I put my heart and soul into finding the best natural mineral sunscreen over the last 10 years. My family of 6 has personally tested over 100 reef-safe sunscreen options, putting two on our bodies every time we are in the sun.
Our a/b tests have been stringent, and we really know what mineral sunscreens are effective, rub in well, and last a long time.
Of all those well over 100 choices, we only have about a dozen that we love and this brand is one of them.
If you’re looking for one of the best natural sunscreens, you’re in the right place!
As you’ll read in the full review below, this zinc oxide sunscreen covers all the bases and keeps your family safe from sunburn. It uses pristine ingredients to the highest standard, goes on smooth, and actually lasts.
If you’d like to see how it stacks up against other natural mineral sunscreen brands that use reef-safe zinc oxide, then head over to my ultimate guide to natural mineral sunscreens for the complete list of safe sunscreen reviews.
Kabana Green Screen®
Ease of Application
EWG Rating: 1
Active Ingredient(s): zinc oxide (25%), non nano
Other Ingredients: Eldorado Springs Artesian Water, Certified Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Certified Organic Jojoba Oil, Vegetable Glycerine, Organic Shea Butter, Vegetable Emulsifying Wax NF (cetearyl alcohol & polysorbate 60 from COCONUT!!), Vegetable Vitamin E (non-gmo from sunflower seeds)
Antioxidants Added: Vitamin E
Ease of Application: +/- Average for zinc-based sunblocks
Water Resistant? Yes! Doesn’t repel water like some others do, but doesn’t allow burns even after swimming.
My Experience: Although my husband, who is notorious for not applying sunscreen evenly, burned a bit at a baseball game between noon and 3:00, our brother-in-law and neighbors did not burn at all, even after swimming. The brother-in-law had some other products on as well and did burn, so I feel pretty confident in the effectiveness of Kabana Green Screen. My neighbor didn’t like the consistency and would not use it again. As natural sunblocks go, that’s pretty standard issue, so I guess I’m used to it. The tinted version helps alleviate the Casper the Friendly Ghost look, but it’s too “tan” for very fair skin and looks odd.
What really puts Kabana at the top is the ingredients – when I was asked by a cousin to choose one for her son, just barely 6 months, I felt I could only grab one that had zinc oxide as an active ingredient, since that is rated safe for babies’ bottoms from day one. Kabana was the one I told her to take home with her… Note: Here are my only best recommended sunscreens for babies, updated each year.
Star Feature: Kabana was founded by a Stanford grad with a chemistry background who has a real passion for safe skin care. The website is packed with information that I eagerly perused. The boss man, Erik, teaches you to read labels and assures you of the quality of each of his ingredients, many of them organic. For the quality of the product, the price is very reasonable. Kabana is also an eco-friendly company.
My Review: (I started using Kabana in 2010 and have kept up on adding thoughts multiple times and always look each year to make sure this is 100% up to date!) Kabana’s new Vitamin D sunblock feels so safe to me, and it’s one of the only ones I would put on a baby. However, you should know that it doesn’t “rub in” at all, and it’s not meant to. My kids look a little ghostly, but it’s “safety first” for me with them, not beauty. My husband won’t use it at all – beauty first for him, apparently!
Just kidding. For the adults, we’ve been using Kabana’s new tinted blend. They really do work as far as not looking white, but hubs was very worried he’d look like he was wearing makeup. He was relieved that he didn’t.
For darker complexions, Kabana has the deepest shade of tinted sunscreen that I’ve found. Zinc oxide is a particular challenge for non-white skin, as one reader pointed out!
You should know about this one, though, that it stains clothing really, really badly. That’s why, even though it looks great on the kids, even John’s white baby skin (nude for kids; bronze is great like a foundation for adults), we won’t use it on them anymore. They’re too wiggly and we’ve wrecked a few shirts already and aren’t willing to risk more.
2018 Update: Both tubes I still have are a few years if not a lot of years expired, so I really do need to retest soon. To be fair, although Kabana has been one of my favorites for a long time, so many more good brands of come on the market that it may be moving down in the ranks. It really is quite tough to rub in, but with some work you can get it to disappear. Typically after being in storage for a while, water will separate out and make a good mess on your first squeeze.
I remain a big fan of this brand on principle and sentimental value in a way since it was the first of the best, and I would still use it regularly on my kids, but it might be too thick and white for my face. The tinted versions always did well, and I used to wear them as foundation. As long as I added some powder, I did not look shiny.
Kabana is in the final process of getting FDA regulated. They do have a drug facts box.
From the founder: “I am in process with the NDC stuff and uploading the labels etc to the FDA site. It’s not ready yet but we are getting there – I’ll pass on the info as soon as I can. Historically between FDA not regulating sunscreens until 2012 and that we use natural ingredients which are impossible to characterize to FDA typical drug standards, it was an issue, but more and more manufacturers are utilizing inherently complex chemistry natural oils and the regulatory situation is changing a bit.”
- super clean ingredients
- various tints available for all complexions
- doesn’t rub in as well as some others, although the tinted version gets around that some
- stains clothes
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!