The Best Nontoxic Face SPF – Sheer and Tinted

May 8, 2019

nontoxic face spfs

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Obviously we should be wearing face SPF year round but once spring hits, the hustle to find a daily nontoxic face SPF gets REAL. I’ve spent the past few months testing face SPFs so I wanted to detail out some nontoxic options that I’ve liked. But first, choose nontoxic!

How And Why To Choose Nontoxic When It Comes To SPF

It’s super important to choose nontoxic. First, because our bodies are our largest organ and anything we apply on our skin has direct access to our bloodstream (bypassing our livers and any internal filters). Don’t believe me? Think about a birth control patch, a nicotine patch or topical hormone meds for example. #directaccess

Check the Active Ingredients

Next, there are two ways sunscreens will protect you from the sun: mineral barriers or chemical barriers. We want to be sure to choose a sunscreen with a mineral barrier. On the label, under “active ingredients” this will look like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Conversely, conventional sunscreens will use chemicals like:

  • Oxybenzone: detected in nearly every American and found in mother’s milk; this chemical acts like estrogen in the body, alters sperm production in animals and is associated with endometriosis in women.
  • Octinoxate: also detected in mother’s milk, this chemical has hormone-like activity and is associated with reproductive system, thyroid and behavioral alterations in animals.
  • Homosalate: disrupts estrogen, androgen and progesterone.
  • Octocrylene: relatively high rates of skin allergy

More on the dangers of chemical-based sunscreens at EWG.

Check the Inactive Ingredients

After we’ve checked out the “active ingredients” we also want to scan the “inactive ingredients” to make sure they are void of any toxins too. You don’t have to be an ingredient guru to make an informed decision here. Scan the label for TOG’s top 5 ingredients to to avoid in your skincare and this will cut out most of the junk out there!

ingredients to avoid in skincare

Favorite Nontoxic Everyday Sheer Face SPFs

Basically there are two groups of face SPFs. Tinted and sheer. My personal preference is to go in with a sheer SPF and then layer my favorite foundation over it. There’s more control and I like being able to use my favorite foundation and/or BB Cream. Here are my top picks for sheer face SPF (in order).

#1 Honua

Stock Photo of Honua MALU SPF 30 Face Cream

Honua MALU Protecting Day Cream SPF 30 – This formula doubles as a moisturizer and is perfect on its own. This is my top pick because it’s so moisturizing and truly acts like a day cream. Reef safe. Uses non-nano, broad spectrum zinc as a mineral barrier. The only down side is at 1 oz, it’s really small.

#2 Kimberly Sayer

stock photo of Kimberly Sayer SPF 30 nontoxic face cream

Kimberly Sayer Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 – This cream is so light it will blow your mind. Great for those with oily or acne-prone skin or who don’t want to give up their daily skincare routine but are looking to add in some SPF. Smells really beautiful. Uses non-nano, broad spectrum zinc and titanium dioxide as a mineral barrier. And at 4 oz you get more bang for your buck here.

#3 Josh Rosebrook

stock photo of Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream SPF 30 – This formula works to repair, moisturize and protect. Unlike the others, this formula dries matte. It’s legit the opposite of greasy. So if you typically have dry skin, this may not be the best match for you or you may need to layer a moisturizer under it. It’s formulated crazy organic and it comes in two sizes; full size and travel. Uses non-nano, broad spectrum zinc as a mineral barrier. Great for men and women. No scent.

Nontoxic Tinted Face SPFs

Okay and for those who prefer an all-in-one tinted moisturizer with SPF, I’ve detailed out a few for you here to choose from! And yes, I’ve tried more but these are the ones I like the best.

Also as of May 2019, this right here is the latest and greatest when it comes to tinted barriers. It’s not technically an SPF but it’s formulated with zinc and titanium dioxide and it’s been working like one for me! It also works as a protectant from pollution, oxidation, dehydration, “light”, dryness and the proliferation of bad bacteria. It’s kind of like a little miracle. Good news/bad news. Bad news is it’s high end with a high price tag BUT the good news is you can discover it for less with Beauty Heroes this month. Here’s more…

#1 Suntegrity

Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen SPF 30

  • available in 5 shades: fair, light, golden light, medium and deep bronze
  • golden light oxidized and turned too orangey on me (see middle pic above)
  • light went on very light but blended in and was sheer enough to work with my olive skin (see far right pic above)
  • provides light to sheer coverage
  • depending on your skin type you could use this alone or layer over your moisturizer
  • does not settle into my laugh lines
  • leaves skin looking dewy and wears like a second skin
  • broad spectrum SPF 30
  • employs mineral barrier zinc oxide only – great for those who prefer to avoid titanium dioxide
  • fragrance free and has little to no smell
  • vegan
  • cruelty free

OVERALL: A crowd pleaser and easy to use. A true all-in-one product that will even out skin tone, moisturize and protect from the sun. This formula oxidized on me so I would recommend going a shade lighter than expected.

Shop Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen SPF 30 here!

