Best Snorkeling Sunscreen – Test Results

To find the best snorkeling sunscreen we have tested a lot of products over the years, in the water in hot tropical spots around the world. Our most recent sunscreen tests happened in Bonaire in late 2022. We only test sunscreens that are reef safe, that do not use active ingredients like oxybenzone, that are known to kill reefs and fish. Below we recommend our top pick, along with a few other good options.

Different bottles of the best snorkeling sunscreen we have tested.
Sunscreens we tested on our last snorkeling trip.

To Find the Best Snorkeling Sunscreen We Test for:

  1. Keeping us from getting burned
  2. Water resistance
  3. Ease of application (and later removal)
  4. Reapplication
  5. Cosmetic appearance

How Do We Test?

Every snorkel day we each apply one brand to one leg and another brand to the other leg. We make sure they are applied correctly (read our application tips here) and that they have the correct drying time before entering the water. We now wear long sleeved rash guards with hoods, so we don’t test on other parts of our bodies. Legs are a good test of how water resistant the sunscreens are, and for burns. The back of legs can get torched snorkeling.

Next we test for reapplication after we have snorkeled, which means there is some moisture on our legs dripping from our suits (a very common scenario for a snorkeler).

Finally, we notice what it is like to remove the sunscreen in the shower.

During a trip we will end up testing each product for many days, unless it clearly fails and we get burned.

What Do We Test?

To find the best snorkeling sunscreen, we only use and test reef friendly, biodegradable, physical sunscreens (i.e. titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, or a combination), since chemical sunscreens are known to harm reefs (and we feel sick when we use them). You can read about what sunscreen chemicals to avoid here.

We don’t test any sunscreens that are rated below 80 minutes water resistant. The next rating is 40 minutes and all snorkels will exceed that time frame.

We also don’t test sunscreens that are primarily oil based. We find that they tend to rub off easily in the water and we get burned.

There are some other sunscreens now available that fit our criterion that we decided not to test because they cost twice as much as the excellent options below.

We are happy to report that we have a favorite best snorkeling sunscreen that we use on every trip, and several others as good options. They all work but have slight differences that we will explain.

Please be aware that companies change their ingredients fairly often. So we suggest you compare the ingredients listed below to make sure what you are buying is what we tested. We have learned the hard way that small changes can completely change how effective they are for snorkeling. We keep testing, and the best way to know if we have a new favorite product is to sign up for our free monthly newsletter.

Note: Our suggestions come from hands-on experience. We hope you find them helpful. You can help us if you purchase from the links below. We may make a small commission, from Amazon or other companies, at no extra cost to you.


Our pick in this category.

Stream2Sea SPF 20 and 30 Sport Sunscreens

Stream2Sea SPF 20 Sport Sunscreen

This Stream2Sea sunscreen review comes from testing Stream2Sea SPF 20 Sport Sunscreen, their SPF 30, and their tinted SPF 20 and tinted SPF 30, over several years and many snorkel trips. It works so well that it is our go-to choice for best snorkeling sunscreen. (Stream2Sea offers newer Every Day Mineral sunscreens that we review separately farther down the page.)

It performs in both very high temperature conditions and cooler ones, and the company is highly eco-conscious. They are the only sunscreen company that invests in testing on corals and fish to make sure their product is not toxic to marine life. It is our #1 pick for best snorkeling sunscreen. Plus they give our site visitors 10% off your first order by using the coupon code TropicalSnorkeling10 on Stream2Sea’s website at the links above.

Check out our full page review of Stream2Sea’s sunscreens for more about why we recommend it.

They all are very easy to apply, and a little bit of product goes a long way. The SPF 20 versions have a nice thin consistency that goes on fairly white, but after rubbing it in it dries much less white. The SPF 30 versions are slightly thicker in consistency, and are slightly whiter on the skin. We find we like the white color because we can see when it needs reapplication.

The tinted versions are identical in ingredients, application, and sun protection, they just have some iron based coloring, which matches nearly every skin tone, for those of you who don’t like the white hue. The downside is the iron may stain light colored clothing, although we have found it comes out with soap and a little scrubbing from our light colored rash guards. For this reason we prefer the regular SPF 20.

They use a non-greasy formula that is very water resistant, but comes off easily in the shower with a washcloth and some soap.

We found that they all have very good reapplication over slightly wet skin, maybe even better than when applying to dry skin.

We found that both the SPF 20 and 30 protect from sunburn very well over the time of a normal length snorkel, though you will get a little more color to your skin using the SPF 20 compared to the 30.

It has a very faint scent (but is unscented).

