Sunscreen is a part of my daily skincare routine *when I’m on my game*. When I began transitioning to plastic-free beauty products and worked through all my old sunscreens, I struggled a bit finding a good alternative – a sunscreen that was plastic free, reef-safe, and that actually worked. I came across Raw Elements sunscreen at some point and gave them a try when I saw they met my first two criteria, and now they’re one brand I keep coming back to and rave about often.
Here’s my review of the Raw Elements plastic free sunscreens – both the non-tinted Face & Body SPF 30+ and the tinted Face SPF 30+.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate of Raw Elements which means that if you purchase Raw Elements products through my links I’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost.
Whether you buy Raw Elements through this post or somewhere else, you can shop with my code SUITCASESIX10 to get 10% off your order!
Raw Elements sunscreen – the basics
The sunscreens are non-nano, and made with certified & natural ingredients. They say you can apply it underwater – and though I haven’t tested that feature yet, I believe it. It’s also never tested on animals. And because of all this, the sunscreens are reef-safe. My favorite part.
The Raw Elements sunscreen tins are a great quality and a good size to be able to use for other things when the sunscreen runs out. They’re lightweight & mess free and you don’t need to worry about packing it up extra tight when you flight to stop spills. YES.
The fact that these products are plastic-free is one of the main reasons I made a purchase in the first place.
Raw Essentials also has a few plastic-free options for kids & babies, plus some other sunscreens that come in pump bottles which are 75% plastic-free. They’re transparent on their site that there is definitely plastic in these, and that’s not perfectly sustainable, but that it’s something they’re actively working on as a company. We love transparency and growth!!
- long lasting as sunscreen & moisturizer, very water resistant
- tinted and non-tinted options allow it to be versatile with makeup and skin tone
- easy to throw in your backpack, purse, makeup bag, or other small containers, unlike liquid sunscreens of a similar volume (by number of applications) – read this post for other eco makeup brands
$17.99 – Tinted face moisturizer – SPF 30+
$18.99 – Face + Body tin – SOF 30+
$36.98 – Bundle of tinted face moisturizer & face+body tin
It might ring up a bit more than your regular liquid tube, but it will definitely last longer. My bf and I shared a bundle over a couple months in Uganda with no issue and some to spare. We didn’t use it everyday as it was rainy season and we spent a lot of time in the shade or indoors, but I did use the face sunscreen most times we went out, and we used the body lotion on all our pool days.
Plus, natural ingredients that are safe for the reef, and an aluminum tin you can reuse for a million things, makes this price point totally fair to me.
Why I love the Raw Elements sunscreen
Firstly, it’s plastic free! That’s super hard to find in sunscreens, especially ones that are reef safe. I find the tins super easy to throw in my beach bag or backpack or even makeup bag without taking up too much space, and they never leak or spill in your luggage like liquid bottles can.
The sunscreens are super moisturizing and for someone with super dry skin like me, this is an amazing thing. I’m also a huge fan of the fact that they have a tinted sunscreen in the first place.
I also have to point out the Raw Elements business ethos of protecting the Coral Reefs. They founded the inaugural World Reef Day in 2019 because as they state on their site, they are “committed to education, environmental awareness, and sun safety”. And as a brand, they walk their talk raising awareness about how a simple swap in sunscreens can help safe our coral reefs.
They’re even a part of 1% for the Planet, an organization of businesses and individuals who donate 1% of their annual profit to envirionmental nonprofits.
What’s not to love?
My (teeny) critiques/concerns
The non-tinted is extremely white. A little of this stuff goes a longggg way but sometimes I, who am already very pale during ~5 hellish months of Indiana, come out looking like a ghost. If you’re not white, I wouldn’t recommend the Face & Body for you – just use the tinted one.
My partner, who has a good amount of hair on his arms, has also complained that the lotion can be hard to rub in to his skin through the hair. This is an issue with any lotion to a degree, but the sunscreen can be a bit thick. A tip: warm the tin up a bit in your hand to make it softer and easier to spread.
How I use the Raw Elements sunscreens together with my makeup
I personally like to blend the sunscreens a bit to get a tone that’s better suited for my skin – especially during the winter months when I’m pale and don’t need an extra ghostly layer, but can’t pull off the tinted one alone.
This is where I would advise one of two things:
- Don’t overdo it. Grab a little sunscreen – like a dime sized scoop with your finger, and start there. You can always get more but too much can make you look a bit greasy.
- Apply the sunscreens like you’d do contour or bronzer – put the non-tinted in areas you want to brighten and the tinted in areas you want to shade.
Do you use makeup? No worries. Just wait 15-20 minutes and apply your makeup on top as usual. I let my skin absorb some the moisture of the sunscreen and then apply additional powder blush, bronzer, concealer, or whatever, as needed. You may also want to put a setting powder down around your eyes to keep makeup from smearing there.