my MUA reviews: sunscreen

[See also: other posts about sunscreens on here] 

Purple Prairie – Sun Stick SPF 30  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 10/21/2011 3:47:00 PM

PROS:
—No irritation.
—No scent or flavour.
—Decent quantity of ZnO (but larger-size and no coating).
—Cruelty-free.
—FWIW: plant-based ingredients, organic, hand-made by everyday sorts of people in the USA, etc. (*shrug* just saying, for the record, and as these are attractive factors for some MUAers; do with this information as you will, not necessarily my thing.)
—Makes quite a good unscented underarm deodorant, as layer one of the Deodowich. Useful if traveling: the balm counts as a solid and doesn’t gnaw into the precious 3-1-1 plastic-bag of carry-on liquids (I’m one of these anal types who prefer to travel minimalist and carry-on only).
—Hypothetical pro: I can imagine how this would be useful for an adult applying to a squiggly small child, holding them with one hand and the sunscreen stick with the other. Same goes for any other sunscreen stick: none of that comedy sunscreen-lotion flying around all over the place.
—The ingredients are so minimal this would be edible, too: again, useful with kids. (The same is true of several other stick sunscreens.)
CONS:
—very whitening and greasy as a body sunscreen; would do at a pinch, and looks like it would be waterproof (with that amount of oil in it)
—body purposes: not exactly easy to apply on an adult
—face: no, breakout alert. I did try this (behind ear, classic lower-grade testing area) and a zit had started by the end of the day. Anywhere less dry and more irritable, like the chin or nose? No. That’s speaking as a dryish person.
—lips: just about usable, and actually slightly better than Purple Prairie’s lip SPF. Less whitening and lacks its dry issues, but is even greasier. I’m not sure how protective it ends up being: it’s so greasy it slips off very easily. As with the PP lip: issues with lipstick on top.
—pet peeve: some yummy-mummy fear-mongering soppy greenwash nonsense on the manufacturer’s site (they do like the EWG: need I say more?).
PRICE: 2 oz for around $10.50-14.50, depending on source; plus taxes and shipping.
INGREDIENTS: Active ingredient: Zinc oxide 20%
Other ingredients: organic cold pressed olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, organic apis mellifera (beeswax), organic theobroma cacao (cocoa butter), organic cocos nucifera (coconut), organic butyrospermum parkii (shea butter) fruit, jojoba oil, natural vitamin E.

Purple Prairie – Sun Stuff SPF30 20% Z-Cote sunscreen  rated 3 of 5gingerrama on 10/21/2011 2:17:00 PM

If you’re stuck, and in need of an all-physical, zinc-oxide-only sunscreen that you’ll use up in a couple of weeks max: worth a try. It’s not bad, by any means; it’s perfectly usable for some purposes. Hence a 3. But it’s not in the same league as the best all-zinc sunscreens out there, some of which are, yes, as “green,” “natural,” etc. as this one.
PROS:
—unscented, and didn’t irritate.
—good as an eye-area sunscreen. If you’re looking for an all-zinc oxide sunscreen that’s very moist, but not utterly minging, this would be a good one.
—also decent on body; easy to apply, as it’s quite fluid. Admittedly, I have dryish skin and my regular sunscreens can be on the thicker side (Blue Lizard, Vanicream).
—nicely moist, without being greaseball spectacular: not a common thing in all-zinc sunscreens, apart from the unwearable greasy super-squeaky-green kind that the EWG loves. Great on small children, not so hot on, errm, anyone above the age of reason let alone adults above the age of consent…
—did the job: protecting from burning; and fairly sweatproof and rainproof.
—cruelty-free
—FWIW: also using plant-based ingredients as much as possible, organic, hand-made by everyday sorts of people in the USA, etc. (*shrug* just saying, for the record, and as these are attractive factors for some MUAers; do with this information as you will, not necessarily my thing.)
CONS:
—Not as fine and sleek a texture as BurnOut or my other current experiment, the two ECO Logical ones
—not going near my face (see ingredients at end of review); patch-tested, zit started within minutes, off the Prairie came. Now: I’m sensitive and dryish. Warning, this stuff might be a possibility for people with seriously dry skin, but there’s a very high risk it would be a nightmare in a bottle for anyone else’s faces.
—no preservatives, and not because this stuff’s been specially formulated without them. As others below report: goes off very fast. That’s not a good idea for skin products. Especially around the eyes.
—not as water- and sweat-proof (so: not as reliable in serious sun and weather) as Blue Lizard, Vanicream, BurnOut Ocean Tested, or Eco Logical.
—some yummy-mummy fear-mongering soppy greenwash nonsense on the manufacturer’s site (they do like the EWG: need I say more?).
Price: around about $12.50-17.00 for 5 oz, $23.00-26.00 for 9.5 oz. Decent and middle-of-the-road for this sort of sunscreen.
INGREDIENTS: Active ingredient: 20% micronized zinc oxide. This is in the form of coated micro Z-Cote, so containing other things too besides the ZnO.
Inactive ingredients: aqua (water), organic cold pressed olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) kosher vegetable glycerin, organic cocos nucifera (coconut), Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Cetyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol organic, butyrospermum parkii (shea butter), organic theobroma cacao (cocoa butter), organic jojoba oil, rosemary extract

ECO Logical – Face SPF 30+  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 10/21/2011 1:54:00 PM

This is a very good all-zinc-oxide sunscreen, no fragrance, good on at least some sorts of sensitive skin. One of the best all-physicals I’ve used, one of the moistest all-zinc ones that are meant for the face (whilst being wearable and not Badger-like), and one of the most cosmetically-elegant sunscreens without silicones. Been using it for face and around the eyes; though the Body version is slightly better as an eye-area sunscreen. My other regular face sunscreen is BurnOut Ocean Tested, also ZnO & SPF 30+, but a lot cheaper.
Ticks all my sensitive-friendly boxes: no scent, none of my usual irritants and cloggers, no pointless crap–I’m cool with “fillers” when they’re the stuff that binds it all together into a beautiful-feeling whole, especially when it feels this nice–and no cyclopentasiloxane, which my skin loves to hate but sunscreen-makers love to, well, love.
No irritation, which is always a good start, being the first hurdle at which so many well-fancied favourites take a tumble. No clogging to report: though clog-prones might want to test before diving into this stuff, as the coconut derivatives (esp. the triglycerides) are frequent triggers. It’s smoother, silkier, feels almost silicone-ey. Sinks in very very fast (like BurnOut), matte: no shine, no grease, no streaks. White, but not whitening on me. Feels light to imperceptible on the skin: a properly wearable elegant aesthetically-pleasing sunscreen.
Quick comparisons: Thinner and lighter than the Body version, a smidge thicker than BurnOut’s Ocean Tested. With dry skin, any of these three would be worth a try: zinc sunscreens can often be on the dry side, and these are some of the moistest. Does the job of protecting: tested out (back in August) in actual sun. Easy to clean off: I found regular cleanser does the job.
Packaging: recyclable, in a decent practical squeezy bottle that stands on its flip-top lid. Major quibble–the same for the face version: the tube’s only about half-full. I suspect the manufacturers have bought packaging that was a size too big–fair enough, better that than too small–and there would also be sense in under-filling so as to allow room for, I don’t know, contents settling but being shakable-upable? the stuff expanding in hot weather? The issue will apparently be remedied in next year’s batch (as per the manufacturers’ contributions to a Skin Care Talk discussion thread).
Cruelty-free; environmentally-friendly, biodegradable, and reef-hugging (which also translates as: disperses well in water when cleaning off, without worrying about the consequences for the rest of known life; though the face version is not as waterproof as the body and baby ones–their oil content allows for greater adhesion to skin).
Techy innovative stuff: while the company (Eco Skin Care Inc.) is based in the US (San Clemente, CA), the sunscreen itself is “product of Australia” and “manufactured by Baxter Laboratories Pty, Melbourne Australia,” to Australian standards. No preservatives, but not just for the usual knee-jerk reasons, to satisfy scientifically-ignorant squeaky-green consumers: they’re using a low-water formula, and there’s basically nothing in the stuff for bacteria to feed on. The zinc is micro, and coated with a coconut-derived biodegradable covering (rather than the usual silicones in most of the Z-cote family).
Quibble: greenwash alert, issues with use of “all-natural” and LOL at “logical”: nope, it’s a sunscreen, inanimate, unthinking. Its reflective abilities are limited to physically blocking solar radiation. Sure, it’s “common sense for the environment” and “economically sensible”: but dear sweet manufacturers: next time, consult a dictionary–cheaper than marketing consultants and execs…
Price: depending on source, around US$14.00 for 1.8 oz/50 ml (it does indeed, as many report, feel like there’s way less in the container): nearly twice the price of my usual BurnOut. Bought online. Now available in at least the Hawaii and Portland branches of Whole Foods. Not a crazy price: cheap compared to department store, boutique, luxury, spa, derm etc. brands, and worth its weight in gold compared to the main “green” sunscreen market–different league for performance and aesthetics.
INGREDIENTS: Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20%
Inactive ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Isoamyl Laurate, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Sorbitan Stearate, Sucrose Cocoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Extract*, Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Seed Oil*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract*. (* = organic)

ECO Logical – Body SPF 30  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 10/21/2011 1:36:00 PM

This is a basic all-zinc-oxide sunscreen, no fragrance, good on at least some sorts of sensitive skin. One of the best all-physicals I’ve used, one of the moistest all-zinc ones (whilst being wearable and not Badger-like), and one of the most cosmetically-elegant sunscreens without silicones. Been using it for any non-face exposed body parts, and also for around the eyes; and on face (well, all over) if swimming or otherwise actually needing a waterproof sunscreen.
Ticks all my sensitive-friendly boxes: no scent, none of my usual irritants and cloggers, no pointless crap–I’m cool with “fillers” when they’re the stuff that binds it all together into a beautiful-feeling whole, especially when it feels this nice–and no cyclopentasiloxane, which my skin loves to hate but sunscreen-makers love to, well, love. Eco Logical also make a face one, that I prefer to this Body one for face.
No irritation, which is always a good start, being the first hurdle at which so many well-fancied favourites take a tumble. White, but not whitening on me. Thickish consistency, but emulsifies well between fingers and once applied and rubbed in, it sinks in and dries to a smooth slightly silky finish. Not as light as the Face version, but perfectly acceptable–and it is properly waterproof, which means, yes, a little thicker and with more oil, to be hydrophobic. Tested more thoroughly by surfers; partners with the Surfrider Foundation (not to be sneezed at, respectable, etc.). Does the job of protecting: tested out (back in August) in actual sun. Easy to clean off: I found regular cleanser does the job. Unlike my other regular body ones, Blue Lizard and Vanicream, which stay on well in water and if sweating but are super-tenacious.
Excellent, truly excellent, around the eyes: skin stays moist, doesn’t run into eyes (or, if it doesn’t, it’s not irritating), and makeup applies fine. Though I’m not using much.
Packaging: recyclable, in a decent practical squeezy bottle that stands on its flip-top lid. Major quibble–the same for the face version: the tube’s only about half-full. I suspect the manufacturers have bought packaging that was a size too big–fair enough, better that than too small–and there would also be sense in under-filling so as to allow room for, I don’t know, contents settling but being shakable-upable? the stuff expanding in hot weather? The issue will apparently be remedied in next year’s batch (as per the manufacturers’ contributions to a Skin Care Talk discussion thread).
Cruelty-free; environmentally-friendly, biodegradable, and reef-hugging (which also translates as: disperses well in water when cleaning off, without worrying about the consequences for the rest of known life; though the face version is not as waterproof as the body and baby ones–their oil content allows for greater adhesion to skin).
Australian aspects: like Blue Lizard, it’s formulated to satisfy Australian standards (though the BL isn’t actually Australian). Further: while the company (Eco Skin Care Inc.) is based in the US (San Clemente, CA), the sunscreen itself is “product of Australia” and “manufactured by Baxter Laboratories Pty, Melbourne Australia.” No preservatives, but not just for the usual knee-jerk reasons, to satisfy scientifically-ignorant squeaky-green consumers: they’re using a low-water formula, and there’s basically nothing in the stuff for bacteria to feed on. The zinc is micro, and coated with a coconut-derived biodegradable covering (rather than the usual silicones in most of the Z-cote family).
Quibble: greenwash alert, issues with use of “all-natural” and LOL at “logical”: nope, it’s a sunscreen, inanimate, unthinking. Its reflective abilities are limited to physically blocking solar radiation. Sure, it’s “common sense for the environment” and “economically sensible”: but dear sweet manufacturers: next time, consult a dictionary–cheaper than marketing consultants and execs…
Price: depending on source, around $15.00-20.00 for 3.5 oz and $23.00-26.00 for the 5.3 oz bottle. A fair price, fairly standard for this volume and this kind of sunscreen; very cheap compared to spa /derm etc. brands, “green” sunscreens that aren’t as good in terms of performance or aesthetics.
INGREDIENTS: Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 22%
Inactive ingredients: Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Silicon Dioxide, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Butyrospermum Parkii Seed (Shea) Butter, Euphorbia Antisyphilitica (Candelilla) Wax, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Extract*, Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Seed Oil*, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract*.