Stream2Sea SPF 20 and 30 Results

  • Burn Prevention:  Excellent
  • Water Resistance:  Excellent
  • Ease of Application: Excellent
  • Reapplication: Excellent
  • Cosmetic Appearance: Slightly White, SPF 30 Once Wet VERY White

Ingredients: 6.6% (SPF 20) 8.8% (SPF 30) Titanium Dioxide (Non-Nano), Deionized Water, Aqueous Extracts of Camellia Sinenis (Green Tea) Leaf*, Ocimum Tenuiflorum (Tulsi) Leaf*, Alaria Esculenta (Wakame Seaweed)* and Olea Europa (Olive) Leaf*, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Cocoglycerides, Glycerin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Palmitate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sorbitan Olivate, Cetearyl Olivate, Methylcellulose, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Stearic Acid, Acrylates Copolymer, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Tocopherol, Xanthan Gum, Alumina, Benzyl Alcohol, Salicylic Acid, Sorbic Acid (Tinted versions only – Iron Oxides (C.I. 77492, C.I. 77491, C.I. 77499) and Jojoba Esters). *Certified Organic

Where to Buy Stream2Sea
With natural products it is always a good idea to buy fresh directly from the company. But you can get it on Amazon.com too.


Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30

We really like Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30. This sunscreen uses Zinc Oxide at 16% for its active sun blocking ingredient. And even though it is advertised as Clear Zinc, it is a non-nano sized Zinc. On their website they say their sunscreens are reef friendly, but not on the tube. And although it does not use chemicals like oxybenzone, it does not appear to have been tested to make sure it does not harm reef. Our best snorkeling sunscreen above has.

This formulation has a good consistency, is easy to apply, has no whiteness, and is not oily or sticky after application. It is also fragrance free. Babo Botanicals is a nice option if you are looking for a mineral sunscreen that is not white on your skin.

It is rated for 80 minutes of water resistance, and we found that it was very water resistant for long snorkeling sessions.

It reapplied very well. Oddly, we found we missed the white sheen of the Stream2Sea sunscreen above because we couldn’t as easily tell if and where we needed to reapply between snorkels.

After snorkeling, it comes off easily with warm soapy water and a washcloth.

Babo Botanicals Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 Results

  • Burn Prevention: Excellent
  • Water Resistance: Excellent
  • Ease of Application: Excellent
  • Reapplication: Excellent
  • Cosmetic Appearance: Dries Clear

Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 16% Ingredients: Arachidyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, Bisabolol*, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract*, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Seed Oil, Cellulose Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Citric Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Methyl Dihydroabietate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Nasturtium Officinale Flower/Leaf Extract*, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Pueraria Lobata Root Extract*, Sodium Gluconate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Spiraea Ulmaria Flower Extract*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Tocopherol, Water (Aqua). *Certified Organic Ingredients

They also offer Babo Botanicals Sheer Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen that has 20% Zinc Oxide and the same inactive ingredients, so we imagine it would be very similar to the 30 we tested. With more Zinc it may be a bit thicker though.


All Good Mineral Sport Sunscreen SPF 30

All Good Mineral Sport Sunscreen SPF 30

We also really like All Good Mineral Sport Sunscreen SPF 30. Its active sun blocking ingredient is a non-nano Zinc Oxide at 16%.

This sun block applies easily, has a nice consistency, and is not oily or sticky after application. It dries clear and does not get white when it is wet. (Again, we prefer whiteness to see where we need reapplication.)

Most importantly, it did a good job of protecting us from getting sunburns while snorkeling. It is rated for 80 minutes of water resistance, and we found it to have very good water resistance, staying on while we were snorkeling for over an hour in the water.

It also reapplies well over wet skin. It also comes off well with a washcloth and soap in the shower.

It is clearly labeled Reef Friendly on the label, although we are not aware of them doing any testing to make sure of this. We assume this claim is based on the sunscreen being oxybenzone-free. For that reason Stream2Sea above is still our best snorkeling sunscreen.

All Good Mineral Sport Sunscreen SPF 30 Results

  • Burn Prevention:  Excellent
  • Water Resistance:  Excellent
  • Ease of Application: Excellent
  • Reapplication: Excellent
  • Cosmetic Appearance: Dries Clear

Ingredients: Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 16% (Non-nanoparticle) Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe) Leaf Juice*, Arachidyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, Bisabolol*, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter)*, Calendula Officinalis (Calendula) Flower*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract*, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil*, Diheptyl Succinate, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Mauritia Flexuosa (Buriti) Fruit Oil*, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil*, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Seed Extract*, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil*, Sodium Gluconate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter*, Tocopherol, Water. *Certified Organic Ingredients


Stream2Sea Every Day Active Mineral Sunscreen

Stream2Sea Every Day Active Mineral Sunscreen

Stream2Sea released a new formula recently, their Every Day Active SPF 45 Mineral Sunscreen. Their active ingredient is an EcoSafe Zinc Oxide at 19%. At 45, it is the highest SPF product we tested. This product is tested and proven reef safe, like our best snorkeling sunscreen at the top of the list. They discovered during their water resistance testing that this sunscreen actually protects better after being in the water.

Stream2Sea gives our site visitors 10% off your first order by using the coupon code TropicalSnorkeling10 on Stream2Sea’s website at the link above.

Check out our full page review of Stream2Sea’s sunscreens for more about the company.

We found the consistency of this formula to be sticky in application and slightly difficult to apply. It seemed to take quite a bit of it to cover our legs. But it is completely clear and non-greasy when dry on your skin.

It did do a great job protecting us from sunburns long snorkels, so the water resistance is strong. But it easily comes off with a washcloth and soap in the shower.

