REEF SUNSCREENS

The 13 Best Reef Safe Sunscreens for Hawaii (2023)

Are you packing for your upcoming trip to Hawaii or another tropical location? 

By a few Google searches, you found that you need to be using reef-safe sunscreen for Hawaii.

Hawaii has banned the sale of harmful chemical sunscreens.

In this blog post are the best reef-safe sunscreens to buy for your upcoming trip without causing more damage to the environment.

All the products listed are the best sunscreen for any tropical beach vacation.

We have used and tested all these brands and will recommend the best ones without having you get on the beach looking like a ghost!

βœ… Overall BEST Reef-Safe Sunscreen for Hawaii βœ…

⭐️ Best Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin- Raw Elements Face and Body Mineral Sunscreen

⭐️ Best Affordable Sunscreen- ThinkSport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen

⭐️ Best Sunscreen For The Face- Little Hands Hawaii Body & Face Mineral Sunscreen

⭐️ Overall Best Sunscreen- Eucerin Sensitive Mineral- Sunscreen

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Hawaii Sunscreen Law

The Hawaii Sunscreen Law, also known as Act 104, is a state law that prohibits the sale and distribution of sunscreens containing oxybenzone and octinoxate.

These chemicals harm coral reefs and marine life, essential parts of Hawaii’s ecosystem.

The law was enacted on January 1, 2021, and applies to all state sunscreen products sold or distributed.

This law aims to protect Hawaii’s delicate marine environment while providing options for adequate sun protection.

It’s crucial for visitors to Hawaii to be aware of this law and choose sunscreens that are compliant with Act 104.

*As of Oct. 2022 * Maui, Molokai, and Lanai have banned all non-mineral sunscreens. Only mineral sunscreens made with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide will be allowed.

What is reef-safe sunscreen?

A reef-safe sunscreen is a sunscreen free of chemical ingredients, and tiny particles are known to damage and potentially kill coral reefs in the oceans.
Lotion sunscreens are made with non-nano zinc oxide.
Unfortunately, these leave you white as a ghost with their tinted options.

What are the sunscreen ingredients you should avoid?

Any sunscreen with ingredients that contain oxybenzone, octinoxate, and octocrylene is the most common.

Also, Homosalate, PABA, Parabens, Triclosan, and 4-methyl benzylidene camphor are harmful chemicals to the reef.

Aerosolized/Spray-On sunscreen contains particles smaller than 100 nanometers in size that can be ingested by coral reefs, so also not reef safe.

What is the Difference Between Reef-Safe and Reef-Friendly Sunscreen?

Non reef safe sunscreens options

Most companies now are using the label “Reef-Safe” or “Reef-Friendly.

Unfortunately, it’s misleading.

The FDA does not regulate these labels.

Double-check the ingredients list when you see phrases reef-safe, reef-friendly, mineral sunscreen, oxybenzone-free.

Be sure to double-check the back of the bottle for ingredients to confirm that it 

DOES NOT contain  

Oxybenzone or benzophenone-3

Octinoxate or octyl methoxycinnamate

Octocrylene 

Avobenzone

Homosalate

PABA

Parabens

Triclosan

4-methylbenzylidene camphor

The image above shows that sunscreens use labels that say reef-safe and reef-friendly, once you look at the back for the ingredients you will see that they both contain Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate,and Octocrylene. SO NOT REEF-SAFE!

13 Best Reef Safe Sunscreens for Hawaii

When protecting your skin and the ocean’s delicate ecosystem, choosing a reef-safe sunscreen for your Hawaii vacation is essential. The best options are mineral-based sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients. By selecting a reef-safe sunscreen, you can enjoy all that Hawaii has to offer while doing your part to preserve its natural beauty for future generations.

1. Eucerin Sun Sensitive Mineral Baby Sunscreen SPF 50

best overall zinc oxide sunscreen for the Hawaiian islands.

Eucerin Sun Sensitive Mineral Baby Sunscreen is the perfect choice for the whole family, not just babies.

It’s specially formulated for sensitive skin, so if you’re prone to irritation or allergic reactions from other sunscreens, this one should be gentle enough for you.

This location is easy to apply and spreads evenly.

Its lightweight formula won’t leave behind a greasy residue or strong white cast on your skin like some other mineral-based sunscreens can.

It’s a personal favorite of mine!πŸ‘πŸΌ

Pros:

βœ… Formulate for baby’s delicate skin

βœ… Tear-free

βœ… Water-resistant

βœ… Contains no oil, dyes, parabens, PABA, phthalates, oxybenzone or octinoxate

βœ… Suitable for everyday use

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Plastic packaging

➑️ Click HERE to book at Kaimana Beach Hotel

 2. Hello Bello Mineral Sunscreen Spray

easy to apply sunscreen

Look no further than Hello Bello SPF 30 Baby Mineral Sunscreen Spray! This spray (not aerosol) is made with non-nano zinc oxide and plant-based ingredients, which provides broad-spectrum protection from harmful UV rays without penetrating the skin.

