FREE mini NEW ANCHOR Bio-Retinol Serum all orders

Free US Shipping $50+

Uncovering a Truly Clean SPF for All: Even Sunscreen Lovers and Haters

Uncovering a Truly Clean SPF for All: Even Sunscreen Lovers and Haters

Gone are the days of being slathered in sunblock, leaving you pasty, streaky, and a sand magnet before you can even take a dip in the water. We’ve loved watching the evolution of SPF formulas over the years! What a time to be alive where you don’t have to look like a merbabe mime in order to be protected from harmful UV rays. We've been working hard to create and perfect a truly clean, natural, non-toxic SPF gem that differs from other clean SPFs on the market, as our NEW SPF collectively encompasses the below list featuring what to look for in a truly clean SPF. Did we mention she also suits the diversity of our Sunshines SPF needs every day? We can’t wait for you to meet her on 6.17.21

If you've ever ventured down the sunblock aisle, it can be daunting and overwhelming. There are countless products, many including ingredients you can't even pronounce. We've broken it down the important things to look for in a Clean SPF for you, so if you want to go green and blue with your SPF, check out our tips below. 

How to Find a Truly Clean SPF for Sunscreen Lovers and Haters


What to look for in a Truly Clean, Natural SPF

Ultra Lightweight

We found that most people prefer an SPF product that is lightweight and doesn’t feel greasy. When an SPF product is lightweight, it often means the product is friendly for all skin types, most lifestyles, and can be worn under makeup.


You know why it's important to use non-toxic, green and clean skincare products, and going clean in your SPF is no different. Mineral-based sunscreens are proven to be both safe and effective. There are many brands of chemical sunscreens that are considered safe, but many contain ingredients that could damage or kill marine life and coral reefs, not to mention might be allergenic in humans, like Oxybenzone, for example. Oxybenzone is allergenic, absorbed through the skin in large amounts, and has even been detected in human breast milk, urine, blood, and even amniotic fluid. Pregnant and breastfeeding mamas especially need to be catered to when it comes to safe and effective SPFs!

100% Mineral + Plant-Based Ingredients

Mineral-based SPF products work on both UVA and UVB by reflecting UV radiation rather than absorbing most of it like chemical SPF products. Typically, mineral-based SPF products contain all-natural workhorses like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to protect you from the full spectrum of UV radiation. When your sunscreen is not only 100% mineral-based, but also has the remaining ingredients that are purely plant-based, then you've really scored! Having plant-based ingredients in your SPF means the product is not only non-toxic but nourishing for your skin too, like plant-based preservatives and plant-derived fatty alcohols.

Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (higher than the FDA minimum SPF recommendation and is the American Academy of Dermatology recommendation)

Broad-spectrum protection means that a product protects you from all types of UV light, including UVA and UVB light which has been shown to cause premature aging. UVB radiation is the type of rays that damage the outer layers of the skin, which causes sunburn. UVA rays are the type of light that can penetrate windows or clouds that cause premature aging like wrinkles and sunspots. So make sure you look for "full-spectrum" or "broad spectrum" when selecting an SPF product! It's recommended to use at least an SPF of 30 which is the American Academy of Dermatology recommendation (and higher than the FDA minimum recommendation).

Protects skin against UVA + UVB rays, blue light, and pollution damage

Blue light, like the light emitted from your computer monitor or cell phone, can significantly impact your body on a cellular level. Studies have shown blue light can cause premature aging of the skin. The same goes for environmental pollution damage on your skin. Using a mineral-based SPF product with clean, plant-based ingredients and plant extracts can act as a barrier and protect your skin from all of these harsh effects on skin.

Non-comedogenic ingredients (no break-outs)

Using an SPF product that contains non-comedogenic ingredients means that you can protect yourself from UV radiation, blue light, and environmental pollutants, and still achieve your skincare goals by not clogging the pores of your skin. Your skin can breathe and be radiant, protected, and happy.

