A few years ago, I set out to find natural sunscreen options when I learned about the toxic dangers of using the common commercial sunscreens. It is sad but real, that so often in our society the very things that are most pushed on us, are the most harmful. My first choice based on reviews was Soleo Organics. However, at the time I did not find it and since I have learned to use very little sunscreen period, enjoying the sun sensibly for optimal health and protecting with clothing at other times, I let it go. To me, like to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), the best sunscreen is a hat and a shirt—cheapest, simplest, cleanest and most effective without worrying about any chemicals.

Finally however, after seeing EWG’s 2009 sunscreen report, I began to get enticed by Badger sunscreen. Unfortunately as with Soleo finding it back then was not the easiest of things. So before a certain trip to the Caribbean and after reading every bottle label, I resorted to Neutrogena’s Pure & Free Unscented Baby 60 SPF seeing that it was the most natural choice in the drug store available.

Early this year I finally bought a bottle of Badger sunscreen. It was wonderful to now see it readily available at the local health food stores and after seeing it rated at the top of the charts for the past 3 years consecutively, I knew I would not be making a mistake.

Badger is a family run, family friendly business located on the banks of the Ashuelot River in rural Gilsum, New Hampshire. It was started back in 1995 and works hard to create a healthy business with ethical and charitable principles. Their mission—which resonates so much with how I think and feel— is to create fabulously pure and effective products of the highest natural quality, based on simplicity and thoughtful preparation. To read more of their outstanding and noble mission see their about page.

Badger carries a variety of skin products and in their sunscreen line they have 7 products. Among these are SPF 15 or 30 choices, baby specific, and scented or unscented. I chose the Natural SPF 30 Unscented. (If given a choice, I always choose unscented and highly recommend the same to decrease our exposure to synthetic smells, whether chemically or naturally derived.)

It may sound funny or biased, but I knew I was going to love this sunscreen even before I bought it. I saw the ingredients before and was thoroughly impressed. It really does not get any more natural than this. I saw the outstanding ratings for being natural and effective for 3 consecutive years based on the EWG ratings, where it scores a 1 or low hazard (being one of the best ratings). See here for the annual EWG Sunscreen Report. Finally, living a conscious, heart-centered life I want my money and support to go to companies who have the community, family, our health and environment truly in mind. Thus began my love affair with Badger sunscreen.

Remember that I began by telling you that I rarely use sunscreen these days, well having Badger I am not kidding when I say that I was actually looking for excuses to put it on. The moisturizing properties were so wonderful and gently oiled my skin, leaving it soft and nourished. Aside from containing chemical ingredients, what I used to most dislike about commercial sunscreen is how it felt on one’s skin. I could not wait to wash it off at the earliest chance I got. Well with Badger, nothing like this happens. In fact I forget I have it on. I do not find it too oily, or too thick or hard to put on, or anything else that I can think of to be a negative thing.

Being a product based on zinc oxide, one must remember though that it can leave the skin a little white looking if it is not rubbed in properly. However, taking the time to spread it well, I found no problem regardless what I was doing. I did not try any strenuous activities where I had to sweat a lot, so I cannot comment on whether it condenses on the skin, or leaves white patches, etc. I did not find any stain on my clothes that I noticed so far either in any of the areas that my clothes came in contact with my skin.

In terms of scents, the product does say that it is unscented and that is true in that no fragrances are added (whether natural or chemical). However, we must remember that nature has its own natural scents. Since this product is made with natural ingredients that each have their own scent, we have to expect that yes there is a scent to this product. Leading a scent free life at home for the most part, I did not find the smell overwhelming but rather quite gentle. At first I couldn’t tell what it was as it smelled so chocolatey, and upon reminding myself of the ingredients I thought of course, the cacao butter!

In terms of consistency, the product is more like a thick cream, rather than a lotion. It is important to know this before buying, as some people’s greatest dislike with this product is that it is not a lotion. As mentioned, any zinc oxide based product takes a little extra effort to be rubbed in so that no white residue remains, this is a known fact. So taking the time to spread this properly is important and I personally did not mind the consistency at all. In fact, I enjoyed it much more than some runny chemical sunscreens I had in the past.

As for how it works, it seemed to do a great job during the few times I needed to use it, as I did not get burned at all. That was also without needing to reapply, even though my sun exposure was intermittent. It is rated to have good UVB protection and excellent UVA protection according to the EWG. What we must remember too, or rather learn is that our skin reacts differently to the sun based on our diet. People who eat nutrient-rich, natural, especially plant foods have better skin protection to begin with thanks to the high amounts of different phytochemicals, over people who eat processed food, nutrient-deficient diets. Likewise different drugs make us more susceptible to the sun, so keep that in mind whether you have sunscreen on or not.

In terms of price, some may see this as an expensive product at about $15-$20 for a small 87mL tube. However, in the defense of the high quality, 100% natural ingredients, I think it is very much well worth the price. Chemical sunscreens may be a bit cheaper, but there is no way I would compromise my health for the sake of money. I always say that it is a matter of priorities.

In conclusion, I know that today there is a wide selection of natural sunscreens available and this one may not be the perfect one for your needs. However from my point of view, I definitely recommend this sunscreen when a sunscreen is needed. It passes as an excellent all natural product in terms of its ingredients, company mission, how well it works, and today ease of purchasing as well.

Ingredients

(based on Canadian, 2011 new formula bottle)

Medicinal Ingredient:

  • Zinc Oxide (USP-1) 18.75%

Non-Medicinal Ingredients:

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Olea europaea)*
  • Beeswax (Cera alba)*
  • Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinensis)*
  • Cocoa Butter (Theobroma cacao)*
  • Shea Butter (Butyrospermum parkii)*
  • Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E)
  • Seabuckthorn CO2 Extract (Hippophae rhamniodes)*

*Certified Organic Ingredients

Packaging

The sunscreen comes in an 87mL/2.9fl.oz plastic squeeze tube, which is made from BPA and Phthalate-free packaging and made from >50% Post-Consumer Recycled #2 plastic.

Price (as of this posting)

Availability

  • Most health food stores across North America
  • US and Canadian online retailers as listed above

The Good

  • Excellent natural ingredients
  • Mostly composed of certified organic ingredients
  • Great protection
  • Superior UVA protection
  • Long lasting
  • Excellent skin nourishing ingredients
  • Moisturizing properties
  • No PABA, oxybenzone or other sunscreen chemicals
  • No alcohol
  • No parabens
  • Non-nano particles
  • No petroleum products
  • No artificial aromas, fragrances or dyes
  • No chemical ingredients
  • Natural Products Association Certified
  • Not tested on animals
  • Vegetarian friendly
  • Fair price

The Bad

  • Some people will not enjoy the scent and/or the consistency