BurnOut – Ocean Tested Physical Sunscreen SPF 30  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 4/18/2011 2:39:00 PM

[2011-09: Review updated: changed my mind about this one.]
This is one of the three all-physical sunscreens made by BurnOut (they also used to make a part-chemical one, now no more). The other two are the BurnOut Eco-Sensitive Clean and Clear SPF 32–for a long time, my main sunscreen, and highly recommended for sensitive-skinned persons–and the Kids SPF30+ Physical Sunscreen. All three use zinc oxide as their filter and are unscented.
Main differences in formulation (ingredients at end of review): Ocean Tested has hemp oil and glyceryl stearate SE, the Kids one has plantain leaf and papaya extracts, and the Eco-Sensitive has none of that but aloe vera (near the end of the list, fortunately), vitamin E, and citric acid.
The Eco-Sensitive, being oil-free but water-based, is not as waterproof as the other two, but is easier to remove and has a nicer immediate skin-feel. It feels slightly drier on the skin, faster. On drier skin, it certainly needs some decent moisturizing underneath; but tweakability means it’s useful for a fairly wide range of skin-types. This one is probably the most generally useful, better on oilier skins, and more useful for most everyday use (unless surfing is your day-job) given it’s easier to remove. Actually, I admit that I’ve often rolled into bed tired and forgotten to remove it, and not suffered for it at all. The downside of that is that it runs a higher risk of running and rubbing off during the day too, being less tenacious and water-based; though I for one have never burned while wearing it.
The Ocean Tested has a very slightly sticky feel for a few minutes–that’s the waterproofy oiliness–but sinks in and feels and looks just as velvety-matte, albeit after a few more minutes than the Eco-Sensitive. If it still feels sticky to the touch, suggest some sort of finishing powder on top. It is indeed very waterproof–tested out swimming–and needs proper removal. Though nowhere near as much as something like the super-tenacious Vanicream, or siliconey sweat-proof sorts. The Ocean Tested would probably be a better bet if you’re drier, if you don’t mind cleaning it off at night properly, if you want to be assured of solid protection through the day (without going for clown-face heavy sunscreen, covering yourself up completely, etc.), and indeed if your day will involve more outdoor and/or aquatic activities.
Choosing between the two? On aesthetics, once they’re on and sunk in, there’s not much to choose between them. The main difference would be your own wants and needs: practical stuff outlined above. Check for any known triggers (acne, irritation, rosacea, etc.), as ever.
All the BurnOuts are in a different league from most of the “greener” sunscreen market–and up to, errrm, more mainstream standards (drugstore and indeed department-store and high-end). Not whitening. Other things to report: as with the other versions tried (and used longer-term), no immediate irritation and no burning, no zits
Cruelty-free, no silicones (I can use dimethicone but no other silicones, especially not the volatile ones, without irritation and minor clogging), environmentally-friendly, biodegradable, and actually actively designed for use in the ocean, without causing damage. Other viable alternatives for eco-friendly water-sports and so on: pretty much anything that’s got coated and/or micro zinc oxide. Further recommendations on ZnO-only sunscreens, see the zincsunscreens notepad.
Costs USD17.99 direct from the manufacturer. Available in some health-food / eco-stores in the US.
Currently using this rather than Eco-Sensitive as I’m being slightly irritated by aloe vera and being a bit drier; my other face sunscreen, equallyZnO-based and green etc., is Eco Logical Face SPF 30+. It’s moister, but thicker and twice the price. I’ve included its ingredients for comparison at the end of; its makers also have a Body version, same price as the BurnOut sunscreens but even moister again. Both work as good eye-area sunscreens. The Body version has more oil and is waterproof (tested to Australian standards), Face less so; but more waterproof than BurnOut Eco-Sensitive. Worth bearing in mind depending on what you’re looking for in a sunscreen.
INGREDIENTS (Ocean Tested version):
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 18.6%
Other Ingredients: Aqua (Deionized Water), Capric/Capryllic Triglycerides, Vegetable Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Sorbitol, Imperata Cylindrical (Root) Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Virgin Hemp Seed Oil, Sorbitan Stearate, Arabidopsis Extract, Plankton Extract, Xanthan Gum, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C).
INGREDIENTS (Eco-Sensitive Clean & Clear version):
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 18.6%
Other Ingredients: Aqua (Deionized Water), Capric/Capryllic Triglycerides, Vegetable Glycerin, Sorbitol, Imperata Cylindrical (Root) Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Soybean Lecithin, Arabidopsis Extract, Plankton Extract, Aloe Vera, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Citric Acid.
INGREDIENTS: Eco Logical Face
Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 20%
Inactive ingredients: Purified Water (Aqua), Isoamyl Laurate, Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Sorbitan Stearate, Sucrose Cocoate, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Hydroxypropyl Starch Phosphate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Extract, Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract.
INGREDIENTS: Eco Logical Body
Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 22%
Inactive ingredients: Capric/Caprylic Triglyceride, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Silicon Dioxide, Cera Alba (Beeswax), Butyrospermum Parkii Seed (Shea) Butter, Euphorbia Antisyphilitica (Candelilla) Wax, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba), Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Seed Extract, Rosa Canina (Rosehips) Seed Oil, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Extract

BurnOut – Clean and Clear Zinc Oxide Sunblock  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 8/31/2010 5:00:00 PM

Unrestrained 5 lippies. A great sunscreen: all-physical, minimal ingredients, unfragranced, sensitive-skin-friendly, silicone-free, alcohol-free, and fairly (IME) waterporof and sweatproof. Many, many, many thanks to the Skincare Board people for talking about this over the last few months, I might not have even heard about it otherwise.
Bonus: does all the “does what it says on the tin” stuff and looks good (on me anyway, and I am pale). I was a little worried about the plankton extract but have nothing negative to report on it.
Bonus #2: it’s cheap. About half the price of comparable zinc oxide-based sunscreens (and I don’t mean Badger and the like here: I mean functionally and cosmetically good ones; Dermaquest, Glycolix Elite, that sort of thing).
Bonus #3: ethical plus. Cruelty-free and environmentally-friendly.
Background: My regular sunscreens: Cliniderm SPF45 (on oilier days), Vanicream SPF30, and John Masters Organics SPF 30 (either of these, most of the time)–all three are ZnO & TiO2, the first two are coated micronised, z-cote & t-cote. The JMO is nice, but fails the TOTM test. I can’t use cyclomethicone (alas, farewell to Glycolix Elite SPF30 and about a billion other sunscreens, including all the lovely light veil ones), nor chemical filters; my skin is rather irritable and towards the drier end of the spectrum. I’ve rarely had an issue with ghost-face, that being my state of nature. Am using Blue Lizard Sensitive SPF 30 on rest of self; I’ve also used BurnOut on parts that are very sensitive off the face, e.gg. back of the neck, backs of calves and knees–with the Blue Lizard on top
On first contact, BurnOut is a lotion-fluid texture. Note that this is not as milky as the runny silicone-based superlight fluids (Clarins, Chanel, Sofina, various Japanese & Korean sunscreens); but it’s closer to them in texture than it is to thick pastes (Badger, Burt’s Bees, Lavera). No scent. Easy to smooth into skin so long as it’s moist; otherwise, as others below report, on dry-to-the-touch skin it streaks and doesn’t work in so well. My skin’s drier, so I’m using this with moisturiser underneath anyway: that was absolutely fine. I also tested BurnOut on damp skin–just left damp from water–which was better than nothing, but not as good as the slip of a moist surface. I did find a few other things that worked well as a layer between skin and sunscreen, and they’d be suggested for oilier folks or on oiler days (time of month etc.): Thayer’s alcohol-free witch hazel with glycerin & aloe, or aloe vera juice, or a very light oil (mineral, safflower). One could substitute a serum or super-light serum-like moisturiser. Moral of the tale: not good on dry surface, slick it up a bit.
It’s also fine around the eyes: if it does run in, it’s not irritated me. Note that, again, I’m moisturising underneath.
It dries fast: that might be one factor behind streaking. I’d suggest this technique: squeeze out a line of sunscreen onto (if RHed) back of left hand or along its index finger, and using other hand, dot around the face, eyes, ears. Smooth in. You can actually rub a bit, gently… it’s a myth that one can’t massage physical sunscreens in at all. Just not too vigorously: more a case of smoothing around. The same kind of gentle motion and pressure as you might use around the eyes, but faster. Same again for neck and throat.
I don’t wear much makeup usually, and it applied as usual (Silk Naturals Perfecting Powder on hot days and/or on a shinier sunscreen, like the Vanicream). I tested this out under some more mu, just to see: fine under concealer and blush. Can’t comment on foundation, sorry. Fine on eyes under LM Eye Basics; no effect on tightlining and mascara.
Removal: I used a cream cleanser/makeup remover (Earth Science ADE Creamy Cleanser) followed by a regular face wash (Everyday Shea Unscented Moisturizing Body Wash).
No irritation. No clogging. No zits: and this stuff is very good at the zittier time of the month (that’s the current hurdle it’s going through in the testing process). And no burning, most important of all. Main functional ingredient: micronised zinc oxide, 18.6%. No paraben preservatives, but does have citric acid, cogongrass (imperata cylindrica) extract, and caprylyl glycol.
Costs USD17.99 direct from the producers (easily found c/o online search), great customer service, shipping internationally fast and efficiently (inc. Canada and not getting stuck at the border for weeks). Available in some health-food / eco-stores in the US. Packaging: 3.4 fl oz/100ml recycled and recyclable plastic tube, stands on its head, flip-top cap. Sensible and practical. The use-by date is now printed on the tube.
The ingredients are very like those in DermaQuest ZinClear SPF 30, especially the identical actives and similar base-feel (from trying out a sample), but for 1/5 of the price (vs. USD53.50 for 2 oz/60 ml, which works out as $89 for 3.4 oz).
INGREDIENTS:
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 18.6%
Other Ingredients: Aqua (Deionized Water), Capric/Capryllic Triglycerides, Vegetable Glycerin, Sorbitol, Imperata Cylindrica (Root) Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Soybean Lecithin, Arabidopsis Extract, Plankton Extract, Aloe Vera, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Citric Acid.
Comparison: DermaQuest Skin Therapy ZinClear SPF 30
Zinc Oxide 18.60%,
Water, Cyclomethicone, Glycerine, Glyceryl Stearate and PEG 100 Stearate, Sorbitol, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Sorbitan Stearate, Lecithin, Arabidopsis Extract, Plankton Extract, Xanthan Gum, Carbomer, Ascorbyl Palmitate (Vitamin C), Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA

John Masters Organics – SPF 30 Natural Mineral Sunscreen  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 8/19/2010 4:33:00 PM

