Get Ready

10 Reef-Safe Sunscreens You Can Easily Buy at Whole Foods

by Sarah Conboy

As you may have learned, not all sunscreens are created equal. Some are perfect for layering under your makeup, some are great for sensitive skin, some are the best for getting your sweat on…different people have different needs! But, according to a recent study, you might want to keep something else in mind when shopping for your SPF. Researchers have found that oxybenzone—a chemical found in most sunscreens—is damaging to marine environments. More specifically, it is extremely damaging to coral reef systems, and drastically increases the rate of coral bleaching. This news has led to Hawaii and a number of other tropical locales (NY Times) banning the chemical in order to preserve its marine life. Want to help with the problem? Enter: “reef-safe” sunscreens.

Sunscreen that is considered “reef safe” contains titanium or zinc oxide, rather than oxybenzone. These are known as “physical” sunscreens versus the more popular “chemical” sunscreens. While it can be tricky to find physical sunscreens, Whole Foods will always be a safe bet. The retailer almost exclusively sells physical sunscreens, since they are the most natural form of suncare. Check out the best brands from Whole Foods below, plus some of our other favorite physical sunscreens that you can purchase just about anywhere. 

Alba Botanica

Voted as a Reader’s Choice Winner in the 2017 Allure “Best of Beauty,” you know this sunscreen by Alba Botanica is the real deal. Made with no synthetic fragrances, it gets its goodness from natural ingredients like sunflower seed oil, jojoba seed oil, and aloe vera. Using both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, it is a broad-spectrum formula that is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes.


Partial to portable sun protection, like a stick? Check out this one from Thinksport, the very first sunscreen brand to pass Whole Foods Premium Care Requirements. An added bonus? Purchase from their website, and they will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to charity.

Kiss My Face

If you prefer a spray, try out this one from Kiss My Face. This sunscreen is cruelty-free, vegan, and of course, oxybenzone-free. The air-powered spray promises to get those hard-to-reach places—great for when you don’t have a buddy to “do your back.”


Another “reef-safe” suncare brand, this product from JĀSÖN is formulated with soothing chamomile. The brand gets its name from a word meaning “healer” in Greek, and therefore creates all-natural restorative products. Not only is this sunscreen good for both your body AND the environment, but their packaging is on point.


Best part of this Badger sunscreen? It rubs in clear, avoiding the ashy cast that occurs with other mineral sunscreens. Made from a whopping 98 percent certified organic ingredients, this made-in-the-USA product is the definition of “clean beauty.”

Goddess Garden Organics

Another clear formula, this facial sunscreen by goddess garden is dermatologist-tested and includes a number of nourishing ingredients. One standout is immortelle essential oil, which is known for its anti-aging properties. Plus, its light lavender scent is an another added feature you’ll definitely fall in love with. 

Babo Botanicals

This sunscreen from Babo Botanicals is perfect for ultra-sensitive skin. The gentle formula was created with children in mind, but that doesn’t prevent adults from stocking up! Meant for everyday use, it is both fragrance-free and hypoallergenic.


While NO-AD isn’t carried at Whole Foods, this mineral sunscreen (for face and body) is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. At an SPF 50, it has the highest protectant value in this roundup. But, be careful: not all products by the brand are reef-safe, so double-check the ingredients before you buy.


Considered one of the most unique products in the mineral sunscreen world, Eir’s “Surf Mud” is inspired by a Mayan chocolate mask. It contains both cocoa butter and powder, which act as natural sunscreen in combination with zinc oxide. Plus, it smells heavenly.


You already know that Supergoop! is 10/10 approved by The Chill Times. But did you know that they carry a completely mineral spray sunscreen? What a win! This formula sprays on white, but turns clear once rubbed into the skin. While this brand isn’t available at Whole Foods, we HIGHLY recommend for you to go out and purchase to save your skin and the environment. 

Feature image via Madison Terry 

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