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Is Trader Joes Spray Sunscreen Reef Safe? (Answered)

is trader joes spray sunscreen reef safe

Harsh ingredients and chemicals in sunscreens are known for harming our oceans’ rich coral reefs. So much so that Hawaii has a state-wide ban on any sunscreen that is not reef safe. Since Trader Joe’s prioritizes quality for you and the environment, is their spray-on sunscreen reef safe? 

Trader Joe’s carries two spray-on sunscreens. Their Nourish Spray Sunscreen, also known as Trader Joe’s Sunscreen Spray, SPF 50+, is not reef safe. Trader Joe’s Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 is reef safe because the only active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide. 

There you have it! Trader Joe’s sunscreen is perfect for your beach bag if you grab the right product. This article will focus on the different types of sunscreen Trader Joe’s carries and how you can tell if it is reef-safe. So let’s dive in!

What Types of Sunscreen Does Trader Joe’s Carry? 

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Trader Joe’s is a nationwide chain of neighborhood-styled grocery stores founded in Pasadena, California, in 1967. They focus on providing quality to their customers. 

They carry products ranging from fresh produce to freezer foods and skincare to cleaners and prioritize giving customers the best value on products that are not only affordable but high-quality. 

To check the current price and availability of Trader Joe’s Sunscreen, click here to view the selection on Amazon.

Trader Joe’s currently features three different sunscreen products. These products are:

Daily Facial Sunscreen SPF 40

Trader Joe’s Daily Facial Sunscreen is a light, translucent sunscreen for everyday sun protection. The formula is not that oily, making it great for those with oily skin prone to breakouts. It is also fragrance-free, translucent, and not glossy. 

The best thing about their facial sunscreen is that it sells for a fraction of the cost of competitors with similar formulas. It costs $8.99 for a 1.7-ounce tube. A similar brand, Supergoop Sunscreen, sells for $44. 

Nourish Spray Sunscreen SPF 50+

Trader Joe’s developed their spray-on sunscreen with BOV pressure technology, making it easy to spray on. This valve forces the product out of the can via air pressure, giving you a cool, continuous stream.

Trader Joe’s prioritizes creating safe and healthy products for your skin. This spray sunscreen contains aloe and vitamin E to help your skin retain moisture and avoid UV-induced swelling and inflammation. The product is also non-comedogenic, which will not clog your pores. 

Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Spray SPF 30

The Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Spray’s formula forms a barrier to prevent harmful UV rays from damaging your exposed skin.

This spray-on sunscreen features grapefruit oil, aloe, and vitamin E to help keep your skin moisturized and healthy. It’s also fragrance-free. 

Unlike most zinc-based sunscreens, Trader Joe’s Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Spray rubs in clear. The product costs $9.99 for six fluid ounces. 

Is Trader Joe’s Spray Sunscreen Reef Safe?

The list of active ingredients is the best way to see if a product is reef safe. You should avoid any sunscreens that feature any of the following active ingredients:

  • PABA
  • Oxybenzone
  • Parabens
  • Octocrylene
  • Triclosan
  • Octinoxate

Trader Joe’s Nourish Spray Sunscreen boasts about not containing PABA and is oxybenzone free. However, the product is not reef-safe because it has 8% octocrylene in the active ingredients.

If you want to purchase this product, keep it for pool usage or days when you’re not going in the water. 

However, Trader Joe’s Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen Spray is reef-safe. The only active ingredient is zinc oxide. The only downside to taking this product to the beach is that it comes in a spray can. 

Tips for Choosing Reef-Safe Sunscreen

We’ve narrowed down our top 5 tips for choosing a reef-safe sunscreen:

  1. Avoid purchasing any product that contains nanoparticles. These smaller particles are toxic when placed in higher concentrations. Instead, opt for a micro-sized mineral sunscreen. 
  2. Stick to lotions. Sprays will sometimes miss your skin, thus ending up on the sand and eventually in the ocean. 
  3. Opt for more water resistance. All sunscreen will eventually wash off, but the longer it sticks, the less it ends up in the ocean. 
  4. Single-use containers are just as bad for ocean reefs as the harmful chemicals inside some sunscreens. Choose products instead that are either easily recyclable, reusable or made with plant-based materials, such as cardboard. 
  5. Make sure it is a mineral-based formula. 

Following these four guidelines, you can find the best reef-safe sunscreen at any store!

Alternatives for Trader Joe’s Reef-Safe Sunscreen

If you are planning a trip to the beach, but cannot get your hands on Trader Joe’s only reef-safe sunscreen, the Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen, you will have to find other options.

Here we’ve provided our top three reef-safe sunscreen alternatives. 

1. Thinksport Sunscreen

This product checks all the boxes for being reef-friendly and safe sunscreen. 

The Thinksport Sunscreen features the same length of water resistance as the Trader Joe’s Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen- 80 minutes. Dermatologists also recommend the product. 

This product is a lotion, unlike Trader Joe’s Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen, which makes it even more reef-friendly. 

It costs over double the price of the Trader Joe’s version, coming in at a total cost of $22.99 for 6 ounces. 

2. All Good Products Sports Sunscreen

The All Good Sports Sunscreen formula is made with non-nanoparticle zinc oxide as its only active ingredient, similar to Trader Joe’s Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen. 

The product costs $11.29 at Walmart for a 3-ounce tube. 

3. Hello Bello Mineral SPF 50+ Sunscreen Lotion

Hello Bello’s Mineral SPF Sunscreen lotion is safe and effective for kids and adults. The only active ingredient is non-nano zinc oxide. It also features many non-active organic ingredients. 

Similar to Trader Joe’s Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen, it has no synthetic fragrance. 

The product costs $8.78 at Walmart for a 3-ounce tube. 

Final Thoughts

Trader Joe’s makes it a priority to create and sell sustainable, eco-friendly products. Their Nourish Spray Sunscreen is mostly reef-friendly, but “mostly” doesn’t quite cut it with protecting our oceans. 

However, their Zinc Oxide Mineral Sunscreen is completely reef-friendly, making it a perfect addition to your beach bag! 


Shane is a fitness enthusiast who also has a passion for trying and cooking new foods. His favorite stores to shop at include Trader Joe's, Wholefoods Market, Sprouts, Stater Brothers, and Target.

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