protect your beach bod!

photographed by xavier donate

great body sunscreens have been difficult for us to find, because they either are comedogenic, unpleasantly greasy, highly fragranced, or leave the skin very white (due to mineral particles present in physical-spf formulations).  keep in mind that we prefer physical sunscreens (vs. chemical – click here to read sunscreen 101) for their more stable protective qualities.  look below for the few body sunscreens we’ve found that look safe, that we’ve just started testing.  until we find and start carrying our favorites, you should be able to find these in your local stores.

keep in mind that, like with any and all of our recommendations, ensure you are buying the exact same brand & model of product we specify, and double check the ingredient listings to make sure you are getting the same acne-safe product we’re talking about.  often times manufacturers will have several ‘models’ of the same product with very similar packaging and names, and/or will have the same product name + label, but will have a different ingredient list.

i personally am a fan of spray sunscreens, which allow for the easiest and fastest application.  not to mention, they are refreshingly cool upon application which is nice when you’re someplace hot! and the good news is, so long as aerosol cans are completely empty, they are recyclable.  however, if these cans are partially full, you’ll have to treat them as garbage – so use up every bit and recycle them!  also keep in mind that if traveling on a plane, you will likely have to check your bag if you have a pressurized can such as these, but i’ve successfully carried a travel-sized aerosol can of hair styling mousse with no problem several times.  it just depends on how fussy your TSA agent is, i suppose.

we’ve also included a few non-aerosol spf’s that we’ve tried, along with a few promising (but not yet tested by us) options at the bottom of this post.

ready?  let’s go!

kiss my face all natural kid's defense spf30

brand: kiss my face
product name: all natural kids defense mineral spf 30 continuous spray lotion
type of sunscreen: physical
ingredient listing: active ingredients: titanium dioxide 7.8% (sunscreen)
inactive ingredients: actinidia chinensis fruit extract (kiwi), aloe barbadensis leaf juice, alumina, bentonite, butyloctyl salicylate, caprylhydroxamic acid, caprylyl glycol, carthamus tinctorius seed oil (safflower), cetearyl alcohol, ethylhexylglycerin, coco glucoside, fragrance (natural), garcinia mangostana fruit extract (mangosteen), glycerin, helianthus annuus seed oil (sunflower), heptyl undecylenate, lycium barbarum extract (goji berry), methyl dihydrabietate, punica granatum extract (pomegranate), silica, tocopherol (vitamin e), water
average cost: $15-20
review: on a trip to palm springs, i brought this to test out on myself, but also a family with a 3 year old child.  we all agreed the application was really nice (refreshing cooling sensation) and quick (great for toddlers).

it did spray on white (as expected), but i found that even after immediately rubbing it in, it would still leave a ghastly cast on the skin.  so, for optimal cosmetic purposes, you’d want to spray one body part at a time, then rub it in thoroughly and quickly, before moving onto the next body part.  if you left it on the skin too long without rubbing it in, it’d be really hard to massage in and you’d have SPF splotches all over.

the whitish cast rubbed off onto my bathing suit, so i don’t think this formula would be good for vain sunbathers.  it also was very difficult to wash off, even in the shower with soap.  you’ll definitely need a washcloth to scrub this stuff off!  so, shopping at the outlets afterwards kind of sucked; i couldn’t try on anything black or colored, without leaving this SPF residue on the clothing.

granted, this stubborn whitish cast + residue could be a good thing because you’d know the SPF is still on and protecting you, during active sports (like swimming, or sweating).

pros: easy to find (any store that stocks kiss my face, from walgreens to whole foods), because it’s really hard to wash off you know it’s still on your skin protecting you, and it’s more obvious to see if you need to reapply
cons: after it dried it was still kind of sticky, even after rubbing it on quickly it still left a white cast, and because it’s really hard to wash off your skin can still look ashy or the residue can rub off onto your clothing

verdict: it’s ok.  does the job, but not the most elegant or my favorite.  but it didn’t seem to break me out, so that’s good!

 

garden goddess everyday spray mineral spf30

brand: garden goddess
product name: everyday natural continuous spray (spf 30)
type of sunscreen: physical
ingredient listing: active: titanium dioxide 6.4%, zinc oxide 6.0% inactive: aloe vera*, camellia sinensis (green tea), caprylic/capric triglyceride (derived from coconut oil), caprylyl/capryl glucoside, glycerin*, glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl stearate citrate, glyceryl undecylenate, helianthus annus (sunflower) oil*, lavandula angustifolia (lavender) oil, lecithin (sunflower), polyhydroxystearic acid, radish root ferment filtrate, rubus idaeus (red raspberry) seed oil, stearic acid, tocopherol (vitamin e), xanthan gum (*certified organic)
average cost: $20
review: same great, quick and refreshingly cool spray application like all aerosol spray SPF’s, but this one seemed to massage into the skin much better than the kiss my face one.

disclaimer: i’ve only tried this on my arms and legs, i haven’t “officially” tried it poolside, with a swimsuit on.  but, i didn’t seem to have so much of a hard time with it rubbing off onto my clothing like i did with the kiss my face one.  maybe because i just sprayed on less, or because it truly does spread across the skin more easily?  i will update this post as soon as i can get myself somewhere next to a pool to properly test this out 😉

pros: seemed to massage in way better than the kiss my face brand, smells like lavender
cons: may be a bit harder to find.  i found this at real foods on stanyan, but their website says it’s available at REI, scarlet sage (on valencia), rainbow grocery, and whole foods.

verdict: it’s a winner!

