Category Archives: Reviews

Natural Sunscreen: Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about some natural sunscreen manufacturers that I have had the opportunity to test and review products for.  When I set out to write the article I received better responses than I had anticipated.  As such, I chose to write a second article to allow for ample time to thoroughly test all of the products that I received.

Colorescience

This is by far one of the best product manufacturers that I could direct you to.  I was sent their Colorescience Pro Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sun Protection SPF 50 in Medium. This product is incredible!  It comes in a tube with a retractable brush.  You simply dust it on in a circular motion and are ready to go.  There’s no waiting half an hour for it to soak in.  Their claim is that it is very water resistant even after extended exposure to water.  A reapplication is recommended after 2 hours, but I put it through its paces and went 4.  I’ll tell you what, they underestimated their product.  I showed no signs of burning after my extended testing period with it.  They further demonstrate their water resistance and purity claims with a great photo of their product floating on top of the water in a picture of a beaker.

I was also given the opportunity to test their Skin Bronzing Primer Mild to Wild SPF 20.  I put this on underneath the powder sun protection.  It instantly improved the texture of my skin and it added an additional layer of coverage.  This product is so light and effortless.  It literally takes seconds to apply and it has a barely there look to it, so you can wear a little make-up to the beach or pool without looking like you’re trying too hard.

Their products protection comes from a 22.5% Titanium Dioxide and 24.5% Zinc Oxide mix.  It protects against both UVA and UVB rays.  Kudos Colorescience, I loved both of these products!

All Terrain

All Terrain was very kind to send me their AquaSport SPF 30 Sunscreen Spray.  This is honestly the first natural sunscreen I have seen in a spray form.  I was thrilled to find it.  I have a husband and 2 young sons who won’t stay still for anything…especially not in the summertime by a pool.  This product was so convenient to use.  It wasn’t 10 minutes of slathering on a cream and waiting for it to set.  I sprayed it on, rubbed it in a little and was done!  This product is excellent for athletes or any rigorous outdoor activity really.  This sunscreen also offers broad spectrum coverage with a 19% concentration of Zinc Oxide.  I loved how easy it was to use!

Most people forget about their lips when they’re in the sun.  I used All Terrain’s Lip Armor Lip Balm SPF 25.  It makes your lips very soft while protecting them during sun exposure.  My only complaint is that it made my lips look white.  A tinted formula would be the only change I’d make to this product.

They sent me their Aloe Gel Skin Relief.  This product helps relieve symptoms of chapped skin, as well as protect agains cuts scrapes and burns.  I used their wonderful sunscreen so I did not need to use this product for relief from a sunburn.  However, I live in Colorado where the air is drier than most saunas.  I grew up in Florida, so my skin is accustomed to pretty heavy levels of moisture.  It has been a constant struggle to keep it moisturized and healthy since I moved to Colorado.  I applied this product after getting out of the shower to see if it would help me to retain some moisture in my skin and it did!  It gave my skin a more supple texture and it smells great.

Thinksport

The professionals over at Thinksport sent me their Livestrong Water Resistant SPF 30 Sunscreen.  This sunscreen was formulated to help benefit Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong foundation.  Thinksport has made a promise to donate a minimum of $1.5M to the Livestrong foundation for the fight against cancer.  So, not only do you get the benefits of using a phenomenal natural sunscreen, you get to feel great about where some of the proceeds are going.  This sunscreen was superb.  It left zero white residue that is typically left behind by the natural sunscreens, it smells great and it lasted for hours without needing to reapply it.  This product is also an excellent choice for athletes.  It uses a 20% concentration of Zinc Oxide to protect your birthday suit against UVA and UVB rays.

I have thoroughly enjoyed exploring this product set.  I have been introduced to several excellent options that I have been bragging to friends about since.  These 3 brands are at the top of my list so far though.  Kabana Skin Care is up there with them as well.  Throw away all of your old, unnatural sunscreens and replace them with one of these options before summer gets here.  Protect yourself against the sun and carcinogenic chemicals.

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Waterless Hair Care.

It’s hard to say where I learned this little trick, but I remember a time when you had to put a little baby powder in your hair to fake a wash. Not anymore! There are dozens of companies on the market that are making things more convenient for us from a beauty maintenance perspective.

Dry shampoos are one of my new favorites in the convenience department. I have color treated hair so I try not to wash it everyday for fear that I will damage it by stripping the natural oils out too often. However, throwing a ball cap or headband on to conceal our dirty little secrets is not always appropriate. Hence, the booming market for dry shampoos!

Until recently there were only a few out there, but woman are starting to turn to them for their in-between-wash needs. This has caused tremendous growth in the number of manufacturers you see out there for this product.

