13 Non-Toxic Sunscreens Under £20 Available In The UK So You Can Glow Responsibly
Both medical experts and beauty brands have been promoting the importance of protecting your skin against the sun for some time. As much as you’d like to ignore it, the sun isn’t going away anytime soon — even in the UK — meaning you need to start incorporating SPF into your daily skincare routine. But with the majority of sunscreens proving to be bad for you and the environment, finding affordable non-toxic sunscreens can be a challenge, especially since stores like Boots and Superdrug have such limited options.
For years, chemical sunscreens have reigned. These work by absorbing radiation rather than pushing it away and often contain harsh ingredients that can cause allergic reactions and breakouts. They’re also bad for the planet with some chemicals causing serious damage to the oceans. Hawaii is set to ban the sale of sunscreen containing two chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate, which have been harming coral reefs for some time.
The alternative? Mineral sunscreens. Just as effective as their chemical counterparts, these naturally sourced formulas usually contain zinc oxide or titanium oxide. These act as a barrier over the top of the skin, deflecting the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Once ridiculed for leaving a white chalky residue behind — I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of your parents on holiday in Spain with white noses — advancements in technology are spelling a new era; one in which the advantages of natural sunscreens are far outweighing old-school chemical formulations.
You don’t have to worry about the price either. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that any mention of the word "organic" automatically means extortionate pricing. However, this selection of all-natural sunscreens won’t break the bank, and many of them are available on the high street. With sensitive skin capabilities and formulas that suit a wide range of skin tones, you'll never be left scratching your head in the sunscreen aisle again.
Badger Organic Sunscreen
All of Badger’s natural sunscreens utilise only one active ingredient: zinc oxide. This mineral is one of the only ingredients that can successfully block both UVA and UVB rays. Perfect for those with sensitive skin, this SPF 30 cream contains a base of organic plant oils and beeswax for extra moisturising. It’s safe for the environment and is resistant to water for up to 40 minutes.
Clinique Sunscreen Fluid
Clinique’s mineral fluid can be applied to the face (there’s a separate body version) and promises no allergic reactions. Its oil-free SPF 50 formula gives a veil-like effect over the skin, protecting it from the sun’s harmful rays. Both lightweight and gentle, it’s a guaranteed winner come summer, when you're running from the office to the tube.
Tropic Skincare Balm
Over the summer, you’re bound to have a day where you forget to apply sunscreen. To avoid nasty burns, simply keep this handy balm in your bag and use it for your face and to touch up exposed parts of your body when British summer throws you a curve ball. Just like many others, Tropic Skincare’s SPF 50 formula centres on zinc oxide, as well as tamanu oil and rosemary leaf oil for extra nourishment.
Jason Sunbrellas Sunblock
Specifically formulated for the delicate skin of children, Jason’s SPF 45 is great if your skin easily flares up. The non-greasy cream contains a variety of natural enriching ingredients such as shea butter, green tea, and Vitamin E. It’s also free from nasty chemicals including the beauty industry’s favourite parabens and SLS.
Glossier Invisible Shield
Beauty geeks will probably already have a drawer full of Glossier products. But you might have missed the company’s SPF 30 sunscreen offering. Particularly suited to those who hate the greasy feel of traditional sunscreen, this clear gel works for all skin tones, leaving no tinted residue behind. The gel is also filled with active microcapsules, which the brand describes as “little spheres packed with UVA/UVB filters.” Combine that with a mix of Vitamin E, Vitamin P, aloe leaf, and even broccoli, and you’ve got a powerful sunscreen that can easily be incorporated into your normal skincare routine.
Hurraw! Lip Balm
It’s easy to forget your lips when soaking up those rays, but they can burn too. Hurraw’s pint-sized SPF 15 balm has been formulated to be thicker than traditional lip sunscreens, meaning it’ll stay on for longer than just a few minutes. Featuring a mixture of moisturising oils, the tangerine-scented balm contains natural zinc oxide. Apply as often as you need to avoid cracking or burning.
Non-toxic products are few and far between on the British high street, but this option from Superdrug is a winner. If you are prone to burning within a flash, you’ll want to look for a sunscreen that offers added protection. Avène’s SPF 50 spray puts up a natural barrier against a range of UVA and UVB rays. Its rich formula contains Avène Thermal Spring Water — which helps soothe — and an antioxidant called Pretocopheryl, which works to protect the skin from damaging free radicals. Irritating alcohol, parabens, and oils, however, have thankfully been left out.
Sun Smart Lotion
Suitable for vegetarians, good old M&S’ soothing sun cream contains everything from sunflower oil and aloe to vitamin E. It’s free from alcohol and fragrances and is ideal for sensitive skin types. Considering the price, it’s also a bargain.
Babo Botanicals Sunscreen
Again, this sunscreen lists the safe and effective zinc oxide as its main ingredient. It’s completely organic, steering clear of irritating chemicals and anything that cause an allergic reaction. Water resistant for up to 80 minutes, the non-greasy SPF 30 formula should work great on beach holidays.
e.l.f Stay Out & Play
e.l.f.’s SPF 50 formula comes as part of the brand’s activewear range, so if you’re always hitting the gym, this is probably for you. Acting more as a moisturiser than just a simple sunscreen, the ingredient list may look long but is 100 percent vegan. Stay Out & Play is particularly resistant to sweat and is designed to allow skin to breathe, reducing the chance of any nasty breakouts.
Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Sunscreen
Neutrogena’s natural facial formula claims to give twice the level of UVA protection than the leading mineral sunscreen. Its impressive ingredient list shows no sign of irritants, including parabens, dyes, and fragrances. One of the most affordable sunscreens on offer, dermatologists have even recommended it for those suffering from sensitive skin conditions such as eczema.
Coola Mineral Liplux
You can never have too many lip balms — especially ones containing SPF. Coola’s nourishing SPF 30 balm is completely mineral-based with its organic creamy formula not only protecting lips from the harsh sun, but also providing moisturising and softening benefits. It comes in a range of six slightly tinted shades, adding a nice natural touch.
Another vegan product, Suntegrity’s SPF 30 formula is free from any harsh chemicals. With zinc oxide giving it the ability to protect against both UVA and UVB rays and a rich list of antioxidants, it’s suitable for extremely hot climates. And if you don’t like perfumed sunscreens, you’re in luck, as this one is completely unscented.
The next time a sunny day hits the UK, think about what you're putting on your skin. With this list, you won't need to spend hours researching which sunscreen formulas help rather than harm.