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.
Kōkua Sun Care
Ease of Application
Where to purchase: Amazon
EWG Rating: 1
Active ingredient(s): 25% Non-nano Zinc Oxide
Other ingredients: Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Caprylyl Caprylate/Caprate (Coconut Oil Derived), Hawaiian Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil*, Hawaiian Aleurites Moluccana (Kukui) Seed Oil*, Polyglyceryl-2 Oleate (Olive Oil Derived), Polyhydroxystearic Acid (Vegetable Derived), Glycerin, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Cetyl Dimethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Hydrogenated Methyl Abietate, Galactoarabinan, Propanediol, Polyglyceryl-2 Stearate, Hawaiian Morinda Citrifolia (Noni) Fruit Juice*, Arthrospira Platensis (Hawaiian Spirulina)*, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Bran Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Heliantus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Fruit Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Cucumis Melo Cantalupensis (Cantaloupe) Fruit Extract, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Fruit Extract, Musa Sapientum (Banana) Fruit Extract, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Extract, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Leaf/Seed Extract, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Heliantus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Hawaiian Plumeria Alba Flower Extract*, Kaolin, Hydrogenated Vegetable Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol Caprylhydroxamic Acid *Hawaii Grown Ingredients
Antioxidants added: Aloe, Macadamia Oil, Kukui Seed Oil, Noni Fruit Juice, Apricot Fruit Extract, and more!
Ease of application: It goes on very smooth and clear. One major test for us is if it goes on through my husband’s arm hair and even buzzed head, and this one passed that test with flying colors. It will take a bit more time to rub in compared to conventional sunscreens, but for a mineral sunscreen it gets really darn clear.
Scent: Our family loved this lotion. The scent had my children swooning with its light, fruity overtone… maybe some banana or coconut in there? Nothing that smells artificial like many conventional sunscreens, just pure and natural and attractive.
Water Resistant? Yes! 80 minutes FDA approved. (That’s the highest legally allowed)
My experience: We had one little incident with burning, but I don’t think it was the fault of the sunscreen, just that my son is too fair for Florida sun in April! The other brand in the A/B test also allowed a pink tinge to happen. It was not a bad burn, no peeling, and I do think this SPF50 would protect as well as any other natural or conventional sunscreen.
My review: I’m proud to put Kōkua Sun Care in my very highest recommended category. It’s definitely a new favorite in 2018! The founder of the company is a lawyer and knows a lot about making sure the product is up to standards with the FDA, as well as how to keep the oceans and reefs safe. She does a lot of education and advocacy on the islands and beyond through media. I love learning about the stories behind the companies and I often feel that I can trust the brand more because of this very human and very conscientious face.
The product is made in California, not Hawaii, only because there are no FDA-approved facilities on the islands. The cream itself is just lovely in all ways and passes every test. My daughter even chose it as the one to put on for an all-day field trip, so it’s kid-approved as well!
From Kōkua: I would like to give you some follow up on Kōkua Sun Care Hawaiian Natural Zinc Sunscreen SPF 50/80 minutes WR. There has been quite a buzz in Hawaii about potentially being the first state to ban the sale of sunscreens containing the toxic chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate! Here is a news article on the latest news at the Hawaii legislature. Kōkua Sun Care is a Hawaii company and has been an active participant to make this happen submitting testimony, writing emails, meeting with legislators, and participating in rallies and trade-ins, etc. Part of our mission is to educate and convert chemical sunscreen users to zinc oxide sunscreen to save the coral reefs, marine life, and humans. As you likely know, chemical sunscreens and many of the preservatives that we see in personal care products, even ones that are supposed to be “natural” contain lots of toxins that harm people and marine life, like parabens and phenoxyethanol. Please see our blog post here on What Reef Safe Really Means.
We have trade-ins at events whereby people can trade in their toxic sunscreens for a discount and upgrade to Kōkua Sun Care. We advocated for the passage of the Hawaii bill to ban oxybenzone and octinoxate, submitted testimony, and supported the efforts of scientist Dr. Craig Downs (who led the team that discovered that chemical sunscreens, inter alia, are killing coral reefs world-wide, see research here) to educate the public about reef safe alternatives. We are proud to be a member of the Safe Sunscreen Council, and we have been featured in many articles about reef safe sunscreen and why you need it, like this one in Travel + Leisure Magazine, see link here.
Our aim with Kōkua Sun Care is to provide a natural zinc sunscreen alternative to chemicals that gives maximum protection and does not require the user to compromise on performance. We have a lot of ingredients but 23 are natural antioxidants (7 of them Hawaiian for extra potent antioxidant action) to neutralize free radicals and the rest are non-toxic and mostly plant-derived to provide a well-emulsified, SPF boosted formula with zinc optimally dispersed that really stays on.
- rubs in really well
- smells great
- includes 23 different antioxidants, the most impressive number I’ve ever seen! Seven of them are from plants grown in Hawaii which is just kind of a cool integration with the brand.
- the price is a little high, but well worth it in my opinion
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!