Stream2Sea says this is more difficult to apply over wet skin, which we also found to be the case when trying to reapply between snorkels. It was even more sticky and difficult to spread than the initial layer. But, their water resistance testing showed improvement in sun protection after getting wet, so reapplication may not be necessary. Only problem is, there is no white color to be able to tell if it is still on.

Stream2Sea Every Day Active Mineral Sunscreen Results

  • Burn Prevention:  Excellent
  • Water Resistance:  Excellent
  • Ease of Application: Fair
  • Reapplication: Fair
  • Cosmetic Appearance: Dries Clear

Ingredients: Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 19% (non-nano, EcoSafe Zinc™) Inactive ingredients: Deionized Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice*, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Isoamyl Laurate, Vegetarian Glycerin, Polyglyceryl-3 Oleate, Propanediol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Diisostearoyl Polyglyceryl-3 Dimer Dilinoleate, Mica, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Chloride, Ethyl lauroyl arginate HCl, Jojoba Esters, Olive Squalane Oil, Extracts of Alaria Esculenta (Wakame Seaweed), Olea Europa (Olive) Leaf*, Camellia Sinenis (Green Tea) Leaf*, Ocimum Tinuiflorum (Tulsi) Leaf*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root* Extract, Tetrasodium Glutamate Diacetate, Mixed Tocopherols, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Silica, Xanthan Gum.  *Organic Ingredients

They offer three more formulations in the Every Day line, Every Day Tint, Every Day 4 Kids, and Every Day Shimmer. The tint version adds some iron oxides for blending with skin tones, the kids version uses two different herbal extracts for a milder formulation, and the shimmer adds eco-friendly sparkles. Otherwise, these will perform the same as the Active formulation.


Goddess Garden Daily SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen

Goddess Garden Daily SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen

We tested Goddess Garden Daily SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen and found it performed well, but we did not like the consistency. The active ingredient is 20% Zinc Oxide and they prominently say “REEF SAFE” on their label, but they have not tested their product to prove that.

This sunscreen has a thin, watery consistency that was easy to drip everywhere while applying, and it took a lot of it to cover our legs. It rubbed in fine with a slightly white appearance until it was completely dry. It was not oily or sticky on our skin once it was dry. Once your skin is wet, this sunscreen gets white until your skin is dry again.

It is rated 80 minutes water resistant and we found that it stayed on for long snorkels. And it protected us well against sunburn.

It reapplies over wet skin the same as it applies on the first coat. In the shower after snorkeling, it comes off well with warm soapy water.

Goddess Garden Daily SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen Results

  • Burn Prevention:  Excellent
  • Water Resistance:  Excellent
  • Ease of Application: Good
  • Reapplication: Good
  • Cosmetic Appearance: Dries clear, but whitens when skin is wet

Ingredients: Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20%. Inactive Ingredients: Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Arachidyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, Bisabolol, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Capryloyl Glycerin/Sebacic Acid Copolymer, CaprylyI Glycol, Cellulose Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Coco-Glucoside, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Diheptyl Succinate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) Oil*, Methyl Dihydroabietate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Phenoxyethanol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Sodium Gluconate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Theobroma cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Water. *Certified Organic

They also offer Goddess Garden Sport SPF 50 Mineral Sunscreen, which has all the same ingredients except does not include the Lavender oil of the SPF 30 we tested. We imagine it will apply the same.


Thinksport Kids Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30

Thinksport Kids Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30

We tested Thinksport Kids Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 while snorkeling and it had a number of issues. Its active sun blocking ingredient is 20% Zinc Oxide. They include a Reef Friendly label on the back of the tube, but they openly state on their site their product is not tested reef safe.

The first problem we had with this sunscreen was that it was separated in the tube. Every time we opened it to get some out, lots of water poured out. We tried shaking it up, massaging the tube, but it was always separated.

So, not surprisingly, this sunscreen was thick in initial application. It took a lot of rubbing to loosen it up and get it to spread. Once you do, it rubs in well and goes pretty far. It does dry clear, but it has an oily feel on your skin.

It has an 80 minute water resistance rating, and we found that it held up well on long snorkeling sessions. So we give it high ratings for water resistance. And most importantly, we did not get any burns.

Reapplication was the same as application, and it comes off in the shower with soapy water and a washcloth.

Thinksport Kids Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 Results

  • Burn Prevention:  Excellent
  • Water Resistance:  Excellent
  • Ease of Application: Fair
  • Reapplication: Fair
  • Cosmetic Appearance: Dries Clear

Ingredients: Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20%. Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Glyceryl Abietate, Hexyl Laurate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Magnesium Sulfate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Tocopherol, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry) Seed Oil, Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Sodium Hyaluronate, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Glyceryl Caprylate

Think offers many different sunscreen products. We chose the Kids version because we liked the scent. The Thinksport SPF 30 Clear Zinc Sunscreen and the Thinksport SPF 50 Clear Zinc Sunscreen have the exact same formulation except the scent is Black Currant and Grapefruit, so it will probably perform the same as what we tested. Their Thinkbaby Clear Zinc Sunscreen SPF 30 has a slightly different formulation, so we don’t know how it will perform.


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