goddess garden sport spray spf

brand: garden goddess
product name: sport natural continuous spray (spf 30)
type of sunscreen: physical
ingredient listing: active: titanium dioxide 6.4%, zinc oxide 6.0% inactive: aloe vera*, camellia sinensis (green tea), caprylic/capric triglyceride (derived from coconut oil), caprylyl/capryl glucoside, glycerin*, glyceryl caprylate, glyceryl stearate citrate, glyceryl undecylenate, helianthus annus (sunflower) oil*, lecithin (sunflower), polyhydroxystearic acid, radish root ferment filtrate, rubus idaeus (red raspberry) seed oil, stearic acid, tocopherol (vitamin e), xanthan gum (*certified organic)
average cost: $18 for 3.4 oz, $20 for 6oz
review: same review as the ‘everyday’ formula, but this one seemed a bit stickier upon application, and even after letting it dry.  it’s probably this way, because it’s more waterproof than the ‘everyday’ formula.

disclaimer: i’ve only tried this on my arms and legs, i haven’t “officially” tried it poolside, with a swimsuit on.  but, i didn’t seem to have so much of a hard time with it rubbing off onto my clothing like i did with the kiss my face one.  maybe because i just sprayed on less, or because it truly does spread across the skin more easily?  i will update this post as soon as i can get myself somewhere next to a pool to properly test this out 😉

pros: seemed to massage in way better than the kiss my face brand, smells like lavender
cons: may be a bit harder to find.  i found this at real foods on stanyan, but their website says it’s available at REI, scarlet sage (on valencia), rainbow grocery, and whole foods.

verdict: it’s a winner!  the slightly more stickiness of this formula versus the ‘everyday’ isn’t enough to deter me.


sawyer stay put spf 30sawyer stay put spf 50


brand: 
sawyer
product name: stay put sunscreen (spf 30 and spf 50)
type of sunscreen: SPF 30: chemical, SPF 50: chemical & physical
SPF 30 ingredient listing:
active ingredients: homosalate 10.0%, octinoxate 7.5%, octisalate 5.0%, oxybenzone 4.0% inactive ingredients: acrylates/c10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, carbomer, cetyl alcohol, dea-cetyl phosphate, dmdm hydantoin (and) iodopropynyl butylcarbamate, hydrogenated polyisobutene, stearic acid, triethanolamine, water.
SPF 50 ingredient listing:
active ingredients: octinoxate 7.5%, octisalate 5.0%, oxybenzone 6.0%, titanium dioxide 2.6%  inactive ingredients: aloe barbadensis leaf juice, dicaprylyl maleate, neopentyl glycol diethylhexanoate (and) neopentyl glycol diisostearate, octyldodecyl neopentanoate, peg-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, phenoxyethanol (and) methyl paraben (and) ethylparaben (and) butylparaben (and) propyl paraben (and) isobutylparaben, poly ethylene, poly quaternium 37 (and) propylene glycol dicaprylate/dicaprate (and) ppg-1 trideceth-6, water
average cost: $12 for 8oz
review: this brand advertises that one application is all you need, but i didn’t trust it.  so, i applied only twice during a day on the river a couple of years ago, and i didn’t get burned, or break out.

a few weeks ago, i sent sS’er EGA on vacation with a tube of this SPF.  her skin is pretty acne-prone, so it’ll be interesting to see what she says about it when she gets back from vacation.  we’ll update this post when she updates us!

pros: very affordable, available at REI and cabela’s by mail order, applies invisibly leaving no residue on the skin, or clothing
cons: it’s got chemical SPF in it, which isn’t terrible (depending on how EPA-ish you are) but it’s also not the best (since we prefer physical SPF’s).

verdict: for those that don’t mind chemical SPF, this is a great option.  it’s definitely better than not wearing any SPF at all!  and the price point is awesome, so you can share it with all your friends and be their vanguard against sunburns.

sS spf's

and of course, our very own tried and tested SPF’s we sell in house.  we recommend these to clients all the time for their faces, necks and chests.  they can also work really well for the body, in only in a pinch in case you forgot to get some while on vacation.

 

PROMISING SPF’s – NOT TESTED BUT SAFE LOOKING!

here are two other sunscreens by kiss my face that look safe, but we haven’t yet tried.  they are very similar to a version we used to carry, that has since been reformulated.  we have yet to try these two new formulas:

KMF sport spf50


brand:
kiss my face
product name:
sunspray lotion spf50
type of sunscreen: chemical and physical
ingredient listing: 
active ingredients:
octinoxate 7.50%, homosalate 5.00%, octisalate 5.00%, avobenzone 4.00%, zinc oxide 1.70% other ingredients: acrylates copolymer, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, cetearyl alcohol, cetearyl olivate, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, dimethicone, ethylhexylglycerin, eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil, glycerin, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, lecithin, phenoxyethanol, polysorbate 20, sorbitan olivate, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), water, zemea (corn) propanediol

KMF sun spray lotion spf 30

brand: kiss my face
product name:
 sunspray lotion spf50
type of sunscreen: chemical and physical
ingredient listing: 
active ingredients: octinoxate 7.50%, homosalate 5.00%, octisalate 5.00%, avobenzone 4.00%, zinc oxide 1.70%  other ingredients: acrylates copolymer, aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, cetearyl alcohol, cetearyl olivate, daucus carota sativa (carrot) root extract, dimethicone, ethylhexylglycerin, eucalyptus globulus (eucalyptus) leaf oil, glycerin, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, lecithin, phenoxyethanol, polysorbate 20, sorbitan olivate, tocopheryl acetate (vitamin e), water, zemea (corn) propanediol

 

please let us know if you’ve found an acne-safe body SPF that you like, we’d love to share it with other sS’ers if you’ve got a favorite!

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