I personally have had the opportunity to review a few of them. Here are my favorites:

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

This product worked excellent!  I separated my hair into sections and sprayed it with Klorane’s dry shampoo.  It goes on white so you can really see the areas you’ve gotten and make sure you apply it evenly.  Then I let it sit for 2 minutes to absorb the oils, as recommended.  Instead of just brushing through it to remove the powder I turned on my blow dryer and took a minute to style it with a round brush.  I looked like I’d just washed my hair and it had a ton of volume!  This product works very well and doubles as a great styling product if you’re just looking for a little lift.

Rene Furterer Naturia 

This is another great product.  This dry shampoo uses clay, rice and cornstarch powders to absorb the excess oil in your hair.  They have also added colored iron oxides to make the powder less noticeable when you’re applying it.  I have fairly light hair so it’s not a big deal either way for me, but if you have darker hair this is probably a nice option for you.  I also love the way Naturia makes my hair smell.  This one didn’t give me the same volume as Klorane, but it performed just as well with regard to oil absorption.

Dry shampoos will never take the place of a good suds session, but they are most certainly a great alternative when you’re short on time!


Naturally Protective.

Summer months are just around the corner, which means the explosion of outdoor activities and celebrations will soon commence.  Decades ago, there was minimal knowledge of the damaging effects that UVA and UVB rays have on our bodies.  People would lay in the sun slathered in iodine and baby oil to work on bronzing their bodies.  Our generation has the privilege of having information at our fingertips.  We know how harmful failing to protect ourselves from the sun can be thanks to numerous research groups and the saturation of information we have access to through various media outlets.

Not only has research been done to successfully prove that we need to be careful about sun exposure, but now we need to be more careful about how we protect ourselves.  Many of the non-natural sunscreen brands on the market contain chemicals that are carcinogenic.  Remember, your skin is the largest organ you have.  So, you must be thoughtful of what you put on it because a large portion will be absorbed by your body and broken down on a cellular level.

I have elected to test and review a number of natural sunscreen brands to help assist you in your pursuit for a healthier option.  Before I tell you more about these products, I want to share with you a couple of helpful resources the manufacturer of Beyond Coastal introduced me to.

The first is: The Natural Products Association

Their site contains a plethora of information.  You can find federal, state, international and grass roots legislation regarding the laws and regulations governing the manufacture and distribution of natural products.  They keep their legislation section updated with articles on topics currently affecting the dietary supplements and natural products industry.

The NPA has a tool called The Natural Products Buyers Guide.  You can either enter a keyword related to the product type you are looking for or search by brand name to find manufacturers who have natural product certifications.

Additionally, the NPA hosts natural products training seminars, releases educational publications on the subject of natural products and has a program which certifies companies to become natural products manufacturers and distributors.

The second is: The Environmental Working Group

One of the tools that I found to be immensely helpful on their site was the Chemical Index.  This section contains a list of toxic chemicals many people are regularly exposed to, defines each chemical, lists the health effects resulting from exposure and provides the top routes of exposure.  We see many of these chemical names, but often don’t have adequate information about them.  There is some excellent info on here!

Their health/toxics section has a variety of subjects ranging from Children’s Health to Consumer Products and Our Water.  Each section contains featured articles on public health issues to expose threats and help you find solutions.

Now for the results of my exploration in natural sunscreens…

Kabana Skin Care

I had the opportunity to review 2 of the suncare products manufactured by Kabana Skin Care.  The first was their Green Screen SPF 22 Organic Sunscreen Tinted and the second was their Green Screen SPF 20 Organic Sunscreen.

Let me begin by saying I LOVED their products.  They protect against both UVA and UVB rays and have 9 simple ingredients!  If you have ever used a natural sunscreen you will know that many of them leave behind a very noticeable white film after applying.  The CEO of Kabana Skin Care was kind enough to take time out of his day and provide me with some excellent insights on sunscreen.  Zinc Oxide is the active ingredient in most natural sunscreens.  To avoid diluting the valuable content provided to me by the CEO I have included a portion of it to help educate you:

“Zinc oxide is a mineral pigment – as such it’s a particle vs. the clear petrochemical oils in other sunscreen products.  Since it’s not soluble or miscible in the formula, it does typically go on ‘white.’  This is why I’ve developed the tinted formula; while many of the mineral sunscreens advertise they go on ‘clear’ zinc oxide is by nature a white pigment that stays on the surface of skin and doesn’t get ‘absorbed’. It’s also a major pigment used in today’s non-toxic white paint (in the past it was lead oxide, which is toxic).   You really don’t want sunscreens ‘absorbing’ because of the problems of bioaccumulation – search Google for “CDC study and oxybenzone” if you want more information about bioaccumulation, and some very good reasons to use zinc oxide sunscreens.”

