Food itself is a huge adjustment for most new vegans, and finding effective vegan versions of all your favorite products can be difficult as well.
Once you start looking at those labels, you may be surprised to learn just how many personal care products and other items need replacing to complete the transition to veganism.
Particularly with SPF moisturizers and sunscreen products, animal by-products are commonly used to help the skin feel more supple and to make application easier. This doesn’t mean, though, that it’s the only option.
There are plenty of great vegan sunscreens and vegan moisturizers out there – with SPF to help keep your sensitive skin safe from the sun. If you aren’t sure where to find these seemingly-magical moisturizers, this guide is a great place to start!
After thorough research into requirements for vegan moisturizer with SPF to be effective, SimplySunSafe recommends Keys Solar Rx Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30 as the best vegan moisturizer with SPF. Read on for a detailed buyer’s guide, comparison table, and in-depth reviews of the top 5 vegan moisturizers with SPF.
To ensure your next vegan moisturizer with SPF provides both awesome sun protection and skin hydration there are a few must-have features you should search for:
Broad spectrum protection
One of the most important things to look for when purchasing any product that provides sun protection is whether or not it’s going to give you broad spectrum protection.
Broad spectrum protection is when an SPF product shields your skin from UVA rays in addition to UVB rays, creating a more comprehensively protective product.
You see, visible sunlight isn’t responsible for the damage to your skin after time spent in the sun – that is actually due to ultraviolet rays we cannot see. When it comes to sun damage, we want our sunscreen to protect us from both UVA and UVB rays.
UVA rays cause skin damage on a deep level. As a result, we usually don’t notice this type of damage until it’s too extensive to be reversed.
These rays target the DNA of our skin cells, causing damage that can multiply as those damaged cells continue to make copies of themselves.
This accelerates the visible signs of aging and can give skin a wrinkled, saggy, thick or leathery appearance before it’s time. This type of UV ray is able to pass through glass and can affect you even when you are indoors.
UVB rays cause surface level damage that is noticeable almost immediately.
UVB ray exposure causes skin to become tender and red. It will even blister if left exposed for too long. This is what most people commonly refer to as a sun burn.
Repeatedly suffering from sun burns can cause sun spots as your body tries to produce more melanin in order to protect itself from the sun. A bad sunburn in childhood greatly increases the likelihood that you will develop skin cancer later in life.
Neither type of UV ray is desirable in terms of exposure, and both can contribute to the formation of cancerous skin cells.
If you truly want to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun so you can go outside worry free, broad spectrum should be your only option.
Best SPF for vegan moisturizers
If somebody walked up to you and asked you to explain what SPF was, what it meant for your health, and how it worked… what would you say?
Most of us know it’s important when choosing a good sunscreen to look at the SPF rating, but almost as many people don’t fully understand why.
That’s because sunscreen manufacturers like to use this number as a selling point for their products, so they slap a boldly outlined number on their product and subtly lead us to believe that higher is better every time.
That way of thinking has a lot of flaws. To help you get a better grip on what it all means, let’s start from the beginning.
SPF stands for sun protection factor. Basically, the idea is to use the rating like a multiplier.
For example: an SPF 15 product suggests that you can stay out in the sun 15 times as long (when wearing it) compared to not using any sun protection at all.
The trouble is that this way of thinking about SPF leads many to spend unnecessary cash on ultra high SPF products because they think they’re getting some sort of magically strong sun protection.
The truth is that no sunscreen is effective for more than a few hours at a time. If it’s very sunny out, or you’re sweating a lot, or you decide to take a dip in the pool, then it’s effective for even less time.
A much better way to think about SPF ratings is in terms of the percentage of protection they provide. Check out the table below for a visual:
|SPF Rating||UVB Protection|
As you can see, once you get past the very low ratings, the actual amount of UVB protection you are getting doesn’t change all that much.
In fact, this is a big part of the reason most dermatologists agree that SPF 30 is more than sufficient for most users. Typically you’ll only need more if you are very photosensitive and that extra percentage point or two of protection can really make a difference for you.
