Natural Face SPF Top Picks for 2020

April 30, 2020

The time has come to dish on my top picks for Face SPF in 2020. I’ve tried a ton and I’m not holding back so here we go. The best organic, natural everyday SPFs AND sport SPFs are listed in order here. But first, be sure to check out what to look for on SPF labels to get you up to speed!

best natural face spf

Beach Day V. Everyday Face SPF

Just to clarify, I grouped my picks into these two categories. Basically, there are two types of face SPF IMO. Everyday face SPFs that you can layer over your skincare or under your makeup. These formulas are typically lighter, easy to layer and ideally, will fold seamlessly into your skincare/makeup routine. These are user-friendly and are good at blocking out minimal sun exposure like if you are taking a walk or driving to work and back.

And then there are what I call Beach Day Face SPFs (more commonly known as Sport SPFs). These are typically heavier in constancy and are not easy to apply makeup over BUT they are CHAMP at blocking out the rays. Like when I’m setting out the beach blanket and about to clock in a solid 8 hours, I want something that is going to protect my face ALL DAY LONG.

Kate Noonan, Molecular Biologist and Cosmetic Chemist explains the difference between sport and everyday SPFs. “Thicker waxes actually boost SPF value. The interaction between certain emollients, especially the thicker ones, and zinc oxide (as well as titanium dioxide) have been known to increase SPF in a few studies.”

My personal natural SPF faves…

One point of clarification before we begin. I’m narrowing down this study to NON-TINTED face SPFs. I personally haven’t found a tinted SPF that trumps the wear and color-match of my favorite foundations. So I prefer to control my experience by layering in my fave SPF and topping that with my fave foundation to get the best functionality of both worlds. Okay, let’s dive in…

I’ve got top pic recommendations below, listed IN ORDER, for both everyday and sport face SPFs. Under each product you will also see an application video so you can get an idea of how each formula goes on. I’ve also broken these picks down by skin-type, included budget options AND drugstore picks for those days when you are on the fly.

Best Natural Face SPF

Everyday Natural Face SPF Top Picks

1. Fitglow Beauty Vita Shield SPF 30, 50 ml | $54

Fragrance-free, gluten-free, vegan, reef safe, USA made

Vita Shield is my #1 top pick for everyday face SPF. It’s incredibly lightweight, easy to layer over skincare and/or under make and folds seamlessly into an established skincare/makeup routine. I love wearing this over my face oil. Pumps out white, rubs into clear, dries down to a demi-matte finish. It uses non-nano zinc oxide as a mineral barrier and the inactive ingredients here are off the charts with superstars like antioxidant-rich Sunflower Oil to boost skin’s defense against free radical damage while improving moisture retention and elasticity. The only downside here is this is packaged in plastic. I would love to see it in glass. A seamless experience.

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Here’s what one reader had to say on Instagram. I get messages like this all the time!

2. Honua’s MALU SPF 30 – 30 ml | $42

Reef-safe, cruelty free, vegan, gluten free, USA made

A very close runner up, MALU is also a face SPF dream come true. This formula is truly a moisturizer and SPF all in one. I find it to be a little more moisturizing than Fitglow’s. For me, it can be worn alone as a last later that satisfies both SPF needs and moisturizer needs. Pumps out white, rubs into clear, leaves a dewy, radiant finish. Does not dry skin out AT ALL. It uses non-nano zinc oxide as a mineral barrier and the inactive ingredients are off the charts here too.

Malu smells suggestively tropical like how I would imagine one of those big Hawian flowers to smell. This scent is light and not overpowering. Packaged in miron glass housed in a compostable outer box. The only downside here is at 1 oz, it’s a little small and the pump is not good at getting every last bit. I’m down the end of mine and I need to use a spatula to extract product. This was my last application.  A gorgeous experience.

3. Josh Rosebrook’s Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30 – 60 ml | $85

Vegan, no animal testing, USA made, fragrance free, reef safe and gluten free

Josh’s Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30 is the epitome of organic sunscreen: an Organic Girl’s dream come true. Everything that can be organic/certified organic or wildcrafted IS. Uncoated, non-nano, high micron zinc oxide is combined with anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, fatty acids and phytonutrients proven to firm, reduce redness and assist the skin in regeneration.

