Finding the best reef safe sunscreen can be time consuming but a necessary task. If I had one piece of advice to give to my younger self, it would be to take better care of my skin. Everyone should have a go to reef safe sunscreen especially for your face.
The sun is a powerful presence and your skin is the biggest organ on your body so you best protect it. Living on Maui for the past 10 years has given me ample time to test out all kinds of face sunscreens that are all reef safe.
It may not be the fountain of youth but wearing sunscreen daily will help reduce wrinkles, age spots, fine lines and prevent burns and worse, skin cancer. Plus lots of places including Hawaii are banning the sale of sunscreen that isn’t reef safe.
*I have sprinkled some affiliate links in this post including Amazon that gives me a small commission at no extra cost to you if you decided to make a purchase. All proceeds go to keep Jess traveling, coffee ☕️ and let's be real...probably wine 🍷. I thank you in advance.
You’re probably wondering what makes sunscreen reef safe? Reef safe sunscreen means that all ingredients in the product are not toxic to coral or other marine wildlife in the coral ecosystem.
Coral reefs are one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and we must do everything we can to ensure their survival. Not only do coral reefs provide homes for hundreds of species of marine life, they also help stabilize the sea floor, prevent coastal erosion and storm surge damage, contribute to the mitigation of climate change, promote tourism, support your fresh seafood habit, and filter and clean seawater.
In July of 2018, Hawaii became the first U.S. state to ban the sale of sunscreens containing two common chemicals, oxybenzone and octinoxate. This was a positive and forward moving step that I think many states will start to follow suit.
Let’s take control of our actions by protecting our skin and the ocean.
Reef Safe Sunscreen Quick List
- Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 by SuperGoop!
- Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 by Biossance
- Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40 by Supergoop!
- Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36 by Innisfree
- Water Drench® Hyaluronic Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 45 by Peter Thomas Roth
- RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 by Paula’s Choice
- Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40 by Supergoop!
- Liquid Sun Shield Daily Brightening Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 by Dr. Brandt Skincare
- All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Suncreen SPF 30 by Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare
- Light Hearted Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Daily Face Sunscreen by Sunday Riley
- Sunvisor Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 35 by Sale
- Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 by Farmacy
12 of the Best Reef Safe Sunscreen Products for your Face
Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 by Supergoop!
The Unseen Sunscreen by Supergoop! is a totally invisible, weightless, scentless, and makeup-gripping daily primer with SPF 40. The unique oil-free formula glides onto skin providing shine control and leaving a velvety, makeup-gripping finish.
This non greasy sunscreen and still leaves a shine on your face. Plus it is ultra light so there should never be a reason that you go a day without wearing sunscreen on your face. The product can easily be worn underneath makeup without feeling thick or grimy.
Application of the sunscreen reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, pores, and uneven texture. This sunscreen makes the top of the list for best sunscreen for your face. This product is also vegan, cruelty-free, reef-safe, and gluten-free for all my friends out there wanting to make an impact on the world.
This is one of the most lightweight sunscreens I have ever tried – the name is very fitting.
Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 by Biossance
If you are looking for a reef friendly sunscreen that you can wear on a beach day then check out the Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 by Biossance. This reef suncream face product is a super sheer, 100-percent non-nano zinc SPF 30 sunscreen that protects and hydrates the skin.
This is one of the best sunscreens for Hawaii because the lightweight formula blends in fast without a trace, calms and cools sun-stressed skin. Don’t be shy on reapplying, this sunscreen won’t leave a white cast making it easy rub in anywhere.
Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40 by Supergoop!
The Glowscreen Sunscreen SPF 40 by Supergoop! is my go to face sunscreen. It is a hydrating, makeup-gripping primer with SPF 40 and blue-light protection that has a pearlescent finish to leave skin luminous with a instant glow.
When I am not blogging, I bartend on the weekends a a hip rooftop bar in Lahaina, Maui. My shifts start at 1 which means I have 5+ hours of fun in the sun…so a reef safe face sunscreen is pertinent.
