11 Cruelty-Free & Vegan Sunscreen Brands For All Budgets
Sun’s out, buns out.
But you don’t want burnt buns, do you?
While conventional sunscreen may protect our skin (sort of), the same can’t be said for animals or our planet.
So, in the name of your face and our furry friends, we’ve set out to find the cross-section of the best cruelty free sunscreen and the best vegan sunscreen.
While Meow Meow Tweet has the best vegan cruelty free sunscreen for those who also adhere to a zero waste lifestyle.
For those who haven’t made it past the fact that sun protection may harm animals, head to the bottom of this list to see how and what to look for in cruelty free and vegan sunscreen.
*This post contains affiliate links
1. 100% PURE
100% Pure’s Fragrance Free Sunscreen
100% Pure keeps it 100% simple with their cruelty free daily face sunscreens, available in either Green Tea SPF 30 or Tomato Lycopene SPF 20.
In the Green Tea mineral-free formula, you’ll find SPF-rich green tea and raspberry seed oil combined with soothing cucumber and aloe.
For mineral protection with a healthy dose of antioxidants, the Tomato Lycopene contains titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, green tea, aloe, and lycopene. This one is gluten-free and made in the USA.
These sunscreens are made with natural and organic “mom’s choice” ingredients but do appear to include palm oil derivatives (we’ll be reaching out to confirm).
About 100% Pure
This brand is well-known for its sustainable makeup, and it’s easy to see why.
Many of their products come in recycled plastic, glass, and tin, and are recyclable through their own recycling program.
They’re shipped in recyclable/compostable materials, too.
For every purchase, they donate a bowl of vegan dog food to a dog shelter in China, or plant a tree through their partner, Trees for the Future.
Available: 100% Pure
Acure’s SPF Day Creams
Acure has two day creams that provide SPF30 of sun protection while soothing and rejuvenating skin.
Their reef-safe sun protection uses botanicals and antioxidants to support normal and sensitive skin.
Washing up with their eco friendly shampoo or getting ready for fun in the sun with their cruelty free sunscreen, Acure is a cure to the chemical-laden beauty product woes.
The brand is family-owned, and only makes products that are vegan and free from cruelty, parabens, petrolatum, formaldehyde, and palm oil.
They often source organic and fair trade ingredients and recently launched a national recycling program for their plastic tubes with TerraCycle.
3. JUICE BEAUTY
*Note: Juice Beauty uses RSPO-certified palm oil.
Juice Beauty’s Vegan Organic Sunscreen
Want to protect your skin and the planet?
Have a glass of Juice Beauty’s organic vegan sunscreen (but don’t drink it!).
Though you probably could, given it’s made with mineral broad-spectrum zinc and certified organic ingredients, which delays premature aging and hyperpigmentation, while also safeguarding our planet.
Several different versions are available—from tinted mineral moisturizer and lip moisturizer to sport sunscreen.
About Juice Beauty
More than 30 freshly-squeezed (juiced, if you will) USDA-certified organic botanical ingredients go into all of Juice Beauty’s products—they even own their own organic farm!
This means everything is rich in vitamins, phytonutrients, and antioxidants that help prevent the visible signs of aging.
All products are Leaping Bunny certified as cruelty-free and American Vegetarian Association certified as vegan. They only sell in China via online, which does NOT require animal testing.
They do, however, use RSPO-certified palm oil and plastic containers (so try to recycle).
Available: Juice Beauty
4. MEOW MEOW TWEET
Meow Meow Tweet’s Vegan Cruelty Free Sunscreen
Meow Meow Tweet’s Everyday Sunscreen is formulated with the moisturizing likes of safflower, jojoba, and olive oils, combined with the sun reflective power of non nano zinc oxide for an SPF of 25.
It’s free of all animal byproducts, palm oil, gluten, parabens, phthalates, preservatives, and all the usual reef bleaching sunscreen ingredients.
This cruelty free and vegan sunscreen is also nearly zero waste, as it comes in a recyclable or reusable aluminum bottle with a compostable label.
The pump is plastic but can be returned to MMT or recycled with TerraCycle.
