that certified “organic” products may not be fully organic, so take certifications with a grain of salt. It’s also a good idea to really do your own research and be informed about the industry.

Let’s jump back to the Elevated Sun! sunscreen.

Aside from the plastic-free packaging, this zero waste sunscreen is safe for the environment with natural ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, raw macadamia nut oil, and lavender essential oil. It uses non-nano zinc oxide and includes vitamin E for extra skin nourishment.

Above all, Taylor’s supports other companies who share their same values of high-quality, environmentally-friendly products.

7. Suntribe

zero waste sunscreen

Suntribe’s all-natural sunscreen is available in a 1.5-ounce (42 grams) aluminum tin with a recycled paper label. In fact, they’ve perfected their label-making process and work with a company that’s near their production site. They recycle paper for labels to reduce waste as much as possible.

As for the sunscreen itself, it is broad-spectrum and SPF 30. It’s safe for your face, neck, lips, and even your ears.

Shockingly, there are only three ingredients: non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide, beeswax, and coconut oil. This product was made with sports like skiing, surfing, and running in mind. Consequently, it’s perfect for being outdoors during peak sun intensity. It’s a no-frill, heavy-duty sunscreen that’s safe for you and the environment.

There isn’t much information on Suntribe’s social impact, but they are certified by the New Generation Natural Cosmetics. Suntribe passes three key principles: no toxic chemicals, little environmental impact, and meet cosmetics industry standards. The organization also checks for sustainability all the way from production to recycling. Good thing Suntribe is meticulous about sustainability–they pass the test with flying colors.

8. Little Hands

zero waste sunscreen
Little Hands Sunscreen (20$)

The Little Hands sunscreen is available in a 3.4-ounce (96 grams) recyclable tin with biodegradable labels. You can choose plain white or tan. If you’re wondering how they achieve the tan color, the answer is simple. They use iron oxide minerals which also help protect from ultraviolet rays.

Non-nano zinc oxide is the active ingredient with organic coconut and jojoba oil, shea butter, vitamin E oil, beeswax, and frankincense essential oil. Not familiar with frankincense? Me neither, but here’s what I found out! It’s an oil that goes all the way back to Egypt. It helps smooth skin and impurities like scars. It revives skin cells and promotes new skin growth–all good things!

Overall, this formula is skin- and environmentally-friendly.

It’s no wonder that Little Hands highlights so many natural ingredients–they were founded in Hawaii. Even today, they produce and source local products as much as possible. For example, they use free range Hawaiian bees for the beeswax in the sunscreen. When they do source out-of-town, it’s for natural and high-quality ingredients like their African Karite shea butter or Ethiopian frankincense.

9. Laguna Herbals

zero waste sunscreen
Laguna Herbals Sunscreen (12.99$)

Laguna Herbals’ hypoallergenic, SPF 50 zero waste sunscreen is available in 1-ounce (28 grams) metal tins.

Their broad spectrum tear-free formula won’t drip into eyes, and is light enough to use as a primer under makeup. It is also paraben-, GMO-, and gluten free, so rest assured that this works no matter what your skin type is.

Furthermore, this biodegradable sunscreen is primarily made of non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide. There are only five other organic ingredients: coconut oil, beeswax, calendula, vitamin E, and jojoba oil. The verdict? These natural ingredients are safe for the environment.

Let’s learn more about the company itself. Laguna Herbals is a woman-owned and operated business in Laguna Beach, California. They focus on high-quality, natural ingredients that are safe for everybody.

I couldn’t find much information on their social impact programs or practices, but I found that all of their products are produced in the USA. If you’re from the US (or better yet, California), then Laguna Herbals is a great option.

10. Butterbean Organics

zero waste sunscreen
Butterbean Organics Sunscreen (12.50$)

Butterbean Organics’ SPF 30 is available in 3-ounce (85 grams) or 7-ounce (198 grams) metal tins.

Inactive ingredients include coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, polyhydroxystearic acid, and sunflower vitamin E. Don’t freak out when you see polyhydroxystearic acid–it simply helps keep the zinc oxide together for smoother coverage and maximum efficiency. It’s plant-based and safe for skin.

