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What is the best sunscreen in NZ?

woman applying best sunscreen nz

I guess that depends on what you mean by ‘best’ so we have broken this down into the best SPF protection, best value for money, best feel, best look, best environmental values/practices and which is the best sunscreen for sensitive skin.

Best sunscreen - SPF protection

The Cancer Council states that SPF50+ filters out 98% of UVB radiation, while SPF30 blocks out 96.7% of UVB - this is only 1.3% more protection
SPF 50 sunscreens can therefore mislead people into thinking they are more protected than they actually are; however, an SPF50 Sunscreen still needs to be reapplied every 2 hours and after swimming and exercise, and applied correctly. SPF 50 requires the use of a large amount of UV filters and is most often achieved by using chemical UV filters and/or nano-particles. 

In summary, the Cancer Council recommends using a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or above.

Best sunscreen - value for money

Conventional sunscreens are up to 70% water meaning you need to use a lot to protect your skin. That’s why they are usually sold in 200ml+ bottles. Our formula has no water in it meaning it goes 2-3 times further. 

Ethique prices their waterless shampoo bars to reflect the fact that they equate to 3 bottles of conventional shampoo. 

3x bottles regular shampoo = approx. $33
1x Ethique bar = $22
Our formula has no water in it meaning a little goes a really long way!

3x chemical sunscreen bottles = approx. $45
2x conventional mineral sunscreen containing water = $60
1x Seasick Sunscreen = $33

But don’t take our word for it. Here is what Eco-blogger, Juliet had to say about our sunscreen

Did you notice that there was no water in that ingredient list? What that means is that a little goes a very long way. I couldn’t believe that tiny amount required to cover my face.”
In summary, yes our sunscreen costs a bit more upfront but when applied correctly, it's going to go a lot further than your typical liquid sunscreen that is poured out of a plastic bottle.

Best sunscreen - application feel

This sunscreen is awesome! Such a beautiful texture, has no chemical smell and just feels like putting moisturiser on. Amazing product, 100% recommend.”
-  Amelia, happy customer.

The number one thing we hear from people is how much they hate greasy sunscreen! To be perfectly honest, a feature I focused on when I developed my formula but by a stroke of luck we have created a non-greasy sunscreen that sinks right into the skin and feels great! How do we know this? Because each summer we have hundreds of people try our sunscreen at our market days and that is the number one feedback that we hear. 

Best sunscreen - look

Many mineral sunscreens are made with powdered zinc oxide which can leave a white caste on the skin. To avoid this, lots of sunscreens and personal care products are made using nano-sized particles (particle size <100 nanometers) to formulate lotions that rub in more easily and leave less of a tint.
I use sunscreen daily (at work, while exercising, outdoor events etc.) so creating a formula that doesn’t leave me looking white like a ghost was a high priority for me. That’s why I searched the world for a zinc dispersion which glides onto the skin and doesn’t leave a white tint! We were able to achieve this without using nano zinc (particle size <100 nanometers). Although good science is still lacking in this area, scientists think that non-nano particles have less of an impact on marine life which is why we only use non-nano zinc.  

Best sunscreen - for the environment

Firstly, let me start by saying, no sunscreen is good for the environment. However, many chemical UV filters and of course plastic pollution have been shown to cause significant damage to the environment. So, when we do need to wear sunscreen, it is important to avoid ingredients that have been shown to cause damage to marine life and avoid plastic and other single-use sunscreen containers where possible!
Kaitiakitanga (environmental “stewardship”) is our core value and the health of our oceans is at the heart of every decision we make. We aren’t perfect, but we take sustainability seriously which is why our product is
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~plastic free (both the sunscreen and shipping materials)
~made with non-nano zinc and a handful of careful selected ingredients that ~produced sustainably and are safe for the environment
~2% revenue is donated to ocean conservation
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Our sustainability goals for the future are:
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~to become Aotearoa New Zealand’s first and only reef-safe certified brand. Click here to learn more about the Land and Sea Certification we are working towards.
~offer tin refills so you can keep using your same tin over and over again.
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I think it's important to recognise that although we try to minimise our impact on the environment, ultimately we are still using resources and putting stress on the environment when large amounts of tourists/beach goers wearing sunscreen enter the water. So we can minimise our impact even further by covering our skin by wearing long clothing and staying out of the sun during the hottest time of day which helps to reduce the chance of melanoma too!

Best for sensitive skin

Every summer, I get to meet hundreds of my awesome customers at the summer markets. This is how I learnt how many people out there suffer from painful skin irritations from conventional sunscreen chemicals. Here is what they say:

I have very sensitive dry skin and most of the commercialised sunscreen irritates my skin. I like Seasick Sunscreen because its like a cream and is made of all natural and chemical free ingredients that doesn't irritate my skin.” - Glenda

Summary

sustainability trust staff pick

Seasick Sunscreen voted "Staff Pick" at the Sustainability Trust Eco Store

"Seasick Sunscreen is AMAZING! I looked for ages for a good plastic free sunscreen and this one works magic! Made it through the entire summer without a single sunburn! Very economical too!" - Jade, Customer Service

Okay, okay we are a bit biased and truly think we do have the best face and body sunscreen in Aotearoa New Zealand. BUT there are some other inspiring brands out there making the best sunscreen in other countries and they deserve recognition too. We are inspired by Badger Zinc Tin from the USA and Mama Kuleana from Hawaii.

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