2014 Summer Skincare Guide

Every year, when Spring rolls around, the questions and requests start coming in: 1. Will Zoe Organics please create a sunscreen and 2. What are our non-tox, go-to sunscreen recommendations for sensitive skin. 

We hope to have sunscreen products to offer in the future, but for now, we are happy to recommend our favorites and share our tips for taking care of your family's skin this summer. Below you will find a list of our favorite sunscreens that we have personally tested. Then, because summer skincare isn't limited to sun protection, we have included our list of other summer skincare essentials, from after sun moisture and sunburn relief, to haircare and insect repellent. As an extra special bonus, we have teamed up with Integrity Botanicals and put together a pretty awesome prize pack with some favorites across all categories. We hope you enjoy!



I have a list of main factors by which I judge a sunscreen. These are:

1. Is it safe? Check the ingredients list.

2. Is it effective? In other words, did we burn when we used it? The longer it lasts the better - it's hard enough to get the kids to stand still once. We are in the water a lot during the summer, so having a sunscreen that is water resistant is important to us.

3. Is it easy to apply? Being able to spread it evenly and thoroughly is really important - we've all seen the blotchy, or streaked burned sections of the skin that were "missed" when applying sunscreen.

4. Was there a negative skin reaction (other than sunburn)?

5. Bonuses: If we can manage NOT to look pasty white, it's a WIN. If the smell is pleasant and not overpowering or strangely artificial - WIN again.

Note: the sunscreens in this list are all mineral based, with the active ingredient being zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or a combination. These work by actually creating a barrier on the skin. It can take some getting used to, if you are like me and grew up slathering Banana Boat or Coppertone on your skin. I don't like feeling sticky, or looking pasty - so when I review them, I may be a little more critical about this aspect. When all said and done, if we are avoiding toxins and skin damage or cancer - the white cast is a small price to pay. 

Three years ago, there weren't as many truly natural sunscreen options and I picked up a popular "natural" brand in the kid's section at Whole Foods. I don't remember the brand, but I know this particular sunscreen was discontinued later. I applied it to my 2 & 4 year old boys before a day at the lake. We didn't get sunburned, but the next morning, my 2 year old (with delicate pale skin) had broken out in a rash...and the rash continued to get worse until it covered his whole torso and arms. Unfortunately, Benadryl didn't do a thing, so he ended up on steroids and it took 3 days to be noticeably better. This experience was unexpected and has led to me scrutinizing ingredients lists and seeking out truly clean, gentle sunscreen options. The good news is, we have so many more options in natural, mineral based sunscreens today. The bad news is, it can get overwhelming trying to decipher the best fit for your child or family. The list below is by no means exhaustive, but I hope it gives you some more information so you can narrow down your choices and find something that works for you. 



1. Babo Clear Zinc Sunscreen

Details: Broad Spectrum SFP 30, non-nano zinc oxide, for face & body, vegan, GF, sensitive skin. 

Verdict: This sunscreen cream has a clean ingredients list and we had no sunburns when using it, even after swimming in the pool for 2 hours. It is great for sensitive skin and a great pick for infants. It is one of the most transparent zinc formulas I have used. After you rub it in, there is only a very slight white appearance. My only wish for this sunscreen is that it was less sticky when applying. It was more difficult to spread on my older kids (6 & 8). I felt like it started drying and became sticky before I could spread it on larger surface areas. For smaller kids and faces, this wasn't an issue. The apple scent is really fun for kids (even big kids), or you can go with the unscented version. I will definitely purchase this product again.

Price: $18.95 / 3 fl. oz.

Get 20% off Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport Collection and Sunscreens at Integrity Botanicals during the month of June! Use Code: BABO

2. Badger Active Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream:

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 30, non-nano zinc oxide, for face & body, hypoallergenic for sensitive skin. I tried 3 formulas: baby (chamomile & calendula scent), kids (tangerine & vanilla) & unscented - for baby, child or adults with sensitivities.

Verdict: This sunscreen cream has the cleanest, most simple ingredients list of all I have tried, with between 95-98% being certified organic. It works well and is very water resistant. Because it is so gentle, it is ideal for sensitive skin and infants. The downside is the white residue from the zinc oxide. It does not go on clear, but leaves a light white film on the skin. In my option, if you can get past the white appearance, you have a very effective, gentle sunscreen. The scents are mild and sweet, or you can choose unscented. 

