Sustainable travel

Eco-friendly suncream: your essential summer guide

Summer is here, so it’s high time eco-friendly suncream made it on to your shopping list! After all, if the UK heatwaves of recent years are anything to judge by, you’re going to need it as the warmer months unfold.

Of course, we don’t need to convince you of the health benefits of protecting your skin. That said, you might not be aware of the environmental considerations at play. Not all sunscreens are eco-friendly.

In fact, products containing chemical UV filters (octocrylene, oxybenzone, octinoxate and others) damage our oceans and their inhabitants. Thousands of tonnes of suncream are washed ashore each year, threatening ocean habitats, seals, turtles, and even humans. That’s why some tropical holiday destinations, like Hawaii, have now banned certain toxic ingredients, commonly found in suncream, on grounds that they are polluting the seas and harming corals.

bagmaya eco-friendly suncream hanauma bay hawaii

However, eco-friendly suncream is available. They are sustainable and come with a range of green credentials: reef-safe, vegan, fairtrade, plastic-free. But with all these different claims, it can be hard to know what to look for (and avoid) when selecting an eco-conscious product. So, we created your essential suncream guide.

Below, you can read on to find some of our favourite suncreams for the sunny season ahead.

Sol de Ibiza: zero-waste, plastic-free sustainable sunscreen

We love this brand’s commitment to the zero waste lifestyle. Sol de Ibiza value sustainability, minimalism and the circular economy, rejecting the consumerist idea that we need to keep buying yet more things. And here at Bagmaya, we could not agree more!

Sol de Ibiza’s environmental ethos is definitely one we share. What’s more, the product itself ticks a lot of boxes for us. Their eco-friendly suncream comes in a cardboard tube or a tin, so all the packaging is free of harmful plastics. Their suncream comes in SPF50 and SPF30. It’s suitable for face and body usage. And, it’s fine for adults, kids, and people with sensitive skin. Theirs is a mineral sunscreen, so the active ingredient is zinc oxide. Then, this is combined with a variety of natural skincare heroes: calendula, aloe vera, cacao and shea butters, and a range of oils (jojoba, almond, etc.)

What’s not to like? You can even buy an SPF15 lip balm for added protection. And to top it off, Sol de Ibiza give 1% of their sales to the Ibiza Preservation Fund.

bagmaya eco-friendly suncream kind to skin and planet

Finally, we are really excited to see they’re broadening their range. Their Magic Sun Oil (SPF15) is coming soon, according to the Sol de Ibiza website.

Arbonne FunSun: vegan and gluten-free eco-friendly suncream

This one tops the list of “free from” sunscreens, in our opinion. Why? Well, Arbonne’s eco-friendly suncream is a great vegan, gluten-free and cruelty-free option from a certified B Corp (which designates the highest ethical/environmental corporate standards).

Plus, this product is a great all-rounder. Arbonne FunSun has no chemical UV filters yet still provides broad spectrum protection (UVA/UVB). The FunSun lotion is available in SPF30 and is suitable for babies (from 6 months), kids, and adults. In particular, we like the fact that it’s a smooth, spreadable liquid. Often, zinc oxide-based sunscreens face the accusation of being too thick, too oily, too shiny, and not translucent. However, Arbonne’s formula claims to be more sheer than other traditional mineral sunblocks.

Also, it’s great that it’s dermatologist-tested, non-sensitising, fragrance free, and non-irritating. And, it contains botanical extracts (green tea and aloe vera) that can smooth and hydrate the skin.

sustainable sunscreen bottles on a beach

That said, it is not the cheapest. FunSun retails at £32 on Arbonne’s website.

UpCircle: eco-conscious suncream from the ethical beauty brand

Another B Corp, UpCircle have a wide variety of skincare and beauty products to their name. What’s more, as you might assume, many of the ingredients in their products have been upcycled.

Upcycling, if you’ve not heard the term, refers to repurposing and reusing items and materials that otherwise would go to waste, such as clothes. It’s a key part of reducing our carbon footprint and building a more sustainable society. In the case of UpCircle, old coffee grounds, chai syrups and leftover flower petals find new life in moisturisers, beauty balms, creams, and other skincare staples. And, as further evidence of their commitment to circularity, they offer a refill scheme on 98% of their products to reduce packaging.

But what about their suncream? Reef-safe and dermatologically approved, their SPF 25 Mineral Sunscreen comes in a glass jar with an aluminium lid (yes, being plastic free is just another perk of this sun lotion!). SPF25 is an unusual one, but its UV-ray protection actually only differs from SPF30 by 1%. We like the raspberry seed extract (upcycled from juicing), as it contains the antioxidant vitamins A and C. Finally, it claims to be lightweight despite having a mineral base.

GreenPeople: ocean-friendly, organic sunscreen suitable for sensitive skin

We love the green credentials of this fragrance-free, lightweight lotion by GreenPeople. Free from chemicals such as oxybenzone and octinoxate—major culprits in damaging our oceans, as we have seen—this cream is vegan and fully recyclable, since it comes in polypropylene and FSC-approved packaging.

coral reefs ocean life

Scent-free and suitable for those with a sensitive complexion, it’s non-comedogenic which makes it a good option for people prone to acne too. At SPF30, this sustainable sunscreen protects against 97% of harmful UVB rays. And we love the addition of green tea, helping to preserve collagen levels in the skin.

On the other hand, there are a couple of drawbacks. First, it’s for the face only. So, you would have to pair it with another all-purpose cream. What’s more, the price is quite high: £25.50 for 50ML, although GreenPeople do offer savings for those who choose to subscribe. However, it’s a great option if you’re looking to care for delicate skin.

Bring on the sun and a sustainable summer!

Now that you’re equipped with an eco-friendly suncream, it’s time to get out and enjoy the sunshine.

Don’t forget that Wednesday 21st June is the Summer Solstice here in the UK, marking the official start to the season!

And if you’re a Yoga enthusiast, you will know that the Summer Solstice traditionally means performing lots of sun salutations. So, make sure to protect your skin with one of the sustainable sunblocks here, grab your Yoga mat, and maybe even your Bagmaya Pushkar yoga bag (just £14.95 in our biggest ever summer sale)… and enjoy the rays!

Do you have plans for the hot weather ahead? How will you be celebrating the summer months sustainably? You can let us know in the comments below.

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