I can wear this product for a fresh-faced look with or without makeup. I wear the Glowscreen Sunscreen as my foundation, throw on a little blush and mascara and am able to work through a sunny shift knowing that I’m protecting my face and still looking put together.
Not only is this product vegan and reef friendly but it has great staying power and no white cast! This is the perfect glow if you’re looking for that forever summer look.
Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36 by Innisfree
The Daily UV Defense Sunscreen SPF 36 by Innisfree is a lightweight, water-based SPF 36 sunscreen that delivers invisible sun protection while hydrating and soothing skin. This sunscreen is infused with a blend of green tea, cica, and sunflower seed oil for three-in-one benefits; it hydrates, soothes, and protects.
Not only is this product reef safe but its eco friendly too as it comes in recyclable packaging. The best part, it’s only $15 – a great value for the price.
Water Drench® Hyaluronic Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 45 by Peter Thomas Roth
This reef-safe, water-resistant sunscreen protects skin from UVA and UVB rays. The Water Drench® Hyaluronic Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 45 by Peter Thomas Roth is also vegan, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and eco friendly.
This is another great ocean safe sunscreen for Hawaii or the desert as it keeps your skin moisturized. This high SPF sunscreen is best worn without makeup.
RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 by Paula’s Choice
The RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 by Paula’s Choice is a lightweight, broad-spectrum mineral coral safe sunscreen with a sheer tint that softly blends the skin, blurs pores or dark spots, and protects against visible signs of aging. This is a great reef safe product if you are searching for a non-greasy, light face sunscreen that is best for oily/acne prone skin.
Once applied it has the perfect amount of blurring effect which gives a very natural satin matte finish with a light to medium tint. Not only that but it is very lightweight and works well under makeup.
Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40 by Supergoop!
Another Supergoop! product to make the best reef safe sunscreen products for your face list is the Mattescreen Sunscreen SPF 40. Supergoop! is one of my favorite reef safe sunscreen brands.
This is great to use as a makeup-gripping primer for a matte finish under foundation when you want a little more coverage or on its own if you want a more natural look with shine control.
Like the other supergoop products listed in this post, the product is vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free, and reef safe. This is a perfect daily primer that smooths and blurs lines while gripping to your makeup.
Liquid Sun Shield Daily Brightening Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 by Dr. Brandt Skincare
The Liquid Sun Shield Daily Brightening Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 by Dr. Brandt Skincare is a 100 percent mineral SPF 50 daily sunscreen formulated with zinc oxide for an invisible, radiant-looking finish on all skin tones.
This zinc oxide sunscreen is ideal for all skin types, even on sensitive skin. It helps protect against HEV light, blue light, infrared light, and pollution while a giving off a brighter, more youthful appearance. Plus the dropper makes it easy to get the right amount of product without waste.
All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Suncreen SPF 30 by Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare
The All-Physical Lightweight Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum Suncreen SPF 30 by Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare is a great sun product if you are looking for high-performance SPF protection. It is lightweight, invisible, offers great protection and is fast absorbing.
If you live at the beach or in the sun like I do, this is a great oil free sunscreen to use all year round. It works in all types of weather and works well with or without makeup.
Light Hearted Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Daily Face Sunscreen by Sunday Riley
The Light Hearted Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Daily Face Sunscreen by Sunday Riley is perfect for all skin types and tones. It’s super-light, breathable, and transparent. The reef safe sunscreen smoothes right into skin without leaving a white, chalky residue or an oily finish.
This reef sunscreen can help minimize the appearance of darks spots, fine lines or wrinkles due to its velvety finish. Sometimes people experience a blueish tint (which goes away with time and you don’t notice it much) therefore I’d recommend wearing it with makeup.
Sunvisor Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 35 by Sale
Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 by Farmacy
The Green Defense Daily Mineral Sunscreen by Farmacy is a fast-absorbing, lightweight broad-spectrum SPF 30 mineral sunscreen that is reef safe and fragrance free. It goes on well under makeup and it’s not greasy.
This product is recommended if you are sensitive to sunscreens. Best of all, it won’t leave the lingering smell of sunscreen on your face all day.