Badger Sunscreens: Eco sun protection put to the test

 Sun protection is on everyone’s mind at this time of year. With the holidays around the corner and likely ample beach and activity time, you might be on the lookout for a new sunscreen. While SA has a great range of local products like Sunumbra and OhLief, the Badger range of sun protection may just be what you’re looking for if you haven’ found your winning sunscreen in the other ranges.

The Badger range of skin balms was born in 1995 when Bill Whyte, a construction worker in New Hampshire decided to concoct a balm for his incredibly dry hands during the winter months. Since then the company has grown to stock nearly 100 products, all with a great focus on sustainability and sourcing only the best ingredients.

We put 4 Badger sunscreens to task in order to give you a detailed breakdown of their various features and pros and cons and help introduce you to this award-winning American range.


Badger Damascus Rose Broad Spectrum Face Sunscreen Sheer Tint

Claim to fame: Non Gmo * Non Nano * Non Comedogenic * Hypo Allergenic

The rub: This face sunscreen creams in like velvet and feels sufficiently light for a face sun cream product. Face sunscreens usually cause my skin to feel quite suffocated and on the sweaty side but this one was wonderfully light.

The colour: This product advertises a ‘sheer’ tint, which for those of you who might previously have thought this means you’re getting a sun cream and a foundation in one, that is not the case. ‘Sheer’ simply means it has light reflecting iron oxide particles in it, intended to create a luminous glow. It doesn’t give any coverage for blemishes (but then, that’s not its job). What the sheer tint does fairly well, is to negate the whitening effect of zinc oxide based sunscreens. As for the actual colour, on my yellow-ish olive skin tone, it looked rather pink. Sunumbra Sunscreen suits my olive tone better. The Badger Rose Sheer Tint would be great for fairer skin tones.

The smell:  Badger actually source their rose oil from freshly picked rose petals which are steam distilled in Bulgaria to provide only the best quality rose oil. And yep, the smell back it up – pungently rosy.

How it works:  The non-comedogenic factor lives up to its claim. I wore this for several days in a row and even my sensitive skin didn’t break out. Hooray. The cream comes off a bit during perspiration and during an afternoon on the beach, it obviously washed off completely in the sea – it doesn’t claim to be water resistant – so reapplication is needed. But the best news is it didn’t sting my eyes which my dear Sunumbra does.

Probably best for: I wouldn’t wear this to the beach, but it’s a win for missioning  around town or lazy picnics on sunny lawns. As a bonus I noticed it made a really nice moisturizing base for my liquid foundation – make-up stayed lovely looking all day.

Badger Active Baby Chamomile & Calendula Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream

Claim to fame: Water resistant 40 min * Non GMO * Non Nano * Bio-Degradable

The rub: This is a cream, not a lotion so it’s pretty thick (probably what you want for babies). My forearms in all day driving sun seemed okay with it. But you really don’t need a lot as it’s pretty thick and goes far.

The colour: Soft yellow, like butter – so there’s a bit of a tint on your skin. Obviously, babies don’t care what colour they are. I did actually think it was quite handy on the beach because then you can see where you’ve already put cream on. Not just for babies, eh?

The smell: This has a really pleasant smell – lightly floral and fresh. I actually prefer it to the scent of the rose Damascus.

How it works: I put this to test on long distance drives and a day at the beach. It’s got staying power, that’s for sure and didn’t wash off after a fairly boisterous swim with the dogs. I didn’t reapply after the swim just to check the efficacy and left the beach with no arm burns 3 hours later. For babies, it is probably best to reapply though. 

Probably best for: Sensitive skins and little ones adventuring in splashy environments. I actually thought the water resistance, rich moisturizing and pleasant scent would make it a nice one for green-thumbed adults too.


Badger Daily Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 25 Sunscreen Lotion

Claim to fame: *Non GMO *Non Nano * Non-Comedogenic * Hypo-Allergenic 

The rub: I really like how smoothly and lightly this one creamed in. As a rather runny lotion, you don’t need a lot and it gives great coverage.

The colour: Beware – if you use too much – you will be white all over. Great for Halloween dress up, not so great for walks on the promenade.  With the right amount of lotion, it absorbs well with barely any tint.

The smell: It has a slight sourdough smell to it even though it says its unscented, so if you’re sensitive to odours be aware of that.

How it works: Descent everyday sunscreen, but not being waterproof it obviously washes off in the sea. You come out looking all streaky, but at least you know it’s not doing the ocean any harm. SPF 25 needs to be reapplied every 2 hours, so for a full afternoon in the sun, keep that in mind. I also put this on my face and even though it isn’t tinted, it didn’t make me look like a spook.

Probably best for: Everyday use, hiking, gardening but not water activities.

Badger Sport Unscented Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen Cream

Claim to fame: *Water resistant 80 min * Non GMO * Non Nano * Bio-Degradable

The rub: Super-duper thick stuff this. I found it quite hard to distribute nicely.

The colour: Out of all the Badger sunscreens this one has the highest zinc oxide concentration at 22.5%. In other words, be prepared to look like Alan Donald.

The smell: No discernable smell on this one, which is great for outdoor and nature sports as nothing will encumber your sea breeze or mountain bike air.

How it works: 10/10 for sun protection. Wore it on a hike across the bridge of my nose and a full afternoon at the beach including a swim with no reapplication. Upon coming out the ocean, my legs actually looked like water wicking fabric – it’s that water resistant.

Probably best for: I would say this sunscreen is ideal for surfing or any high-performance water sports like kite surfing.

My key takeaways:

  • Creams are going to be far thicker than anything labelled lotion
  • Creams will likely leave you feeling sticker but are more water resillient
  • Lotions absorb better but run off in water
  • Zinc Oxide Sunscreens will leave some level of white tint on your skin
  • The SPF is more an indication of how soon you need to reapply over it being more effective than a lower SPF

Here’s hoping this helps you discover your perfect sunscreen for summer.

Check out our extensive range of natural sunscreens here.

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