Price: $15.99 / 2.9 oz

3. California Baby Super Sensitive Sunscreen (no fragrance)

Details: The active ingredient in this sunscreen is non-nano titanium dioxide, rather than zinc oxide. It is very water resistant, lasting up to 80 minutes in water before reapplying. 

Verdict: This formula is very thick and I felt it was harder to spread evenly or rub in. It left our skin very white (awkwardly so). The bonus is, it works well and lasts a long time. It it unscented and comes in several sizes, plus is easy to find (I picked up the 6 oz at Target). 

Price: $39.99 / 6 oz

4. Coola Baby Unscented Mineral Sunscreen

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 50, non-nano zinc oxide and titanium oxide blend. Unscented.

Verdict: This is one of the first natural, mineral-based sunscreens I tried and it is still a favorite for our whole family. It has a thinner viscosity than the other thick sunscreen creams, which helps it to spread more easily and it dries fairly clear - a big bonus. The ingredients are clean and the company provides a lot of education on their website. Another great choice for very sensitive skin and faces. For some reason, maybe because it goes on thinner, we have to reapply it at least every hour to avoid sunburn. I like that this sunscreen comes in a pump rather than a tube. 

Price: $36 / 3 oz

Get 20% off COOLA products at O&N Collective during the month of June! Use Code: COOLA 

5. Episencial Sunny Sunscreen

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 35, non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide blend. Unscented.

Verdict: Although, less excited about the ingredients than some, it works well and I like the way this one spreads and dries transparent. This is a great budget-friendly option. 

Price: $14.99 / 2.7 oz.

6. Erbaviva

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 30, with non-nano zinc oxide. Chamomile & Lavender scent. 

Verdict: A luxurious, creamy sunscreen that is easy to apply, doesn't leave a pasty residue and smells heavenly. I didn't find this to be as effective for swimming or water sports, but great for general sun protection. I enjoy using this sunscreen for myself as well, so you'll find it in the sunscreens for mom, below. 

Price: $22 / 2.5 oz.




1. Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 30 non-nano zinc oxide in a light-weight day cream. 

Verdict: I'm hooked on the super light, non-greasy formula that leaves clean, transparent protection on my face. I use directly after my cleansing routine in the morning. I usually go without, or with very light makeup, and there is no white cast from the zinc oxide. I am extremely picky about what goes on my face and this cream is so lightweight, it feels clean. Not only is this day cream a sunscreen, but it is filled with potent active herbal extracts, plant oils, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that nourish, repair and protect the skin. An added bonus is the light, sweet cocoa scent.

Price: $85 / 2 fl. oz.

Available at Integrity Botanicals with Free Gift! Get a FREE travel size (.5 oz) Cacao Mask ($24 value) with purchase of the Nutrient Day Cream. Use Code: JRMASK



2. Devita Skincare Solar Protective Moisturizer

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 30+, non-nano zinc oxide

Verdict: The DeVita Solar Body Moisturizer is another one of my go-to body moisturizers. Great for applying every morning after a shower. It goes on very smoothly and evenly. It blends right into my skin leaving no white residue. I have been using this product for two weeks now and have not been burned once.

Price: $27.95 / 7 oz. 

3. Coola Mineral Sport SPF 35 - Citrus Mimosa

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 35, non-nano titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. 

Verdict: This sunscreen cream is perfect for the active mom's face and body. It has a delicious ingredients list and scent. Whether going to the pool, beach or perspiring, it will keep you protected for up to 80 minutes. 

Price: $36 / 3 oz.

Get 20% off COOLA products at O&N Collective during the month of June! Use Code: COOLA 

4. Erbaviva Sunscreen 

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 30, with non-nano zinc oxide. Chamomile & Lavender scent. 

Verdict: A luxurious, creamy sunscreen that is easy to apply, doesn't leave a pasty residue and smells heavenly. I didn't find this to be as effective for swimming or water sports, but great for general sun protection. 

Price: $22/ 2.5 oz.



1. Babo Clear Zinc Sport Stick

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 30, non-nano zinc oxide sun and wind protection, for face and lips, natural apple scent.