About Meow Meow Tweet
None of which are EVER tested on animals, as per their Leaping Bunny Cruelty Free certification.
All products are also made in the USA in small batches to ensure freshness and longevity sans preservatives.
The company donates extensively, is Climate Neutral Certified, and works with rePurpose Global to reduce, reuse, and offset their plastic use so as to be plastic negative.
Available: Meow Meow Tweet | EarthHero
5. HERBAL CHEST
Herbal Chest’s Zero Waste Sunscreen
Herbal Chest’s natural vegan sunscreen is made for all skin types.
The natural and reef-safe SPF is derived from its red raspberry seed oil, zinc oxide, and shea butter.
It’s free of coconut oil, parabens, synthetic colors, fragrances, and chemicals.
About Herbal Chest
Etsy shop Herbal Chest is a treasure chest for all things holistic, natural, plant-based, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly.
The shop is owned by Tina, a maker, mom, wife, and herbalist who personally believes in the power of her products for the whole family (hers included).
Everything comes in compostable tubes or reusable tins.
6. BY ROBIN CREATIONS
By Robin Creations’ Vegan Sunscreen Lotion
Based on stellar reviews, By Robin Creations makes probably the best vegan waterproof sunscreen around.
It’s SPF 30 and one application lasts for hours—even while taking a dip in the pool or sea.
Non-nano zinc oxide is formulated with natural ingredients like organic shea butter, organic cocoa butter, myrrh, carrot seed, and sandalwood.
It’s 100% cruelty-free, vegan friendly, and reef safe!
About By Robin Creations
The Etsy shop hails from New Mexico, USA.
Robin, the founder (who loves creating) started out with vegan zero waste lip balm and deodorant. Fast forward a few years and she now has a range of options from haircare to nail serum to toothpaste.
She uses mostly organic oils, plant butters, and essential oils. Other than her shea butter (which comes from Ghana) she sources her ingredients and containers from local US companies and even grows many of the herbs herself.
Her entire range is cruelty free, vegan-friendly, palm oil-free, and thoughtfully packaged (and shipped plastic-free upon request).
7. GLIMMER GODDESS
Glimmer Goddess’ Broad Spectrum Vegan Sunscreen
Glimmer Goddess (formerly known as Simply Radiant Beauty) has an SPF 40 vegan sunscreen that features two broad-spectrum UVA and UVB ingredients: non-nano zinc oxide and red raspberry seed oil (alone estimated to have an SPF between 28-50).
Pomegranate seed oil increases the efficacy of UV protection by up to 20% and avocado oil and shea butter provide the antioxidant properties.
The cruelty free mineral sunscreen is vegan, cruelty free, organic, and palm oil-free.
About Glimmer Goddess
Texas-based Glimmer Goddess is a family-owned business that handmakes all of its small batch organic and plant-based skincare products.
They’re a completely cruelty-free and vegan-friendly brand with a huge amount of rave reviews that attest to their exceptional quality products.
They use post-consumer resin jars/bottles and recycled cardboard for packaging, on top of purchasing ingredients in bulk to reduce shipping waste.
Founder Shannon and her husband personally donate some profits to Wounded Warriors and the Best Friends Animal Society.
8. DIRTY HIPPIE
*Note: Dirty Hippie has announced that one of their suppliers no longer guarantees certain ingredients to be palm oil free. This does not pertain to their sunscreens but see below for products it does affect.
Dirty Hippie’s Vegan Facial Sunscreen
For the best vegan sunscreen for your face, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics’ non-greasy Coconut Vegan Sunscreen Balm with an SPF 30 is probably your best bet.
With an extremely low essential oil content (you can also opt for 0%), it’s targeted for those with sensitive skin. It’s available in two varieties: regular or bug repellant.
The formula is made up of the broad spectrum basics: non-micronized zinc oxide (no risk of penetrating the upper dermis) and organic raspberry seed oil.
About Dirty Hippie Cosmetics
Hailing from Australia, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics uses renewable energy to create handmade organic, cruelty-free, and vegan products.