The best part? Its easy-to-use spray nozzle (environment friendly) it’s a breeze to apply.

Plus, it’s water-resistant.

Pros:

βœ… Non-nano zinc oxide

βœ… Hypoallergenic

βœ… Vegan & Cruelty-Free

βœ… Water-resistant (80 minutes)

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Plastic packaging

➑️ CLICK HERE to purchase this spray sunscreen!

3. Australian Gold Botanical Sunscreen Tinted Face BB Cream SPF 50

best tinted sunscreen

Looking for a cream that will give you flawless-looking skin while also providing sun protection?

Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Face BB Cream is a lightweight formula that offers sheer coverage that evens out your skin tone and minimizes the appearance of pores and imperfections, leaving your skin looking radiant and natural.

But that’s not all – it also contains SPF 50 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, making it perfect for everyday wear.

The best part? The tinted formula is available in three shades (light, medium and dark) to match various skin tones.

Pros:

βœ… Free from many toxic chemicals

βœ… SPF 50

βœ… Dermatologist and pediatrician approved.

βœ… Hypoallergenic

βœ… Fragrance free

βœ… No white cast

βœ… 3 shades available 

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Plastic packaging

Click HERE to get your hands on this top-rated sunscreen!

4. Raw Elements Face and Body Mineral Sunscreen Tin – SPF 30 

This fantastic sunscreen is made with natural, organic ingredients that are gentle on your skin while providing robust protection against the sun’s harmful rays.

The smooth consistency of this sunscreen makes it easy to apply, so you can spend less time fussing with your sunscreen and more time enjoying the great outdoors.

Plus, it comes in a handy little tin that you can take wherever you go and can be easily recycled or reused for other things.

Raw Elements Face and Body Mineral Sunscreen Tin - SPF 30

Pros:

βœ… Non-Nano Zinc Oxide

βœ… Certified all-natural ingredients

βœ… SPF 30

βœ… Water Resistant (80 Minutes)

βœ… Aluminum packaging

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ White cast

➑️ Click HERE to get your sunscreen now!

5. Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Tint SPF 30

Sun Bum Mineral Sunscreen Face Tint SPF 30

This tinted sunscreen is a lifesaver, offering a natural-looking tint that evens your skin tone while providing reliable SPF 30 protection.

Perfect for people that don’t like white-cast foundations.

The lightweight and non-greasy texture becomes this thick mousse texture that soaks in and makes it comfortable to wear throughout the day, and it blends seamlessly into the skin, leaving a beautiful matte finish.

Pros:

βœ… Non-nano Zinc Oxide 

βœ… SPF 30

βœ… Dermatologist tested

βœ… Fragrance Free

βœ… Water Resistant (80 Minutes)

βœ… No white cast

Cons: πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ

  • Plastic packaging
  • 1 shade available

➑️ Click HERE to buy this must-have sunscreen!

6. Vacation Mineral Lotion SPF 30 Sunscreen 

Not only does Vacation mineral sunscreen meet reef-safe and Hawaii law compliance, but it also comes in a conveniently small bottle that will last longer than you think. A little goes a long way!

Its lightweight easy-to-apply formula absorbs quickly, creating a reliable barrier against harmful rays.

You won’t have to worry about that dreaded white cast or overpowering scent.

This sunscreen holds up remarkably well despite the most humid conditions and amidst crashing ocean waves.

Rest assured, this lotion will keep your skin burn-free all day long. Even during action-packed adventures at water parks, you won’t have to suffer from sunburn. 

Pros:

βœ… Fragrance-Free

βœ… PEG & Paraben Free

βœ… Cruelty Free & Vegan

βœ… Non-Nano Formula

βœ… Dermatologist Tested

βœ… Water Resistant (80 minutes)

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Plastic Packaging

➑️ Click HERE to buy this must-have sunscreen!

Best Sunscreens for Sensitive Skin

7. ThinkSport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen

ThinkSport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen

Thinksport SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen is a highly effective sunscreen that provides long-lasting protection to avoid sunburnt.

It is known for its reef-safe formula, making it suitable for Hawaii, and an excellent sunblock that will stay on the skin even during swimming activities.

However, it is a little hard to rub in, and it will leave a white film on the skin, especially for those with darker complexions, but we still find it worth it for the sun protection it provides.

We recommend starting with a small amount and blending before adding more.

This sunscreen is best for fair-skinned people that get easily sunburnt.

