• Expert Advice

The Hows and Whys of Natural Sunscreens

The Hows and Whys of Natural Sunscreens main image

With summer in full swing, now is as good a time as any to test out natural sunscreens. We’ve been very excited to see our favourite natural brands develop products that stay away from the white paint-like versions of bygone years. Here’s the lowdown on this summer must-have.

What is a natural sunscreen?

Natural sunscreens can also be referred to as physical blockers or mineral sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens absorb the sun’s UV rays before releasing them but, as you may have guessed, come with a cocktail of potentially harmful chemicals. Mineral sunscreens use ingredients such as titanium and zinc to deflect the sun’s rays. They offer a fuller spectrum of protection in addition to the benefit of being non-irritating and natural. Put simply: they work. Really well.

What to look for in a sunscreen

Broad spectrum: this refers to a product that protects against both types of rays – UVB and UVA. Any product using zinc oxide will have you covered. Put simply, UVB rays burn skin and UVA rays cause age-related damage. And yes, both kinds have been linked to skin cancer. SPF30+: The SPF number refers to the relative amount of protection you’re getting from UVB rays, so we go for anything over 30+. To put it in perspective, an SPF15+ product protects skin from about 93% of the rays; an SPF45+, about 97%. There is no sunscreen that blocks 100%.

Our recommendations

{Simple as That} Natural Sunscreen Lotion ($29.95) // This 100% natural lightweight formulation is perfect for layering under makeup. The beautiful satin-finish offers UVA and UVB protection using zinc oxide without feeling heavy on the skin. The green tea, rosehip oil and red raspberry seed oil also offer natural protection as well as nourishment. Wotnot Naturals Family Sunscreen ($29) // This moisturising sunscreen includes organic ingredients such as aloe vera and shea butter alongside zinc oxide to protect. There is a version perfect for babies too, although this product is gentle enough to use on the whole family. Drift Essentials Suncream ($29.95) // Using the latest in sunscreen technology, Drift Essentials have crafted this SPF50+ cream that is 4 hours’ water resistant, broad spectrum and packed with botanical aloe vera and Vitamin E to soothe the skin. Lux Aestiva Gypsy Oil ($28.95) // Use this divine oil to smother yourself head-to-toe while boosting your overall skin tone and texture. Although not a sunscreen, you can use this oil while basking in the sun to achieve a natural tan and it’s also beautiful to use post-swim to reinvigorate and moisturise.