Kid-Friendly Reef-Safe Sunscreens Made in Hawaiʻi

Protect your family’s skin from the sun with some of our favorite Hawai‘i-based reef-safe sunscreens that are safe enough for the little ones.
Mother Put Sunblock Cream On Little Daughter Face At Beach
Photo: Getty Images


As you pack your summer schedule with fun beach days, adventurous outdoor hikes, water park excursions and zoo outings, don’t forget to pack reef-safe sunscreen for the whole family. Harmful ultraviolet radiation can damage your child’s skin, even on cloudy days. In fact, sunburn during childhood has been linked to a higher risk of developing skin cancer, so lather up!


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The Senate Bill 2571, Act 104, prohibits the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate in the State of Hawai‘i. These two chemicals can cause coral bleaching and potentially harm or kill young coral larvae. The good news is there are many local sunscreen makers producing quality products that are reef-safe and great for kids and adults alike. Here are a few Hawai‘i-based sunscreen brands that are worth checking out:


Kōkua Sun Care



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This company’s sunscreen is packed with Hawaiʻi-grown ingredients like Hawaiian coffee fruit extract, macadamia nut oil, kukui nut oil, noni fruit juice, plumeria extract, noni honey and spirulina. With non-nano zinc oxide as the only active ingredient, this sunscreen is SPF 50 and free of toxic chemicals. It’s safe for babies too. No stinging eyes!



Mama Kuleana Waterproof



Maui-based Mama Kuleana’s reef-safe sunscreens are good for the ocean and ‘āina, thanks to its 100% microplastic-free, biodegradable packaging that’s fully compostable. The mineral-based sunscreen is UVA/UVB broad spectrum 30 SPF and lasts up to 40 minutes (so be sure to reapply). Safe for all ages, this earth-conscious sunscreen comes in a 50 ml screw top jar. You can also buy a three-pack to save a few dollars.


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Ao Organics



Local skincare company Ao Organics sells a chemical-free sunscreen in liquid and stick form. It’s perfectly safe for people with sensitive skin, keiki and babies. We’re fans of how it sources local ingredients like Hawaiian beeswax and good-for-the-skin ingredients like sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil and cocoa power. Both sunscreen options are easy to apply and smell amazing, leaving the skin feeling soft and smooth.



Little Hands Hawai‘i



Using plastic-free packaging and gentle ingredients safe enough for babies, Little Hands Hawaiʻi is 100% natural and offers reef-safe sunscreen in a stick, tin or a travel-sized container. Packed with antioxidants and healing essential oils, the sunscreen is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes and comes in a variety of tinted colors, including white, light neutral, medium neutral, medium dark and dark. A little goes a long way, so use it sparingly, and for the tinted sunscreens, treat them like foundation as they can stain clothing.



Raw Love



This Maui-based company offers a moisturizing mineral sunscreen that comes in two and four-ounce cans. Its main active ingredient for sun protection is non-nano zinc oxide, which is FDA-approved for use in sunscreens. It’s paired with quality ingredients like cold-pressed unrefined coconut oil, raw shea butter, sesame oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, vitamin E oil, carrot seed oil and other essential oils. Raw Love also sells fragrance-free sunscreen sticks and lip balms.



Tips for Applying Sunscreen on Babies and Younger Kids


  1. For babies younger than six months, keep them out of direct sunlight as much as possible. If you’re out at a park, look for shade under a tree, or bring an umbrella or stroller canopy. And hats are always helpful!
  2. Use enough sunscreen to cover all exposed areas: face, nose, ears, feet and hands. And don’t forget the backs of the knees too!
  3. Put sunscreen on anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes prior to sun exposure—don’t just pile it on at the pool and jump in!
  4. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming, sweating or drying off (but check the label of your sunscreen for that brand’s specific staying power).
  5. Even if it’s baby-safe sunscreen, be careful when applying it around a baby’s eyes. If your baby accidentally rubs sunscreen in their eyes, immediately wipe both their eyes and hands with a damp cloth.
  6. If you notice irritation on your child’s skin, switch to a different brand or use sunscreen that has titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.
  7. We’ve had a lot of success applying sunscreen with a makeup sponge! Sunscreen sticks are also great for getting close (but not too close) to kids’ eyes.