Sun Care: My Favorite Sunscreen Brands That Are Also Reef Safe

“Sunscreen, in the world of beauty, is the ultimate in adulting.” ~ Emily Weiss

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Livin’ For That Vitamin D

It is no secret that the sun is my bae. I live for all the Vitamin D and all the sunshine days I can get. I admit I am the happiest during summer, and that my moods are very definitely impacted by the weather outside. I am much more apt to be productive if it is bright and cheery out, then if it is gloomy. And let’s forget about productivity if it is the dead of winter. I would rather be huddled in blankets, then freeze my booty off, unless of course my bae, the sun is out.


While winter lasts forever and more in New England, New York begins to see glimpses of warmth in March, and in April there would be days where I could lounge in the park and soak up those rays, responsibly of course! During the summer, I spend as much time as I can outside and of course at my second (or is it third?) home; The Beach. Making sure my skin is protected is my number one concern. As much as I love the sun, it not only can cause skin cancer but also can damage skin and age it exponentially. As I approach my third decade girlfriend needs to do all I can to keep that skin looking healthy, young and of course glowing!


Hit The Rays Responsibly 

Technically, we actually should be wearing sunscreen year round. Of course, the best laid plans do fall by the wayside and with the sun hidden behind the clouds, cold days, and all of us bundled up (or maybe just me) you often don’t think about putting on sunscreen during the winter months, while during summer you have the sun beating down on you constantly as a reminder.


Yet for the majority of people, myself included, tend to get burned the most and have that “Base tan” created in March and April as you come out of hibernation shedding layers, yet forgetting to lather up. That is until you turn into a lobster! That is why I always try to buy make-up with sunscreen in it because protecting the moneymaker mug is important. I also, especially when it starts getting warm out, put sunscreen on the moment I get out of the shower. While it won’t protect me all day, it is a start as well as a reminder to take care of my skin which just so happens to be our biggest external organ.


National Sunscreen Day

It just so happens that today is National Sunscreen Day, and while I had meant to get this post up for Memorial Day Weekend, it is fitting I am posting it today. One of the most important things to remember when buying sunscreen, is the SPF. SPF is the amount of protection you get from the sun’s rays. Many dermatologist feel that 40 to 50 SPF is the best number to buy as it offers up to 98 percent protection, the highest you can get from sunscreen, and yes that involves SPF’s of 80 and 100. Those really are just a selling gimmick.42C7B0B3-2417-48F2-97D8-1AFB56BE7850

Sunscreen is one of those things no one likes, but it IS a necessary evil, and thankfully it has gotten better with time. These are some of my favorite brands. In recent years, I have been trying to buy more eco friendly and reef safe sunscreens. While not all of these are certified reef safe, they all are free from harmful chemicals and those that damage the reefs, which is a win-win as our skin soaks up a lot of what we put on it. I also admit, I love the smell of sunscreen and some of these smell amazing!


Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen is my tried and true, a brand I use almost daily, and it is the cheapest of my picks. It is also the most easily accessible as you can find it in almost all supermarkets and drugs stores, as well as Amazon. My favorite thing about Blue Lizard is that it is reef safe which is extremely important. While it might not seem like a big deal if YOU, yourself are wearing sunscreen that is reef save, combined with the millions of beach goers who swim in the ocean every year and who are wearing sunscreen, it is damaging our reefs as it washes off as we swim, which is why it is so important to wear one that not just protects US from harmful UV rays, but also protects the reefs from US.


Created by dermatologists, Blue Lizard is an Australian brand, which means they know ALL about that sun! It is mineral based, but I find it isn’t as chalky as some of the other sunscreens can be. You won’t be spending hours rubbing it in. Another favorite aspect of this brand, is that when the bottles are exposed to the sun, they will turn blue, and depending on its strength it can be a very dark blue serving as a reminder to reapply.



Supergoop is a brand I have been using for years as part of my skincare regiment on my face. While it is free of most of the harmful chemicals found in a lot of sunscreen, it has been working to be one hundred percent free by this year so it can truly be reef safe. The Unseen Sunscreen isn’t just a sunscreen, but also a primer. It has a silicon gel like feel, (with none of the chemicals!) that not only soaks into my skin, but also makes it easy to apply make-up after I put it on. It comes in SPF 40 so my face is getting the ultimate coverage, without the heaviness or greasiness that can come with face sunscreens. Their sunscreen is also scent free, so for the who hate the smell of sunscreen, (gasps! The horror!) this is a perfect brand for you.



Coola just might be my favorite sunscreen slash skincare brand. While their products can be pricey, they work incredibly well not just protecting my skin from the sun, but also providing anti-aging as well as hydration and even healing benefits. Coola is reef safe, and not only tries to use natural, plant based ingredients, but also is eco-friendly giving back to the environment and working hard to reduce plastic waste where ever they can.Their products also smell amazing! I don’t have a bad thing to say about any of their products from both their body and face sunscreens, to after sun lotions, they go on seamlessly and are not gritty nor hard to apply. My favorite product, is Coola’s setting spray, which has SPF in it. I use it year round and it has replaced all other settings sprays becoming my holy grail and one of my must have beauty products.



I have been using Tula as my skincare regiment for the last couple years and I am so excited they finally JUST launched a sunscreen. Like the other products I have mentioned, it is reef safe as well as cruelty-free. Tula uses only the best ingredients and their sunscreen lives up to that. One of the things I love about this sunscreen, is that while it is marketed as a sunscreen, it has a glowy tint to it, which acts almost like a light BB cream. It gives you coverage without the heaviness of putting other make-up on, while still protecting our skin.


After hitting the rays

Sunscreen is important to fighting the harmful UVB rays that damage the skin, but it is also important to take care of your skin after spending the day in the sun. Despite being OCD about putting sunscreen on my skin, it still gets extremely tan, which, while not burning, can still be damaging to it. After a day spent at the beach, I make sure to slather on all of the lotion, making sure my skin is nourished and hydrated. I will also use bath bombs, usually from Lush, which have healing ingredients infused in them, that leave my skin moisturized. For the ultimate sun repairer though, I make sure I stay hydrated with water and by eating lots of vegetables and fruits, as that is what ultimately heals your skin and body from the inside out. I am so excited for all the sunny days ahead and to enjoy it, while still taking care of my skin!


Do you use sunscreen? What is your favorite brand that you use? 

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5 thoughts on “Sun Care: My Favorite Sunscreen Brands That Are Also Reef Safe

  1. Thank you so much for this post and bringing this issue to light. I just heard about the documentary Chasing Coral yesterday and saw your post today. I immediately ran and grabbed all my sunscreens and began researching them and their ingredients online to see if mine were reef safe. I’ve been at it for over 45 minutes and learned only one of mine was reef safe. I don’t go in the ocean much, but I do want to support brands that produce reef safe products.

  2. Thanks for this! You’ll find me hiking and swimming in a long-sleeved sun shirt even in the 90s – I wear 50 proof and still turn pink – but I had no idea about making sure it’s reef safe!

  3. This was such a happy and informative post -absolutely love it! The colors in the photos were also uplifting. Thanks for sharing!

  4. love this!!! i have been looking for reef safe sunscreens too and the only one i have is the blue lizard one and i absolutely love it!!! i love that the bottle turns blue 🙂 the other ones sound great too i’ll have to keep them in mind next time or at least keep a list of these so i don’t forget 🙂

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