Nivea Sun UV Face BB Cream, Ella Bache Superfluid

We’ve rounded up a handful of ocean-friendly mineral formulas that won’t leave your face greasy or ghostly. 

In 2018, Hawaii passed a groundbreaking legislation prohibiting the sale of sunscreens made with oxybenzone and octinoxate, two of the most common ingredients found in chemical formulations and those that have been potentially linked to coral bleaching.

Since then, the conversation around reef-friendly sunscreen has grown and more of us are trying to hunt down lotions that protect our skin without harming the ocean. Earlier this year the Pacific Island of Palau also took a stand and banned chemical sunscreens, signalling there’s no slowing down.

But finding a protective formula that’s kinder to the environment is tricky and requires a little beauty label-deciphering.

Dubbed ‘mineral’ or ‘physical’ sunscreens, formulas made from zinc or titanium oxide as the active, protective ingredient are said to be safer on coral reefs and marine life. But not all tubes are created equally and marketing jargon can come in to play, so it’s important to do your own research. You can read more about that here as well as our suggestions for reef-safe all-over body sun protection from expert Lisa Patulny, founder of Call Time On Melanoma. But if it’s face-friendly options you’re after, here’s six suggestions to get you started.

Nivea Sun UV Face BB Cream SPF50 ($7.69, at Chemist Warehouse)
If you hate the sticky feeling of sunscreens-of-the-past this tube is for you. Formulated as a blemish balm, this lightweight formulation adapts to different skin tones to even out complexions while protecting from the sun.

Ella Bache Superfluid Great SPF50+ ($55, at Ella Bache)
Think of this as a dewy foundation with the added bonus of sun protection. Made from powerful antioxidant green tea, Kakadu plum and aloe vera this silky tinted fluid infuses your face with skin-boosting ingredients, protects from environmental aggressors and free radicals and adds a glow to your complexion. Plus, it’s formulated without oxybenzone, octinoxate, alcohol, parabens and mineral oils.

Wotnot 30 SPF Anti-Aging Facial Sunscreen & Primer ($26.99, at Wotnot)
Infused with COSMOS approved plant collagen this rich cream delivers powerful anti-aging abilities to skin while protecting your complexion from the sun’s rays.

Sukin SPF 30 Sheer Touch Facial Sunscreen ($24.95, at Sukin)
This sheer formulation won’t leave your face ghostly-white or pill under makeup and comes in tinted and untinted options. Made from natural goodies like rosehip oil, green tea and cucumber and no reef-harming ingredients like oxybenzone, mineral oils, petrolatum or detergents.

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Natural Instinct Invisible Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 ($15.99, at Natural Instinct)
Hero ingredient zinc oxide blends with nourishing jojoba oil, shea butter and vitamin E for a powerful punch of hydration. If sunscreen dries out your skin or sparks irritation try this conditioning formula.

Eco Tan Natural Rose Hip Sunscreen ($29.95, at Nourished Life)
This sheer zinc lotion utilises grape seed oil, shea butter, beeswax, rosehip and safflower oils to blend seamlessly into skin leaving no greasy residue.