Suntegrity golden light and light swatch
Suntegrity 5 in 1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen Swatches: Golden Light on the left and Light on the right

#2 ILIA

ILIA Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20

  • comes in 6 shades
  • shade 5 was a perfect match but it oxidized after a couple of minutes turning a bit orange on me (see above)
  • shade 3 seemed too light out of the tube but blended nicely with my coloring (shade 4 was out of stock at the time)
  • provides some evenness and light coverage. If you have a lot of redness, you will need to use a concealer too.
  • I like to apply a moisturizer first before applying.
  • looks fantastic on skin, really life-like and natural.
  • it does settle into my laugh lines as the day progresses – I tend to blend them out every time I go to the restroom
  • broad spectrum SPF 20
  • employs mineral barriers zinc oxide 12% and titanium dioxide .6%
  • fragrance free – with little to no smell. I can probably smell the zinc a bit.
  • packaged in recyclable plastic
  • no synthetic colors, 38% organic, vegan

OVERALL: A high preforming tinted moisturizer. I also found it to have the most versatile and realistic color matches. This one will provide more color coverage than most. This formula also oxidized on me so I would recommend going a shade lighter than normal.

Shop ILIA Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 here!

Ilia tinted moisturizer 3 and 5 swatched
Sheer Vivid Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20 swatched. Shade 3 on the left and shade 5 on the right.

#3 Josh Rosebrook

Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream Tinted Broad Spectrum SPF 30

  • very very light to sheer tint
  • available in one “all skin types” color
  • leaves skin looking and feeling dewy and alive
  • no smell + packaged in glass
  • this can be used as your moisturizer so no need to apply moisturizer before
  • broad-spectrum SPF 30
  • employs zinc oxide only as a mineral barrier – great for those who prefer to avoid titanium dioxide
  • super clean with most all ingredients being organic, wilcrafted and/or non-GMO – all which work with and support skin function

OVERALL: This no-frills formula is a minimalists’ dream. This provides very little tint and is perfect for someone who values ingredient quality but isn’t looking to cover a ton of redness.

Shop Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream Tinted Broad Spectrum SPF 30 here!

Josh Rosebrook Tinted Moisturizer swatch
Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream Tinted Broad Spectrum SPF 30 swatched.

Beach Days

One thing I want to add is all of the above are great for everyday wear but if you are headed out for a full-sun-8-hour-beach-day you are going to need something more. Trust me. For beach days I like:

stock photo of Raw Elements Daily Lifestyle Pump SPF 30+ nontoxic Face sunscreen

Raw Elements Daily Lifestyle SPF 30+ Pump: Put it this way, this is the lightest of the heaviest SPFs. Pumps out white and viscous but you can get it to rub into clear if you work at it. The thing is you need the white zinc to block the sun so a little “white cast” is okay at the beach! Uses non-nano, broad spectrum zinc oxide as a mineral barrier. Reef safe.

I also like this stick for my face and my kids. Super clean and effective.

And for my body, I like Suntegrity’s Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30. It smells incredible and is good for the whole family. And if you prefer a spray, this one is the cleanest I’ve found.

Also, this for lips.

What are you using these days?

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!

11 Comments

  1. Reply

    Jenny

    Awesome! New to clean beauty and dieing for a clean spf!
    I’ve used some in the past but got sunburned.? Not sure why. But thanks for the recommendations. I’ve tried a few samples but didn’t put moisturizer under. Will try that too.

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Hi Jenny! Totally! That has happened to me too. If you are going to be out in the sun for the day like at the beach or a cookout for hours, I would recommend something stronger than all of these like the ones I linked to at the bottom of my post : )

  2. Reply

    Gwen

    Discovered the Kari Gran 365 this winter while down south! I love it! Do not need much product to cover and it works fabulously as well as does not break me out. That has been my issue with sunscreen that you want to layer on most every day.
    Thank you!!!!

    1. Reply

      thisorganicgirl

      Oh this is an awesome testimonial Gwen! Thanks so much for sharing! I love 365 too, it’s so unique!

  3. Reply

    ANGELA HANSON

    Great post. I have been using earthwise beauty ferizad’s veil sun reflector. It is a zinc based powder you mix in your favorite facial serum. I have been mixing it with laurel’s sun damage repair for extra protection. So far no breakouts or irritation. Loving this combo!!

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Hi Angela! YES! I have both of those and they are truly notable. Fantastic combo : ) xo

  4. Reply

    Lori

    I currently use the Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream. I have to un-tinted version, but think I’ll try the tinted one next. I like that it’s a moisturizer and SPF in one and that it works for my acne prone skin. The one thing I don’t like is that I can never layer it because it pills with any of my oils or serums. Lisa, have you tried the Hynt Beauty Sun Protect? I love for days when it’s not too sunny, since it only has an SPF of 25.

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      Hi Lori! Interesting! Mine doesn’t pill on me. I agree and absolutely dislike when that happens. And I have tried the Hynt Sun Prep (I love how it wears and smells) but the mineral barrier in this formula is titanium dioxide only and I wish they added zinc as well to make it more of a full spectrum barrier. xo!

  5. Reply

    Margot

    Great post Lisa! Thanks for mentioning our favorite Kimberly Sayer Ultralight. Can’t help but also use it on my neck and shoulders too.

    1. Reply

      Lisa

      I agree and theres enough product so you don’t feel bad about using more!

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