So far, so good [ed. updated 11/2010: so far, so much better!!! upped the lippies to 5: love this now the weather’s colder and drier, and skin drier]. One of the nicest face sunscreens I’ve used, one of the most moisturising all-physical ones, one of the best silicone-free one, and the absolute best “all-natural” one I’ve met so far. Skin here: fine, fragile, sensitive, irritable, pale with some freckles, burns at the drop of a hat (literally), reacts to all filters except physical ones (TiO2, ZnO), most fragrance, any more than a small amount of alcohol, and cyclomethicones.
This is a lightweight white creamy lotion. Fragrance-free. Easy to apply: two pumps will do face and eyes (dot and dab on eyelids and undereye, then pat in); another pump for neck (though I’m usually using Blue Lizard Sensitive SPF30 for all off-face purposes). Smooths in nicely, no ghost-face, no chalky pores. No irritation, no clogging and zits (so far), and it’s working as a sunscreen too in that I have no overheating or burning to report.
Can be used around the eyes: actually very good around the eyes, moist enough, no tearing-up with any migration, not too greasy on the lids, and makeup sits well on top (currently just Laura Mercier Eye Basics to even out lid colour, plus mascara and tightlined eyeliner). As well, indeed, as with Clarins’ eye sunscreen.
The feel is a million miles from most of the “greener” all-physical sunscreens on the market, those thick pasty gloopy unusable unwearable zittorific catastrophes. The other “greenies” that feel as good are Devita 30 (but I had irritation and burning issues, as other have commented too, it’s unreliable as a functional sunscreen; and it’s now pricier), Pratima Neem Rose SPF30 (ZnO-only: scented–though just nice rose–pricey, not sold in many places, doesn’t ship to Canada except by special order with massive customs duties) and, nearly as good but greasier, Lavera Neutral Kids’ spray SPF20 (TiO2-only, not full UVA coverage, but more readily available and cheaper). The aloe vera is probably responsible for producing a feel more like a silicone-based sunscreen (ex. Dermalogica SuperSensitive SPF30, the TiO-2only L’Occitane Buriti do Pará Veil SPF30 & Clarins UV Plus SPF40).
But this stuff is moisturising, most of the time moisturising enough to use alone: blame the next bunch of ingredients (see further down), from the triglycerides to the shea butter.
End results: on application, it’s smooth. Not as shiny as my other usual, Vanicream SPF30. Sinks in well. I’m wearing it with Silk Naturals Perfecting Powder on top, which leaves a flawless finish. And, most importantly of all, it does its job as a sunscreen…
And that’s about it. As with any all-physical, the PPD isn’t going to be anything impressive but if you’re sensitive and can’t wear anything else, low PPD is better than nothing. (I’m guessing the PPD is 10, actually, as this product and its SPF30 labelling are approved for sale in the EU. As the PPD must be at least 1/3 of the stated SPF, it must be at least 1/3 x 30 = 10.)
Other factors: Cruelty-free and vegan (see also end of review for other ethical pros). 5-star 6-lippie packaging. Glass bottle with plastic pump top (dispensing slightly too little rather than too much, which is good), recycled paper and soy ink, recycled and compostable packaging, the whole lot recyclable basically. Costs CAD42.00 for 60 ml: pricier than my other usual, Vanicream (about 1/2 the price), but cheaper than department-store or high-end equivalents, and a similar price or cheaper w.r.t. other “green” sunscreens of similar quality and feel. Available from some health-food/eco shops, and online inc. directly from JMO (free shipping in the USA, Canada, Japan, and the UK from their respective JMO sites).
Cons: My only big caveat: a little cloggy at TOTM in warmer more humid weather. Might not be a good idea for skins at the oilier end of the spectrum, or indeed beyond normal-to-dry. Otherwise nothing negative to report–except that it would be great to see a JMO body sunscreen as good, fairly-priced, and silicone-free! and an SPF lip balm!! And could be cheaper (see for comparison: BurnOut Eco-Sensitive Clean and Clear Zinc Oxide Sunblock SPF 32, except it needs some moisture underneath, whereas the JMO could be used alone).
INGREDIENTS: ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Titanium Dioxide 7.5% (Sunscreen), Zinc Oxide 5.0% (Sunscreen)
INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Aqua (water), aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice,* capric caprylic triglycerides, ethyl hexyl palmitate, glyceryl stearate, glycerin, cetyl alcohol, jojoba oil,* shea butter,* panthenol, tocopherol acetate, allantoin, sodium pca, green tea extract,* magnesium aluminum silicate, hyaluronic acid, calendula extract,* ethyl hexyl glycerin, benzyl alcohol
* NOP Certified Organic
Ethics & other ingredient considerations: From the JMO site: http://www.johnmasters.com/info.htm
1. No sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, DEAs, MEAs, or TEAs
2. No GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism)
3. No petro-chemicals
4. No animal testing
5. No artificial colors, fragrances or fillers
6. Ingredients must be as organic as possible
7. All plant extracts and essential oils must be certified organic whenever possible
8. All essential oils used must be steam-distilled and not extracted with propylene glycol – which kills the effect of the oils
9. All plant oils must be cold pressed, not heat distilled – which kills the therapeutic properties of plant oils
10. All ingredients must be proven to be beneficial to the hair or skin
11. All ingredients must be harvested in an environmentally-friendly manner (wild-crafted)
12. All ingredients must be bio-degradable as possible
13. Fair-Trade ingredients must be used when possible 

Cliniderm Gentle Protective Lotion SPF 45  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 2/22/2010 2:41:00 AM

[UPDATE 06/2010: Some editing, and moved rating up from a 4 to a 5 now that I’ve tested it out over different seasons and because this also turns out to be great as an eye-area sunscreen.]
Excellent basic sunscreen for sensitive, irritable, reactive skin. A surprise hit in my recent sunscreen experiments: as ever, the best things are right under your nose.*
It’s a yellowish colour out the bottle (a good thing, not to worry: from the mauritia flexuosa fruit oil, high in beta-carotene, hence the colour). Solid opaque pump bottle. The texture is more fluid than my other usual sunscreen, Vanicream SPF 30, easier to apply, and–like it–leaves a smooth finish. While Vanicream takes a good half hour to sink in nicely to a velvety finish, Cliniderm does so fast. More matte, too. Feels like those nice light veil sunscreens, like Clarins UV Plus (but this stuff here is massively cheaper, not just TiO2, and is unscented). Using the Cliniderm in alternation with the Vanicream year-round, the latter when skin is dryer. Though skin remains moist and doesn’t dry out.
Uses: on the face and around the eyes; not alone, moisturising first. No irritation. No burning. If there’s any migration into the eyes, I haven’t noticed it. Not even a smidge of redness, nor any feeling of heat on skin after a few hours (my skin’s pretty good at telling me when a physical sunscreen’s not working or needs to be reapplied). Copes well with my usual springtime photosensitive hives. In the eye area: used all over, including eyelids. Again, smooth, dries matte, but without drying. Feels like my previous usual eye sunscreen, Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF 45. Similar finish, and like it, good as a base for eye makeup.
The finish is smooth, fine, matte. No change in colour on my skin, it does look like Cliniderm is giving a genuinely translucent effect: but I’m very pale. I can still see my freckles, though, so it’s light.
Makeup application on top: Feels like a primer, so might do double-duty? Otherwise, can’t tell you much as I use little makeup. Sometimes a dab of concealer where needed, usually just one of the Silk Naturals finishing powders for general smoothing, and TheBalm Sexy Mama pressed powder if shiny (barely necessary with this sunscreen). On the eyes, this stuff is very good under makeup: using Laura Mercier Eye Basics in Linen every day, and sometimes LM Concealer in the undereye area as needed. Both apply nicely and smoothly over the Cliniderm, without any creasing or slipping: indeed, as well as with my previous Clarins eye sunscreen (tested side by side), though without the Clarins’ slight whitening effect.
Skin here: sensitive, reactive, thin, fragile; can only use physical sunscreens; need to use sunscreen daily, as have pale skin that burns easily and have already had a Suspicious Nasty removed, so under doctor’s orders to protect self. Skin condition otherwise normal, so long as not irritated: some tendencies to dryness, the occasional zit at times of the month.
One of the few all-physicals that is readily available here in Canada (drugstores, some supermarkets, online), and a decent price. No fragrance. Little in the way of non-essential ingredients. 6.6% titanium dioxide, 6.1% zinc oxide. Both are encapsulated micro; inc. the BASF “invisible” z-cote, the same as in Vanicream and some other good sunscreens: triethoxycaprylylsilane is one of the tell-tale items to look for in ingredient lists. In a mild sort of base, and impressive for it to be this fluid without containing loads of the kinds of silicones my skin isn’t so keen on (ex. cyclopentasiloxane). Also contains oil from the curious buriti palm (=mauritia flexuosa fruit oil): potent antioxidant, some UV-absorbing properties, key ingredient also in L’Occitane sunscreen products.
If looking for something even more matte, try Glycolix Elite (SPF 30, 17% ZnO).
Price: CAD24.00-28.00for 75 ml is the usual price, and also seen from time to time on special at CAD14.00-17.00.
INGREDIENTS:
Medicinal ingredients (w/w): Titanium Dioxide USP 6.6%, Zinc Oxide USP 6.1%
Non-medicinal ingredients: Aqua, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Alumina, Methicone, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Silica, Propylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Butylene Glycol Cocoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Ceteareth-20, Mauritia Flexuosa Fruit Oil, Phospholipids, Silica, Glycerin, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Ceteareth-12, Cetyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Capryloyl Glycine, Tocopherol, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dehydroxanthan Gum, Rosemary Officinalis (Rosemary leaf extract)
* I say this was a surprise: I found the Cliniderm after spending some time researching online sources for Vanicream sunscreen that shipped within Canada (cos I’m sick of demented customs charges). A number of PSI/Vanicream products are manufactured by Canderm/Cliniderm in Canada, and/or same pharmaceutical ingredients used by both companies. So I did a bit of research on Cliniderm. And found, joy of joys, it’s sold in regular shops just round the corner.

Devita Daily Solar Protective Moisturizer spf 30  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 2/21/2010 5:57:00 PM

Ups and downs on this one (see PROS & CONS below), but mainly a thumbs up, so 3.5 lippies which will be rounded up to 4 or down to 3 from update to update. Currently on a 3 as it’s not a good sunscreen in actual sunshine; would rebuy for winter low-sun protection.
As you’ve doubtless seen, great reviews here and practically cult status over on the skincare board from MUAers with sensitive skins and whose opinions I’d trust. The ingredients look innocuous. Potential perfect sunscreen. Nice-sounding company (and lovely in all my correspondence with them), cruelty-free.
PRO #1: The texture on initial application is lovely: light, but quite rich, smooth, neither greasy nor mattifying. Like a whipped cream-gel (I guess from the aloe vera base). Very easy to apply, to spread evenly without excess rubbing. Sinks in meltingly. No added fragrance. Slight almond/marzipan smell: some might like that, I’m not bothered either way, and it fades fast.* Usually no reactions (but see CONS).
PRO #2: lovely result. The finish is transparent (mind you, I’m pale). Skin feels smooth: not over-rich, and no greasy layer on top–my favourites do that, though they do eventually sink in over half an hour or so. No discernible clogging or spottiness. Not too dry, either: leaves skin matte, in a velvety soft way. The only non-cyclomethicone-/cyclopentasiloxane-based sunscreen to have that effect (on me, anyway).
PRO #3: I only use physical-only sunscreens, with a preference for ZnO-only. This is partly because that’s all my skin tolerates, and partly for environmental reasons (re. ground-, river-, & ocean-waters). The Devita is is one of the very few “greener” sunscreens around that is (usually, but see also CONS) any d*** good: that is, with *just* ZnO as the sunscreen active, to provide full-spectrum UVA & UVB coverage; no fragrance; and nothing else that irritates my irritable and irrascible skin (chemical/organic sunscreens, essential oils, heavier oils–e.g. avocado, macadamia–that break it out, and/or unusable thick texture…). Plus it’s not one of those silly powders (“silly” re. being effective sunscreens: they’re still splendid and gorgeous as sensitive-friendly makeup). The other best “green” ones I’d found so far were TiO2-based, which is not as good for full UVA coverage.
PRO #4: price, especially in comparison with similar products. USD24.95 for a 2 oz/57 g jar. More expensive than my other favourite sunscreens: Glycolix Elite SPF 30 (17% Z-cote–micronised, encapsulated–ZnO), Vanicream SPF 30 and Cliniderm SPF 45 (mixed ZnO/TiO2, micronised encapsulated), and Blue Lizard Sensitive or Baby SPF 30 (similarly TiO2/ZnO).
But the Devita has a luscious more fluid texture and melting finish: cheaper than any other sunscreen with as elegant a finish (ex. Clarins UV Plus 40), and there’s plenty much pricier and pseudo-pharma ones around that are not as good. This is as good–in terms of performance–as “less green” products from mainstream companies, be they big pharma, drugstore, department store, or high end.
CON #1 (minor): niggling packaging aesthetics. No use-by date, or time within which this should be used, or date of manufacture/packaging. Hate the jar, and really hate the labelling: I’ve seen more attractive and original school art projects. So I decanted this into a Muji squeezy tube. So, basically, not an issue.
CON #2 (major): I’d used this before unsuccessfully (red blotches, tightness, itching, burning: needed to be removed straight away, and there were irritation-spots later). Gave the stuff a “1” and “No I’d never buy this product again” on my original review. It’s working fine at the moment–as nice and soothing as the lovely Glycolix Elite, but moister in comparison. But sometimes it does still irritate, and this is something that varies from day to day. When this works, it’s fab; but whether or not I can tolerate it being on my face at all is unpredictable.
CON #3 (not major): whether or not the rest of my face is playing along nicely with the Devita, it stings when it runs into my eyes. Can’t use it there. Sticking with Clarins SPF 30 Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour (TiO2) or an unscented lip sunscreen (Vanicream SPF 30, TiO2 again) for there. Not a disaster and not a biggie, as I’ve had similar issues with most sunscreens. So another non-issue.
CON #4 (major): not a reliable sunscreen. I’m currently only using this on greyer days or, if sunny, with a layer of a more serious sunscreen (Vanicream or Cliniderm) on top. Used it alone on our first really sunny day. After about 40 min of walking (to and from bus, regular route so know the timing), skin started to heat up, saw it had reddened, and duly slapped some 100% trustworthy stuff on top. Not full burning (luckily my skin heats to the touch in early stages of the burning process), but I deem this untrustworthy.
With the exception of CONS #2 & #4, the cons are minor niggles that are easily solved or manageable or basically normal and expected. For the last while (updating this review in 04/2010), the Devita has been working fine. (05/2010) Would rebuy for winter, dull, cloudy, near-sunless days. Not for spring-summer I’m afraid.
Active ingredients (from packaging): Micronized Zinc Oxide 14%
Other ingredients: Purified Water, Certified Organic Aloe Vera Gel, Capric/Caprylic Triglycerides (derived from coconut oil), Stearic Acid, Vegetable Glycerin, Hyaluronic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate (from vegetable oil), Lecithin, Vitamin E (Acetate), Allantoin, Comfrey Root Extract, Grape Seed Extract.
* Devita is getting kinda notorious for incomplete ingredient lists that don’t adhere to INCL rules. So it did initially bother me that there seemed to be an unlisted fragrance.

