Best Zero Waste Sunscreen To Protect Skin


Do you want to protect your skin from sun rays and don’t contribute to environmental pollution at the same time? That is definitely quite thoughtful of you!

Applying sunscreen on summer days, especially when you are out beaching, is quite mandatory to keep your skin protected from harmful sun rays. However, working on your promise of keeping the environment safe is equally important.

Therefore, getting your hands on plastic-free sunscreen that not only comes in recyclable or reusable packaging but is also free of harmful chemicals is quite essential.

With hundreds of options available in the market, selecting the right sunscreen might get overwhelming for you. In this article, we have covered the best zero-waste sunscreen along with a buying guide to make your choices precise and your final decision easier.

The Six Best Zero Waste Sunscreens

Here are the six zero waste sunscreens that have excellent features to provide you with the protection and benefits that you must be looking for:

1-     EiR NYC Surf Mud Sunscreen

Best Zero Waste Sunscreen

The EiR NYC Surf mud sunscreen has made it to the top as the best zero waste sunscreen SPF 50, thanks to the features and benefits it has to offer. It provides extra-strong protection against UVA and UVB sun rays and is non-chemical. The formula is made using an excellent nourishing blend that consists of fatty acids and antioxidants and keeps your skin healthy, hydrated, and glowing.

The product is made water repellent by beeswax, which works as a natural barrier and seals the moisture in your skin. The smooth consistency glides easily on your skin and stays the whole time you are outdoors, whether you are on the roads or ocean surfing. The ingredients used are cruelty-free, 100% natural, chemical-free and paraben-free, and the packaging is also recyclable.

The product is easy to use since it comes in a stick form, and all you need to do is apply it directly onto the face and blend it with your fingers. The chocolate scented finish ensures you get the protection from the sun that you expect for more extended periods, and the ingredients are entirely safe for kids and adults.

  • Pros
  • Strong protection against UVA and UVB.
  • Reef and ocean safe.
  • Water repellent with a smooth consistency.
  • Made using 100% ingredients.
  • No plastic is used in packaging.
  • Thick consistency gives a peachy/white skin coverage.

2-     Stream2Sea Reef-safe sunscreen

Best Zero Waste SunscreenSitting conveniently on the surface of your skin, this Stream2Sea sunscreen contains organic ingredients that are beneficial for your skin. When applied, it successfully works as a physical shield standing firmly against the attack of UVA and UVB rays from the sun. This makes it a lot better than chemical sunscreens that may have harsh chemicals and end up absorbing in your pores.

What makes it stand out among competitors is that a small amount of this sunscreen can provide you with the protection you are looking for. It is purposely made quite dense and non-greasy so that even a tiny portion of it can easily cover your skin evenly. All you need to do is to rub the pea-sized quantity in between your palms, apply it on your face or the area you want to cover and rub it well for proper application.

If you are diving or ocean surfing, this sunscreen can be great for you since it can work as a water-resistant coating for almost 80 minutes. No matter if you have sensitive skin, the sunscreen is safe to use for your face and body and helps prevent the after sun irritation and skin burns to a considerable level.

  • The formula is entirely reef-safe.
  • A small amount is enough to do the job.
  • The packaging is made of sugarcane resin.
  • Tested to be safe for humans, salt water, and freshwater, marine life.
  • Free of harsh ingredients.
  • It doesn’t rub in well.

3-     MANDA Organic Sun paste

Best Zero Waste SunscreenThis plastic-free sunscreen has caught our attention for all the benefits it has in store for you. The SPF 50 formula of this sun paste is specifically invented, keeping in mind the athletes, divers, swimmers, hikers, adventurers, or anyone who loves to be outside or inside the water for more extended periods. It is a thick paste and works as a physical sunscreen, and it stays on for quite a long time period for you to enjoy it to the fullest without worrying about reapplying it again and again.

The unique packaging it comes in has made it to the list of best zero waste sunscreen. The packaging of MANDA organic sun paste is made using bamboo and tin. Not only is it recyclable, but it can also be reused by the consumers for storing any of their goodies like headphones, coins, or any other stuff that can easily fit in.

