What animal products are in sunscreen?
Beeswax, collagen, lanolin, and chitin are a few examples of animal ingredients that can be found in sunscreens. But there are vegan options out there that contain better alternatives.
Many sunscreens rely on collagen to boost elasticity in the skin, for instance. But many plant-based food sources can also improve collagen. Ingredients like pumpkin, green tea, and kale contain various vitamins and minerals, particularly vitamin C and zinc, which the body needs to produce collagen.
And skin-plumping hyaluronic acid, which is traditionally not vegan, is now commonly sourced through microbial fermentation. These vegan, plant-based versions of hyaluronic acid can contain elements of wheat or sweet potato. (The potassium in sweet potato doubles as a natural moisturizer.)
What should you look for in a vegan sunscreen?
An effective sunscreen should protect you from both UVA and UVB radiation. UVB rays are mostly responsible for sunburn, while UVA rays penetrate further past the surface of your skin, causing lines and wrinkles. If you see zinc-oxide in the list of ingredients of your sunscreen, this helps protect your skin from damaging rays and can reduce the appearance of redness.
It's also best to look for a sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white cast. There is nothing worse than having your face tone not match the rest of your body! Especially if you're applying makeup on top of it too. All the ones we’ve rounded up below blend in smoothly into the skin. No one will ever know you’ve got a layer of sunscreen on!
Finally, an SPF of at least 30 is ideal. This level ensures effective protection. Water resistance for up to 80 minutes is also useful, particularly if you’re in the pool or by the beach. Regardless, it’s important to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or even more often if you’re swimming or exercising. (Especially if you’re sweating heavily!)
Are you ready to add some vegan sunscreens to your beach bag? Keep reading below for the best face, body, and tinted vegan sunscreens.
The Best Face Vegan Sunscreens
|Zinc oxide 22%
|Combination skin, sensitive skin
If you’re looking for a reliable, no-frills face sunscreen, try out REN’s Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30. It has a mattifying formula due to its addition of rich starch, with a barely-there feel on the skin. It’s suitable for combination skin, as it doesn’t leave the skin looking and feeling oily.
Passion fruit extract is also included to help protect the skin against free radicals.
With a light formula, it blends in quickly without rubbing and it doesn’t have that sunscreen smell. Plus, you can layer it on top of your moisturizer with no hiccups.
Clean Screen has a 50 percent recycled plastic tube and a 100 percent recycled plastic cap.
|Avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate
|All skin types
Marketed as the “sunscreen for people who hate wearing sunscreen,” Glossier has created a completely sheer, lightweight SPF 35. Invisible Shield contains a powerful mix of vitamin E, vitamin P, broccoli, and aloe leaf extracts. Fermented yeast and vegetal extract prevent pollution from penetrating the skin.
Unlike traditional sunscreens, this one has a serum-like, non-greasy, water-gel formula. It pairs well with makeup and is ideal for skin types that are sensitive to sunscreen.
|All skin types
If you’re often strapped for time, you may find yourself skipping some beauty steps every now and then. With this Suntegrity product, you won’t have to. It functions as a face moisturizer, sunscreen, and makeup primer all in one.
All of its key ingredients, like green tea, pomegranate, and jojoba, work together to moisturize and hydrate the skin. It even has a light orange scent to help you feel even fresher.
The Best Vegan Body Sunscreens
Going on a beach vacation any time soon? Make sure to bring Coola’s Mineral Body Organic Sunscreen with you.
It’s water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and it’s reef safe for those snorkeling enthusiasts. The non-greasy, hydrating formula is even suited for oily skin, as it doesn’t encourage breakouts. But with over 70 percent organic and antioxidant-rich ingredients, it’s best for sensitive skin.
To top off the holiday mood, it also has a natural coconut scent.
|Titanium dioxide, zinc oxide
|Dry skin, combination skin, oily skin
With more of a body butter consistency, you can imagine how nourishing Josie Maran’s Whipped Argan Oil is. Although it feels like and applies similar to body lotion, it still has mineral SPF 45.
To avoid leaving a white cast, rub it in thoroughly. It dries down well, making you sun-ready at a whim. This body butter is well suited for most skin types, including dry, combination, and oily.
|All skin types
Pacifica knows: it is possible to be both sun-safe and get a to-die-for tan. Thanks to its unique formula, the brand's Sun + Skincare Mineral Bronzing Coconut Glow Sunscreen is the ideal summer buy. In one product, you’ll be able to integrate sun-kissed glow with suncare.
With about 10 to 15 minutes of drying time, the spray function offers a quicker and more convenient application. (But careful: it stains!)
The Best Vegan Tinted Sunscreens
ILIA has quickly become a favorite of many, thanks to its lineup of clean face products. But, in addition to the brand's well-known foundations, it also has a face tint with an SPF of 40.
If you’re after a barely-there makeup look while maintaining sun protection, go for its Super Serum Skin Tint, as it’s more lightweight than its foundations. You’ll get a dewy finish, moisture, and a plumping effect all in one (without caking on additional products). Choose from a whopping 30 shades!
Key ingredients include niacinamide to help smooth skin texture and plant-based squalene for improving skin elasticity.
|All skin types, including problem skin
If you’re having trouble finding a tinted sunscreen that suits your skin tone, Tower 28 has you covered.
The brand has 14 shades, all with light to medium buildable coverage and a natural finish. It’s also good to even out any redness while maintaining your real skin tone.
The dewiness makes it comfortable to wear even during summer and it isn’t sticky or tacky when applied. The SunnyDays Sunscreen also has the stamp of approval from those with sensitivities. The combination of aloe vera and prickly pear softens and calms UV-stressed skin.
If you would rather cut your makeup regime to half the time, this tinted moisturizer can help you get a dewy, healthy glow without layers of foundation and concealer. With a water-infused and oil-free formula, expect this to be super lightweight yet hydrating.
Olive-derived squalene quenches dry skin, while mineral electrolytes replenish moisture. It’s an all-around hydration fest! Important note: It looks almost like a full foundation and blurs the skin, so it’s not recommended if you’re hoping to get a subtle, light coverage.
The Best Vegan Sunscreens
To summarize our top picks, our cruelty-free recommendations for the best vegan sunscreens are:
Face: REN Clean Screen Mineral SPF 30 Mattifying Face Sunscreen, Glossier Invisible Shield, Suntergrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30
Body: Coola Mineral Body Organic Sunscreen SPF 30, Josie Maran Whipped Aran Oil SPF 45 Body Butter, Pacifica Sun + Skincare Mineral Bronzing Sunscreen SPF 30
Tinted: ILLIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40, Tower 28 SunnyDays SPF 30 Tinted Sunscreen Foundation, bareMinerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30
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