November 30, 2022

Is Sun Bum Cruelty-Free and Vegan in 2022? (Is It Doing Enough?)

The epitome of surfer-guy-cool, Sun Bum has a reputation for being a sunscreen brand that cares about animals and the earth. But do their cruelty-free and vegan policies check out with that?

Sun Bum is cruelty-free but not 100% vegan, meaning some products contain animal-derived ingredients. It does not conduct animal testing on its products or distribute cosmetics where animal testing is required by law.

Sun Bum went from a sun care start-up in Cocoa Beach, Florida, to a brand with haircare, skincare, baby products, and merchandise.

It equally appeals to surfers, skaters, and an upscale crowd because of its effective products and fun, gender-neutral branding.

But why did such a simple brand prioritize cruelty-free policies and veganism? And can we trust them?

Sun Bum cruelty-free beauty

Sun Bum's Ethical Overview

Cruelty-free: Yes

Vegan: No (Has vegan options)

Clean ingredients: Yes

Sustainable & Ethical: Moderate efforts

Mica Mining Policy: Undetermined

RSPO Palm Oil Certified: Undetermined

Sun Bum Is Cruelty-Free

Test any of its products or ingredients on animals


Purchase any ingredients tested on animals within its supply chain


Distribute its products to any countries that require animal testing by law.


Sun Bum is currently owned by S.C Johnson – a company that does allow some of its other brands to sell in countries where testing is required by law.

Does Sun Bum Test on Animals?

Sun Bum has been committed to creating clean, effective, and affordable cosmetics that are also cruelty-free. This has been its intention since it was founded.

So much so that one of the conditions of the sale of Sun Bum was for SC Jonson to keep the brand free from animal testing

What Is Sun Bum's Cruelty-Free Status in 2022?

Here is a screenshot of Sun Bum’s official statement regarding its cruelty-free policies and vegan products, taken from its website:

Sun Bum cruelty-free website statement

Sun Bum is Leaping Bunny and PETA Certified

Sun Bum is the type of overachiever we like! Its Leaping Bunny and PETA certified.

Certification from Leaping Bunny is ideal – even more so than PETA – because it holds rigorous standards and does regular audits to ensure they are upheld.

Leaping Bunny certification proves that:

  • No animal testing is conducted on the ingredients, formulas, or final products they sell.
  • No animal testing is conducted by the brand suppliers or on their ingredients or formulas.
  • No animal testing is done by someone else that the company itself paid for.
  • Any other form of testing (beyond ingredient and consumer safety), such as worker safety and environmental health, is considered and evaluated.

Is Sun Bum Sold Where Animal Testing is Required By Law?

Sun Bum does not distribute any of its products to China or any country that requires animal testing on cosmetics by law.

China has a shocking track record. It is the country with the most animal testing globally, with over 20 million animals used per year.

However, if you live in China or are concerned about its cruel beauty policies, there are a couple of loopholes.

Here's how to find cruelty-free cosmetics in China: Are Cosmetics Made in China Cruelty-Free?

Sun Bum is Not Vegan

No, Sun Bum is not vegan, but it comes incredibly close. So don’t swipe away just yet.

Nearly all its products are vegan-friendly, and the only animal-derived ingredient that Sun Bum uses is beeswax.

As a beauty ingredient, beeswax has many health benefits for your skin and well-being. It has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and is loaded with essential vitamins.

The Best Vegan Sun Bum Products

Sun Bum only uses beeswax in some of its products, making it 100% vegetarian and extensively vegan.

All of the vegan products are marked clearly on its website – so if you want to stay clear of anything with beeswax, it won’t be hard.

To save you some time, here are some of Sun Bum’s most popular and award-winning products to choose from:

  • Original SPF 30 Sunscreen Lotion
  • Original SPF 50 Lotion
  • After Sun Cool Down Lotion
  • 3 in 1 Leave In
  • Daily Cleanser

It’s easier to look at what isn’t vegan from Sun Bum! You can find a complete list of Sun Bum’s non-vegan products on its website.

Vegan Alternatives to Sun Bum

Overall, Sun Bum is a great option for vegans, and we can’t fault consumer transparency.

But if you’d prefer to support a 100% vegan brand or if Sun Bum isn’t easily available in your area, here are some alternatives we recommend:


price range

100% vegan


$10 - $50



$20 - $50


Leaping Bunny

$15 - $50


 Leaping Bunny

$5 - $15



$5 - $20


Leaping Bunny

Sun Bum Isn't Considered Natural or Organic

Sun Bum isn’t considered natural or organic.

However, it does claim to use safe and simple ingredients. Its whole ethos is to make clean formulas and products that anyone can use.

Sun Bum Has a 73-100% Allergen-free Ranking

According to Skin Safe, Sun Bum has a 73- 100% allergen-free ranking across 127 products.

Sun Bum products are always free from parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, phthalates, DMDM hydantoin, and mineral oil.

It’s also leveled up their game by being completely hypoallergenic.

However, they do not claim to be non-comedogenic, so we recommend reading a product’s ingredient list before making your purchase, as formulas can be subject to change.

The EU/UK Have Stricter Ingredient Regulations

We don’t want to scare you, but you HAVE to read up on any product’s ingredient list before you make a purchase – especially if you live within the United States. The reason why will shock you.

The FDA has only banned or restricted 11 harmful chemicals from cosmetics within the country. Europe and the UK, on the other hand, have banned 1,328!

Luckily, Sun Bum sets a great example of what safe sun care and skincare is meant to be. You shouldn’t have to worry about any serious hidden nasties in its products.

  • Octinoxate
  • Homosalate
  • Octisalate
  • Octocrylene
  • Avobenzone

Sun Bum Has Some Sustainable & Ethical Initiatives

One of the ethical causes Sun Bum launched is Protect The Groms keeping – an NGO designed to keep kids’ skin healthy and protect it from sun exposure.

‘Grom’ is a kid in their community, and Sun Bum is working hard to get sunscreen into kids' hands and sun shades over playgrounds in schools around the US.

Sun Bum is also taking strong environmental accountability by:

  • Ensuring all formulas are kinder to the environment by being Hawaii Act 104 Reef Compliant
  • Working on sustainable packaging developments.
  • Ensuring that the plastic containers and non-aerosol spray cans they use are recyclable.
  • Encouraging consumers to recycle their products.
  • Prohibiting the use of synthetic microbeads that pollute our waters and harm marine life.

Final Thoughts

Sun Bum is the kind of sun care brand we like to talk about. It’s a well-developed cosmetics brand that takes various ethical factors into consideration.

The fact that it’s cruelty-free shows us that it’s taking a step towards a more sustainable future in cosmetics.

We appreciate that it has a transparent supply chain and is open to the public about its testing, purchasing, and distribution policies.

Of course, since Sum Bum is not 100% vegan, you might be reluctant to support the brand, especially since it also uses palm oil as an ingredient (and we don’t know if it's sustainably sourced).

But we wouldn't shut it down so quickly if we were you. This brand is developing and listening to your needs, so keep following its movements.

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