Kabana Skin Care’s products were long-lasting.  I personally am very fair-skinned.  A poolside vacation in Texas tested the strength and endurance of their products.  I applied the Green Screen SPF 22 Organic Sunscreen Tinted to my face and the Green Screen SPF 20 Organic Sunscreen to my body every 4 hours with intermittent exposure to water and toweling.  By the day’s end my skin exhibited VERY minimal evidence of sun exposure.  I had light tan lines and zero burning.

The Green Screen SPF 20 Organic Sunscreen leaves a slight white residue, but nothing terribly noticeable.  There are days that I abandon my make-up foundation and replaced it with Green Screen SPF 22 Organic Sunscreen Tinted !  I have actually noticed an improvement in the skin texture on my face since using this product.  I love it and would highly recommend trying their tinted formula.

Beyond Coastal

Beyond Coastal’s staff was also exceptionally helpful with regard to educating me on natural suncare.

So you know, the sun emits 3 kinds of rays: UVC (the ozone and oxygen absorb all UVC Rays), UVB (primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer), and UVA (penetrate deeply and contribute to premature aging).  It is imperative that you find a broad spectrum sunscreen for your extended periods of sun exposure.

Approximately 80% of a sunscreen’s formula is made up of inactive ingredients.  You should pick a product that both protects and nourishes your skin when you use it.  Beyond Coastal’s products contain ingredients that not only protect and nourish, but repair and hydrate as well.

Beyond Coastal’s Natural Clear Sunscreen SPF 30+ worked famously.  About 5 minutes after applying there was no visible residue.  My skin is very light so I can get away with using a sunscreen that leaves a slight white film, however those of you with deeper skin tones may prefer this formula because of it’s ability to absorb without a trace.  I wore this sunscreen for approximately 3 hours to a couple of outdoor events.  If you anticipate excessive perspiration I would recommend reapplying more frequently.  This screen protected me against burning, but I was still able to achieve a little tan after direct sun exposure for 3 hours.  It is a little sticky, but that’s just an indication of how well it stays on your skin.  Another benefit that I would like to mention is that this sunscreen is very moisturizing!  I have naturally dry skin and it can be challenging to get an even application of sunscreen with some of the other brands that are not as moisture rich.  So, if you have dry skin this is a good one for you to pick up!

Beyond Coastal’s Natural Lip & Face Screen SPF 30+ was also great.  It comes in a convenient little tin that can be thrown into any bag or purse without fear of it being squished and making a mess all over everything.  This sunscreen is also very moisturizing.  I apply it in lieu of a moisturizer prior to putting on my make-up foundation.  On a typical day I only apply this product once in the morning to protect me from occasional sun exposure throughout the day.  I love the way my skin looks when I use this product.  There is something about it that gives me a very youthful, natural glow.

Badger

I will be very blunt about this one….I am not a fan.  I had the opportunity to review their Badger SPF 30+ Lightly Scented Lavender Sunscreen and first of all the smell made me a little nauseous.  They advertise a lavender scent, however it was not properly achieved.  The formula is VERY greasy.  As I said, I have dry skin, but even this formula was too heavy for my skin type.  Bees wax is listed as one of the inactive ingredients and I believe it may be responsible for the heavy residue left on your skin after application.  It is difficult to rub in so expect a whitish-purple tint to your skin.  The one nice thing I can say about their product…it stays put.  After over 4 hours of swimming, toweling and direct sun exposure there was no immediate need to reapply.  It stayed on like a champ and protected well against burning.

Bella B

Bella B is a brand that was created with expecting and new mothers in mind.  Their products are crafted with natural ingredients that are gentle enough for both babies and mommies.

I was sent their Sunny Bee SPF 40+ Natural Sunscreen.  I used the product on both myself and my 4 year old son.  He is the world’s biggest fan of playing at the park.  With hours of playtime and sun exposure under our belts, Bella B gets 2 thumbs up from me and kido!  Not all ingredients in Sunny Bee are organic, but they are all natural.  It is a broad spectrum sunscreen so you’ll be safe from both UVA and UVB rays for hours on end.  It leaves a white film, but I see this as a benefit because it is easier to keep an eye on when I need to reapply it to my little one.  This sunscreen is very gentle.  So, whether you have kids or just sensitive skin you can rely on Sunny Bee to deliver excellent results!

I will be following this article up with an additional batch of reviews on a few other natural sunscreens.  In the mean time, grab one of my recommended products and go enjoy the outdoors!