Natural Sunscreen Made in Costa Rica’s South Pacific

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Several years ago, co-residents of Costa Rica’s sunny South Pacific, avid beach-goers, and friends — Lynda and Ingrid — started developing natural sunscreens and other skin care products. At the time, it was difficult for the women to find a sunscreen that worked well in the water and that they felt good about putting on themselves and their families. They decided to try their hand at making a sunscreen that was free of the chemicals that was bad for the body and the environment. After a lot of research and one full year of perfecting the formula, they launched Jungle Mama Naturals — natural sun protection and body products for the whole family.

Natural sunscreen makers

Ingrid and Lynda, Jungle Mama founders

A need for natural sunscreen

When Ingrid, a long-time esthetician and skin care specialist, met Lynda, a self-professed “DIY nut”, the two bonded over what they shared in common: both women were the same age, with daughters around the same age, originally from Southern California, and now living in Southern Costa Rica. Along with their surfer families, they spent plenty of time at the beach together where they began discussing the lack of accessible, functional, and non-toxic sunscreen.

Individually, they had searched for the perfect sunblock that worked well, was available in Costa Rica, and had the least amount of chemicals in it. They had both come to the conclusion that the selection of products they could find in Southern Costa Rica either had hormone-disrupting chemicals, would run into the eyes, or were quite simply ineffective.

The growth of Jungle Mama Naturals

After some thought, Ingrid and Lynda decided to try making their own sunscreen — something they could feel good about putting on their daughters and one that was free of the harsh chemicals found in most mass-produced sunscreens. They began researching the ingredients found in “healthy” sunscreens, and started mixing the first batches. In total, the ladies spent a full year tweaking the recipe in their kitchens and testing each batch on friends and family before they found the right formula. What they came up with was a sunblock that is water resistant up to 80 minutes and tinted for people of different skin tones.

Sun protection for a surfer girl

A product that truly works

There are a lot of issues that surround the plethora of “natural” products that have now saturated the market. For one thing, there is not a lot of oversight on the use of that word and if you do your research, you will often find that so-called natural products are anything but. For another, what good is a natural product if it doesn’t work well or do the job that it is intended to do? If you have tried natural sunscreens before, that’s probably one thing you have noticed: they either don’t work well or don’t work at all.

For water-lovers, and especially those who spend time in the tropics, finding something that works is obviously very important. At this point, most of us are aware of the stakes of not taking protecting our skin from the sun — it can cause everything from freckles to sunspots/pigmentation to wrinkles to skin cancer. Water enthusiasts are known to take skin protection to an extreme: wearing rash guards, hats, and even sunglasses out in the water; however, it can be difficult (and hot!) to cover every part of your body, so finding a good sunblock is key.

Met with positive reviews from all of the surfers and watermen and women who tried it, Jungle Mama’s sunscreen has become very widespread and easily recognized in the Costa Ballena area in the past couple years. They have also been selling it in other surf towns in Costa Rica and are actively expanding their international reach.

Sunscreen for surfers

How Jungle Mama is an Ocean Guardian

There is a great deal of literature that shows the link between the prominent chemical found in sunscreen, oxybenzone, and the disruption, DNA damage, bleaching, and ultimately death of coral reefs. Jungle Mama Naturals sunblock is free of oxybenzone, and to protect against the sun’s powerful rays, instead they use non-nano non-micronized zinc oxide. This substance is the best possible use for optimal sun protection and minimal environmental impact, and despite the fact that it leaves a white cast on your skin when you put it on, this is a very small price to pay.

Jungle Mama products are never tested on animals, and both Lynda and Ingrid are both committed to use the finest ingredients available — organic when possible, and as natural as can be. In an effort to reduce the amount of plastic going into the world, they also offer a discount on sunscreen for those who return their Jungle Mama sunscreen tubes when they are done with them!

Non-toxic sunscreen for the family

Our favorite at Bodhi Surf School

At Bodhi Surf School, we have been using Jungle Mama’s sunblock for over a year now and it is by far our favorite. As avid surfers and surf instructors, we spend long hours in the sun and love the fact that it actually stays on and doesn’t run into our eyes out in the water. It offers a shield against the sun even in the hottest part of the day and effectively prevents sunburns. Also, we find the smell of the sunscreen to be the most delicious thing ever (think Mexican hot chocolate…) In short, we’re so convinced, we even recommend and offer Jungle Mama’s products to our guests!

Jungle Mama sunscreen lip balm coffee scrub

Jungle Mama Naturals contributes to the #OGC2016

We are very happy to have Jungle Mama Naturals as partners in our 2016 Ocean Guardian Contest. Jungle Mama has generously donated extreme sunblocks, lip balms, and coffee scrubs for the three winners of the #OGC2016! We are so happy to have their support for this event and look forward to partnering with them in the future.

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About the author

Bodhi Surf + Yoga

A surf and yoga camp providing community-engaged travel experiences in beautiful Uvita, Costa Rica. Learn about what makes Bodhi Surf + Yoga different and don't hesitate to contact us.

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