Shiseido – Gentle Sun Protection Lotion for Sensitive skin and Babies  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 10/20/2009 1:33:00 AM

UPDATE: back to the cheaper and more reliable (no irritation or clogging or anything else, ever) Vanicream and Cliniderm for face, and Blue Lizard for body.
Full name on bottle: “Gentle Sun Protection Lotion SPF 33. For sensitive skin and babies 6 months of age or over. For face/body.”
THE PROS: Very nice. Elegant lightweight fluid sunscreen “veil”, all-physical, mainly zinc oxide (13.9% ZnO, 3.3% TiO2), unscented, silicone-based but no -anes.
This is very liquid – milky, even – and dead easy to apply. The finish is smooth, matte without being drying, skin moist without being greasy. On the skin, it feels very like Shiseido 50 or 55 Lotion (differences – not discernible to the touch: lack of scent and being all-physical). A bit like Clarins UV Plus SPF 40 or Dermalogica Super Sensitive FaceBock SPF 30 but resolving their minor downsides: the Clarins’ price, scent, and being TiO2-only; and the Dermalogica’s occasional scent-irritation issues. Seems to be protecting skin. Less drying than my usual, Glycolix Elite SPF 30 (17% ZnO), and with a more luscious feel and finish. 3.5 rather than 4 (rounding up to be kind) as it isn’t as good on, and to, my skin as the Clarins; but better than available alternatives. Decent but not perfect.
The price is a major deciding factor. CAN $ 42.00 for 100 ml; compared to higher prices for other sunscreens in bottles 1/3 the size. Fun, interesting bottle too – I tend to go for minimalist and white/clear, but rather like this one, and its irregular but curvy feel in the hand. The cap works, so far.
THE CONS
I first tried this in the summer, and it was not good. Fine everywhere except the face, though. Some irritation in tell-tale areas (thinner skin round the nose), some clogging. Am using up the bottle, but wouldn’t repurchase: I’d rather stick with a face sunscreen that is more reliable as regards not irritating me. Alternating use of this with my old love, Clarins UV Plus 40, for more regular face use on less sunny days (this being Vancouver, that’s not uncommon). I do prefer the Clarins for feel and zero effect on skin – with the Shiseido, I do have to make absolutely sure to have cleaned it off properly or I get spots by the next day; and this can feel a bit rough on my skin (yes, even when cleaning with the right stuff i.e. cleansing oil, then regular cleanser after).
Needs cleansing oil for proper removal. Used DHC DCO at first (in the summer)–worked, but some issues. Changed over to GoW and much happier with it, no irritation, better cleansing, the lighter oil mix has a finer feel on the skin (not just olive, but includes sweet almond and hazelnut, and uses a different emulsifier).
INGREDIENTS:
MEDICINAL INGREDIENTS:
zinc oxide 13.9% w/w
titanium dioxide 3.3% w/w
NON-MEDICINAL INGREDIENTS:
cyclomethicone – water – butylene glycol – dimethicone – hydrogenated c6-14 olefin polymers – pentaerythrityl tetraoctanoate – glycerin – polybutylene glycol/ppg-9/1 copolymer – polymethacrylate – dimethicone copolyol – dextrin palmitate – xylitol – methyl gluceth-10 – trimethylsiloxysilicate – dipotassium glycyrrhizate – scutellaria baicalensis extract – zinc myristate – thiotaurine – ectoin – disteardimonium hectorite – aluminum distearate – aluminum hydroxide – isostearic acid – silica – trisodium edta – tocopherol – phenoxyethanol

Avène – Très Haute Protection Lait SPF 50+ New formula  rated 1 of 5 gingerrama on 7/22/2009 10:58:00 PM

Note that this (at least as sold in Canada) is in a white tube, inside a white box. See image 2. Label reads:
Lait – Très haute protection
Lotion – Very high protection
spf/fps 50
Pros: physical-only, with 16.11% TiO2 and 5.88% ZnO. Minimal ingredient list (coming up once retrieved from trash), low risk of irritation. Good company, decent testing, good compny ethics inc. no animal testing but lots on humans. Not a bad price – around $25-30 for a 100 ml tube. Fairly readily available (Canada: SDM).
Cons: nearly unwearable. Note that this is the *lotion* – the cream was even worse. Someone at Avène really needs to look up a dictionary for definitions of “milk” and “lotion,” and to have a look round the whole sunscreen market to see others’ interpretations thereof. After all, Avène themselves have managed to make a very elegant “emulsion”; albeit not all-physical.
This stuff is next door to nappy-/diaper-rash ointment. Heavens above, give me the old zinc oxide sticks of 20 years ago over this useless stuff any day!
Slight pale pink tint.
Hard to apply, harder to spread without rubbing skin a lot. My skin’s thin and physically fragile, so that’s a bad idea. Already made red marks on legs, a bad omen for any areas higher up. And it feels horrid on the skin: clammy yet tight.
I’m sure it’s very protective and so on, but count me out till they produce a super-light all-physical emulsion for above-the-bosom purposes.
Please note that I am otherwise a major Avène fan, and indeed a lifelong one – their stuff, and A-Derma and its precedessor, used on me when a small child and further back as an early ’70s eczematic babe in arms. Sticking to Blue Lizard Sensitive for body, Glycolix Elite for face (tho’ also experimenting with Shiseido 33…), plus hat and cover-up clothing.

Neutrogena – Sensitive Skin Sunblock Lotion SPF 60  rated 1 of 5 gingerrama on 7/22/2009 10:38:00 PM

OK, shoot me on sight the next time you see me experimenting with a cheaper sunscreen option. And even going near Neutrogena again (yes, I was punished for just trying: revenge of the bunny-testers from beyond the grave).
Slightly different name here in Canada; fairly widely available, the baby version less so (might be better, has had better reception here on MUA). Decent price – around $12 or so for 88 ml. Little or no scent, few obvious irritants, and yes, all-physical. Goes on nicely, smooth, lightweight, scarcely any white cast. Excellent tube with good closure.
Unfortunately, that’s it for the pros as the big con hits. For me, anyway. Major rash on neck, shoulders, chest, and backs of legs (the latter zone is usually so resistant I can even wear part-chemical sunscreens there). Luckily not used on face. The Beloved tried it (fair sensitive skin), no rash, but preferred “our usual one.”
So it’s back to the trusty faithful old Blue Lizard Sensitive for body sunscreen here. Cheaper than the Neutrogena, and no reactions ever (and better company ethics).
INGREDIENTS: Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide (4.9%), Zinc Oxide (4.7%) Inactive Ingredients: Alumina, Arachidyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Ascorbic Acid, Beeswax, Behenyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, BHT, Bisobolol, Butylene Glycol, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Dimethicone PEG 8 Laurate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Methicone, Methylisothiazolinone, Pantothenic Acid, PEG 100 Stearate, PEG 8, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polysorbate 60, Retinyl Palmitate, Silica, Stearic Acid, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Trisiloxane, Water, Xanthan Gum 5/21/09 

Keys – Soap Solar Rx Broad Spectrum Sunblock  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 5/14/2009 6:53:00 AM

Tried out, with thanks to a kind friend. Friends love to experiment on me, doubtless as skin reactions can be very amusing, and good clean simple entertainment, fun for all the family till I start swearing.
Lovely texture – slightly whipped cream, melts into skin, quite delicious – little to no fragrance (though it is listed), high percentage of zinc oxide (18.5% uncoated nano), great on hands. Unfortunately, rapid reaction on my face: likely to be the shea butter, to which I have a well-known sensitivity. Still, I brought merriment to a friend, so some good came of it.
So that’s a no for me – would be good on rest of body, but too expensive for the quantity, and there are plenty other sunscreens out there that work as well but are cheaper. If you’re OK with shea butter, though, this looks like a possible HG.
Excellent pump bottle, fair size (100 ml), and about USD 25.00-27.00.
INGREDIENTS: 18.5% nano zinc-oxide (uncoated); 10% shea butter; avocado oil, carrot seed oil, black cumin oil, essential oil blend, purified water, vegetable glycerin, vegetable wax, rosemary extract. Organic content > 80%.

Elta UV Physical SPF 41  rated 3 of 5 gingerrama on 5/14/2009 6:37:00 AM

My 3 lippie rating reflects a 4.5 for general performance combined with a 1.5 for what, alas and alack, it looked like on this specific individual and for comparisons with other sunscreens I’ve used.
Pros:
(1) It’s protective, feels fairly nice, and doesn’t irritate.
(2) Great formula: fragrance-free, lots of antioxidants, linoleic acid, no parabens, and less silicones than in most comparable sunscreens with a similar feel and finish.
(3) The tint will be a Godsend to most people (other than the very pale).
Cons:
(1) There are other sunscreens out there with a similar feel and with similar percentages of physical-only actives. Ex. Dermalogica Super Sensitive FaceBlock has 6.7% TiO2, 9.7% ZnO – compare to Elta’s 7% TiO2 & 9% ZnO – though some have been irritated by the Super Sensitive’s scent, mainly lavender (I’m fine with it).
(2) More importantly, this is tinted, and the tint is comically unsuitable on paler people. It looks like the wrong shade of foundation *on me*, several shades too dark, and orangifies through the day. As I also happen to have red hair, this looks spectacularly attractive. On the other hand, on all but the very pale the tint should be fine, and will indeed be fantastic on the greater part of the population who look as good with the ashy-whitening effect of untinted physical sunscreens as I do with tinted ones.
I’m grateful for having had the chance to try a sample of this out, but will be sticking with said Dermalogica and Glycolix Elite SPF 30 (17% ZnO). Both untinted, and no ghost-face on me, or at any rate no more so than usual. And they’re cheaper.
INGREDIENTS from website, as I threw away the remains of the sample is disgruntlement. Anyway, here goes:
Active Ingredients:
9.0% Zinc Oxide
7.0% Titanium Dioxide
Inactive Ingredients (alphabetical order):
Alpha Tocopheryl, Aluminum Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Citric Acid, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Hydrated Silica, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Iron Oxide, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lecithin, Linoleic Acid, Octyl Stearate, Octyldoceyl Neopentanoate, Oleth-3 Phosphate, Perfluorononyl Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Polyacrylate-13, Polyisobutene, Polysorbate 20, Purified Water, Quercitin, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hydroxide, Sodium Selenite, Thioctic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane

Topix Glycolix Elite Sunscreen SPF 30  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 2/20/2009 3:40:00 PM

