Looking for a reef-safe sunscreen that uses only zinc oxide as an active ingredient? You may want to keep looking!
With over 100 natural mineral sunscreens tested by my family of six in the past 10 years, we’ve had our share of miserable failures. White out? Paint drying? Sticky, chalky, makes you look like an alabaster statue or Casper the ghost?
I will tell you this: it’s entirely possible to find a zinc oxide sunscreen that is reef safe, really works, and goes on smoothly.
This brand is not one of them.
Read the full review below to find out all of its transgressions, and then be sure to go to my ultimate guide to natural mineral sunscreens to find a safe sunscreen that really works.
Badger Balm Tangerine Vanilla Kids Clear Face Stick SPF 35
Ease of Application
EWG rating: 1
Active ingredient: Non-Nano Uncoated Zinc Oxide 22.5%
Other ingredients: Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Organic Beeswax, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Shea Butter, Organic Orange Oil, Organic Tangerine Oil, Sunflower Vitamin E & Organic Vanilla Extract.
Antioxidants added: Tocopherol (Sunflower Vitamin E)
Ease of application: + This stick smells lovely, a blend of orange and vanilla, and it has very very clean ingredients. It applies very easily, rubs in well, and would be a great option to send with a child to apply to their own face. One reason I love sticks is lack of gloppy mess that you find sometimes with cream, as well as the fact that you can really see where you initially apply it, and then ask a child to rub it in themselves. That’s one way to split the work, but my older kids can definitely do it 100% independently, and my younger ones certainly think they can. The stick has the highest water resistance rating possible.
Super important note: Safety with essential oils is becoming more understood, and I couldn’t be more grateful. Orange oil is one of those that is phototoxic, meaning it can intensify the sun and cause burns more readily when used topically. So is this a terrible choice for a sunscreen? First, it’s unclear whether the sweet orange oil in the Badger stick is essential oil or something less potent. But either way, sweet orange is not phototoxic, and neither is tangerine. It’s bitter orange that is a photosensitizer. (Phew!) source
Scent: Delightfully like oranges
Water Resistant: Rated for up to 80 minutes
Review (updated for 2021): Originally I had this Kids Clear Face Stick in the highest tier with the other Badger cream sunscreens. After a 2021 trip to Sedona, however, I have certainly changed my mind.
Kris and I used this stick by rubbing stripes on our skin and then rubbing it around to spread. The crazy thing was, we got burns around the original stripes – like it didn’t spread at all. So it might work exactly where you use the stick, but if it can’t deal with a little human usage, it gets a fail from me. It allowed a lot of burns.
- uses olive oil instead of sunflower oil
- higher SPF than other Badger products
- doesn’t spread like it seems to
- allowed burns
Wondering if this one is the very best natural sunscreen for your family?
I organized alllll the sunscreens we reviewed in each one’s recommendation category – one page, at-a-glance to find out what is safe to buy AND works! Print it or save to your phone for reference!
The guide also includes answers to questions people ask me all the time:
- Which brand rubs in the clearest?
- What’s the best for all day outdoor sports?
- How do I save money on natural sunscreens?
- What looks good on ladies’ faces?
- Is there an option that is FAST to apply to wiggly kids?
I’ll send a copy to your email so you can see it right away and find it again later!