Verdict: The ingredients in this product are a slam dunk and I love the scent. My husband and I recently spent the day cycling in the Napa Valley. It was a warm, sunny and windy day and we were riding on road with very little shade. Before we left, we applied this sport stick to our faces and although it is a thick, balmy product, it went on evenly and was transparent. I was so thankful for not only the sun protection, but the wind protection on our faces and lips. We didn't burn, even though we were out for 5 hours. I'll be keeping this little stick in my jersey pocket. 

Price: $12 / .6 oz.

Get 20% off Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport Collection and Sunscreens at Integrity Botanicals during the month of June! Use Code: BABO

2. Badger All Season Face Stick

Details: Broad Spectrum SPF 35, non-nano zinc oxide all-season face and lips stick, unscented.

Verdict: This face stick offers great protection for face and lips and is convenient to apply. It is a great for those who prefer an unscented product and the convenience of the stick applicator. This sport stick doesn't go on as clear as the Babo version, but the ingredients are just as clean and it is a budget-friendly option.

Price: $8.49 / .65 oz.



SUNBURN: There are those unfortunate times when either you weren't planning to be in the sun, you didn't apply sunscreen everywhere, or you didn't reapply - and you get a sunburn. My all time favorite product for cooling and soothing sunburn, is a tepid bath with Zoe Organics Baby Bath Tea. The combination of tepid water and organic oatmeal and herbs cools the skin and works as an anti-inflammatory agent. Our experience has been reduced pain, inflammation, redness and quicker healing.

Zoe Organics Baby Bath TeaMy all time favorite product for cooling and soothing sunburn, is a tepid bath with Zoe Organics Baby Bath Tea. The combination of tepid water and organic oatmeal and herbs cools the skin and works as an anti-inflammatory agent. Our experience has been reduced pain, inflammation, redness and quicker healing.

Price: $8/28 (2 tea bags in a tin / 10 tea bags in a tin)


AFTER SUN BALM: Long days in the water or skin can leave skin dry and chapped. Not all balms are the same or equal, so I have chosen a few of my all-time favorites based upon ingredients, effectiveness and functionality. 

Badger After Sun Balm: This balm is a very light-weight body balm with a very mild lavender & citrus scent. This is a great choice when a little extra moisture is needed to soothe sun-parched skin. It comes in a.75 oz tin, which is great for travel (just don't leave it in the heat!).

Price $5.99/.75 oz tin

Dr. Shannon's Skin Balm: This creamy, dreamy multi-purpose balm is more heavy-duty than the Badger Balm with power packed ingredients like calendula, marshmallow root, plantain leaf and pumpkin seed oil. It is highly restorative and perfect for use from head to toe (don't forget lips!). It has a thicker consistency, so you don't need much to be effective. It is known working as a anti-chaffing balm, so this isn't limited to after-sun care. The sky is the limit!

Price: $8/28 (.5 oz / 3.5 oz)


AFTER SUN/POOL HAIR CARE: Sun and chlorine can do a number on our hair. Removing the chlorine and other grime is important, as well as restoring moisture and protection.

Babo Swim & Sport Shampoo & Wash: We love that Babo created a shampoo that naturally purifies and cleanses hair, scalp and skin. It strips hair of chlorine, salt, pollution and grime using a corn-derived chelator, then conditions with botanicals of chamomile, calendula, kudzu and watercress. To top it off, we love that same yummy apple scent found in the sunscreens. 

Price: $14 / 8 oz.

Get 20% off at Integrity Botanicals during the month of June! Use Code: BABO

Babo Swim & Sport Conditioner: After shampooing, add much-needed moisture with organic aloe vera and cucumber. This conditioner strengthens and protects hair from being damaged by sun and pollutants and becoming brittle. Like the shampoo & wash, it contains Babo's proprietary blend of soothing chamomile, calendula, kudzu and watercress.

Get 20% off at Integrity Botanicals during the month of June! Use Code: BABO

Babo Swim & Sport Detangling Spray: After cleansing and soothing hair and scalp, a natural detangler is a must for long locks. We love this light weight spray that is also great for styling with a quick spritz. My kids think it smells like candy. WIN!

Price: $14 / 8 oz

Get 20% off at Integrity Botanicals during the month of June! Use Code: BABO



Zoe Organics 100% Organic Insect Repellent Oil: Because repelling insects is an unfortunate, but guaranteed part of your summer skincare routine, we have added our 100% organic, lovely smelling insect repellent to this list. This light-weight oil blend not only repels insects, but it is also deeply nourishing and soothing. If you do get that unfortunate bite or two, the essential oils in this blend, will soothe and reduce the pain, redness and inflammation.

