Organic and all-natural segments of the beauty industry have grown in leaps and bounds in the last decade, as consumers demand alternatives to chemical skin-care ingredients. Experts agree that natural sunscreen products that contain the minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide -- rather than chemical sunscreens -- are considered a safe and effective alternative. These physical sunscreens form a protective layer on the skin that blocks the sun's harmful rays.
If you prefer to avoid chemicals and preservatives in your personal-care products, mineral sunscreens are the most common choice, but they aren't the only option. Beyond Coastal Active Sunscreen SPF 34 (Est. $15 for 4 oz.) is a chemical sunscreen (meaning it uses ingredients that absorb UV rays rather than reflecting them) but avoids retinyl palmitate and oxybenzone -- the two ingredients Environmental Working Group (EWG) warns against most often -- and it's one of the only chemical sunscreens to earn a low hazard rating from EWG. For those who prefer a mineral sunscreen, Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen Sensitive SPF 30 (Est. $15 for 5 oz.) is another popular natural option.
One clear advantage of Beyond Coastal is that it's easy to apply -- especially for a natural sunscreen. Bicycling magazine reports that Beyond Coastal "rubs in easily, like our favorite moisturizer." Although it initially feels a little sticky, it dries to a matte finish, according to New York magazine, whose tester also says that this formula leaves no white film at all.
Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, are generally thick and take a long time to rub into skin. Though reviewers say Blue Lizard isn't as bad as other mineral sunscreens on the market, it's still not great. Reviewers say that it tends to leave a whitish film on users' skin, especially as they begin to sweat. It's worth noting that some Beyond Coastal reviewers do say it's tougher to rub in than some traditional sunscreens -- a lot like a thick lotion.
While Beyond Coastal is rated water-resistant up to 80 minutes, Blue Lizard Sensitive hasn't been tested for water-resistance. Beyond Coastal reviewers say the sunscreen doesn't run when sweating, and that water simply beads and rolls off of skin. Both sunscreens protect well from sunburn, though, according to reviewers. They're also both good for sensitive skin, as they're fragrance- and paraben-free. A few Beyond Coastal reviewers at Amazon.com, however, note that they actually like the product's natural scent, likely due to its natural plant ingredients.
Overall, both Beyond Coastal Active and Blue Lizard Australian are good natural options and both provide reliable sun protection. However, Beyond Coastal sunscreen has some clear advantages when it comes to comfort and wearability as well as water-resistance, making it our Best Reviewed natural sunscreen.