So you’re packing for snorkeling on Maui!
Or maybe you’ll just be swimming off of the great beaches of Maui without necessarily snorkeling.
Maybe that’s the beaches of West Maui….
👆 Swimming at one of the popular beaches in West Maui.
Maybe that’s the beaches of South Maui…
👆 Swimming at one of the best snorkeling spots in South Maui.
Or maybe that’s the beaches of East Maui!
👆 Swimming at one of the best beaches in East Maui.
No matter where you’ll be swimming, you probably have SUNSCREEN on your list of what to pack for Maui!
And, you may have heard of a more specific type of sunscreen… reef-safe sunscreen.
What IS reef-safe sunscreen?! Why wear reef-safe sunscreen in Maui?
“Reef-safe” sunscreen refers to sunscreen that is safer for the coral reef of the ocean that is around Maui (and the rest of the marine world).
When you go into the ocean along the shores of Maui, whether that’s swimming, snorkeling, or really just standing around, the sunscreen you wear washes off into the ocean.
That means the chemicals from that sunscreen also go into the ocean.
And there are ocean scientists that say that those chemicals can make their way directly to the marine life of the ocean world.
And these ocean scientists also say that the effect of those sunscreen chemicals is BAD for the marine life, including coral reef.
Around coral reef is among the spots that turtles and colorful tropical fish look for their food. The coral reef is what can make Maui a top snorkeling destination!
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The Hawaii sunscreen ban
There is what has been called a Hawaii sunscreen BAN. (There is also a more specific Maui sunscreen ban, and that is next.)
The Hawaii sunscreen ban refers to the sunscreen ban that went into effect in January 2021.
Essentially this is a ban against selling any sunscreen product that’s not deemed to be reef-safe sunscreen, according to State of Hawaii standards.
This particular Hawaii sunscreen ban refers to a ban of SALES of certain types of sunscreen, so it’s geared towards the actions of the stores. It’s not anything you as a traveler to Maui do or don’t do.
This applies to all Hawaiian islands, including Maui.
This means that you shouldn’t be able to BUY any sunscreen that’s NOT reef-safe (according to State of Hawaii standards) when you are actually in Maui, because the stores shouldn’t have it.
So what are the State of Hawaii standards for reef-safe sunscreen?
There are 2 sunscreen ingredients that the State of Hawaii has chosen to focus on.
According to the State of Hawaii, it is NOT reef-safe sunscreen if your sunscreen contains the ingredients called oxybenzone and octinoxate.
And these are the 2 sunscreen ingredients that are part of the Hawaii sunscreen ban.
Now, it’s important to note that these aren’t the only ingredients that are considered to be not as safe for reef, according to the people who are strong advocates for reef-safe sunscreen and reef-friendly sunscreen… and according to the people of Maui, as per the Maui sunscreen ban!
It can be up for debate whether this should be the only criteria to call a sunscreen product “reef-safe.” The people of Maui did not agree, and so they went further than just these 2 ingredients in their Maui sunscreen ban.
👆 As seen at a local beach in Maui: Save our reefs. What sunscreen ingredients some locals in Maui would like you to avoid. According to Maui locals, sunscreen ingredients that are not reef-safe including oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, avobenzone, homosalate, and octisalate. They ask you to check the sunscreen that you will be wearing in Maui.
Read more on the official word about why the Hawaii sunscreen ban exists.
The Maui sunscreen ban: Are you allowed to wear sunscreen that’s not reef-safe in Maui?
Do you REALLY need to wear reef-safe sunscreen in Maui?!
In addition to that Hawaii sunscreen ban that bans the sales of all sunscreen with chemicals that are deemed to be toxic by the State of Hawaii, Maui will be implementing their own additional Maui sunscreen ban.
This takes it even further than the original Hawaii sunscreen ban.
This Maui sunscreen ban is for Maui County.
Maui County includes the Hawaiian islands of Maui, Lanai, and Molokai.
Maui will be making it into law with wording that says that not just the SALES of sunscreen with toxic chemicals is banned, but also the USE of non-mineral sunscreen is banned.
This means that soon you will not be allowed to wear non-mineral sunscreen in Maui, according to the Maui sunscreen ban.
So you will even more want to be sure to add mineral sunscreen to your Maui packing list!
According to the State of Hawaii:
Once signed into law, Bill 135 will take effect on October 1, 2022.
The sale, distribution, or use of prohibited non-mineral sunscreens would be considered a violation of the Maui County Code, subject to penalties and enforcement procedures.
Fines will be deposited into the County Environmental Protection and Sustainability Fund.
Read more from the State of Hawaii.
The State of Hawaii notes that the “administration of the new prohibitions is the responsibility of the County Department of Environmental Management.”
I don’t know what the enforcement of this is going to be like.
But it would be nice if you still brought along mineral sunscreen, and consider one of the reasons that they are not allowing you to wear non-mineral sunscreen – to keep the tropical fish and turtles coming back to the shores of Maui!
So in the spirit of the law (more on this below), it would be very nice if you DID wear reef-safe sunscreen when you are in Hawaii.
