Web Statistics

The Best Sunscreens: Reviews and Ratings

July 13, 2012

You can spend days researching and testing all the “good’ sunscreens out there. Believe me- I’ve done it. After 2 years of scrutinizing, ordering and testings various sunscreens- I have my “best sunscreens” list. And, I want to share it with you.

So much of our sunscreen tests were done while at parks and playgrounds and at the sprinklers. This is at Fort Greene Park.

Sunscreens for kids are widely available and there are just as many “informed” lists of best products out there. Consumer Reports, Skin Cancer Foundation, Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetics Database all have lists. Not surprisingly, they all have different “winners,” criteria and price points.

Similarly, we all have different things that are important to us in a kids’ sunscreen: sometimes we want waterproof, sometimes  not, but most of us all want something that isn’t too pasty thick and is priced so we won’t be sad when we forget it at the playground.

But first….The Least Expensive in order:

  1. Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, Pure & Simple, SPF 50, 8 oz.
  2. Nature’s Gate Aqua Block SPF 50 Sunscreen — 4 fl oz
  3. Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35, 4-Ounce
  4. Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen For Face & Body 2.9 oz (87 ml)

Here is the list! (EWG score key: 0-2 recommended and 3-6 is caution)

TruKid Sunny Days SPF 30 3.5 oz
I love the TruKid brand: they manage to be natural and keep the price manageable too. I really like this sunscreen, their roll-on stick, their face wash (which always seems to be sold out) and their body lotion (which lasts forever.) This sunscreen is creamy and goes on the skin nicely. We like the nice citrus smell it has too.
3.5 oz
EWG score: 1

California Baby SPF 30 + No Fragrance, Sunscreen Lotion – Super Sensitive, 2.9 oz
Yes, this is a great product with very devoted followers, but it’s truly one of the most expensive. Rubs in fairly well and feels good on the skin. I can’t, however, get my head around spending $22 for a 3 oz bottle:  assuming I can get both kids covered using the 1 ounce (a shot glass!) recommended for adults, that’s still just six applications, barely a weekend at the beach.
2.9 oz

EWG score: 2

Badger SPF 30 Sunscreen For Face & Body 2.9 oz (87 ml)
This great sunscreen is $8 less than the California Baby mentioned above. This sunscreen retains SPF after 40 minutes activity in the water or perspiring.  I like that it offers a lot of protection in the park sprinklers, so I don’t worry about reapplying like I do with others.  Some people don’t like its lavendar smell, but it has always seemed fairly mild to me. It does take a while to rub it in because it has a very pasty consistency. Lots of people are Badger loyal- particularly of their lip balms.
2.9 oz
EWG score: 1

Thinkbaby sunscreen SPF50+ benefiting LIVESTRONG, 3 ounces.
I ordered this from Amazon because the reviews have been so great on it. It’s definitely pricey, but people love it. It does have good protection, but it does feel a little cakey though it eventually rubs in well. It does leave a light white haze on your skin. The smell is the definitely the best of all the sunscreens I am reviewing today. You smell like a lovely orange grove after you have applied it. I don’t think it’s worth the money, but someone can prove me wrong….
3 oz

EWG score: 1

Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30+ — 2.5 fl oz
This daily moisturizer is for you, not your kids. I promise you that you are going to love how light it feels. I have recommended to friends and those who have bought it, swear by it too. It does irritate my super sensitive eyes sometimes. This gives you exceptional coverage- it’s not like a high-end cosmetic cream that you put on in the morning and still manage to get burned- this is all you need in the morning for a regular day out. At 2.5 oz it isn’t cheap, but I think it’s worth it.
2.5 oz
EWG score: 1

Nature’s Gate Aqua Block SPF 50 Sunscreen — 4 fl oz
This is my favorite waterproof sunscreen right now for 2 reasons: it’s very water resistant and it’s inexpensive compared to the other natural sunscreens out there. There isn’t any fragrance and it’s easy to rub in. I like how light it feels.
4 oz

EWG score: 2

TruKid Sunny Days SPF 30+ Face Stick
Often, a stick sun block can be a good quickie as the kids head out to play. I use it for face, neck and ears. I also like that my kids can apply it themselves now that they are older. I put it in their backpacks and they know to how to get it on most of their face.  This sun block is nice, but not as creamy as California Baby, (but $6 less expensive), so it can be a bit rougher to roll on. It comes out yellow versus white so I think it looks (somewhat) more natural than the white ghost look that California Baby’s stick can give you. I buy these in packs of 3 to save a little money.
EWG score: 1

California Baby SPF 30 + Sunblock Stick, .5 oz
This creamy stick is great. I highly recommend it. It’s water-resistant and hypoallergenic. I buy Trukid’s stick over this though because of the price difference and I don’t feel there is that much difference between them.
EWG score: 1
BurnOut SPF 30+ KIDS Physical Sunscreen
This cream is water resistant and after finishing my first bottle of it- I can confirm it does work while you are in the water. I really like this sunscreen because it gives good coverage. I put it on my kids in the morning before camp and they are out for 5 hours and come back without any kind of burn.  However,  it’s a little more expensive than the others, so I use it sparingly. It has a slightly tacky feel when it’s on, but it rubs in beautifully.
3.4 oz
EWG score: 1

Episencial Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35, 4-Ounce
I love the feel of Episencial products in general- and their sunscreen is no exception. It has a nice, creamy feel: it’s not tacky or too thick. It’s quite nice. So far, we’ve found it has provided adequate coverage for our kids’ skin.
4 oz
EWG score: 2

Coppertone Water Babies Sunscreen Lotion, Pure & Simple, SPF 50, 8 oz.
Sometimes you are at a basic drugstore and just need some sunscreen. This is your best option for that situation. Consumer Reports recommends it with a Very Good rating for both UVA protection and UVB after water protection and an Excellent rating for UVB protection.  The Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Sunscreen Guide gives it just a 3 rating, which, on their scale of 0 – 10, is the lowest rating I could find for ANY sunscreen they ranked that could be purchased at my local chain drug stores.  And at less than $10 for an 8oz bottle, it’s a deal. It’s waterproof, rubs in well and keeps my fair skinned kids unpink.
8 oz
EWG score: 2