No white cast for all skin tones

A common complaint about mineral-based sunscreen is the chalky, white cast that it can leave behind. As the sunscreen industry evolves, more and more technologies are emerging that can suspend the active ingredients of mineral-based sunscreen to reduce, or completely remove the white cast effect.  

Reef Safe

Up to 14,000 tons of SPF product washes off water-goers annually, and unless your SPF product is reef safe, it could be damaging marine life. Not only do the ingredients cause coral bleaching (when coral dies), but it affects other marine life like algae, urchins, mussels, fish, dolphins, and so many more beloved sea creatures. Common non-reef friendly ingredients include: Oxybenzone, Butylparaben, and Octinoxate, which are definitely ingredients to avoid.


Part of the problem that conventional SPF products have is that ingredients are small enough to penetrate the skin and work their way through the bloodstream. This is what can make certain ingredients cause endocrine issues, etc. Selecting a non-nano SPF product means that none of the ingredients are small enough to be absorbed beyond the skin.


A genetically modified organism (a GMO for short) is any plant or animal (or any other organism) whose genetic makeup has been modified in a lab using genetic engineering. Most often in crops, they are genetically modified to withstand colder temperatures or naturally deter pests and insects, thereby creating larger crop yields. Studies are still in the works on the health implications of using genetically modified ingredients in skincare products, but that's why it can be beneficial to choose an SPF that is free of genetically modified ingredients.

Vegan + Cruelty-Free

Be sure to look for a vegan and cruelty-free SPF. Vegan skincare means a product contains NO animal byproducts, including honey, beeswax, pearl, marine collagen, lanolin, carmine, or other ingredients that are derived from an animal byproducts. Whereas cruelty-free means that a product is not tested on animals. Leaping Bunny and PETA are the two most popular cruelty-free certifying bodies in the U.S.

Note: Earth Harbor only tests its products on willing humans and is proud to hold both the Leaping Bunny and PETA certifications!

Ethical Trade + Sustainable

Like with any product, when you are going truly sustainable and clean, you want to make sure the ingredients are ethically sourced and traded. You'll also want to be sure the company focuses on a comprehensive approach to sustainability through the entire product lifecycle beyond just their marketing, packaging and shipping; this should also include sourcing, manufacturing processes, and more.

Not chalky, greasy, or heavy (soft natural finish)

SPF products should be worn daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, not just while you're at the beach or pool, so make sure you choose a product that is comfortable for you and not greasy, heavy, or chalky. One with a natural finish is often preferred!

Super gentle, comfortable, and easy to use (aka. All skin types will love our NEW sunscreen)

We all know we should protect our skin from UV damage on the daily (not just on beach days), but many find it hard to incorporate SPF products into daily skincare routines because it can feel too heavy, or greasy, or cause a break-out. There are sunscreens that are gentle for sensitive skin, contain non-comedogenic and oil-free lightweight ingredients, and don't cause a white cast. When you find all these qualities in an SPF product, it’ll make you so much more comfortable wearing SPF daily. Your future self will thank you!

Proven OTC product made in a leading certified lab with rigorous third party testing

Proven OTC product made in a leading certified lab with third-party testing: You’re putting a lot of trust in the manufacturer that an SPF product will truly protect you as its label indicates. When you’re protecting yourself from premature aging, sunburn, and even preventing skin cancer, you want to know the product will do what it claims to. That’s why making sure a product is made in a reputable laboratory with third party testing to even further affirm the effectiveness and quality of the product is so crucial.

Layers beautifully under makeup

For the times when you wear makeup, selecting an SPF product that layers comfortably under makeup is a must.

Accessible price (particularly for the quality of this truly clean + friendly formula!)

In regards to skincare, you know quality is everything, and the same holds true for your SPF products. Since you’re wearing an SPF product as part of your daily skincare ritual, you want to make sure that the product is not only affordable for your budget, but high-quality too. If you follow all of our tips above you’re going to find the perfect SPF product that works with your skin and your budget.

Set a merbabe memo to meet our NEW SPF gem on 6.17.21.



Leave a comment