8Shades’ top 5 natural, reef safe sunscreens

Summer is edging in, which means it’s time to up our sunscreen game so we don’t have to deal with sunburn, awkward tans, skin aging, and the worst of all – the risk of getting skin cancer. 

Special occasions such as going to the beach or setting sail on a junk usually call for a stronger SPF protection and perhaps a good slathering of that sunshield. But did you know choosing the wrong sunscreen could turn a delightful summer adventure into a crime?

Source: i Stock

Sunscreen chemicals don’t belong in the sea

Researches show chemicals like phthalates and other toxins that are used to make sunscreen last longer and cling better to the skin can impact the health of the marine life. When these chemicals leave our bodies and enter into the ocean, they can decrease the fertility and reproduction of fish, induce defects in young mussels and sea urchins, impair growth and photosynthesis of green algae, and bleach or even kill the coral. And the list goes on. 

A good rule of thumb would be to look for products that are labelled “reef safe” or “reef friendly”. But with so many sunscreen variants and brands to choose from, it’s hard to know which ones to go for. Well, lucky for you, we’ve done some research so you don’t have to. 

Here are our top 5 brands of natural, effective sunscreens that you can easily get in HK that are good for your and for the environment. 


Source: Thinksport

Thinksport SPF50 Sunscreem ($135.73)

Strong SPF protection. Water resistant. Vegan (not tested on animals). Reasonable price. And free from reef-damaging chemicals. What is there not to love? 

Available at iHerb


Source: Babo

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF30 ($129)

We might be stating the obvious here given the adorable packaging design, but yes – this vegan, eco sunscreen is formulated for babies, children and adults, and is perfect for people who have sensitive skin. 

Available at iHerb


Source: Drunk Elephant

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30 ($285)

Infused with sunflower shoot extract, astaxanthin, raspberry seed oil, marula oil, and none of the harmful chemicals, this airy, fragrance-free sunscreen is easily an everyday go-to. 

Available at Sephora


Source: Pai

Pai, British Summer Time Sensitive Sunscreen SPF 30 ($350)

Also suitable for sensitive skin, this colourless, non-greasy, reef-friendly sunscreen is infused with cotton extract to repair damage caused by the sun, while shielding our skin from the rays.

Available at Net-A-Porter 


Source: Coola

Coola Full Spectrum 360 Sun Silk Drops SPF30 ($495)

Sitting on the higher end of the price range, this organic sunscreen is gentle on the skin yet effective. Not to mention the packaging and application are one of the sleekest we’ve seen. 

Available at A Beauty Bar