When it comes to sourcing they either purchase through fair trade channels, buy local, or grow their own raw ingredients.
Their Olive and Coconut oil (aka Cetearyl and Sorbitan olivate, respectively) suppliers no longer guarantee these ingredients to be palm oil-free.
As for packaging, their lip balm, sunscreen, and zero waste deodorant have compostable paper tubes. Otherwise, tins and glass bottles with veg-ink labels are their go-tos, which Australian customers can send back to be refilled.
They support charitable initiatives and projects from raising awareness for suicide prevention to animal rescue to support for cancer sufferers.
*Note: Some products contain RSPO palm oil derived glycerin and/or organic beeswax. However, there are multiple options available that are both vegan and palm oil free.
Suntegrity’s Mostly-Vegan Sunscreen
Suntegrity has a range of vegan natural sunscreen, vegan lip balm sunscreen, and body sunscreen that utilize “uncoated zinc oxide”, an active ingredient in products such as calamine lotions used to treat rosacea, melasma, and acne.
You won’t find in any of their products nano-particles, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic dyes, sulfates, nanoparticles, and chemical UV absorbers.
Some products contain glycerin derived from palm oil but others like NSF-certified Sport Sun Sticks, Sport Sunscreen Lotion, USA-organic Rebound, and Staycation are palm oil-free.
Their Rebound and Staycation products, as well as their Sport Line are not vegan as they include organic beeswax sourced from ethical apiaries that support bee health, habitat, and longevity.
100% women owned and run, Suntegrity creates healthy and effective skincare products.
As proof, they’ve tested their sunscreen against UVA and UVB in vitro and obtained FDA approval. Having FDA-regulated labs also ensures all ingredients come from RSPO members, suppliers that don’t use child labor, and don’t test on animals.
Their products are certified by Leaping Bunny and PETA (aside from those that contain beeswax).
While their packaging is plastic, they recently switched to a recyclable bio-based polyethylene (LDPE) tube made from sugarcane and are offering refills for some products. The sun sticks are being converted to 50% PCR packaging.
Available: Amazon | Free People (UK)
10. TRAIL BOTANICA
Trail Botanica’s Zero Waste Sunscreen
Trail Botanica (formerly Apothecary Muse and still branded as such on this product) has a Sun Stick that features ingredients from the garden to provide everyday protection from sunburn.
For something a little more intense, the Woodsy Warrior sun stick also prevents bug bites and is perfect for outdoor activity.
For those with sensitive skin, there’s an unscented vegan sunscreen for faces.
This trifecta will ensure you have (no-worry) fun in the sun.
Our planet won’t worry either as everything comes in compostable tubes and every product is vegan, cruelly free, and palm oil-free.
About Trail Botanica
They hand make all products in a small studio in Pittsburgh and only use high-quality and raw ingredients—all of which are either ethically sourced or wild-harvested.
The founder, Eryn, delivers locally via bicycle, donates to local organizations, and holds inclusive soap-making classes.
11. SIMPLE AS THAT
*Note: We are confirming policies directly with this brand.
Simple As That’s All-Natural Vegan Sunscreen
Simple As That has vegan facial sunscreen that’s natural enough for your face’s sensitive skin, but can be used anywhere on the body.
The sunscreen is available in SPF 30 for kids and adults and is also reef safe.
It contains fragrance, but theirs is vegetable-based and approved for use in organic skincare (read: no synthetics here). Some of those vegetables are palm oil derivatives.
About Simple As That
This brand takes their namesake to heart.
Natural products should be simple, which is why they use only those ingredients which are necessary for the efficacy of the product they’re making.
Most are vegan, organic, and fair trade, combined to craft these pharmacist formulated products.
The packaging is recyclable plastic.
Available: Flora and Fauna
WHY CHOOSE CRUELTY FREE AND VEGAN SUNSCREENS?
The U.S. National Park Service estimates 4,000 to 6,000 tons of sunscreen enter the ocean (specifical reefs) every.single.year.
That’s a lot of toxic ingredients. Not to mention the synthetic organic molecules which have been found in a variety of marine animals including fish, dolphins, and birds.