One of the best facial sunscreens I’ve ever used. Tested out for a few days. It arrived in time for a very sunny one, which was a good test as sudden sun (no matter what time of year) usually bring me out in hives as soon as it hits me. I’ve been patting my face, smirking, and trying not to mutter my new mantra to myself too often – “where have you been all my life” – if any other people are around.
PROS: Fairly lightweight, though not a “veil” like the Clarins UV Plus etc. so you do need to use more (about 3 pumps) and it does need to be massaged in a little. Nothing drastic – and not even a pale shadow of the, errm, very solid zinc oxide blocks I remember dearly from the ’70s and ’80s. No white cast here, but I am basically pale blue. Haven’t tried it out in sunnier climes yet, but good for everyday protection in northern Europe. Skin feels smooth; not only zero irritation (and am irritable), but the more sensitive parts (e.g. the zitophilic chin) feel positively soothed.
Main contents: 17% micronised zinc oxide and antioxidants: liposomified vitamins A, C, and E, green tea, and coenzyme Q10. My skin seems happier with sunscreens containing ZnO, or proportionately higher in ZnO (vs. TiO2).
CONS: while it’s great for soothing the chin, and doesn’t irritate anywhere, it is a little drying. Watch out around the eyes, too drying (I apply Clarins eye s/s there). Main reason why this is on 4 and not 5 lippies. Fine for the oilier parts of the month, or if skin has gone spotty and/or irritable.
Ordering from Europe, it’s mercifully cheap online – USD 22.50-26.00 for 50 ml – so even with transatlantic shipping, and although one uses more of it, it’s a lot cheaper than my previous shop-bought usuals, Dermalogica Super Sensitive (6.7% TiO2, 9.2% ZnO) or Clarins UV Plus (8% TiO2), and unlike them, completely fragrance-free.
Also: excellent packaging – love the pump action.
UPDATE (05/2009): currently alternating between this and the Dermalogica Super Sensitive. Using the latter all over most of the time, and the GE for its wonder-working abilities on the nose-to-chin area around TOTM, when skin more prone to moody outbursts.
UPDATE (08/2009): moved over to Shiseido Gentle SPF 33 (13.9% ZnO, 3.3% TiO2). Similar finish, easier application – being a lovely milky veil. Here in Canada, Shiseido’s easy to get hold of in shops (Topix seems to be online only from the US) and is cheaper. Putting these practicalities aside, though, I would repurchase the Glycolix Elite.
UPDATE (02/2010): currently Vanicream SPF 30 (5% ZnO, 5% TiO2)–less drying, lovely velvety finish–and, when in need of something more drying, Cliniderm SPF 45 (6.1% ZnO, 6.6% TiO2).
INGREDIENTS: Zinc Oxide 17%, Purified Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclomethicone, Laurylmethicone Copolyol, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Polyacrylamide, Ceresin, Dimethicone, Green Tea Extract, Phospholipids, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Coenzyme Q-10, Ascorbyl Glucosamine, Superoxide Dismutase, Laureth-7, Sodium Chloride, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Diazolidinyl Urea.

Clarins – (New Formula) UV Plus Day Screen SPF 40 High Protection with E3P  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 9/8/2008 5:18:00 AM

UPDATE (02/2010): currently using Vanicream SPF 30 and/or Cliniderm SPF 45 (both all-physicals, and a lot cheaper).
UPDATE (10/2009): I admit it, I went back to this – sucked in by a GWP with a third item, was buying two things already. I admit I still like it. Skin absolutely fine with it.
UPDATE (02/2009): Replaced in my affections by Topix Glycolix Elite Sunscreen SPF 30: ZnO-only, cheaper, and compared to this, leaves skin “good” rather than “OK (and the odd glitch).” Though it does leave skin a little dry.
The Clarins is a physical / mineral (TiO2-only) sunscreen, meant for the face, very light-weight, micro-dispersed, mainly silicone base, providing a cosmetically elegant delicate veil. Slightly matte. Regular daily sunscreen, all over the face including around the eye area. Like all Clarins products, no animal testing.
The formula is slightly different from the old one – see CONS and comparative ingredients lists below – and frankly no better, unless you buy into the anti-pollution-protection baloney.* The packaging is more elegant – an ovoid cylinder, slightly flatter and more portable.
Like its previous incarnations, this is quite unlike “regular” sunscreens which have more “padding” and so require more product to be applied, and more rubbing in. Rather, the Clarins is a super-light formula, with minimum fillers – just enough to provide a solution for the sunscreen. This means very little is needed, so although the bottle is small and criminally expensive, a little does go a long way.
CONS: (1) Were this the only sunscreen of this sort in existence, I’d give it a 5. But there are other similar sunscreens out there:
— L’Occitane’s Sunscreen Veil SPF 30 (with 16% TiO2; see review) is cheaper and comparable (though much more heavily scented, and I for one cannot take that smell right now), Chanel does a TiO2 one too, as do many others … ;
— Dermalogica Super Sensitive Faceblock SPF30 (6.7% TiO2, 9.2% ZnO) is cheaper, has a not dissimilar texture and finish, and is more protective (but, again, the scent may irritate – comes and goes with my nose).
— if your skin can handle the chemical (aka non-physical) sunscreens, there are many similarly-textured products on the market; several of the following are in-part physical, and as elegant a finish as the Clarins: Dior, MAC (prep+prime SPF 50), Prescriptives, Shiseido, Sofina; and the Lancome, LRP, Garnier, Vichy, and L’Oreal part-Mexoryl fluids.
(2) More scented than the old version. You get used to it – it’s not unpleasant – but it does hit you, if you come back to this after using a different (unscented or lighter-scented) sunscreen.
PROS/CONS: Comparison to the old formula: Clarins have removed all the paraben preservatives; used slightly different silicones; there’s less green tea extract; the addition of sodium lauryl sulfate; and three more botanical extracts (thermus thermophillis ferment – some kind of fungal thingie??? – nipplewort, & golden root).
So: pros and cons – and on balance many, many people love this – so on the basis of that statistical sample and its experimental data: well worth trying. But blimey is it pricey – EUR 36.00 for 30 ml.
There are now so many other sunscreens out there with similar finishes, and so many of them are cheaper, that Clarins no longer has a monopoly on the idea; so I really don’t see how they can charge so much for the stuff. If you’ve got a card and internet access, the world’s your oyster, especially the Japanese sunscreens. Plus the concept isn’t *new*: I loved Origins’ Silent Treatment, used it from late ’90s until alas discontinued in the early ’00s.
CLARINS UV PLUS DAY SCREEN HIGH PROTECTION SPF 40 INGREDIENTS (from the packaging): cyclopentasiloxane, aqua, titanium dioxide, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, polyglyceryl-3 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, alcohol, aluminum hydroxide, stearic acid, sodium chloride, peg/ppg-18/18 dimethicone, peg/ppg-20/15 dimethicone, tocopheryl acetate, parfum, disodium edta, butyene glycol, glycerin, pentylene glycol, biosaccharide gum-4, thermus thermophillis ferment, lapsana communis flower/leaf/stem extract, camellia sinensis leaf extract, rhodiola rosea root extract, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, sodium lauryl sulfate, benzyl salicylate, geraniol, citronellol, benzyl benzoate, butylphenyl, methylpropional, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, limonene, hexyl cinnamal.
COMPARE WITH THE OLD INGREDIENTS: Cyclopentasiloxane, aqua, titanium dioxide, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, polyglyceryl-3 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, alcohol denat., aluminum hydroxide, stearic acid, PEG-12 dimethicone, sodium chloride, PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone, phenoxyethanol, tocopheryl acetate, camellia sinensis, parfum, disodium EDTA, methylparaben, propylene glycol, butylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, benzyl salicylate, geraniol, citronellol, benzyl benzoate, butylphenyl methylpropional, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, limonene, hexal cinnamal.
*As was the case with regard to the old version boasting about being oil-free, and the old version bigging up the special anti-pollution complex. This new version makes an even bigger noise about its “E3P” fabulosity. I nearly didn’t buy this again as I found this anti-pollution malarkey so laughable – as silly as claiming magic powers – beyond the usual marketeering b***s**t, immoral fear-mongering, and cynical and cruel manipulation. [ So sue me – and do it with some actual evidence based on actual research, please and thank you! Just because many beauty product customers are female doesn’t necessarily mean they’re anti-science and anti-reason … ]

L’Occitane – Sunscreen Veil High Protection SPF 30  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 9/6/2008 6:43:00 PM

UPDATE (02/2009): Replaced in my affections by Topix Glycolix Elite Sunscreen SPF 30: ZnO-only, cheaper, and compared to this, leaves skin “good” rather than “OK (and the odd glitch).”
A “veil” akin to Clarins UV Plus 40, but better and more potent. Mineral-only: 16% micronised and microdispered titanium dioxide. SPF 30, PPD 11. L’Occitane’s US website calls this “Daily UV Veil High Protection SPF 30.”*
TiO2 aside, the rest is mainly water and silicones – like the Clarins and Chanel sunscreen veils. And like various other but non-physical-only similar ones: Prescriptives, Lancome, L’Oreal, LRP, Garnier, etc., etc. Also contains lots of anti-oxidant stuff.
Contains no alcohol, or SLS, or paraben preservatives: this will be good news for many sensitive skins.
Great bottle, with stellar pump dispenser. Needs a shake – like all sunscreens I’ve ever met – and three squirts onto the back of the hand, then generally spread around face. Easy and fast to apply: spreads well, doesn’t start drying before it’s been evenly distributed, doesn’t seem to need any special dab/pat techniques. Basically rub in (gently) until there is no longer any detectable white cast. Dries matte and smooth: so no greasy bits, and no dried-out patches either. Fine around the eyes.
Aesthetics aside, it works. No burning, and skin remains cool to the touch. Zero reactions. This is impressive, as we’re talking irritable skin here – zero tolerance for chemical sunscreens and for several physical-only ones, including now the Clarins.
Marginally cheaper than any of the aforementioned competition. Contains a smidge of fragrance, but really barely any – and nothing like the overperfumed Clarins and Chanel.
Costs EUR 19.00-25.95 / GBP 16.00 / USD 22.00 for 25 ml / 0.8 fl. oz. Worth every cent, especially with the bonus factor that this new-fangled L’Occitane range is all very good and nice and ethical: produced in Brasil, sustainably and fair-trade-ily, eco-friendly packaging, no animal testing. First appeared in summer 2008: there are also three sunscreen lotions and creams (SFP 6, 15, and 30) in the same “L’Occitane do Brasil: Buriti do Pará” range. The company’s various websites provide further information.
INGREDIENTS: cyclopentasiloxane – water – titanium dioxide – polyglyceryl-3 polydimethyl-siloxyethyl dimethicone – corn starch modified – salt – peg-12 dimethicone – mauritia flexuosa fruit oil – tocopheryl acetate – retinyl palmitate – caprylyl glycol – peg/ppg-18/18 dimethicone – fragrance – chlorphenesin – disodium edta – stearic acid – aluminum hydroxide.

* Not to be confused with their SPF 30 sunscreen *cream*, or the old Shea Butter one, or their other sunscreen veil in the Immortelle range. L’Occitane has at least two SPF 30 sunscreens; there are certainly two in their new (as of summer 2008) “L’Occitane do Brasil: Buriti do Pará” range. One is a cream, rather heavy, would be OK on body or drier skin; I think this might be the one referred to in the next two reviews below. It’s very much like any other of the many mineral-only creamy sunscreens out there. Nothing to write home about, really.
But the other – this here “Sunscreen Veil High Protection SPF 30” – is a completely different matter. It’s a superb lightweight facial sunscreen.