Beyond that, the broad spectrum sunscreen is made of uncoated, non-nano pure zinc oxide. Which means? It’s safe for coral reefs! If you don’t believe me, I’ll leave this here: this sunscreen is one of the top rated sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group.

When it comes to Butterbean Organics’ social policies, I’m impressed. Their coconut oil and shea butter are fairtrade. I’m delighted to see this Florida-based, mother-owned business bring awareness to sunscreen safety with responsibly-sourced ingredients.

11. Little Tree Naturals

zero waste sunscreen
Little Tree Naturals Sunscreen (17.95$)

When it comes to zero waste sunscreen, don’t limit yourself to drugstores or Target. Smaller businesses on websites like Etsy offer far superior products.

Take Little Tree Naturals sunscreen for instance. Their raspberry seed sunscreen comes in a reusable glass 4-ounce (113 grams) jar. The sunscreen is estimated to be between 30 to 50 SPF. (Again, certification costs can be high for small businesses!)

Their products are handmade with all-natural, organic ingredients. For this sunscreen, Little Tree Naturals uses non-nano zinc oxide, raw shea butter, organic coconut oil, and grapeseed oil. What’s more, this sunscreen features oils you don’t usually see (but should!) on other sunscreens–carrot seed and red raspberry seed oil. Talk about natural.

These oils don’t just sound good on paper. Carrot seed oil is full of antioxidants to help keep free radicals in check. Red raspberry seed oil is a natural broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF between 28 to 50!

Since all the ingredients are natural and GMO-free, this sunscreen is safe for the environment. I really enjoy this sunscreen. It’s oil-based, but it isn’t greasy and spreads onto the skin easily. Although four ounces sounds so little, this product has surprisingly lasted a long time. Even though it hasn’t been tested for a true SPF, I trust this family-owned business.

If you’re looking for other natural products, Little Tree Naturals also makes other natural products like toothpaste and deodorant. The only catch is some of their packaging is plastic, so keep that in mind if you really want zero waste products. But if you’re looking for an organic, trustworthy sunscreen that fits easily into your purse, try this one out.

12. Solde Luna Crafts

zero waste sunscreen
Solde Luna Crafts Sunscreen (19.63$)

This oil-based, SPF 30 sunscreen is available in these sizes: 15 grams (0.5 ounces), 50 grams (1.7 ounces), 100 grams (3.5 ounces), or 150 grams (5.3 ounces). The sunscreen comes in a reusable tin container and a paper label.

It’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t clog pores. What about ingredients? This sunscreen uses organic raw shea butter, babassu oil, and arrowroot powder. You’re probably wondering, so I’ll let you know that babassu oil and arrowroot powder both soothe dry or itchy skin–perfect for rashes and sunburns. If you happen to be allergic to any of the oils in the original formula, you can easily substitute another one that’s best for you. Amazing!

Think it doesn’t get any better than this? Think again. This sunscreen contains no chemicals, so it poses no environmental risk. It is labeled reef safe.

However, note that sunscreens in the US contain only up to 25% zinc oxide because of FDA regulations. This sunscreen is made and shipped from the UK and contains 30% zinc oxide. This isn’t dangerous per se, just something to keep in mind.

Sol de Luna Crafts does not have any specific social impact initiatives, but they are a small, individual-operated company. It’s enough that they market natural products that are human- and earth-friendly.

13. Dirty Hippie Cosmetics

zero waste sunscreen
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics Sunscreen

This SPF 30 coconut sunscreen balm is available various sizes: 14 grams (about 0.5 ounces), 80 grams (2.8 ounces), and 90 grams (3.2 ounces). The smaller sizes come in paper tubes and the largest size comes in a refillable tin container. (Note that you can only refill the container if you currently live in Australia.)

Dirty Hippie Cosmetics really embraces zero waste packaging–their tape, padding, and boxes are all recycled or reused from local businesses.

As for the ingredients, they use virgin coconut oil, shea liquid and butter, candelilla wax, carrot seed, raspberry seed and wheatgerm oils, vitamin E, and lime essential oil for scent. Aside from carrot seed and non-nano zinc oxide, all the ingredients are certified organic.