There’s also evidence that the common ingredient known as oxybenzone may cause endocrine disruption, DNA damage, and exacerbate devastating coral bleaching.
A truly ethical vegan face sunscreen is that which doesn’t damage coral reefs—the most biologically diverse ecosystems in the world.
Besides oxybenzone, we need to be concerned with nanoparticles.
Zinc-oxide and nano titanium dioxide have been used for decades to reflect or absorb UV light. You can tell by that white shade that never seems to absorb into your skin.
Nowadays these ingredients are manufactured on a “nano-scale”, which means they absorb and scatter visible light making them transparent. The jury is still out on what happens when these nanoparticles actually enter our bodies, but they are dangerous to ingest or inhale.
While the likelihood of harm with nanoparticles is low, some may want to opt out of this ingredient until further research has been done.
Research suggests that certain forms of titanium dioxide (anatase) may be associated with free radicals, ultimately increasing the risk of skin cancer.
Free radicals are produced by both our bodies and UV radiation.
One study found that several varieties of sunscreen increased the amount of free radicals found in the dermis.
IS SUNSCREEN VEGAN?
By now, you can probably answer the question: is sunscreen vegan?
It can be, and the easiest way to tell is through a vegan certification.
Most smaller brands may not have this accreditation, so you’ll also want to look out for the following animal-based ingredients: beeswax, lanolin, chitin, gelatin, collagen, elastin, and stearic acid to be sure.
HOW WE CHOSE THE BEST CRUELTY FREE SUNSCREEN & VEGAN SUNSCREEN
Our approach to ethical beauty (and therefore vegan friendly sunscreen) is to look for brands and products that are:
- Cruelty free (remember, vegan does not inherently imply cruelty free and vice versa)
- Non-toxic (both for you and the planet, in this case meaning “reef-safe”)
- Palm oil-free
- Made with ethical ingredient sourcing policies
- Thoughtfully packaged (ideally zero waste/compostable/reusable but since cruelty free was the focus here, we accepted products with recyclable packaging)
OTHER CONSIDERATIONS FOR VEGAN SUNSCREENS
When we started researching vegan sunscreens we soon came across a bunch of jargon we didn’t fully understand.
So let’s learn the lingo together so we know what we’re buying.
- UVA is responsible for about 95% of the UV radiation that our skin is exposed to, and is the greater contributor to free radicals. You also can’t escape it, even on cloudy days or through glass. While you won’t necessarily feel this as it gives you a slow tan, don’t be fooled. It’s the leading cause of all types of skin cancers and wrinkles.
- UVB is a powerful UV light responsible for sunburns, as it tends to damage the superficial epidermal layers. It’s also responsible for other skin abnormalities like discoloration. UVB is more present in sunnier conditions and is reflected by water, sand, and snow.
Broad spectrum simply means that the product protects against both types of ultraviolet light that reaches our skin—UVA and UVB.
To avoid free radical generation, sunscreen with the best UVA protection is recommended but you can’t go wrong with one rated to protect from both.
Most people are familiar with SPF or “sun protection factor”. It’s the measurement of how long a sunscreen or sunblock will protect your skin against ultraviolet light for.
Because the strength of UVA and UVB rays change throughout the day, it’s impossible to know how long an SPF will last for.
It’s also important to note that no SPF factor is 100% safe. A higher SPF is, of course, better but vegan sunscreen should just be one of your sun safe strategies.
Darker Skin Tones
Sun safety is particularly important for those with darker skin tones.
Even if you never notice a sunburn, you’re not much better off than those with pale skin when it comes to the risks of skin cancer.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON VEGAN SUNSCREEN
Directions: Apply liberally. Save some animals. Have fun!
Just don’t forget the cruelty free moisturizer to replenish your skin after your beach vacay.
Fortunately, everyone and everything can be protected from the sun’s rays and harsh practices common in the beauty industry.
Natural skincare products are better for you and our planet, so feel free to chuck that vegan face sunscreen in your vegan handbag and spread the word to all of the heliophiles in your life!