Natural Sunscreen for Families

The only thing harder than wrestling your kids into layers of snow gear may be slathering on sunscreen. But a few minutes of wiggling is worth getting to enjoy your summer burn-free. We’ve been busy testing out different types of natural sunscreens for families and are ready to start sharing our thoughts with you.

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Our Favorite Natural Sunscreens for Families

The list below is one we are adding to constantly as we test and learn about different options. Also be sure to check out our posts on best sun hats and best sunglasses for kids for more sun protection options.

Think Baby

We LOVE ThinkBaby sunscreen. ThinkBaby is a non-nano zinc oxide sunscreen that is paraben, phthalate, PABA, and 1,4 dioxane free. It provides broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection and “does not contain any known reef harmful chemicals.”

The tube is made out of BPA free plastic.

Think Baby Lotion

This sunscreen was easy to apply and the citrus-scent was a hit with adults and kids alike. It rubbed in smoothly and didn’t leave skin with a sticky residue. Unlike most mineral sunscreens, this one won’t leave you looking like a ghost (or at least, less of a ghost than normal).

Testers felt it offered a good protection even after the 80 minutes that it is recommended for.

The ThinkBaby, ThinkSport, and Thinkport Kids are all the same formula, but have different scents. So don’t worry about the name, and pick whichever one smells best to you.

Environmental Watch Group Rating: 1

Bottom Line: Think Baby is a great bet if you are looking to match ease with efficacy. The price point is also more affordable than many other mineral sunscreens.

California Baby

California Baby is another fantastic sunscreen option. The active ingredient in California Baby is titanium dioxide, California Baby sunscreen is free of oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, octioxate, Vitamin A, and retinyl palmitate.

California Baby says their “sunscreens are coral reef safe.” California Baby is also very upfront about when their sunscreens expire (yup, sunscreen expires. Go ahead and throw that years old tube in the back of the minivan away).

One of our testers finds that she is allergic to most sunscreens and had no issue with this one!

Super Sensitive

This sunscreen requires a little extra time rubbing it in to avoid any white streaks in your skin, but is effective even at high altitudes. There is no added fragrance, but it still has a pleasant outdoor flowery scent that’s not too overwhelming.

Environmental Watch Group Rating: 1

Summer Blend

The summer blend is scented with citronella and lemongrass essential oils. As my son put it, “it reminds me of being at the cabin!” I really liked the smell, but after a few minutes my son thought it was a bit strong. This sunscreen is very thick, so a little goes a long way. It does take a little more effort to rub into skin however.

Environmental Watch Group Rating: 2

Bottom Line: This is a very effective sunscreen that some may enjoy, but the summer blend may turn off kids who are averse to strong smells.

Waxhead Sunscreen Options

Waxhead sunscreens are reef safe, natural sunscreens that use “only non-nano, uncoated, French process Zinc Oxide, 100% certified organic edible-grade inactive ingredients, and no petrochemicals” that provide protection across the UVA/UVB spectrum.

Waxhead sunscreens use very few ingredients, and skip products that make other sunscreens smoother and easier to spread on.

By sticking to the basics – zinc oxide, coconut oil, beeswax – Waxhead sunscreens can provide peace of mind to parents who aren’t comfortable not knowing what is going on their baby’s skin.

Peppermint Lip Balm

This was easy to apply and smelled great. Everyone who tested it was a fan. It will give you a white lipstick look, so be prepared to rock the teenage lifeguard look.

Environmental Watch Group rating: 1

Baby Waxhead

Our testers loved that this sunscreen was designed to be used for babies ages 0 and up (although be sure to check with your pediatrician), but didn’t love the scent and found it was difficult to apply.

Environmental Watch Group rating: 1

Vitamin D Sunscreen

The Vitamin D Sunscreen rubs on much smoother than the field tin. It has Vitamin D mixed in it – helping to counter the Vitamin D absorption that is prevented by sunscreen. This sunscreen is odorless and safe to use on babies 6 months and up.

Environmental Watch Group rating: 1

Waxhead Field Tin

True to its name, the waxhead tin is very waxy. But it is plastic (and sunflower oil!) free, which is great if you’re looking to avoid those.

Bottom line: If your kids have a tough time sitting still for sunscreen application, choose one of the options in a tube. But if you like knowing the ingredients in your sunscreen, you will love Waxhead’s simplicity.

Other team favorites

These are some more of our teams tried and true favorites.


You can buy Supergoop! in a huge tub – perfect for families who fly through sunscreen in the summer.

Environmental Watch Group rating: 4

Beautycounter Sunscreen

Beautycounter is a leader in cruelty-free, natural beauty products. This sunscreen is made with non-nano zinc oxide. It doesn’t leave white streaks, but still protects against UVA and UVB rays. The price is a bit steep, so you may want to save it for your face instead of full-body applications.

Environmental Watch Group rating: 1


If you or your kids struggle with eczema, you are already familiar with Vanicream. But you might not have known they have sunscreen too. Vanicream is dermatologist recommended and free of dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, other preservatives.

Environmental Watch Group rating: 1-2

Banana Boat

Several of Banana Boat’s stick and mineral sunscreens get surprisingly low EWG ratings. If you’ve got active kids, we love the Ultra Sport stick. I also would recommend the Kids Sport stick, and Simply Protect Baby stick. (If ingredients matter to you, be sure to do look them up on EWG’s website -ratings vary for different products).

Environmental Watch Group rating: 2 (for those recommended)

Sun Bum

Sun Bum spreads easily, smells nice, and doesn’t leave you pasty white all over. All varieties are vegan, and there are mineral and non-mineral options.

Environmental Watch Group rating: 2 for mineral options, 4 for the one pictured

Natural Sunscreen for Families: Sunscreen Application Tip

During our testing we learned a tip that can change the way you apply natural sunscreens. If you’ve ever ended up with goopy, unevenly applied sunscreen, try this instead.

Apply a small row of dots on arms, legs, or around the face.

Then rub the dots together – you will get a much more even coverage this way, and save time too.

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  • Jackie is a coffee-lover, writer and a mom of three young children living in Helena, MT. She thought that hiking might help tame her children’s wild spirits, and co-leads a Hike it Baby branch. All that hiking only made her crew wilder, but in a good way. Before kids she enjoyed reading, knitting and baking, but now she enjoys making it to bedtime.

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