Review: Natural Sunscreens and my Summer Routine

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natural sunscreens

I still remember the good old days when I only had to put on sunscreen when my family and I went to the beach. Now, I put on sunscreen regardless if I step outside! I have pretty light skin and I’m always terrified of getting sunburn (many of you know how awful going through the after-sunburn process is right?) so I made sunscreen a mandatory part of my beauty regimen. I’m extremely pleased that, over the years, cosmetic and sunscreen companies have been introducing sunscreens that are natural, and made with non-chemical UVA/UVB blockers. Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are two ingredients in most natural sunscreens that may be the most safest UVA/UVB ray blockers because they reflect harmful rays instead of absorbing them (for instance, ingredients like Oxybenzone and Avobenzone). I believe consumers, like me, are increasingly adamant that their beauty items contain SPF in them. However, putting on a separate sunscreen under your makeup is the safest thing you can do to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Many experts agree, don’t be skimpy with the amount of sunscreen you put on and make sure to reapply after swimming, sweating, and even after a certain amount of time has passed.

Today, I’ll be posting my thoughts on the three natural sunscreens I have been using all summer. I have been using personal research instead of checking the Skindeep Cosmetic Database for the safety-levels of my sunscreen. is a good site in that it lists all the ingredients and tell you how harmful they are for you, but much of their data is still limited so I can’t really rely on that.

Products: Origins Sunshine State SPF 20 (5 fl. oz.), Kiss My Face Sunscreen with Hydresia SPF 40 (3 fl. oz), Alba Botanica Natural Very Emollient Sunscreen Mineral Protection Kids SPF 30 (4 fl. oz.)

Origins Sunshine State SPF 20 Ingredients: Active Ingredient (Titanium Dioxide 6.90%), water\aqua\eau; mentha piperita (peppermint) leaf water, anthemis nobilis (chamomile) flower water c12-15 alkyl benzoate, octyldodecyl neopentanoate, butylene glycol, dicaprylyl maleate, cetyl peg/ppg-10/1 dimethicone, magnesium stearate, isostearyl palmitate, aluminum stearate, polyhydroxystearic acid, mentha arvensis (field mint) leaf oil*, citrus aurantium dulcis (sweet orange) oil*, mentha viridis (spearmint) leaf oil*, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf oil*, limonene, tocopheryl (vitamin e) acetate, bisabolol, pantethine, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, polyglyceryl-6 polyricinoleate, polyglyceryl-4 isostearate, hexyl laurate, sodium chloride, synthetic wax, alumina, pvp/hexadecene copolymer, isopropyl titanium triisostearate, caprylyl glycol, hexylene glycol, bht, disodium edta, sodium dehydroacetate, phenoxyethanol, chlorphenesin, zinc oxide (ci 77947) <iln33170> * essential oil

Sunshine State™ SPF 20 Sunscreen with natural minerals for face and body

Kiss My Face with Hydresia SPF 40: Active Ingredients (Titanium Dioxide 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 10%), Aqua, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Stearalkonium Hectorite, Propylene Carbonate, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Ergocalciferol  (Vitamin D), Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Extract, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethenaol,Ethylhexylglycerin. Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40

Alba Botanica SPF 30: Active Ingredients (Zinc Oxide 14.5 %, Titanium Dioxide 2.0 %) Other Ingredients: Aqua (Water), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (1), Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (1), Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil (1), Polyglyceryl-3 Ricinoleate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract (1), Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract (1), Magnesium Sulfate, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid (1) Certified Organic Ingredient

Kids  Mineral  Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Thoughts: The first natural sunscreen I have purchased was Origins’ Sunshine State SPF 20 Sunscreen. This was my first introduction to natural sunscreens and at first it wasn’t a particularly positive one. Sunshine State is very much one of those old-fashioned sunscreens that is thick, gritty, and hard to spread on your face/body. I agree, their claims that their “micro-fine mineral-made Titanium Dioxide” blockers does not leave a “ghostly ghastly cast,” but the texture of their sunscreen is quite unappealing. Also, it’s terrible for layering under your makeup. Having tried to do so, the sunscreen made my face and neck greasy and sticky prior to makeup prep. It’s also quite pricey (purchased for $23). After checking Origins’ website, I discovered that they have discontinued Sunshine State and is only offering their A Perfect World SPF 35 UV Face Protector with White Tea (1.4 oz/ $27.50). I think it’s safe to say I won’t be purchasing any more Origins sunscreens because Kiss My Face and Alba Botanica has made much much better sunscreens.

Kiss My Face Sunscreen with Hydresia SPF 40 is one of the best natural sunscreens I have ever used. KMF has stated on the sunscreen tube that Hydresia is derived from Safflower oil and it’s absolutely wonderful on my sensitive, dry-combination skin. It has none of that thick, gritty texture like a traditional sunscreen and putting it on before makeup application is a breeze because it smooths on so easily. It has a light, sweet-scent that is perfect for those who dislike strong-smelling sunscreen. Because of its 3 oz. size, this sunscreen is more suitable for a face-only application because if you use it on the rest of your body, you’ll run out fast! However, this is definitely a sunscreen I will be purchasing again after I finish my current tube.

Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen is also a very good sunscreen. I purchased the Mineral Protection Kids SPF 30 because the Whole Foods I went to did not have any of the SPF 45 one left. However, I think it’s quite nice that the Kids sunscreen is stated to be tear-free because even as an adult I get really messy and teary if I get products in my eyes! Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sunscreen lives up to its name! It is very emollient and honestly easy to spread on your face and body. I love that it has no immediate strong fragrance and I believe Alba Botanica produces some of the best Fragrance-free sunscreens. It’s definitely a must-purchase for parents whose kids who are sensitive to sunscreens. While I purchased this sunscreen for $8.99, it retails for up to $10.99 but I find it to be one of the most affordable natural sunscreens out there. Alba Botanica sunscreens are a definite repurchase for me and I find myself coveting the Lavender one..Hawaiian one, and oh the sport one!

Purchased: Origins Sunshine State $23, Kiss My Face $14.99 at Whole Foods Chelsea, Alba Botanica $8.99 at Whole Foods Union Square.

Coming Up: Review on Koh Gen Do’s Oriental Plants Skin Lotion Spray. Perfect for cooling down on a summer day.


The Author

Brooklyn-based natural and organic beauty writer.

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