Pros: βœ…

  • Organic
  • Non-Nano Zinc Oxide
  • Non-Toxic
  • SPF 50
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Water resistance (80 minutes)

Cons: πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ

  • White cast
  • Plastic packaging

Click HERE to get your hands on this top-rated sunscreen!

8. Badger Clear Zinc Sport Sunscreen Tin – SPF 40 

Badger Clear Zinc Sport Sunscreen Tin – SPF 40Β 

The Badger Coral Reef-Safe Sunscreen is a fantastic choice for those looking for a sunscreen that offers high concentration and effectiveness.

As someone with medium-shade skin, I appreciate that it doesn’t leave a bad white cast, allowing for a more natural look.

Although it is on the thicker side, it works exceptionally well, especially in sun and saltwater conditions.

Not only does it provide moisturization and protection, but it also doesn’t clog pores or cause makeup breakouts.

It’s important to note that the tin should be kept away from direct sunlight to prevent melting and potential mess upon opening.

Overall, the Badger Coral Reef Safe Sunscreen is a reliable, concentrated sunscreen option that delivers on its promises.

Pros: βœ…

  • Zinc Oxide 
  • Certified natural and non-toxic
  • SPF 40
  • 4 ingredients
  • No added scent
  • Dermatologist tested
  • Water Resistant (80 Minutes)
  • Packaged in recyclable aluminum tin 

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Slight white-cast

➑️ Click HERE to grab your sunscreen today!

9. Coola Mineral Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

Coola Mineral Body Organic Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

The Coola Organic Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 is commendable for individuals seeking fragrance-free and reliable sun protection.

Its creamy texture, long-lasting formula, and effectiveness in preventing sunburns make it a worthwhile investment.

The fragrance-free formula of this sunscreen ensures a gentle and comfortable experience for those with sensitive skin.

Once applied, this sunscreen stays on remarkably well, remaining intact even after showering and scrubbing with soap and a washcloth.

This long-lasting feature is particularly convenient for those who engage in water activities or spend extended periods outdoors.

While it may leave a slight white film, its benefits in protecting the skin and being gentle on sensitive skin make it a standout option.

If you’re looking for a high-quality mineral sunscreen that prioritizes both effectiveness and skin sensitivity, this is the sunscreen to choose.

Pros: βœ…

  • Non-Nano Zinc Oxide
  • Fragrance Free
  • SPF 30
  • Water Resistant (80 Minutes)

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌWhite cast

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Plastic packaging:Recyclable plant-based tubes sourced from sugar cane

➑️ Click HERE to order this premium sunscreen!

10. Stream2Sea Mineral Sunscreen Biodegradable

As an environmentally conscious consumer, I appreciate Stream2Sea’s prioritizing the well-being of our planet.

It offers excellent protection against sunburns and is long-lasting, making it ideal for extended outdoor activities.

We did find it a little tricky to rub it in without leaving a white cast on our skin.

 The whiteness lightened with extra effort and time but never completely disappeared.

This is something to consider if you prefer a sunscreen that blends seamlessly. It truly lived up to its claims in terms of sunburn prevention.

Pros:βœ…

  • Organic Ingredients
  • Fragrance-Free
  • Non-Toxic 
  • Water Resistant(80 minutes)
  •  Biodegradable or recyclable sugar cane resin packaging or PCR plastic (from recycled milk jugs).

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Thick

➑️ Click here to order this premium sunscreen

🌺 Best Sunscreens Made in Hawaii 🌺

11. Little Hands Hawaii Body & Face Mineral Sunscreen

Little Hands Hawaii Body & Face Mineral Sunscreen

The Little Hands Hawaii sunscreen stick is a must-have for you.

This tiny tube packs a punch and will last longer, making it a significant investment.

The compact size is perfect for tossing into your bag or pocket, ensuring you always have sun protection at your fingertips.

The stick glides smoothly, leaving no greasy residue, and offers long-lasting protection against harmful UV rays.

This sunscreen is even more special because it supports local Hawaii businesses. It’s one of my favorites.

Pros: βœ…

  • Non-Nano Zinc Oxide
  • SPF 35
  • Water Resistant (80 Minutes)
  • Packaged in recyclable aluminum tin
  • Made in Hawaii
  • 5 shades available 

Cons:

  • N/A

CLICK HERE to get your hands on this reliable sunscreen!

12. Kokua Sun Care SPF 50

Hawaiian made sunscreen kokua sun care spf50

You’re in for a treat with the Kokua Mineral Sunscreen!

Yes, it’s thicker, which requires more effort to spread evenly, and leaves a white cast.

However, I assure you it does the job exceptionally wellβ€”I didn’t get sunburned while using it! 

Kokua has struck the perfect balance by making the cream spreadable with just the right thickness. Applying small dots all over before rubbing it in helped achieve even coverage.

It may be a tad pricey, but trust me, it’s worth every penny!