So it would be nice if you do decide to bring sunscreen to Maui from home that you choose to make it the mineral kind of sunscreen… whether it’s spring, summer, or fall of 2022!
👆 As seen at the Ahihi-Kinau snorkeling spot in Maui: Is your sunscreen killing the reefs? One barrelful of sunscreen goes into the ocean around the isalnd of Maui each day, one swimming at a time. Only zinc or titanium mineral sunscreen are truly safe for reefs.
How can you make it so that you can wear LESS sunscreen in Maui?!
You can make it so you don’t have to apply as much sunscreen by wearing swimming clothes when you go to the beach in Maui!
The less skin you have exposed, the less sunscreen you have to wear!
👆 As seen at a local beach in Maui: Please do not apply sunscreen before entering the water. Some locals on Maui are so serious about the impact of your sunscreen in the ocean that they go so far as to ask you not to wear sunscreen.
You can cover up your skin more by wearing a swimming shirt or a rash guard.
So if you wear a swimming shirt, it means that you’ll be using far less sunscreen.
That means less sunscreen will be entering the ocean.
Wearing a swimming shirt also means you have to be less concerned about having to reapply sunscreen too.
And if you take the word “sunscreen” literally, as in something that “screens” the sun, then actually, the BEST sunscreen for Maui is a swimming shirt!
The less sunscreen YOU wear, the less sunscreen that gets into the ocean! (And less chemicals that you are rubbing onto your body!)
It’s possible to find short sleeve swimming shirts and long sleeve swimming shirts that are made of material designed to protect against the sun’s UV rays.
See more: Finding a swimming shirt for Maui
But even if you do wear a swimming shirt, you’ll still have exposed skin, so you will still want the traditional sunscreen for the rest of your body!
Aside from sunscreen, also see more of what to pack for outdoor activities in Maui!
- Do you need to wear water shoes for snorkeling in Maui?
- Does a cheap waterproof phone case work for underwater snorkeling pictures?
- THE top things to pack for Maui
Plus the list of top things to pack for Hawaii!
What’s the best sunscreen to buy for Maui when you want to protect the ocean environment?!
The quick list of the best sunscreen for Maui, deemed reef-safe according to the Maui sunscreen ban:
- Sun Bum mineral sunscreen
- Neutrogena sheer zinc mineral sunscreen
- Aveeno positively mineral sensitive skin sunscreen
- Thinksport safe sunscreen
Ingredients for Sun Bum mineral sunscreen lotion SPF 50
See the current ingredients list directly from Sun Bum.
Read the reviews for Sun Bum mineral sunscreen.
Buy Sun Bum mineral sunscreen:
Ingredients for Neutrogena sheer zinc mineral sunscreen SPF 50
See the current ingredients list directly from Neutrogena.
Read the reviews for Neutrogena mineral sunscreen.
Buy Neutrogena mineral sunscreen:
Ingredients for Aveeno positively mineral sensitive skin sunscreen lotion SPF 50
See the current ingredients list straight from Aveeno.
Read the reviews for Aveeno mineral sunscreen.
Buy Aveeno mineral sunscreen:
- Popular Aveeno sunscreen lotion
- Popular Aveeno sunscreen face milk
- Popular Aveeno sunscreen lotion for kids
Ingredients for Thinksport safe mineral sunscreen lotion SPF 50
See the current ingredients list directly from Thinksport.
Read the reviews for Thinksport sunscreen.
Buy Thinksport mineral sunscreen:
- Popular thinksport sunscreen lotion
- 2 pack of 3 oz lotion
- 2 pack of lotion + stick
- Popular thinksport sunscreen lotion for kids
The way sunscreen is made can change!
The ingredients of sunscreen products can change.
The ingredients listed above are from checking in spring 2021.
And that’s a bit about reef-safe sunscreen for Maui!
What to pack for Maui: Things to pack for Maui include reef-safe sunscreen! You also want to think about what you want to wear snorkeling in Maui and what you want to wear out and about on a hot sunny day!
More things to pack for snorkeling in Maui:
- Do you need to wear water shoes when snorkeling?
- Does a cheap waterproof phone case work for underwater pictures?
- Why a personal swim buoy float is perfect for swimming in the ocean
See more for planning your trip to Maui:
HAPPY MAUI BEACH TIME WITH REEF-SAFE SUNSCREEN!
Top things to pack for your Hawaii vacation!
The ultimate beach towel for travel?!Turkish towels are considered to be more absorbent and lightweight than your average beach towel. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phoneYou can take underwater pictures with a simple waterproof phone case like this. Touch screen may not work well underwater - try the volume button to snap the pic instead!
Get your suitcase more organized!Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're snorkeling.
More for your Maui packing list
- How a cheapo waterproof phone case works
- Why wear water shoes for the beach
- Why a personal swim buoy is an essential for snorkeling and swimming in the ocean
- Essentials to pack for Maui
- Best shoes for Maui
There are affiliate links on this page. Among others, as an Amazon Associate I may earn from purchases.