I posted last
week month about wanting to find a non-poisonous but easy-to-apply sunscreen for my kids.
Since my oldest was a baby, we’ve used ThinkBaby lotion because it’s rated so well by the EWG (Environmental Working Group) for safety.
But 2 kids later, I’m on the hunt for something that’s easier/quicker/more convenient to apply. All the safest sunscreens that are rated the safest (a 1 by the EWG) are lotions and the lotions are almost always a struggle to wipe in with kids involved.
So I set out to do some research on what’s safe for our kids but can also be sprayed on as they’re running away to play at the park or squirming like a worm at the pool.
WHY IS SAFE SUNSCREEN IMPORTANT?
First off, let’s talk about why a safe sunscreen even matters… I’m not a dermatologist or a doctor but obviously avoiding sunburn is the key here. There are lots of gross chemicals that the FDA allows to be used in sunscreen, which is absorbed by the skin, aka the biggest organ of the body.
Don’t get me wrong, my kids eat their fair share of junk, play with plastic toys, typical stuff, but I like to try to be as clean as possible when it comes to their skin and foods… mostly – I’d say we follow a nice 80/20 balance of organic and junk… #onlyhuman.
Anyway, summer means daily slatherings of sunscreen on their little bodies and I’m ok with spending a little more cash for a sunscreen that’s safer for their skin and free of gross chemicals.
As a note – I’m quoting/holding the EWG as the authority on the safety of sunscreen. They rate skincare products by their ingredients to give a safety rating 1 to 10; a 1 is the best possible rating, reflecting that the product’s ingredients have both low health concerns and excellent balance of UVA/UVB protection.
SAFE SUNSCREEN SPRAYS
I talked earlier about really wanting a spray that was both safe and effective. The reason being that some lotion sunscreens – especially safe sunscreen lotions – are notoriously difficult to rub in, especially when kids are involved.
So I set out to find out which sunscreen sprays are the safest for kids. As it turns out, spray sunscreens automatically get dinged when they come in spray format.
The EWG says they “pose an inhalation risk and may not cover the skin completely”, advertise an SPF level higher than 50 (which “offers a false sense of security”), and MAY contain oxybenzone (believed to be “a hormone-disrupting chemical”) – none of the sunscreens on my list has oxybenzone in the ingredients.
So, what’s a mom to do? Well, I researched and found the 10 safest spray sunscreens that aren’t perfect (a 1!) but are pretty good (all are ranked a 3, which is solid in the 1-10 scale).
10 safest spray sunscreens for kids:
Below are 10 of the safest spray sunscreens for kids, ranked from least expensive to most expensive.
The EWG score on all is 3; however, the ingredients in each sunscreen are different so I’ve included a link to the EWG’s rating of each product + a link to shop on Amazon and/or Target and Walmart.
As a note, I did my best on posting current pricing but prices change so if the actual pricing varies from what you see, my apologies.
Banana Boat Simply Protect Kids Sunscreen Lotion Spray, SPF 50+
The cost/ounce on this can’t be beat! “Banana Boat Simply Protect is strong, worry-free sun protection with 25% fewer ingredients and made without oxybenzone or parabens.” – pretty good for under $10!
Alba Botanica Refreshing Mineral Sunscreen Spray, Herbal Fresh, SPF 35
Honestly, this doesn’t have the best ratings on Amazon but it is a great price so buyer beware. From Alba: “Protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays with Alba Botanica Herbal Fresh Spray Refreshing Mineral SPF 35 Sunscreen. Our lightweight, air-powered mist is made with botanical and herbal ingredients for a smooth finish without a heavy or greasy feeling. This sunscreen is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation and is water resistant for up to 80 minutes. Our reef-friendly formula is made with 100% vegetarian ingredients, and it does not contain any oxybenzone, octinoxate or gluten. It’s also biodegradable and not tested on animals.”
Babyganics Sunscreen Spray, SPF 50+
We’ve actually used this one (last summer) and I did like it. Be warned that it’s a spray lotion, which is easier than a thick lotion but still a lotion. Has great reviews, too, so I wasn’t the only one who liked it. “Our mineral-based SPF formulas provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and glides on smooth for effortless application. Non-allergenic and tear free, so it can go on whatever part of your baby the sun’s gonna shine.”
Babo Botanicals Sheer Zinc Continuous Spray Sunscreen, Fragrance Free, SPF 30
Super curious to try this one because babo has a Sheer Zinc formula – zinc is the stuff that makes some sunscreens super white. Also has really good reviews! “100% Non-Nano Zinc Sunscreen provides Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Fortified with a Nutri-Soothe Complex packed with anti-oxidants and soothing ingredients. 80 minute water and sweat resistant.”
Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Spray, Citrus Cooler, SPF 30
I’ve used the Bare Republic brand before and love it! Was happy to see this one on the ‘good list’. “An advanced mineral spray from Bare Republic that is as clean and pure as it gets, but tough enough to keep up with all your eco-adventures! This light and non-greasy SPF 30 sunscreen spray offers a layer of physical protection, enhanced with antioxidant-rich skincare boosters including grape, raspberry and carrot seed oils. Natural citrus scents refresh while non-nano minerals provide chemical active-free broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection.”
Bare Republic Mineral Sunscreen Spray, Citrus Cooler, SPF 30
We had this exact formula last year and it was awesome! Went on really clear and easy. “We created our new ultra-lightweight Clearscreen Sprays! Rich in plant-derived ingredients, and a refreshing natural coconut-mango scent, Clearscreen Sprays provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection and 80 minutes of water resistance for all your adventures. “
Goddess Garden Organics Everyday Natural Sunscreen Continuous Spray, SPF 30
“Certified-organic sunscreen! More sheer, easier to apply and less likely to clog, air powered spray is unscented and water resistant for 80 minutes. Natural, non-nano minerals offer broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30, while soothing aloe vera and coconut oil hydrate and nourish, making it gentle for even the most sensitive skin. Our formulas are certified organic, safe for coral reefs, and are vegan and Leaping Bunny certified cruelty-free, so we mean it when we say we’re safe for people and the planet!”
All Good Kid’s Sunscreen Spray, SPF 30
“SPF 30 UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum Protection. 80 Minute Water Resistant. Lightweight formula that’s not greasy. Organic green tea, rose hips and buriti oil for repairing damaged skin. Oxbenzone Free – Gluten Free – Vegan – Non-Nano – Biodegradeable Coral Reef Friendly”
Beautycounter Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Mist, SPF 30
“Formulated with non-nano zinc oxide and antioxidant-rich California Poppy, this physical formulation provides an effective shield from UVA, UVB & Blue Light rays, while being gentle and pleasant feeling on the skin. Sprays on white to help guide application, blends in easily, and dries quickly without an oily residue.”
COOLA Suncare Body Sunscreen Spray, Unscented, SPF 30
“A spray that slays! Our Eco-Lux size Sport SPF 30 Continuous Sunscreen Sprays have your back—and every other inch of your skin—with a bottle that keeps misting even when it’s upside down, making it easy to cover your entire body. This sheer, water- and sweat-resistant formula is packed with antioxidants and skin-nourishing ingredients, and absorbs fast with no greasy feel. So you can play hard without any slippery residue.”
Alright, ladies! That’s all I’ve got on spray sunscreens.
I really hope this is helpful and makes it easier for you to choose the right spray sunscreen for your family this summer!