3 Clean SPFs That’ll Protect Your Skin And The Ocean

Clean spf for face and body

The beauty industry’s obsession with clean ingredients in our products is only rising. It’s clear that having a sustainable approach to skincare, makeup, and especially SPF is important to consumers. But, there is so much more to choosing the right sunscreen than its formulation; and, I’m not talking about the confusing symbols and abbreviations on the label that’s for another edit; I’m talking about a clean SPF!

What is a clean SPF?

A clean SPF is an eco-friendly sunscreen that is free from biologically toxic ingredients like oxybenzone, octocrylene, octinoxate, parabens, phthalates and nanoparticles. Clean SPFs are designed to respect marine biodiversity (this can range from protecting fish species to coral bleaching) with ingredients commonly known as reef-safe or environmentally-friendly.

It’s pretty clear that we could all do with using one. But why aren’t we? There are a lot of misconceptions with eco-friendly SPFs. Many believe that you have to give up on the feel, texture and efficacy, but that is not the case. I can promise you that these three formulas stand up to traditional SPF, and do so much more for our environment.

Every SPF Formula in this edit is:

1) Reef-safe (no oxybenzone and octinoxate)
2) Made from clean ingredients
3) Suitable for sensitive skin


1. Clean SPF for Ageing Skin
clean spf: Hand image of Caudalie Milky Sun Spray SPF50 

Texture: Lightweight Spray, non-sticky
Finish: Moisturising

• Protects against signs of ageing
• Refreshing
• Easy spray application
• Moisturises
• 2-in-1

• SPF50 Broad-Spectrum (UVA, UVB)
• Chemical
• Water-resistant
• Biodegradable Formula
• Environmentally and reef-friendly
• Antioxidants

What makes it a clean SPF?

If you’re looking for an SPF that takes care of our planet’s ecosystem, then look no further than the Caudalie Milky Sun Spray SPF50. The bottle is made from sugar cane plastic, and the biodegradable formula is made specially to care of the ocean’s biodiversity. This comes as no surprise, with Caudalie’s ban of all toxic filters in all their SPF formulas, so you know that you can trust that none of their products contains harmful ingredients known to bleach coral (oxybenzone and octinoxate).

What does it do, and how does it feel?

The SPF has no stickiness or white cast. The refreshing milky spritz only leaves skin smooth and moisturised. And if you’re after a tan? Don’t worry; it’s still possible. Skin is optimally hydrated so you’ll achieve a long-lasting healthy tan while minimising the ageing effects of UVA rays thanks to high broad-spectrum protection and a powerful cocktail of natural antioxidants that put a stop to collagen breakdown.

When I’m on holidays, I always opt for a spray SPF because they are fuss-free, and require no rubbing in. Even better than this, Caudalie’s Milky Spray doubles up for use on the face and body, which is good news for me as it means I can carry fewer bottles in my beach bag. And, the cherry on top of the cake for me has to be its frangipani flower scent, which is blissful!

Love everything about this formula but not a fan of sprays? Take a look at Caudalie full collection for more options.

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This SPF does contain avobenzone. Caudalie assures us that:

“Please kindly note that this filter does not present any risk to the skin and to the planet. The leading players of sunscreens are using this filter. Unlike other chemical sunscreens that just protect from the sunburn-causing UVB rays, avobenzone also protects from UVA rays.

There are many reasons to use this filter:

•Outstanding tolerance
•Excellent effectiveness
•It protects from UVA rays, the rays that cause premature ageing and skin cancer
•It is authorized in the whole world
•Avobenzone is very well tolerated by corals

Chemical filters are chemical molecules that react with UV rays by absorbing radiation instead of the skin. They provide the most effective protection against UVB and UVA rays. The term “chemical” has nothing negative or dangerous about it, but some filters are controversial: irritant filters (octocrylene), endocrine disruptors (Octinoxate or Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), those that are dangerous for the environment (oxybenzone, octinoxate).

Formulation laboratories have to choose from a list of filters authorized by the European health authorities (COLIPA standard), which is what we have done.”


2. Clean SPF for All Skin Typesclean spf: Hand image of REN Clean Screen Mineral Sunscreen SPF30

Texture: Cream
Finish: Matte

• Protects against signs of ageing
• Reduce shine
• Won’t clog pores

• Broad-spectrum (UVA, UVB, Blue Light)
• Mineral filters
• Non-nano naturally derived zinc oxide (22%)
• Antioxidants
• Vegan
• Cruelty-free

What makes it a clean SPF?

Clean Screen has been considered over six years of research to ensure that it’s good for the environment in every aspect of its design, from its reef-friendly formula made with 22% Non-Nano naturally-derived zinc oxide filters, down to the 50% recycled tube and the 100% recycled cap. REN’s reputation for clean skincare is no secret, and with awards won in sustainable beauty, unsurprisingly, it was one of the first brands that sprung to mind for this edit; and as it’s their first and only SPF to date, REN can add another gold star by their name because this SPF is a job well done!

What does it do, and how does it feel?

All-natural zinc oxide filters stop UVA and blue light rays from your laptop TV, tablet and phone are blocked, so you get none of the ageing effects like pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles. And as if this wasn’t enough, it prevents ageing by neutralising free radicals and pollutants that lead to lack of firmness and collagen breakdown thanks to antioxidant-rich yellow passion fruit seed extract.

When applied, the formula feels creamy, absorbs into the skin smoothly, leaving a matte finish due to natural rice starch regulating excess oil. None of that flashback shine you get with most SPFs; after I use it, my skin looks smooth, and it’s shine-free under makeup – and when it comes off? My sensitive complexion is soothed and comfortable. All in all, Clean Screen is a personal favourite of mine, and I think many beauty experts agree with me when I say it’s one of the best clean SPFs to try at the moment.

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3. Clean SPF For Oily to Combination Skinclean spf: Hand image of Avene Cleanance Sunscreen Very High Protection Tinted SPF50+

Texture: Non-greasy, non-sticky and fast-absorbing.
Finish: Matte

• Protects against signs of ageing
• No white marks
• Regulates sebum
• Covers imperfections

•Chemical filters
• SPF50 broad-spectrum (UVA, UVB)
• Biodegradable formula
• Antioxidants

What makes it a clean SPF?

All of Avene’s SPFs are ocean-friendly, so for this edit, it was just a case of choosing one of my favourites (and I have so many!) Cleanance’s biodegradable formula gives it a bonus point. It’s made with the fewest possible filters to respect marine biodiversity and ensure no coral bleaching (so that’s no oxybenzone and octinoxate). And with Avene’s long-term commitment to protecting the reefs and protecting skin, they definitely earned a place in this edit.

What does it do, and how does it feel?

The high broad-spectrum filter means that it will protect skin from ageing UVA rays so that firmness and collagen are preserved. And, as harmful free radicals like pollution are also known to speed up the skin ageing process, it’s important to get an SPF like Cleanance that’s infused with an antioxidant complex to help with this.

First and foremost, Cleanance is an SPF designed for oily and blemish-prone skin, so you can believe me when I say excess sebum is no match for this formula. Expect no added shine; the ultra-thin neutral tinted SPF is your best friend on bad skin days when you want to let your skin breathe, but feel self-conscious about your blemishes. The finish? Like my skin, but more flawless! And of course, if you’re already familiar with Avene, you’ll know it contains its soothing thermal water, which only helps to calm an angry breakout, especially in the heat.

Note: If you have oily skin or are prone to blemishes, and love the sound of this formula, explore the full Cleanance collection.

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Discover more:

Your French Icons, But Greener
SPF Terms Made Simple

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