It uses all the natural ingredients, including Thanaka, shea butter, and coconut oil. Thanaka is rich in antioxidants, and it protects your skin from the sun along with nourishing your skin. Shea butter is known for its healing and anti-inflammation properties and is excellent for soothing, conditioning, and toning your skin. Coconut oil makes it smell amazing and moisturizes your skin like never before.

  • Lesser footprint on the environment.
  • No harsh chemicals are present in this product.
  • Antioxidant and provides high sun protection.
  • The paste stays for quite a long time.
  • Reusable and recyclable packaging.
  • It is a bit pricey for 15 grams quantity.

4-     SurfDurt Original Sunblock

Best Zero Waste SunscreenConsisting of nine tested bio-based ingredients, it is one of the best zero waste sunscreens you can get your hands on. The combination of the ingredients makes a thick paste that is excellent for providing the protection you are looking for and replenishing your skin. Additionally, the ingredients are entirely safe to use on the gentlest skin, and you can use them for your kids too.

The SurfDurt Original Sunblock is an SPF 30 sunscreen and provides a broad spectrum by acting as a visible barrier between the sun rays and your skin. Not only this, the sunscreen is made to last through all the sports, either in or out of the water, and it is completely sweat and water-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about your skin when you are inside the ocean. What makes it one of our favorites is the fact that it is manufactured using renewable energy, so not only the usage of this product is environmentally friendly but also the whole manufacturing process.

It is a certified organic mineral sunscreen with all the bio-based ingredients combined with 23% of non-nano zinc oxide in order to nourish your skin. All the bio-based ingredients, environmentally friendly packaging, and renewable energy manufacturing make it suitable and beneficial for the environment and oceans along with your skin.

  • Water-resistant up to 80 minutes.
  • It is cruelty-free and reef-safe.
  • Solar-powered manufacturing for the lowest environmental impact.
  • Includes food-derived bio-based ingredients.
  • Suitable for adults and kids both.
  • It is a little dry and doesn’t spread easily.

5-     Little Hands Hawaii Sunscreen Butter

Best Zero Waste SunscreenComing in tin packaging, this is a plastic-free sunscreen and helps in protecting your skin from not only the sun but also the oceans and environment altogether. Being suitable for combination skin types, the main active ingredient of this sunscreen butter by Little Hands Hawaii is vitamin E which provides moisture to your skin and softens it.

The sunscreen is SPF 35+ and comes with the label of the broad spectrum, which means it is capable of protecting your skin from harmful sun rays like UVA and UVB. It can quickly provide you full coverage and works as a water-resistant layer on your skin for almost 80 minutes. The ingredients are picked from Hawaii and are completely safe from preservatives or chemicals, so you don’t need to worry about any adverse allergic reaction to your skin.

Additionally, what makes it one of our top picks is the fact that it is made using non-nano zinc oxide, which is the only ingredient that is safe for coral reefs. Using this product, you can sit back and relax since you are not contributing to sending harmful chemicals to the ocean and are protecting your skin at the same time.

  • Locally sourced and organic ingredients are used.
  • Completely ocean and reef-safe.
  • The sunscreen is biodegradable, and the packaging is reusable.
  • Safe for humans and marine life.
  • Free of chemicals and preservatives.
  • N/A.

6-     Raw Elements Certified Natural Sunscreen

Best Zero Waste SunscreenSuitable for the face and body, this sunscreen by Raw Elements SPF 30+ comes with broad-spectrum protection. When applied, the shield can last up to 80 minutes on your face and body and doesn’t sting your eyes. The moisturizing and gentle formula used to make this sunscreen is quite suitable to be used on a regular basis for people belonging to every age group without worrying about allergic reactions on the skin.

This product is an organic and certified mineral sunscreen that contains absolutely no chemicals and is filled with nourishing antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins to keep your skin protected from environmental exposure. It is soy-free, nut-free, and gluten-free to make sure no one goes through allergic reactions due to the presence of these ingredients.