Lavera – Baby & Kinder Sun Neutral SPF 30 Spray  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 5/19/2008 4:49:00 AM

[REVIEW UPDATED 05/2010] Another Lavera winner. Currently (2010) labelled as SPF20, though the filter %ages haven’t changed: this is probably so as to satisfy EU SPF:PPD rules, as the declared SPF can’t be more than 3x the PPD. Being all-physical, and TiO2 at that, the PPD on this won’t be spectacular: based on SPF20, I’d reckon PPD 6-7.
Spray-on physical-only sunscreen (ingredients at end of review). If you’re tempted by the more famous Lavera Neutral Sun SPF 40 cream (or its current SPF20 incarnation), do try this first: it’s better.
Like it,TiO2-only, no fragrance, minimal ingredients, no silicones. UVB to EU/Colipa standard, UVA 90% to Australian standard. The current (2010) formula has 14.5% coated micronised TiO2. Good ethical company, and has been so for decades: cruelty-free, minimalist functional formulae, vegan (nearly all products, this one is), sustainably-sourced and mostly organic ingredients.
Comparable in texture to the old La Roche-Posay Dermopediatrics spray or the replacement Anthelios 40 spray. A more ethical alternative – cruelty-free and, a concern for some, “more green” – but, sticking to strictly functional criteria of performance, it works better than LRP on skin that is sensitive to non-physical sunscreens.
Fantastic all-over sunscreen. Plain and simple.
Including face and around eyes. Spray into palm of hand then applied with finger-tips. Indeed, this is one of the few sunscreens my face has been happy with and the only one that it would tolerate when sensitized, after I had a big reaction to a sunscreen experiment (foolishly thinking maybe a part-chemical sunscreen, that shall remain anonymous, would be worth a try…). The 2010 formulation is lighter than the 2008 one: note the subtraction of glyceryl stearate and the addition of sunflower oil (one of the friendlier oils to sensitive and/or breakout-prone skin).
Being an oil-in-water emulsion helps to make it quite moisturising. Oily skins, maybe try before you buy??? For the normal-to-drier, it can work as a double-duty facial moisturiser and sunscreen all-in-one; a good timesaver in the morning. Long-lasting and waterproof, so great for slapping on before leaving at the crack of dawn for a hike or suchlike. (Though of course carrying more sunscreen, reapplying during the day, etc.)
The new version needs very little rubbing into the skin, spread easily: a great improvement on the (still perfectly usable) 2008 version; and less initial white-cast. Far lighter-weight and less oily than the regular Lavera sunscreens, and by far the cheapest by volume. Dries slightly matte (compared to, say, Blue Lizard), smooth but still comfortably-slightly-moist finish without being greasy.
Its key qualities are all to do with working properly. Fairly waterproof: but, as with any sunscreen, it is as well to reapply before and after swimming and suchlike. Meets the Gingerrama skin’s seal of sensitive approval on irritability criteria. And I haven’t burned with this on (same for other Lavera Sun products used).
It is more expensive than many comparable sprays (Nivea, L’Oreal-group ones, etc.) but cheaper than other high-end sensitive/kids’ ones (Clarins, Avene) and is one of the very few that are entirely physical, and work, and are readily accessible (Europe and North America anyway) or available online. Note that this is now (2010) one of the very few all-physical sunscreens currently available in the EU as satisfying new regulations (PPD ≥ ⅓ SPF). And AFAIK the cheapest of that bare handful…
Waterproof and sweatproof. May need an oil cleanser: if I’ve just applied one layer, I double-cleanse; if I’ve reapplied during the day, I’ll use a cleansing oil first (there are many on the market, my own preference is GoW or DIY).
Costs around EUR 22.50 / GBP 14.45 / USD 30.00 for a 200 ml / 6.6 oz bottle.
The other Lavera sunscreens are also TiO2-based (and, again, with plant or mineral ingredients). There are assorted creams and sprays; some of those meant for adults are fragranced. The SPF 15 lip balm is also highly recommended: non-whitening and great as base and/or top coat for lipstick or gloss.
INGREDIENTS (2010): * indicates ingredients from certified organic agriculture
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Titanium dioxide 14.5%
INACTIVE INGREDIENTS:
Water, Glycine Soja Oil*, Grain Alcohol*, Caprylic Triglyceride, Glycerin, Lysolecithin, Sodium Lactate, Sunflower Seed Oil*, Licorice Root Extract, Evening Primrose Oil*, Sea Buckthorn Extract*, Xanthan Gum, Hydrogenated Palm, Glycerides, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Betaglucan, Vitamin E, Rapeseed Oils, Vitamin C, Stearic Acid. (the website lists alumina, but the bottle itself doesn’t)
INGREDIENTS (2008): Aqua, Glycine Soja, Titanium Dioxide, Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glycerin, Lysolecithin, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Lactate (non-dairy, enzymatically-derived), Oenothera Biennis, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Hippophae Rhamnoides, Xanthan Gum, Hydrogenated Palm Glycerides, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Betaglucan, Tocopherol, Brassica Campestris (Rapeseed) Sterols, Alumina, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Stearic Acid.

Paula’s Choice – Pure Mineral Sunscreen SPF15  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 4/27/2008 12:06:00 PM

UPDATE (02/2009): Replaced in my affections by Topix Glycolix Elite Sunscreen SPF 30. This is a close 2nd.
New review to replace old one, as I just reordered the Mineral, that can be used as a cunning cheap-substitute-Clarins. Continuing to love this stuff, and wanted to spread the love. I felt a need to pass on this sneaky trick to other people in places where a daily sunscreen is a good idea, but less need of a higher SPF (ex. here in Ireland, in winter). I found this fine on sunny days too – I just reapply in the middle of the day.
The Mineral contains 6.36% TiO2 + 2.19% ZnO, in a straightforward water and silicone base, with some green tea and grape seed extract. That really is it. No animal testing, no fragrance, no frills. I’ve been using it off and on for a few years, on sensitive skin prone to irritation, drying out, occasional breakouts, late-onset cystic acne now more or less under control. And this is one of the few sunscreen that are reliably fine (Dermalogica Super Sensitive 30 and the reformulated Clarins UV Plus 40, I’m thinking of you).
Oh yes, and the crucial factors: no burning, and no more, or disernibly more, skin damage last time I had my skin looked at (done regularly – had benign thing removed, and am freckly redhead, so on the Keeping An Eye On list). So – it works, and it’s elegant enough.
I really rather like this, *BUT* I think this might be a matter of not using it as Paula tells you to. Not as a daytime moisturizer-with-SPF; instead, on top of moisturiser, as you would a comparable facial sunscreen, like Clarins UV Plus SPF 40 or any other of the “veils.” Note ye well: I used the Mineral AS WELL AS moisturizer – on top of it – not INSTEAD OF moisturizer. I’ve had no problems using it around my eyes and on eyelids.
I rediscovered it as a Clarins facial sunscreen substitute twice, both times by accident. As a pale redhead, I wear sunscreen every day, come rain or shine. Delicate skin that’s fussy so mineral sunscreens only, and minimum other stuff. When I ran out of my usual Clarins, I had the cunning plan of using my partner’s PC Mineral. This was an old mini of mine from months ago, when I tried it out and passed it on to him. (He’s fair too. Abusing his thrifty instincts coincided cunningly with getting him to use sunscreen. I digress.) I ended up buying a bottle. The rest is history. My second rediscovery (August 2008) was after I’d dropped my Clarins down the back of a very big heavy bookcase; I’d been breaking out, and skin is now clear. To be fair, I don’t know whether the irritation was *caused* by the Clarins, but its resolution can certainly only be caused by PC Mineral.
Application: cleanse and moisturise. Then apply the Mineral. Shake bottle well, using only a small amount, dotting a total of a finger-tip’s worth – so about 1 cm. diameter – around the face and neck, and smoothed/rubbed it in slightly. Going for a thin layer all over. So I’m not really using it as one is supposed to, but exactly as I use the Clarins. It leaves an undetectable finish. No reactions, no breakouts, and full performance on the protection-from-sun front.
One word of warning: it is slightly drying, even with moisturiser on underneath. I don’t quite understand this. Not good around nose!
Verdict: fine on pale, sensitive, slightly dry skin, and used in addition to regular moisturizer. I’m also using it on all other exposed bodily parts. OK for everyday use in a climate that’s not very sunny and pretty far from the Equator or the Antipodes and ozone holes, where you can get away with a lower SPF daily sunscreen. For anywhere else, I’d recommend something stronger. I used Solbar Shield 40, Vanicream 60, E45, and Blue Lizard or Hamilton (Sensitive/Baby)in such places. And a hat. Plus sunglasses whenever the sun has got his hat on.
This is considerably less expensive than the Clarins, given I’m using about the same quantity.
Clarins = around USD/EUR 36.00 for 1.06 oz/30 ml;
PC = USD 14.95 / EUR 15.50 for 6 fl oz/177 ml.
OK, add on Paula’s postage (currently EUR 16.50 to Ireland, grrrrr, but less to other parts of Europe), so EUR 32.00 – but that’s still a worst-case scenario of 1/6 the price. A good enough deal in Europe; a brilliant deal if you’re in the US and can benefit from Paula’s cheaper or free shipping.
PC’s sample size always a good idea for testing purposes: USD 0.80 / EUR 0.90 for 0.15 fl oz / 4.4 ml
REMOVAL: Pre-wash face with oil. Rinse off (using tepid water and washcloth). Wash face with usual cleanser, in usual manner (emulsifying ointment or Avene Extremely Gentle Cleanser here). Pat dry. Apply night-time rejuvenating tasty treat of your choice.

The main active ingredients are not vastly dissimilar to the Clarins either: mineral sunscreens in a base that’s mainly water and silicones. But with zinc oxide too (none in the Clarins), so broader-spectrum protection.
INGREDIENTS: Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 6.36%; Zinc Oxide 2.19% (sunscreen agents). Other Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone (silicones used as skin conditioning and suspending agents for the sunscreen agents), Methylpropanediol (slip agent), PEG-10 Dimethicone (silicone), Glycerin (water-binding agent), PEG-10 Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer (water resisting agent), Alumina (thickener), Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer (water resisting agent), Camellia Oleifera (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract (antioxidants/soothing agents), Methicone (skin conditioning agent), Butylene Glycol (solvent), Sodium Chloride (stabilizer), Magnesium Sulfate (thickener), Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben (all preservatives).

Dermalogica – Ultra Sensitive Faceblock SPF 25  rated 1 of 5 gingerrama on 4/3/2008 4:59:00 PM

Beware! It is easy to confuse the ***Ultra*** Sensitive FaceBlock with the ***Super*** one. The Ultra is a tinted cream in a tube; the Super is a super-light white fluid in a small bottle. I’m reviewing this now having just repurchased the good Super, and recalled, with a shudder, my previous experience with the Ultra.
The Ultra is a pink/peach-tinted cream – a similar shade and texture to Clinique City Block 25. The active sunscreen ingredient is titanium dioxide (full ingredients listing at end of review).
I found it quite heavy to apply, and rather strongly scented (pleasant, mind you). My skin was very unhappy with it, reacting within minutes. I removed it as soon as possible, but still had patches of rash and suffered a breakout: not just the usual localised/cyctic pimples, but all over my face and neck where I’d applied the Ultra. There is unfortunate photographic evidence of this from an event I had to attend the next day. All therefore quite unforgettable.
This might well work for other people – but please do read the ingredients and patch-test it (somewhere inconspicuous like inside wrist) before buying. And I’d heartily recommend the Super instead. I felt a strong moral obligation to warn about the Ultra, and the perils of its confusion with the Super. (Mops sweaty brow and stops shuddering.)
INGREDIENTS: (TiO2 and) Melissa Officinalis, Octyododecyl, Neopentanoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Butylene Glycol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Neopentyl Glycol, Diethyhexanoate, Neopentyl Glycol Diisostearate, DEA-Cetyl Phosphate, Stearic Acid, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Retinyl Palmitate, Tocopherol, Ectracts Of: Camellia Oleifera Leaf, Echinacea Purpurea, Vitis Vinifera Seed, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel, Centella Asiatica; Panthenol, Sodium PCA, Sodium Lactate, Sorbitol, Proline Lecithin, Essential Oils Of: Citrus Grandis Peel, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis, Aniba Rosaeodora Wood, Geranium Maculatum, Lavender,Thyme; Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Diazolidinyl Urea, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Iron Oxides, Magnesium Silicate, Aluminum Hydroxide.

