Update on sunscreens

A quickie: this post on the 2014 sunscreen crop has been updated.

Main update: I’m still happy, more than six weeks in, with both Babo Botanicals and the Derma E body sunscreens. Both are zinc oxide-only and SPF 30. I’m also using the Babo Botanicals Sunstick (ditto on main active and SPF) on lips and around the eyes.

Next: we will see how they all perform while away in Europe in July.

I’m also using other things for sun protection: I never depend exclusively on a sunscreen for protection; indeed I would consider sunscreen as a secondary supplementary measure with the primary one being everything else: clothes, sunglasses, a hat, seeking shade, avoiding peak hours, and taking and applying antioxidants. Anyway, I added a few word about them too.

Happy sunning: it’s good for you, and mental health and emotional wellbeing.

WARNING: Apply in moderation and using common sense. Symptoms of sunstroke may include perceptual distortion including hallucinations. May be difficult to distinguish from the side-effects of too many cocktails.

cleansing bars, soaps, & other scum of the earth


Here we go again.

I’ve had a fair few self-cleaning issues over the years. Here’s what a cleanser should do:

  • ONE: clean. You might think this is obvious. Many makers of skincare products seems not to.
  • not contain common irritants, such as most scented ingredients
  • or any of the others on my own lovely personal list
  • TWO: leave my skin in at least a good condition as it was before
  • not over moistened and clogged up
  • or dried out
  • or irritated or otherwise buggered up
  • THREE: not wreck my skin barrier, which is already not of the best, given thin and more acidic (ginger) skin etc. etc.
  • so: with a lower pH (usually around 5.5-6, in the broad range of 4-7)

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something amusing for the weekend

Or, more likely, to start the week.

From the good people of I Fucking Love Science:


And some more, via keyword=logic:



Happy reading: stay sane (pro-knowledge a.k.a. pro-science, anti-anti-science and anti-pseudo-science), stay safe, stay sensible. May the forces of reason be with you, as we approach the maximally-illuminating moment or the year that is the summer solstice next week. Keep up the good fight against Lady Folly, vanguard avatar that she is of apocalypse.

new irritants

bah humbug
Exciting news! And we all know that you can never have too much excitement. Except when it comes to skin. And that ancient curse, “may you live in interesting times.” So … exciting news about over-excitement: good news because it’s news and, well, new; bad news if you’re my skin.

Adding these to the list:

  • decyl glucoside (aka decyl polyglucose)
  • cetearyl alcohol: though OK in low-contact wash-off stuff like bar cleansers
  • cetearth-20
    (often combined with cetearyl alcohol as emulsifying wax; and ditto)

How they were discovered:

  • my scalp got bumpy and itchy and, eventually, that itching turned hurty :(
  • and, by a happy coincidence, it was time for my regular allergen check-up

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MUA notepad (as at 2014-06-04)

LAST UPDATED: 2014-06-04

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Delia Smith's chocolate mousse Delia Smith's chocolate mousse Delia Smith's chocolate mousse


These are just some things I’ve found useful over the years, and I’m sharing them here in case they’re useful for anyone else. Possibly just as a starting-point for your own research. Not intended to be prescriptive or restrictive or comprehensive or anything like that  Continue reading

sunscreen update: the 2014 crop

More important news first:


Because there are things that are more important than sunscreen. There are follies that are on a whole other scale from the more everyday follies usually reported on here, dangerous and anti-feminist as they may be. And these important follies are everyday life for too much of the world’s population.

Bring Back Our Girls (FaceBook)
#bringbackourgirls (Twitter)
Bring Back Our Girls (Tumblr with Amnesty International)

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vitamin C serums: quick note

mainly to self…

New(ish, 2011) stable form of vitamin C: 3-0 ethyl ascorbic acid, a.k.a. ethyl ascorbic acid, a.k.a. Corum 9515.

Some more info:

Stable vitamin C provides potency to collagen boosting products“.
Ameann De John, Cosmetics Design Europe

Product reviews: Kiehl’s Clearly Coorective Dark Spot Solution
Nicki Zevola, FutureDerm.com

Used in vitamin C serums from the following:

Just putting the information out there.


  • I have not tested, used, or bought any of these.
  • Some are from companies with whom I have no dealings for reasons of ethics (animal testing, silly prices, outrageous marketeering and other human-insulting behaviour).
  • I haven’t looked at all their ingredient lists; those I have looked at include ingredients that are known irritants on my own skin; most do not declare exact percentages of actives.
  • There will be more. These are the twenty that came up first, and most consistently (repeats), in a simple Google search. There are others; there appear to be many more on the Japanese, Korean, and Taiwanese markets.

YMMV as ever. Do not buy for the sake of buying. Be aware of your own, and your own financial, limitations; let not your eyes be bigger than your stomach (also, greed, cupidity, and lust are VICES). If you are using something and it works, cool: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you’re not using any vitamin C on your skin, or anything else for that matter, and you skin is happy: even cooler, and ditto.

Other things to look at (this is very much note to self), for adding to the vitamin C posts:


Sephora China

UPDATE (2014-05): see also

This is really just a FYI post. My thanks to Blushing Biddies for giving me the idea, via this comment: here are screenshots from sephora.cn, showing what brands they sell. I can’t believe I didn’t think of doing this before…

At present in China any imported cosmetics *may* be subject to animal testing. Note, MAY: that does not necessarily mean that they are, but it does mean that a company relinquishes control over and responsibility for their products by moving into the Chinese market. That is an unethical decision, position, choice, and action: whether or not the products are in fact / in practice tested on animals there. The more so, and morally worse, for companies that otherwise claim to be cruelty-free.

More on animal testing in China, for products sold on the Chinese market: see these other posts and posts in the “cruelty-free” category (there may be overlap).

So having a look at major sales-locations like Sephora China is a good way of seeing which companies are affected.

Screen Shot 2014-05-06 at 9.56.30 AM

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