This zero waste sunscreen was designed for sensitive skin, so I have no doubt that it’s safe for skin. What’s more, you can choose the formula that also repels bugs–ideal for hikes or summer nights outdoors. It hasn’t been officially tested for SPF, but the company is well-known and loved.

Some of our more outdoorsy friends have tried the bug repellent blend and I heard no complaints about it. The added ingredients are neem oil, cedarwood, pine, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and rose essential oils. The only slight inconvenience is that the sunscreen sometimes catches on the tube. What I mean is, the stick itself might not easily push up. I’ve had this happen with other products, and it’s not that big a deal.

Hint: if it’s really stuck, try warming it in the microwave for five seconds or so.

All in all, the ingredients are safe for coral reefs. Like I mentioned above, their packaging is sourced from local businesses. Part of being a socially conscious company is creating communities of eco-friendly humans. Dirty Hippie Cosmetics leads this community in many ways.

14.  Anakiel

We’ve covered many mineral-based sunscreens.

Are you ready for something completely different? Here we go. Anakiel’s handmade serum contains no zinc oxide and is made entirely of pure plant oils and extracts.

From the product photograph, the 0.9-ounce (25 grams) container seems to be made of glass with a wooden cap and plastic pump. Needless to say, it might not be entirely zero waste unless the parts are recyclable or if the container is refillable.

The serum itself is the epitome of skin pampering with nourishing oils like jojoba, sesame, and lavender. There is no specific SPF rating, but key ingredients like karanja and red raspberry seed oil absorb UVA and UVB rays.

Before we continue, let me clarify what karanja oil is. It’s made from the karanja tree seeds, which is found in various parts of Asia. It helps repair sun damage and prevent skin aging. Since this oil-based sunscreen contains no known harmful chemicals, it is safe for the environment.

Anakiel is based in Canada, but I found no information on their ingredient sourcing or social impact.

15. Savonnerie des Diligences

zero waste sunscreen
Savonnerie des Diligences Sunscreen (14.23$)

Last but not least, let’s look at Savonnerie des Diligences’ mineral butter sunscreen. This handmade sunscreen is available in 119 grams (4.2 ounces) or 240 grams (8.45 ounces) packaged in glass jars and tin lids.

Savonnerie des Diligences uses shea butter, non-nano zinc oxide, vitamin E, and various essential oils. The simple ingredients list makes this gentle for skin and safe for the environment.

The all-natural ingredients are sourced from fairtrade practices. Additionally, they make plastic-free soaps and moisturizers.

Aside from the high quality products, I love their artsy, colorful paper labels. I’ve gifted their products to friends and family who wanted to try natural products that were still effective.

So there you have it.

I’ve covered 15 different zero waste sunscreen options and judged them based on how they’re packaged, how gentle they are on the skin, how they safe they are for the environment, and how the company contributes to society.

How to protect yourself without using sunscreen

Did you know that each year, over 14,000 tons of sunscreen make their way to oceans? This isn’t just from swimming on beaches, but when you wash off sunscreen in the shower.

Let’s review what to look for when choosing a safe sunscreen.

Avoid chemical-based sunscreens with ingredients like oxybenzone or octinoxate. Chemical-based sunscreens are not safe for coral reefs like mineral-based sunscreens. 

Another key factor in sunscreens is non-nano zinc oxide (or titanium oxide) with no coatings. These are the safest ingredients for humans and oceans.

zero waste sunscreen

Thorough research takes a long time. Luckily, you have 15 great options above based on your skin type and the kind of coverage you’re looking for. But you know what else?

The most important things you can do to reduce sun damage has nothing to do with sunscreen. You should try staying out of the sun during peak hours, especially if you have fair or sensitive skin. When you’re outdoors, wear hats and long sleeves. This won’t stop UV rays from hitting your skin completely, but it will reduce significant damage.

During summer months, try fabrics that breathe like cotton and linen, so you can still wear long sleeves and long pants. Break out that sun hat and make sun protection fashionable.

This guide is just a starting point for great zero waste sunscreen alternatives. Let me know about any great companies you come across that use zero waste packaging, use ingredients that are environmentally-friendly and gentle on the skin, and promote positive social impact values.

zero waste sunscreen

I love to support companies who create natural and safe products that work.

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