The Raw Elements company is sustainable and committed and provides its products in completely recyclable, compostable, plastic-free, and reusable packaging. It contains no harmful ingredients like octanoate or oxybenzone, which makes it reef-safe since both these ingredients are responsible for bleaching the coral reefs. The sunscreen is completely safe for the planet since it is biodegradable, cruelty-free, non-GMO, and reef-free and comes in recyclable packaging. This helps you protect your skin from dangerous sun rays and the environment with a lesser carbon footprint.

  • The sunscreen is completely safe to use.
  • It smells quite pleasant.
  • Capable of providing broad-spectrum protection.
  • It can easily last up to 80 minutes.
  • You can easily use it on a regular or daily basis.
  • The sunscreen is quite hard to spread.

Buying Guide for best zero waste sunscreen

Before making your final decision about buying the best zero waste sunscreen, here are some features that you need to look for:

Skin Type

Always select the sunscreen that is suitable for your skin type, and you can make that decision after getting consulted with a dermatologist. For oily, dry, or sensitive skin, here are some ingredients that are a must-have:

  • For oily skin, you should go for sunscreen in the form of gel lotions, which are light in weight and contain ingredients like isododecane and silica.
  • Avoid sunscreens that come in spray bottles or gel with alcohols for dry skin, and look for ingredients including glycerin, aloe, silicones, oils, lanolin, etc.
  • For sensitive skins, go for mineral sunscreens that include ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and are hypoallergenic and fragrance-free. Avoid sunscreens that contain preservatives or alcohol.

UVA/UVB Protection

The sun can emit different kinds of rays, including Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB), which can damage your skin. The UVA rays are responsible for affecting your skin beneath the surface, while the UVB rays may end up causing sunburns. Therefore, look for a sunscreen that mentions UVA/UVB protection, broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum, on the label and is regulated by the FDA to provide you the protection from UVA and UVB both.


The higher the SPF number, the greater the protection against sun rays. The minimum number is SPF 30, and it can easily provide you with 97% of protection against UVB rays. SPF 50 is capable of providing 98% protection, while SPF 100 can provide protection up to 99% against sun rays. No SPF number is capable of delivering 100% protection. Studies have shown that higher SPF sunscreens tend to be stickier and may not be liked by some people due to this mere fact.


Take an overview of the ingredients mentioned on the label and ensure these ingredients are provided for physical and chemical sunscreens individually:

  • Physical sunscreens: must-have natural minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which reflect the sun rays back.
  • Chemical sunscreens: must-have ingredients like avobenzone, bemotrizinol, and biscotizole, all of which are essential for providing a broad spectrum.

Also, ensure that the sunscreen is free of harsh and harmful ingredients like oxybenzone which may end up causing allergic skin reactions.

Zero Waste

While taking care of your skin is important, it is also quite essential to take care of the environment. Therefore, selecting a zero waste face sunscreen is the need of time. Many sunscreen brands are now coming with zero-waste packaging to make sure their products don’t contribute to increasing environmental pollution. Aluminum tins or bottles, compostable tubes, and 100% recyclable plastic are a few of the packaging options that you should look for.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there plastic in sunscreen?

According to the research conducted by Beat the Microbead, many the sunscreens contain plastic in the form of microplastic, and here are the reasons why:
These microplastic elements add waterproof properties to the sunscreen.
They help in holding and uniting the ingredients of the product together.
Form a thin coating on the skin.
They are considered to be cheap alternatives to expensive ingredients.

Which type of sunscreen is best for the environment?

The sunscreens that are reef-safe are the best and safest for the environment. The reason being these sunscreens are basically free of small particles or harmful chemical ingredients like octocrylene, oxybenzone, and octinoxate that can turn out to be damaging to the environment and may end up killing reefs in the ocean.

How do you know if sunscreen is biodegradable?

You can get to know if the sunscreen is biodegradable or not by checking the ingredients mentioned on it. Sunscreens that use natural and organic ingredients and don’t contain harmful components like methyl benzylidene, oxybenzone, PABA, and octinoxate can be considered biodegradable.

Can you refill the sunscreen?

Refilling the sunscreen completely depends on the brand you decide to buy and if they give you the option of refilling your sunscreen bottle. The Colorescience Pro Sunforgettable Mineral Sunscreen gives the users privilege of refilling their sunscreen bottle with their environmental-friendly refill.