This pumps out white and dries down to a demi-matte. Depending on the day, I can wear this alone as my moisturizer or I can layer it over my face oil. Doesn’t make your face sweat. Unisex. Packaged in opaque white glass. The only down side its this formula has pilled up on me once or twice. I am classifying this experience as the “every ingredient done right” experience.

BUDGET OPTION: Acure Radically Rejuvenating SPF Day Cream 30, 50 ml | $14

Fragrance free, Leaping Bunny Certified, Recyclable packaging

Acure’s Radically Rejuvenating SPF Day Cream is a beautiful everyday formula – especially for the price! This formula squeezes out light and thin and assimilates almost on demand which you can see here in the video. Leaves skin feeling full and plump but not greasy. I can wear this alone or over a face oil. The downside is the breathability is NOT seamless. It does sit a tiny bit heavy so if you go on a walk and start to schvitz, it will cause the formula to melt a tad. But if you are using this as your everyday moisturizer to and from work, it could be a great fit.

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Natural SPF recommendations by skin type

Additional natural face SPF options I’ve tried

Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF 30 – A little too heavy/white for every day.

Farizad’s Veil SPF 30+ Powder – A great option to mix into your own favorite face oil/moisturizer.

Kari Gran 365 SPF 28 – A great option for very dry skin.

Hynt Beauty SUN PREP Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – This uses titanium dioxide only. No zinc which is a problem for me. More here on that.

Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 – Overall I Iove the user experience here however this formula includes emulsifying wax which is concerning to me. More on that here.

Ursa Major Force Field Daily Defense Lotion SPF 18 – A seamless application. At SPF 18 there is not as much protection as an SPF 30.

Kypris Pot of Shade SPF 30 – This whipped soufflé melts on contact. A face oil + SPF all in one.

Best Natural Sport SPF

Natural Beach Day/Sport Face SPFs

1. Solara Suncare Time Traveler Ageless Daily Face Sunscreen, 1.7 fl oz | $42

Fragrance free, USA made, vegan, cruelty free, reef friendly

Okay, Time Traveler is borderline everyday SPF/sport SPF but overall it sits a tad fuller so I’m going to classify it here as a top beach day pick which pretty much knocks every other contender out of the ring so feel free to stop reading after this pick – LOL.

What really sets Time Traveler apart is its focus on skincare first. Peptides, ceramides, antioxidants and multi-functional actives to help address past photodamage and plump the appearance of fine lines while also helping to prevent future damage from digital + environmental aggressors. And, it’s like oh yeah…and there is non-nano zinc oxide too for broad spectrum SPF 30 protection.

Time Traveler squeezes out white and truly rubs in clear. It’s a pillowy, almost whipped formula that starts to melt on contact. Sits full and is the slightest bit tacky on the skin. Not drying at all. Surprisingly, it’s possible to layer makeup over the formula. The only downside is sometimes this formula separates like you can see in the application video. Also, I will be testing it this summer on beach days to see if it can really hold up! This is a one-size-fits-all experience.

2. Raw Elements Lifestyle 30+ Pump, 2.75 oz | $19.99

Water resistant, reef safe, biodegradable, non-GMO project verified, Natural Products Association Certified, USA made, 1% for the Planet, cruelty-free

Raw Elements Lifestyle is a “lightweight version” of their original formula but don’t be mistaken, this formula is THAAACK. It uses non-nano zinc, pumps out white and rubs mostly into clear. You may still see a bit of a white cast. It’s heavier and does not dry down matte. Sits dewy and glowy.

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This is a full coverage, effective sunscreen for the beach or major sun exposure days. It held up all day for me on the beaches of Barcelona, Spain. Love the mess-free, plastic-free tube. (They have a tinted version of this too that I want to try as well). I love how responsible and eco friendly this company is with their packaging and formulations. I feel so protected wearing Raw Elements Lifestyle. This is a 100% responsible experience.