Get 20% off Insect Repellent at Zoe Organics during the month of June! Use Code: SUMMERSKIN


We really hope you found this list helpful! We have had a lot of fun testing products and putting together this list of favorites! Special thanks to Integrity Botanicals and O & N Collective for generously offering discounts on the Babo Botanicals and COOLA products through the end of June! 



Now we have a super special Giveaway sponsored by Integrity Botanicals and Zoe Organics! We are offering one (1) winner a SUPER SUMMER SKINCARE PACK, valued at $149, which includes the following:

1.Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Suncreen

2. Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sport Stick

3. Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport Shampoo & Wash

4. Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport Conditioner

5. Babo Botanicals Swim & Sport Detangling Spray

6. Zoe Organics Baby Bath Tea

7. Dr. Shannon's Skin Balm 

8. Zoe Organics Insect Repellent

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comments on this post (61)

  • Jun 18, 2014

    I use goddess garden kids spray. But open to trying different products.

    — Rosemary

  • Jun 18, 2014

    Our family likes Suntegrity and Babo Botanicals sunscreens. I’m really interested in the Josh Rosebrook Day Cream now!

    — Kerri

  • Jun 18, 2014

    I used Neutragena previously but now that I have a baby I would love to try natural products like this!

    — Charlene

  • Jun 18, 2014

    I have been using Coola tinted SPF moisturizer and I’m really liking it. I don’t usually wear make-up unless I’m going to a party or something, and even then I don’t really care for foundation and all that. I love the Coola tinted products because they give a nice sheer coverage and still have SPF so I don’t have to wear sunscreen as well.

    — Misha

  • Jun 18, 2014

    I really like badger sunscreen for the kids and onelove organics skin savior for me!

    — Andrea Kelly

  • Jun 18, 2014

    I love Badger Active Zinc Oxide Sunscreen Cream for my kids

    — Monika Tietz

  • Jun 18, 2014

    We love babo products!

    — Angelina

  • Jun 17, 2014

    i love trukid for my son. for me, i love coola. but i’ve been wanting to try babo products for a long time and zoe organics.

    — sharon b

  • Jun 16, 2014

    I like neutrogena ultra sheer spf 70. I like a high spf!

    — lori clark

  • Jun 16, 2014

    I love Ava Anderson moisturizer with spf!

    — Holly Petrie

  • Jun 16, 2014

    I am currently using Episencial Sunny Sunscreen for my daughter.

    — Monica Powell

  • Jun 16, 2014

    California baby, because its the only one my son has not had a reaction too…

    — Tiffany Christian

  • Jun 16, 2014

    I use colorscience powder as my sunscreen. I love sunblox scarves too.

    — linda

  • Jun 16, 2014

    I Like the Babo Botanicals clear zinc sunscreen.

    — Laurie

  • Jun 16, 2014

    Right now I really like Episencial Natural Sunscreen for my kids!!

    — Cassandra Eastman

  • Jun 16, 2014

    My favorite sunscreen products is California Baby.

    — Melissa

  • Jun 16, 2014

    Love Babo!!

    — christy

  • Jun 16, 2014

    I love the California Baby sunscreen!

    — Danielle

  • Jun 14, 2014

    I do not have a favorite sunscreen but I have used Neutrogena products. I use a high SPF

    — Maryann D.

  • Jun 13, 2014

    I am loving Devita products right now

    — Holly E

  • Jun 13, 2014

    I don’t know my favorite yet I have my first baby, she’s 5 months old and I’ve been obsessively searching for something to try with her.

    — Jenni Marshall

  • Jun 13, 2014

    I use California baby for little ones. I like the product but not the price!

    — Nichelle

  • Jun 13, 2014

    As of right now we haven’t found a favorite! This looks like an awesome giveaway!

    — Shannon

  • Jun 12, 2014

    I’m currently using Karen’s Botanicals sunblock; I like it!

    — Dawn

  • Jun 12, 2014

    I have been loving my products from LUSH but so far they don’t have a sunscreen, so I really appreciate this post! Thanks for hosting this great giveaway!

    — Camille

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