[/source]

 

Dermalogica – Super Sensitive Faceblock SPF30  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 4/3/2008 4:43:00 PM

NB this review is for the ***Super*** sensitive sunblock, a light milky fluid that comes in a a small bottle.
Not to be confused with the ***Ultra*** sensitive, that comes in a tube, has a lower SPF, is thicker and tinted (and upset my skin a lot and is therefore Strongly Disapproved).
The Super is a lightweight, facial mineral/physical sunscreen. The fluid-veil sort. Active ingredients: 6.7% TiO2 + 9.2% ZnO. Not tested on animals. It does the job of protecting skin from sun. Works well on many sensitive skins, such as this one.
In formula, texture, and effect it is very like Clarins’ UV Plus protective day screen (except the Clarins is TiO2-only, so less full-spectrum and lower PPD than the Super). Other good super-light facial sunscreen, with similar texture: LRP Anthelios fluid, and L’Oreal, Garnier, Lancome, and Vichy versions thereof. I happened not to like them as my skin is irritated by Mexoryl. But worth other people knowing about them, as they work for lots of other people out there.
Only a small amount is needed – 1 cm / 1 cent / 1 penny diameter, about the classic 1/4 teaspoonful – so the bottle does last a long time. One gripe: there’s too much space between the nozzle and the lid, so when you shake the bottle, some sunscreen has already come out and is around the nozzle. Just use it.
Very light formula. Essentially sunscreen in water and silicone base, no fillers. Advisable to shake before use, especially towards the end of the bottle. I applied this in the morning, after cleansing and moisturizing.* Result: went on smoothly and looking invisible – no slick shiny finish, no ghost-face – didn’t irritate and does protect. Which is, after all, the point.
Contrary to Dermalogica’s amusing facial mapping business – which suggests you can’t put this on the neck and ears, and around the eyes – I’ve found I can actually use the Super on all these areas (being careful not to go too close to the eyes themselves, obviously – avoiding the outer corner and rims).
No added fragrance (unlike the Clarins); though it does contain some fragrant ingredients, some of which have been known to irritate some people – but which have also been known to be quite the contrary to some other, also sensitive, types: lavender oil; a teeny bit of scent from tea; and a remote possibility of some from the liquorice root extracts. Worth knowing whichever way your skin swings. The scent is very subtle and fades fast: just a touch of, surprisingly enough, lavender and green tea. This is usually OK, but my skin gets irritable and/or oily for part of the month, and lavender’s one of the things that sets it off. So a lippie off for not being entirely fragrance-free when it could be.
Being very light and physical-blocker-only, the Super could potentially be drying, so decent moisturising beforehand is recommended. I found it easy to remove with my usual cleanser, emulsifying ointment – a kind of unfragranced cold cream or no-frills Eve Lomb.
Costs around USD 45.00 / GBP 30.00 / EUR 33.00-48.00, depending on your source, for 50 ml / 1.7 fl. oz. So a much better deal than the Clarins. Hideously expensive here in Ireland – cheaper online, but EUR 48.00 in shops here, equivalent to USD 74.00!!! Mind you, it is concentrated.
UPDATE: If skin is generally happy, this stuff is fine. If skin goes through highly irritable patch, badly sensitised by foolish experimenting (I should have known better! the folly of optimism!! no more Mexoryl for me, ever!!!): almost everything exacerbates irritation (something as close as possible to plain zinc oxide is about all that works then, and PC Mineral SPF15 too). But I’d certainly buy the Super Sensitive again, for normal everyday use on normal everyday skin.
UPDATE 2 (02/2009): Replaced in my affections by Topix Glycolix Elite Sunscreen SPF 30: ZnO-only, no fragrance.
UPDATE 3 (05/2009): Alternating between this and the Glycolix Elite (which can be drying); using the GE when skin and nose more sensitive, seems to be just before TOTM – using it around nose, mouth, and chin and the Super Sensitive everywhere else.
UPDATE 4 (02/2010): currently Vanicream SPF 30 and/or Cliniderm SPF 45. Both are all-physical, fragrance-free, and significantly cheaper.
INGREDIENTS: 6.7% TiO2 + 9.2% ZnO, water, cyclopentasiloxane, dimethicone, butylene glycol, dicaprylyl esther, polyglyceryl-3 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, aluminum hydroxide, stearic acid, camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf extract, lavendula hybrida (lavender) oil, ascorbyl tatreisopalmitate, tocopheryl acetate, tocopherol, dimethicone/PEG-10/15 crosspolymer, lauryl PEG-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, triethoxysilylethyl polydimethylsiloxyethyl hexyl dimethicone, caprylic/capric triglyceride, sodium DNA, sodium hyaluronate, sodium PCA, dipotassium glycyrrhizate (liquorice extract), silica, carbomer, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, linalool, tetrasodium EDTA, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, propylparaben.
* Dermalogica seem to have removed their previous confused, misleading, or erroneous application guidelines.
Old info: The leaflet info (and SA) says to apply this under (any other) moisturizer. I think Dermalogica might have reused the instructions for moisturiser/sunscreen double-duty products, or for at least partly chemical sunscreens (in both cases, there are arguments to be made for applying the sunscreen imediately next to the skin). But this is clearly stupid in the case of the Super Sensitive: it’s a physical blocker, therefore to sit on top and reflect solar radiation, etc., etc. Put it on top. I also note that on the newer bottles (ex. purchased 04/2009) the old instructions have disappeared.

Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen SPF 30 Sensitive  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/29/2007 2:39:00 PM

UPDATED 05/2009. Overall rating of 5 as this stuff works. In that it will protect your skin from solar attack. Which is, after all, the point.
Blue Lizard Baby and Sensitive sunscreens are heavy, mineral/physical only (10% zinc oxide, 5% titanium dioxide), and do their job well; identical formulae, slightly different packaging, more or less the same price. Originally formulated in Australia, now based in US c/o Crown and Del-Ray Dermatologicals.
The main thing is that this stuff works: in that, on Gingerrama-style sensitive photosensitive skin under intense sun (inc. Antipodes), there is neither irritated reaction nor burning. Can be used all over, inc. face. On face: pour a blob (roughly 1/4-1/2 teasp.) into palm of hand, apply one dot each to forehead, nose, one on each cheek; rub the rest between fingers and thumbs and apply to ears. Then go round your dots on the face and neck and massage in. Same again with about another 1/2 teasp. for neck and throat/upper bosom. And hands. Similarly for tops of feet and so on, other exposed body parts in sunnier weather …
This is not an “elegant” sunscreen – one of those lightweight siliconey veils, that practically apply themselves. Texture between a heavy lotion and a cream; has to be rubbed between fingertips and massaged in well. On non-pale people, this may well leave a white cast, even when rubbed in properly. It will initially feel gloopy. On my skin (normal, dry and oilier patches) it doesn’t feel greasy. Then again, it doesn’t feel as matte and velvety as Clarins UV Plus, Dermalogica Super Sensitive, or Glycolix Elite. It will also keep sinking in over the ten minutes or so after application, after which it will feel invisibly pleasant; so wait a little before applying make-up. Can’t comment much on m/u staying-power, as I usually wear at most some kind of powder, and that only in very hot weather (arrowroot, silk, or else loose or pressed powder).
In more intense sun, reapply mid-way through the day. Otherwise lasts all day. One of the most soothing things on photosensitive/allergic hives. I remove using a variant on double-cleansing – usually an oil (currently sunflower), then usual cleanser.
Not too expensive – USD 13.00 for 5 fl. oz/150 ml; USD 18.00 for 9 fl. oz./260 ml; USD 160.00 for a gallon – and easy to get hold of online (these price are from drugstore.com, 05/2009; also on Amazon and other Usual Suspects). Can be found in many US drugstores and superstores too. Baby is in a pink bottle, Sensitive in white/blue. Usually around the same price, though sometimes the one will be about a buck more than the other (have identified no pattern to this). The bottles are interesting, changing colour under more intense UV light; I’m not sure how accurately they do so, but it does remind one to reapply sunscreen frequently.
Both versions are available in larger bottles – the biggest is a gallon (around USD 125.00). Like anything else, can be decanted into smaller bottles, so as to have one in the bathroom, one in The Bag, one in The Beloved’s pocket, etc. There is also a Face version, that I haven’t tried because it includes octinoxate (+ 8% zinc oxide); plus Regular and Sport (again, in-part chemical).

I’d also recommend the following other good “serious” physical/mineral only sunscreens:
Vanicream 30 and 60 – lighter formula, less of white cast and less greasy – the latter good for more intense sun.
Also Solbar 40 (though I’m uncertain of their cruelty-free credentials).
INGREDIENTS: Active – zinc oxide 10%, titanium dioxide 5%. Inactive – Water, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate And Cetyl PEG-PPG-10/1 Demethicone And Hexyl Laurate, Propylene Glycol, Cetyl Demethicone, Trimethylated Silica/demethicone, Octododecyl Neopentanoate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Methyl Glucose Dioleate, PEG-7 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sorbitol Oleate And Hydrogenated Castor Oil And Beeswax And Stearic Acid, Cetyl Demethicone, Methylparaben And Propylparaben And Ethylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tocopheryl Acetate.

Unlisted Brand – Blue Lizard Baby  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/29/2007 2:37:00 PM

UPDATED 05/2009. Overall rating of 5 as this stuff works. In that it will protect your skin from solar attack. Which is, after all, the point.
Blue Lizard Baby and Sensitive sunscreens are heavy, mineral/physical only (10% zinc oxide, 5% titanium dioxide), and do their job well; identical formulae, slightly different packaging, more or less the same price. Originally formulated in Australia, now based in US c/o Crown and Del-Ray Dermatologicals.
The main thing is that this stuff works: in that, on Gingerrama-style sensitive photosensitive skin under intense sun (inc. Antipodes), there is neither irritated reaction nor burning. Can be used all over, inc. face. On face: pour a blob (roughly 1/4-1/2 teasp.) into palm of hand, apply one dot each to forehead, nose, one on each cheek; rub the rest between fingers and thumbs and apply to ears. Then go round your dots on the face and neck and massage in. Same again with about another 1/2 teasp. for neck and throat/upper bosom. And hands. Similarly for tops of feet and so on, other exposed body parts in sunnier weather …
This is not an “elegant” sunscreen – one of those lightweight siliconey veils, that practically apply themselves. Texture between a heavy lotion and a cream; has to be rubbed between fingertips and massaged in well. On non-pale people, this may well leave a white cast, even when rubbed in properly. It will initially feel gloopy. On my skin (normal, dry and oilier patches) it doesn’t feel greasy. Then again, it doesn’t feel as matte and velvety as Clarins UV Plus, Dermalogica Super Sensitive, or Glycolix Elite. It will also keep sinking in over the ten minutes or so after application, after which it will feel invisibly pleasant; so wait a little before applying make-up. Can’t comment much on m/u staying-power, as I usually wear at most some kind of powder, and that only in very hot weather (arrowroot, silk, or else loose or pressed powder).
In more intense sun, reapply mid-way through the day. Otherwise lasts all day. One of the most soothing things on photosensitive/allergic hives. I remove using a variant on double-cleansing – usually an oil (currently sunflower), then usual cleanser.
Not too expensive – USD 13.00 for 5 fl. oz/150 ml; USD 18.00 for 9 fl. oz./260 ml; USD 160.00 for a gallon – and easy to get hold of online (these price are from drugstore.com, 05/2009; also on Amazon and other Usual Suspects). Can be found in many US drugstores and superstores too. Baby is in a pink bottle, Sensitive in white/blue. Usually around the same price, though sometimes the one will be about a buck more than the other (have identified no pattern to this). The bottles are interesting, changing colour under more intense UV light; I’m not sure how accurately they do so, but it does remind one to reapply sunscreen frequently.
Both versions are available in larger bottles – the biggest is a gallon (around USD 125.00). Like anything else, can be decanted into smaller bottles, so as to have one in the bathroom, one in The Bag, one in The Beloved’s pocket, etc. There is also a Face version, that I haven’t tried because it includes octinoxate (+ 8% zinc oxide); plus Regular and Sport (again, in-part chemical).

I’d also recommend the following other good “serious” physical/mineral only sunscreens:
Vanicream 30 and 60 – lighter formula, less of white cast and less greasy – the latter good for more intense sun.
Also Solbar 40 (though I’m uncertain of their cruelty-free credentials).
INGREDIENTS: Active – zinc oxide 10%, titanium dioxide 5%. Inactive – Water, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate And Cetyl PEG-PPG-10/1 Demethicone And Hexyl Laurate, Propylene Glycol, Cetyl Demethicone, Trimethylated Silica/demethicone, Octododecyl Neopentanoate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Methyl Glucose Dioleate, PEG-7 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Sorbitol Oleate And Hydrogenated Castor Oil And Beeswax And Stearic Acid, Cetyl Demethicone, Methylparaben And Propylparaben And Ethylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Diazolidinyl Urea, Tocopheryl Acetate.