Many moisturizers with SPF will have lower ratings (anything from 5-20 is common), but you still want to be shooting for SPF 30 in moisturizers.
If that’s what you’re putting on your face then it needs to be able to do a thorough job of protecting your skin from the sun. Ditch the low-SPF moisturizers and go for something with dependable protection.
Physical is better than chemical
As often as possible, you want to choose a moisturizer or sunscreen product that is physical rather than chemical.
These two categories are ways of classifying SPF-rated products based on the types of ingredients used to provide sun protection. Chemical sunscreens are typically easier to use and provide a less noticeable finish, but physical sunscreens are better for your health in the long run.
Physical sunscreens provide a literal barrier against UV rays.
The moisturizers in a product may absorb and nourish your skin, but the mineral active ingredients used (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or a combination of both) sit atop your skin and work like a suit of armor to deflect UV rays before they can come into contact with and cause harm to your skin.
These sunscreens are effective immediately upon application, though compared to chemical formulas the consistency is thicker and the finish can leave a signature white cast, which is a result of the minerals in the formula.
Physical sunscreens (particularly zinc-only formulas) are considered calming to the skin and can help with conditions like eczema and rosacea.
Chemical sunscreens soak into the skin and work to absorb incoming UV rays before they can cause damage to the skin.
There are quite a few more chemical sunscreen ingredients than physical and they are typically used in combination to tailor the balance of UV protection. These include: avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.
These chemical ingredients can cause skin irritation with repeated use and can worsen skin conditions like melasma, rosacea, eczema, etc.
These products are not effective until 15-20 minutes after application, and certain ingredients have been shown to cross into the bloodstream where they may mimic hormones and disrupt the endocrine system.
When you look at the differences between the two types of sunscreens, I hope that you’ll agree it makes sense to go with the physical sunscreens that are slightly thicker and more noticeable, but far healthier overall.
Particularly when sticking with physical sunscreens, choosing a product with an appropriate finish can be vital to ensuring you actually use it rather than chucking it in the bin a week after you bought it because you can’t stand the way it looks.
The best way to do this is to understand basic characteristics that can affect the finish of a sunscreen, and balance those with your specific needs.
For example, a sunscreen that is water resistant for a full 80 minutes is a great choice if you plan to spend your day out by the pool floating in the sun. It also means, though, that the finish of the sunscreen will likely be shinier/waxier, and have a more pronounced white cast.
That isn’t necessarily bad though – if you’re going to be in the water you need a sunscreen that won’t wash off, and probably don’t care quite as much about how well it will mix with makeup.
The same goes for other features. If you find a sunscreen with minimal white cast and a relatively transparent sheen for a finish, it likely isn’t waterproof and may have a low concentration of active ingredients. By themselves none of these factors are inherently good or bad – it all depends on what you need and what will work for you.
Best Vegan Moisturizer With SPF Comparison
|Keys Solar Rx Moisturizer||Suntegrity 5-in-1||Block Island Face Moisturizer||Goddess Garden Face The Day||Mineral Fusion Face Moisturizer|
|Active ingredients||Zinc Oxide (20.0%)||Zinc Oxide (20.0%)||Zinc Oxide (22.0%)||Zinc Oxide (19.0%)||Zinc Oxide (5.0%) & Titanium Dioxide (7.5%)|
|Finish||Minimal white cast & shine||Minimal white cast & shine||Some shine, tacky finish||Minimal white cast & shine||Some shine, minimal white cast|
5 Best Vegan Moisturizers with SPF
After through research that combined discussing issues with customers, reviewing customer feedback, examining manufacturer specifications, and participating in skincare forums, SimplySunSafe has chosen the 5 best vegan moisturizers with SPF.
All of these sunscreens provide broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 30 or greater, do not contain oxybenzone, are nourishing/moisturizing to the skin, and are vegan.
Keys Solar RX Moisturizer delivers broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 30 using zinc oxide (20%) as its sole active ingredient
This is a fabulous choice if you have particularly dry skin as it provides a lot of moisture to nourish your skin. If you already have normal to oily skin, this product may provide too much moisture to mix well with makeup.