3. Suntegrity Mineral Sun Stick SPF 30, 1.62 oz | $38

Water resistant, NSF Certified Organic, USA made, “vegetarian and cruelty free,” reef friendly

Love a good stick. Suntegrity’s is easy to apply and transfers well. Sometimes sticks firm up and they are hard to transfer but this one is like velvet. I also prefer this formula because it dries down almost matte. It’s hard to find a sport SPF that is not greasy but this is pretty close. I love that I can layer my preferred face oil underneath. This is not fragrance free. It has a hint of the Suntegrity signature orange scent. Leaves a bit of a white cast. This is a 100% easy experience.

Here are some additional options I’ve tried:

*All of these have a “white cast” or are a little white even when rubbed in. But that’s kinda par for the course with sport SPFs and not necessarily a bad thing.

Drugstore Natural Sunscreen for on-the-go

Sometimes I just need a sunscreen STAT whether it’s I ran out unexpectedly or it’s the first day of the season or we are on vacation or whatever the reason. Be sure to download the 6 sunscreens I reach for at Target via my Resource Library. These aren’t necessarily face SPFs but unlike Blue Lizard, Aveeno, Neutrogena and Alba, they are mineral-based and what I consider to be clean and will do in a pinch.

What’s your natural go-to face SPF this season?

Xo, lisa

By Lisa

Lisa is the founder of This Organic Girl. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

8 Comments

  1. Reply

    Ana Silva

    I’ve been using Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage Tinted Sunscreen SPF 30. It’s a bit gritty but I like the ingredients, the packaging (glass), the price isn’t too bad, and how my skin looks and feels after it’s applied. It’s best applied right after your face oil to help it go on smooth. And even though it’s tinted, it’s not like it covers your face up. It just doesn’t leave a white cast. Because I never use makeup, this is a great option to even my skin just a bit. I was using Pratima Skincare NEEM ROSE FACE SUNSCREEN SPF30. It’s not tinted and applies nicely. It has minimal powerful ingredients to include Neem oil. This was a staple for me for a long time. And it comes in a nice metal dispenser and it’s very affordable. It’s a great option for men. Unfortunately it goes out of stock and it’s too much to ship to Hawaii so I decided to try another one. Between these two I started using Darphin Intral Environmental Lightweight Shield Broad Spectrum Spf 50. I loved it. It had been the best face sunblock I ever tried. I read an article how Blake Lively used it and decided to try it. It is expensive for the size. But I stopped using it mostly after reading that Titanium Dioxide isn’t good for your. Darphin uses both titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The rest of the ingredients aren’t great either, but man does it work! I have tried Josh Rosebrook’s tinted sunscreen and wanted to love it but it was too greasy for me. It left me shiny and I feel like sometimes I would get tiny little breakouts here and there. And I even tried it several times. I always finish my products before moving on to a new one though. If you check out Darphin, let me know what you think.

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Awesome, thanks so much. Will do! Also, I think you will really love Fitglow’s SPF 30! xo

  2. Reply

    Dana

    My favourite is Devita, but their new formula isn;t available quite yet!

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Thanks for the heads up! xo

  3. Reply

    Debra Collins

    Have you checked out Kinship? I think it is a fairly new line with only a few products. Their sunscreen is getting great reviews! Would love to hear your opinion!

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Okay! I just looked at them and right away I see phenoxyethanol which I personally do not promote. There are better preservatives available to use these days! xo

  4. Reply

    Shannon

    I think Fitglow Vita Shield sunscreen has Polysorbate 60 in the ingredient list. Isn’t this something we should avoid?

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Hi Shannon! Thanks so much for this question! Typically, we can assume Polysorbate 60 (and most polysorbates) are contaminated with 1,4 dioxane; a known human carcinogen. However (as with most things in life) there are exceptions. The polysorbate 60 Fitglow uses goes through an extra step to strip it of any 1,4 dioxane byproduct. Here is their official statement: “The Polysorbate 60 we use is a co – ingredient to ensure that the ingredients are stable and blended thoroughly plus make the lotion glide smoothly over the surface of the skin for even distribution of the zinc oxide ; the component necessary to block UV rays. In the making of Vita Shield SPF30 we use less then 1 % of Ultra Pure Polysorbate 60 which is goes through extra purification processes that strip it of 1,4 dioxane / ethylene and is in compliance with California’s Prop 65.” Hope this helps! xo, Lisa

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