Historic Range: $6.93-$16.00
Reviewers Paid: $7.99
I have been using Badger sunscreen this summer as an alternative to more chemically-based sun protection. It definitely does the job of keeping you from getting burned, and it doesn't have nanoparticles or potentially carcinogenic chemical agents. It also doesn't easy wash, rub, or sweat off.
On the downside, it is very thick and not so easy to apply, and it can make you look like a ghost. Also, removal requires some scrubbing.
- Avoids sunburns
- Few chemicals and unscented
- Stays on through sweat and swimming
- Thick texture makes it hard to rub in
- 'Ghost face'
- Not so easy to wash off
My go-to sunscreen, which works extremely well, apparently isn't so great for me or the environment. In particular, I read that sunscreens that employ nanoparticles and chemicals are wreaking havoc on reef systems. In the interest of not contributing to reef damage or other water contamination this summer, I set out to find a healthier alternative.
Badger's Sport SPF 35 Sunscreen keeps your skin from burning with all-natural, 98% organic, biodegradable, reef-safe ingredients. The active ingredient is zinc oxide. Remember lifeguards with the white stuff on the bridge of their nose? Like that, though not nearly as visible.
THE TOP CRITERION, AVOIDING A SUNBURN
If you apply Badger properly, you won't burn. Ideally, smear the stuff on when you're inside and not sweaty and rub in thoroughly at least 20 minutes before you plan to head out. I have used it this summer for hiking, kayaking, cycling, lap swimming, and sitting out at youth field hockey games, unshielded from the sun except for a hat and summer clothes, and I have not gotten close to a sunburn. It's every bit as capable as the more familiar commercial products in this regard.
A downside. Badger's inactive ingredients include sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, and beeswax. These make it a much thicker 'lotion' than typical sunscreen. it's not quite a paste, but it is not easy to rub into your skin and leaves a distinct white residue, no matter how diligently you rub it in. That white residue can easily end up on your hat, clothes, gear, or anything else you rub up against. It also means your skin looks visibly whiter, though that tends to fade after being out for a little while. Badger also sells a "clear zinc" SPF 30 version that I have not tried; that might address the issue of temporarily coloring your skin.
Sunscreen is only as good as its ability to stay on your skin for an extended period of time, even if you're swimming, sweating, or hiking in the rain. Once again, Badger is at least as good as the commercial products. It doesn't easily sweat or wash off. In fact, it's rather laborious to remove; soap and water really don't cut it. You'll need a wash cloth or towel to remove it, most of the time.
I have not yet used it in the ocean, which tends to be a pretty good test of sunblock's ability to work under duress, but I tend to think this will be very capable there too.
The crucible of summer in the Mid-Atlantic. Extended time outdoors, in the water, on the water in kayaks and often sweating heavily in 90 degree plus and humid weather. I long ago abandoned every non-'sport' or waterproof sunscreen because it washes or sweats off so quickly for me.
My relatively small, 2.9 oz tube was about eight dollars at Whole Foods.
Works every bit as well as my go-to high altitude sunscreen for the primary purpose, and it has to be healthier to use. It's not as easy to apply, it mildly affects your appearance with its pale color, harder to wash off, and overall a more messy experience. I'll probably use this as my primary sunscreen at the beach this summer, but I will also use my easier-to-use sunscreen when I'm not near the ocean.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $7.99