This sunscreen/moisturizer isn’t waterproof – this isn’t that uncommon though, with sun protection products that work primarily as a moisturizer.
Once you rub it in all the way, there is little or no white cast either. It may still be a little bit noticeable on folks with darker skin tones, but it won’t be as harsh as with some other zinc-based sunscreens.
This is especially impressive considering the high concentration of active ingredient in this moisturizer.
- High concentration active ingredient
- Very moisturizing
- Pleasant finish
- Not water resistant
Suntegrity 5-in-1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen is one of the absolute best vegan face moisturizers with SPF to use if you want your moisturizer to blend well with cosmetics products.
It comes in 4 different shades of moderate-coverage tint. Just to be clear: this tinted moisturizer is definitely more on-par with makeup rather than a subtle tint.
It mixes very well with your makeup, enabling you to work antioxidant skin protection and sun protection into your daily cosmetics regime.
This moisturizers provides broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 30 using just zinc oxide (20%) as the active ingredient.
This product is not waterproof, so stay dry!
Application is soft as butter, which goes a long way toward explaining the hefty price tag on this color-savvy tinted vegan SPF moisturizer.
- High concentration active Ingredient
- 4 tint shades available
- Smooth texture
- Not waterproof
Block Island’s Natural Face Moisturizer provides broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 30 using zinc oxide (22%) as the only active ingredient.
This high concentration goes along with the extra moisture compared to Block Island’s Body Formula to provide lasting sun protection while keeping your skin nice and moist.
This sunscreen has a little bit of a shine after application, and if you use a generous amount it can feel tacky to the touch after setting. This sunscreen’s formula is natural, organic, and fragrance free so you should be able to use this moisturizer with success even if you struggle with sensitive skin.
It is not water resistant for any length of time though, so be sure to choose a water resistant product as a complement if needed.
- High concentration of active ingredient
- Moderately priced
- Some shine
- Tacky finish
If you need a product that will go a long way towards helping you prevent visible signs of skin aging, Goddess Garden Organics Face The Day Sunscreen and Firming primer definitely deserves a second look.
It provides broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 30 using zinc oxide (19%) as the active ingredient. It is not waterproof, but it does have a lot of nourishing benefits that help your skin looking young.
Without using animal products or retinol, this moisturizer produces an immediately noticeable firming effect but without the increase in photosensitivity that comes with using retinol-containing anti aging products.
It doesn’t provide a ton of moisture, so if you have dry skin and need an extra boost you may want to look into a serum to use in combination with this. It doesn’t leave a white cast, though, and so should be good to use either on its own or with cosmetics for most occasions.
- Moderately priced
- High concentration of active ingredient
- Anti-aging properties
- Not water resistant
- Not as moisturizing
Mineral Fusion’s Moisturizer provides broad spectrum, physical protection of SPF 40 using a combination of zinc oxide (5.0%) and titanium dioxide (7.5%) as the active ingredients.
This is also the only moisturizer on this list that provides a period of water resistance: 40 minutes. If you want a moisturizer that provides sun protection and is a little bit hardier in the hot summer months whether you go for a dip or simply find yourself sweating a lot.
Because of the high amount of moisture this product provides combined with the water resistance, it does have bit of shine in the finish.
It does have a minor white cast as well, though neither is so severe that you shouldn’t be able to mix this product with makeup if you like.
It is important to remember to reapply regularly despite the water resistance, particularly given the low concentration of active ingredients.
- Water resistant 40 minutes
- Lower concentration of active ingredients
While SimplySunSafe does recommend Keys Solar Rx Moisturizer with Sunscreen SPF 30 as the best vegan moisturizer with SPF, all five of the products are great picks.
Every person has different needs and different skin – you may find yourself going through a few different options before you find what works for you. This is perfectly normal, so don’t worry and have fun!
Have you found this guide a helpful start to your transitioning into vegan sunscreen products/ moisturizers?
I do my best to provide good information and great product recommendation to my readers. To this end I also try to stay current on the best sunscreens out there so I can share them!
If you know of a great vegan moisturizers with SPF that you feel should’ve made it on the list, please don’t hesitate to let me know.