Don’t let the initial thick texture deter youβ€”the Kokua Mineral Sunscreen is a reliable and practical choice throughout your sunny adventures.

Pros:βœ…

  • High Percentage Non Nano Zinc Oxide
  • Water Resistance – 80 Minutes
  • Vegan Formulas 
  • Made Using Renewable Energy
  • 100% Recyclable Packaging

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Thick

➑️ Click HERE to order yours today!

13. Manda Organic Sun Creme & Paste

As an outdoor enthusiast, this performance-driven SPF 50 formula is your ideal companion, staying on for hours so you can fully enjoy your activities worry-free.

Made with high-quality, organic ingredients, including non-nano zinc oxide and the incredible Thanaka, this sunscreen offers adequate sun protection while being gentle.

Despite being a bit pricey, it’s worth every penny. It protects your skin and stays on for hours of snorkeling, ocean swimming, hiking, kayaking, and more. Plus, it won’t clog your sweat glands during exercise.

While it may go on slightly white or chalky, this gives you the ample protection.

If you find it hard to apply, warm it between your fingers before gently spreading it. And it comes in sustainable bamboo and tin packaging.

Pros:

  • Eco-Friendly BambooPackaging
  • Non-nano zinc oxide
  • Water-Resistant

Cons:

πŸ‘ŽπŸΌ Pricey

➑️ Click HERE to secure your sunscreen!

Want to use less sunscreen?

The best way to protect your skin from harmful rays and prevent sunburns is to use protective UPF clothing.

Yes, no joke.

Wearing a long sleeve and pants with UPF +30 technology will help. 

Don’t forget to wear hats to protect your hair and scalp from the sun. 

Protect your eyes by wearing polarized sunglasses.

I know we all love cheap glasses, but we want to protect our eyesight.

Reef-Safe Sunscreen FAQ

Does mineral sunscreen leave a white cast?

Mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide can leave a white cast on the skin.

This is due to the physical nature of these ingredients, which sit on top of the skin rather than being absorbed like chemical sunscreens.

However, many modern mineral sunscreens are formulated to minimize the white cast and blend more easily into the skin.

To reduce the appearance of a white cast, applying mineral sunscreen in small amounts and blending thoroughly into the skin is recommended. Look for products labeled as “tinted” or “sheer” to minimize the white cast.

Does the sunscreen ban apply tp both locals and tourists?

Yes, the sunscreen ban in Hawaii applies to both tourists and locals. The ban aims to protect Hawaii’s delicate marine ecosystem, which is vital to the state’s economy and culture.

Tourists and locals are encouraged to use reef-safe sunscreens when visiting beaches or engaging in water activities in Hawaii to reduce their environmental impact.

Why use reef-safe sunscreen?

Using reef-safe sunscreen will prevent causing damage to coral reefs, which are home and feeding grounds to marine life and many endangered species, and overall damage to the ecosystem.

Hawaii passed the first-ever statewide ban on oxybenzone and octinoxate sunscreens.

Soon after, island nations, including Palau, Bonaire, and Aruba, followed suit. 

After a report found that in one popular snorkeling spot, Hanauma Bay, 50 gallons of sunscreen were deposited into the bay, harming the coral, Hawaii passed the sunscreen ban to protect the coral reef. 

Using reef-safe sunscreen will allow generations to enjoy our beautiful coral reefs and help the whole ecosystem function properly.

How do Oxybenzone and Octinoxate Damage Coral Reefs?

Oxybenzone and Octinoxate are two chemicals commonly found in sunscreen that have been shown to cause coral bleaching.

In this process, the coral expels the symbiotic algae it needs to survive. This can lead to coral death and the destruction of entire reef ecosystems.

They can also disrupt the growth and development of coral, making it harder for new coral to form.

Additionally, these chemicals can accumulate in the tissues of marine animals, causing harm to the entire ecosystem. 

Why are Coral Reefs important?

Coral reefs are crucial to our planet’s ecosystem for several reasons. Firstly, they provide a habitat for vast marine life, contributing to our oceans’ overall biodiversity.

Secondly, they act as natural barriers against waves and storms, protecting coastal communities from erosion and flooding.

Coral reefs also play a crucial role in maintaining the health and stability of marine ecosystems, including by helping regulate ocean carbon dioxide levels.

Finally, coral reefs are also important sources of food and income for millions of people worldwide. 

Best Sunscreen for Hawaii Final Thoughts

I know it’s overwhelming to know all this information. The more we know what is banned and what is okay to use. 

The more you are aware and mindful, the more you can protect the reef.

Thanks to articles like these, I found great sunscreens for Hawaii and had peace of mind that I was not causing severe damage.

I suggest buying it before your trip to Hawaii. Sunscreen In Hawaii will cost more.

PIN THIS TO KEEP THE REEF SAFE!

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