Tested out the stick version and two sunscreens (one is the old formula; keep an eye on them over the next couple of months as there’s more reformulation going on). All are cruelty-free, unscented, cheap, have zinc oxide as the sunscreen active / filter, and are SPF 30.
ELEMENTAL HERBS SPF 30 STICK (unscented version)
- 20% ZnO
- iHerb: $5.76 / (RRP $7.99)
is dry dry dry: usable if you scrape some off and rub it between fingertips to melt. Used on lips, around the eyes, and on hands. Functions, but feels dry on skin, is whitening, and basically like one of the old zinc oxide sticks from the 1980s. I feel old for remembering them. And the glorious technicolour face-paints…
UPDATE (2013-03): I don’t know if the formula changed or I got better at using this stuff. I now love it. It’s nice and moist on skin, helps keep lips moisturized, applies smoothly, and is not whitening. A different creature altogether.
Here’s the joy: it looks great in theory / on paper:
|Zinc Oxide 20% (Non-nanoparticle)||Sunscreen|
|Inactive Ingredients: Cera alba (beeswax)*, sesame indicum (sesame seed) oil*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba seed) oil*, copernicia cerifera (carnauba) wax*, persea americana (avocado) oil*, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter*, tapioca starch*, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil*, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter)*, mauritia flexuosa (buriti) fruit oil*, tocopherol (vitamin E).
*Certified Organic by USDA/NOP
Better Other options: BurnOut and Loving Naturals sticks. Even, godshelpus, Purple Prairie (though it goes off fast).
Confusingly, the manufacturer’s website lists the Kids and Sport versions of the sunscreen as being interchangeable. This is not in fact the case.
[SEE UPDATES FURTHER DOWN: both are now one single formula, and it's the more elegant one. Nice.]
ELEMENTAL HERBS SUNSCREEN: KIDS SPF 30
- 20% ZnO
- iHerb: $11.54 / 89 ml (RRP $15.99)
is nice: moister than my regular, BurnOut Ocean Tested, which is one of the moister of the BurnOut range. I used the Kids on body and neck; still in experimental stages on face. Will report back on that in a month or so. Sorry: while my skin is sensitive and irritable all over, and this means that if it reacts, it’ll do so really fast with no waiting around (major pro for product testing); on my face, I’ll test things out for at least 6 weeks so as to take into account hormonal fluctuations and interactions with any possibility of hormonal breakouts. Chin. Usually stress-related.
*** ELEMENTAL HERBS SPORT SPF 30
- 22.5% ZnO
- iHerb: $11.54 / 89 ml (RRP $15.99)
is very very very nice: still moist, but very fluid. Applied like a dream. Now, one word of warning: again, this is a preliminary pre-review. As with the previous two, no irritation. But unlike other sunscreens reviewed on this blog, I haven’t put these to the test properly yet: i.e. intense sunshine and water. This is because I LIVE IN VANCOUVER + AM NOT ON VACATION.
Caveat over: the Sport is the most fluid “all-natural” silicone-free sunscreen I’ve used. Hands down.
Other plus: that buriti oil is interesting: has also been used in the last ten years by L’Occitane and by Cliniderm in their sunscreens. Besides being moisturizing, it has antioxidants that boost SPF, and would appear to have other sun-protecting/-filtering properties: see for ex. this article from the European Polymer Journal, vol. 42 no. 12 (2006), and this one from Food and Chemical Toxicology 48.1 (2010).
2012-08-13 UPDATE (re. stuff above and below): both the Kids and Sport are now the same new formula, the one with buriti oil, ingredients as on the Sport label above, and nice and fluid.
Great on body. Like I said, not tested for waterproofness. OK on some parts of face and nearby (ex. neck, throat, upper-bosom-reaches); zittifies my otherwise fairly placid T- and A-zones. From between brows, down nose, across chin. Within a day. Alas. But: not throwing it out, using it as a splendid and decently-priced body sunscreen. Will be testing this out in water on next vacation that involves water in a place warm enough to stick one’s feet into it, and indeed rest of body. Will update on that in early March 2013…
Couple more warnings re. possibilities for confusion:
elementalherbs.com hasn’t been updated recently (and is badly-designed and security-compromised, FWIW). There’s more than one apparent online shoping site for them; one, shop.elementalherbs.com, is now either fatally compromised or has been lost: my links from just two weeks ago now lead to an ad for “Nexternal eCommerce Platform & Shopping Cart Software.”
The ingredient lists on their main store.elementalherbs.com site are incomplete and (legally) incorrect (= not in accordance with INCI convention), ex.
(tinted spf 22, no longer available)
iHerb has correct ingredient lists that correspond to reality, checked on my tubes (see pictures above).
Story: I ordered the Kids first (springtime experiments with new s/s). I liked it and went back to iherb to reorder.
It was out of stock but the Sport wasn’t. As at that time according to iherb (who are usually fairly reliable) they both had the same ingredients, I ordered the Sport instead. I thought I was getting the same stuff in different packaging.
But no: different ingredients and stuff. Difference vs. kids:
difference in texture
+ Sport has grape seed juice, buriti oil, and more ZnO
- no tocopherol
[Also: grape seed juice? I thought juice = fruit (mainly water), seed = oil (and other extracts)?? Mystified or am I tired and missing something, like juicing a seed being a logical and obv as milking a cat???]
The Kids had been out of stock with iHerb, and the Sport is currently out of stock with them. I haven’t seen the Kids one for sale elsewhere online: jus the Sport one in backcountry.com and a few surf shops. The Sport one I have is the new version of it (old Sport = identical to old / last-seen Kids, the March/April 2012 version). Elemental Herbs is reformulating, progressively, and that Sport is a newer formulation (phew! I was scared the less-nice Kids might be the reformation!!). From their blog (May 23, 2012):
Whether they’ll change the Kids one to be the same: unknown.
OK, proviso to that caveat: I’ve only done patch-testing on other people for some others in the 2011-12 “green-er-ish” sunscreen crop, and not on me, because there’s been a tendency for the nicer more elegantly-formulated newer ones to have an aloe vera gel base. This is great for providing the same sort of slip, feel, and finish as a “less green” silicone-based sunscreen. Unfortunately, my skin is irritated by that amount of aloe.
There will be another post giving a rapid, rough & ready, cursory (and probably crude & rude) run-down of the current EWG Hot Sunscreen List, many of which are that sort of aloe-based formulation. No, I’m not softening up in my old age. Yes, I still stand by everything I’ve said about the EWG. But a sunscreen list is a sunscreen list; EWG research is improving; and it’s as good a base-list as any others around online. That is: as a starting-point for possible products if you’re in the market for a new sunscreen, or just to check up and keep yourself up-to-date on what’s new.