There’s a lot of sunscreen out there, and there’s very little about it that makes sense. Between the sunscreens and the sun blocks, the UVA and the UBV, it’s easier to become more confused than a tourist during Mardi Gras. How confused is that? Let’s just say it involves a level of confusion that may cause someone to bolt across the parade route from one cop to another while that certain someone is just trying to catch the last bus back to Baton Rouge or is it Ponchatoula? Yeah, that confused.
At the center of this sunscreen spaz attack comes the seminal sun protection question – what the heck is in my sunscreen?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (pdf), sunscreen “protects your skin by absorbing and/or reflecting UVA and UVB rays.” Further, “broad-spectrum sunscreens often contain”¦UVA-absorbing avobenzone or a benzophenone.” Sunblocks, which block instead of absorbing the sun’s ray, include chemicals like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
They may not sound so healthy, but we need titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to protect our skin and the organic skin care world doesn’t seem to be offering up truly organic substitutes. So that means you want to be sure that the rest of the product is as organic as possible.
We have taken a look at the latest sun protection the green world has to offer. They are all eco-friendly or organic in some capacity. But we’ve also put them to a much more rigorous round of questioning. What do they smell like? How well do they absorb? And do they leave you looking like Bozo the Clown?
Ultra Light Facial Moisturizer SPF 25 by Kimberly Sayer
This product is marketed as a “day cream” and a “moisturizer.” It has also become my “all-time bestest most favorite-ist” face cream for the summer. With a wonderful lemon scent and a lightness that is comparable to whipped cream, this is best of the batch. It smells great, absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave you with a residue. It contains oat beta glucan to protect against UVA. And its lightness allows an easy application under makeup, making it a good place to start on your daily beauty regime. $32.
Cucumber Face SPF 30 by Coola (shown at top)
Want your sunscreen to evoke a cool glass of water at the high-end spa? Then this is the product for you. With a fruity, cucumber scent, you can treat it more like perfume than a sunscreen. In fact, I liked the scent so much that I have worn it indoors while typing away at writing assignments with the shades drawn. It also absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave your skin feeling sticky. This organic product covers a UVA/UVB broad spectrum and is PABA/paraben/petroleum free.
Sunscreen Watermelon Face Cream SPF 30 by Korres
This fantastic face product is like a mini-facial. It felt more like moisturizer than sunscreen. It has a fun fruity scent, and it smooths on without a white residue. It is free of mineral oil, silicone, propylene glycol and ethanolamine. It also has “natural filter titanium dioxide and shea butter for broad-spectrum sun protection (UVA-UVB-IR).”
Anti-Age Sunscreen SPF 20 by Lavera
This product has a light, almost candy-like scent. And it protects against UVA, UVB, and UVC rays, is biodegradable and is paraben- and PABA-free. However, it does leave your skin with a bit of a white sheen. At least you know it’s working!
Purely Age-Defying Day Cream SPF 15 by Jurlique
This is a lightweight, moisturizing sunscreen that has a vitamin-y aroma. It leaves your skin feeling a little sticky, but it does absorb quickly without leaving a white residue. It is made from organic herbs and flowers grown on the Jurlique farm. This includes rose hallica, licorice root, chamomile, pansy and sweet violet.
Dual Nature Face Protection SPF 15 by Aveda
Want a great smelling product? Then this is not the sunscreen for you. I am not a fan on the smell, which comes off a bit like sour fruit. It also leaves you with a bit of a chalky residue. But it does get props for quick absorption. It contains organic geranium, jasmine and orange for aroma, and the container is made from 35% post consumer HDPE.
All Day Moisture with SPF 15 by Noah’s Naturals
This product has an easy, pleasant smell. It absorbs quickly and without white residue, but it does leave you a little gunky. It is paraben-free and contains minimal amounts of chemicals. Noah’s Naturals also practices 1% for the Planet, which means they donate 1% of their sales to environmental organizations worldwide.
Vitamin C Moisture Plus Lotion SPF 15 by Avalon Organics
This product has a fresh, fruity aroma and it absorbs fast. Score and score! But it does require a bit of elbow grease to rub in, so make sure you work it to avoid the Casper effect. It provides UVA/UVB protection, and it has organic aloe, rose hips and sweet orange oils.