Vanicream SPF 30 Sensitive Skin Sunscreen   rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/29/2007 2:06:00 PM

UPDATE: used again 01/2010, when skin being reactive. If anything, this soothes it. So it stays in the bathroom for such emergencies… though actually using it a main everyday sunscreen right now.
Excellent simple sunscreen for sensitive skin: in this case, on redhead skin that’s photosensitive, and without protection produces hives in under a minute and burns in under five. I’ve used this in the mainland US in the summer, in Bermuda, and on the Mediterranean. No reactions and no burning. I.e. it works. For more extreme climates (tropics, Antipodes), I found the SPF 60 version splendid; the 60 is slightly lighter and more fluid than the 30, and I prefer the texture for most purposes.
It’s an unfragranced cream, initially quite dense, needs to be rubbed in. Zero whitening on me, the white colour of the cream just melts away immediately, as soon as you start spreading it. Will seem slightly greasy at first, but sinks in after maybe 10 minutes – so apply any makeup after that pause. Can be used anywhere on the anatomy.
Also good around the eyes; once it’s sunk in, good base for eye makeup (i.e. no creasing). And one of the few sunscreens I’ve found with no irritation if/when it runs into eyes; others being Vanicream SPF60, Cliniderm SPF45, John Masters Organics SPF30, and Clarins’ SPF30 eye cream.
As the 30 is moister, I tend to use it in winter and/or when skin is drier, flaky, being eczematic. Using the 60 from spring to fall, and around the eyes year-round.
Titanium Dioxide 5% + Zinc Oxide 5%. In the Vanicream and Free & Clear ranges, basic no-frills products aimed at very sensitive skin. Available through dermatologists and online.
Cheap for what it is: USD $15-18 for 4 oz / 113 g. Cruelty-free.
INGREDIENTS: Active Ingredients:Titanium Dioxide 5%, Zinc Oxide 5%. Inactive Ingredients: alumina, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetearyl isononanoate, cetyl alcohol, isopropyl titanium triisostearate/triethoxycaprylylsilane crosspolymer, magnesium sulfate, methylpropanediol, PEG-12 dimethicone, PEG-30 dipolyhydroxystearate, phenyl trimethicone, polyethylene, polyhydroxystearic acid, purified water, sodium ascorbyl phosphate, stearyl dimethicone, tetrasodium EDTA, tocopheryl acetate, triethoxycaprylylsilane

Vanicream SPF 60 Sensitive Skin Sunscreen   rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 11/29/2007 2:00:00 PM

This is absolutely the best sunscreen I have ever used. It is very basic (ingredients listed below), intended for sensitive skin – like the rest of the Vanicream and Free & Clear ranges (available from dermatologists and online). No reactions, no burning, in short it works. On this sensitive skin anyway, which is photosensitive, and without protection produces hives in under a minute and burns in under five. I’ve used this successfully in more extreme climates (tropics, Antipodes). The SPF 30 version is another 5-lippie from me, and suitable for less extreme sun. The 60 is actually slightly more fluid than the 30: I’d give it 6 lippies if I could…
It’s an unfragranced cream, quite heavy, needs to be rubbed in. Not as thick as the 30. Can be used anywhere on the anatomy. Both the 30 and 60 apply quite greasy, but sink in within 20-30 minutes to leave skin smooth and moisturised; if you’ve had issues with all-physical sunscreens being drying, the Vanicream ones (and Blue Lizard sensitive or baby SPF30) are well worth trying.
Works well around the eyes too: no irritation, even if it sweats into eyes; and makeup applies well on top. Wait a little first before applying mu, that’s all.
Decently sweatproof and waterproof, though as with all sunscreens, reapply if you’ve been in the water for long-ish and if exercising and sweating profusely.
Titanium Dioxide 7.5% + Zinc Oxide 7.5% (both micronised, coated; t-cote and z-cote).
Cheap for what it is: USD $15-18 for 4 oz / 113 g. Cruelty-free, sensitive-human-friendly.
INGREDIENTS: Active Ingredients:Titanium Dioxide 7.5%, Zinc Oxide 7.5%. Inactive Ingredients: Alumina, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Cetyl Alcohol, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate/Triethoxycaprylylsilane Crosspolymer, Magnesium Sulfate, Methylpropanediol, PEG-12 Dimethicone, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyethylene, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Purified Water, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Stearyl Dimethicone, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylysilane.

La Roche Posay – Anthelios XL ,SPF 60+  rated 2 of 5 gingerrama on 8/25/2007 6:39:00 AM

I have fair skin that has been known to burn in the rain and is sensitive and photosensitive, producing spectacular blotchy hives at the literal drop of a hat. It also reacts to non-physical UV blockers with amusing breakouts. I have been wearing sunscreens of one sort or another for decades; usually one for the face and one for the rest of the delectable self. My current tipple of choice for the face is the Clarins UV Plus (SPF 40).
The La Roche Posay Fluide Extreme comes in several strengths; the strongest used to be called “SPF 60,” but is now labelled as SPF 50 (due to a legal redefinition of the SPF scale). The next one down is a 40, etc.
This product is a light fluid, in texture not unlike Clarins UV Plus (SPF 40) and Dermalogica Super Sensitive Faceblock SPF 30. While the latter two are physical-only reflective sunscreens, LRP is a combination of titanium dioxide and Mexoryl (chemical absorbers, but carefully encapsulated, and with much research on safety and efficacy). I thought it worth a try, as it had good reviews re. safety and appropriateness for sensitive skin. It is unperfumed.
This stuff behaves much like the Clarins and the Demalogica. It should be applied after your usual moisturiser (not, please note, instead of). Shake well before use. It is a very light fluid, and one only needs a small blob about the diameter of a dime/EUR 5c/GBP1p piece. That seems too little, but the formula is different from other sunscreens (less background padding/fillers). Apply all over face, neck, ears, and around eyes. Rub in a little. It will dry in an invisible way; on drier skin, it’ll be matte (but not drying), I gather than on oilier skin it may be slightly shiny. You’ll know if you’ve put on too much, as there will be a white cast.
I tested this against the Clarins (one on each side of the face for a day), and the Clarins was better. In that the the Clarins side was smooth as a millpond, while the LRP side reacted: irritation, blotchy bits, some flaking. I did this several days running, to monitor progress. LRP is so much cheaper than the Clarins that I really wanted it to work. Very scientific of me. The face continued to protest. I returned to the Clarins. The face returned to a happy state.
That may all be specific to my skin; to LRP’s credit, there was no burning.
I would therefore recommend the Clarins over the LRP, but if and only if your skin is very sensitive and, to the best of your knowledge, is only content with physical blockers.
I haven’t used the Dermalogica for a while, though I liked it, as it’s not as easy to lay one’s paws on here in Ireland as the Clarins and the LRP. There seems to be only one place in Dublin selling it. Let me know, nice people out there in the ether, if you know of any easy way of getting it here, and if it’s cheaper than the Clarins…

La Roche Posay – Anthelios XL SPF 60 Fluide Extreme   rated 2 of 5 gingerrama on 8/25/2007 6:36:00 AM

I have fair skin that has been known to burn in the rain and is sensitive and photosensitive, producing spectacular blotchy hives at the literal drop of a hat. It also reacts to non-physical UV blockers with amusing breakouts. I have been wearing sunscreens of one sort or another for decades; usually one for the face and one for the rest of the delectable self. My current tipple of choice for the face is the Clarins UV Plus (SPF 40).
The La Roche Posay Fluide Extreme comes in several strengths; the strongest used to be SPF 60, but is now labelled as SPF 50 (due to a legal redefinition of the SPF scale). The next one down is a 40, etc.
This product is a light fluid, in texture not unlike Clarins UV Plus (SPF 40) and Dermalogica Super Sensitive Faceblock SPF 30. While the latter two are physical-only reflective sunscreens, LRP is a combination of titanium dioxide and Mexoryl (chemical absorbers, but carefully encapsulated, and with much research on safety and efficacy). I thought it worth a try, as it had good reviews re. safety and appropriateness for sensitive skin. It is unperfumed.
This stuff behaves much like the Clarins and the Demalogica. It should be applied after your usual moisturiser (not, please note, instead of). Shake well before use. It is a very light fluid, and one only needs a small blob about the diameter of a dime/EUR 5c/GBP1p piece. That seems too little, but the formula is different from other sunscreens (less background padding/fillers). Apply all over face, neck, ears, and around eyes. Rub in a little. It will dry in an invisible way; on drier skin, it’ll be matte (but not drying), I gather than on oilier skin it may be slightly shiny. You’ll know if you’ve put on too much, as there will be a white cast.
I tested this against the Clarins (one on each side of the face for a day), and the Clarins was better. In that the the Clarins side was smooth as a millpond, while the LRP side reacted: irritation, blotchy bits, some flaking. I did this several days running, to monitor progress. LRP is so much cheaper than the Clarins that I really wanted it to work. Very scientific of me. The face continued to protest. I returned to the Clarins. The face returned to a happy state.
That may all be specific to my skin; to LRP’s credit, there was no burning.
I would therefore recommend the Clarins over the LRP, but if and only if your skin is very sensitive and, to the best of your knowledge, is only content with physical blockers.
I haven’t used the Dermalogica for a while, though I liked it, as it’s not as easy to lay one’s paws on here in Ireland as the Clarins and the LRP. There seems to be only one place in Dublin selling it. Let me know, nice people out there in the ether, if you know of any easy way of getting it here, and if it’s cheaper than the Clarins…

Vanicream for Sensitive Skin SPF 30 and SPF 60  rated 5 of 5 gingerrama on 8/24/2007 6:39:00 PM

NB this review is for VANICREAM 60.
This is the best heavy-duty sunscreen I have yet found for sensitive, fair skin, prone to burning, and comically photosensitive.
V60 is a fairly dense cream, in a tube (easy to apply), and contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in a very neutral and safe base. One’s skin doesn’t react at all – either on application, or in the ambient outdoors – but sits still, maintaining its cool. Even in the Tropics and Antipodes. No rashes, reactions, inflammations, tantrums, crazy itches, or indeed any evidence of the sun getting through. Nope. Just a pleasant cool sensation.
The relative cheapness (and availability worldwide) mean one can spread this around lavishly; it also spread quite far. This enables one to spend at least a little quality time in direct light in the summer without being completely covered up. (Though still with the delectable hat: the larger the better and the more elegant.) Having said that, the Beloved and I went through about two tubes each over a week on Bermuda. Being unscented and functional-looking, this is quite man-friendly for even the manliest man (let alone the sanely human and occasional Honorary Woman, such as the Beloved). One does of course have to reapply after disporting oneself in the water.
Great stuff. Recommended. Especially to all fellow redheads out there.

Lavera – Lavera Neutral Sun 40  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 8/24/2007 6:29:00 PM

Great sunscreen for everywhere that’s not the face. This is a physical-only cream, with titanium dioxide. It is fairly rich, so better for drier skin. Contains many fine vegetal butters and unguents (see full ingredient list at end of review). Like other Lavera products, it is not tested on animals, is cruelty-free and vegan and has been tested on human subjects suffering from useful skin conditions; sensible as the Neutral line is targeted at allergic, sensitive skin, rosacea, and eczema.
So far, I haven’t burned, nor had rashes (other than the usual everyday “hello sunshine” of photosensitivity), and it hasn’t stained the edges of my clothes.
One lippie off for the texture: it’s very heavy and hard to apply. I much prefer Lavera’s SPF 30 sunscreen spray: TiO2 again, unperfumed, formulated for sensitive skin, and siginificantly lighter and easier to apply. Light enough to spray into hand and use on face. The 40, though – nope, better off any areas that are prone to zits. I still keep it in my bag for mid-day reapplication; on all body parts ope to the air, plus forehead and nose.
NB: It’s “just” a TiO2 based sunscreen: con – not full-spectrum coverage (adding ZnO2 helps there). But pro – unlikely for there to be any skin reactions. You can’t win…
And as for the ingredients – wow. If you like companies like Fresh and Kiehl’s, or other concocters of high-class natural stuff – this has more of the good stuff, and the “fillers” aren’t the usual rubbish, but instead things like jojoba, sweet almond, and evening primrose oils … Herewith the ingredients, without further ado:
INGREDIENTS: Aqua, Glycine Soja*, Titanium Dioxide, Tricaprylin, Polyglyceryl-3 Ricinoleate, Glycerin, Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glucose Glutamate, Canola, Tocopheryl Acetate, Simmondsia Chinensis*, Prunus Dulcis*, Oenothera Biennis*, Glyceryl Oleate, Aloe Barbadensis*, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Hippophae Rhamnoides, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Alumina, Stearic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Betaglucan, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid
* ingredients from certified organic agriculture
(Courtesy lavera.ie; further information here.

Solbar – Shield SPF 40  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 8/24/2007 6:24:00 PM

Good functional sunscreen: not being repurchased as unavailable where I live, and unknown cruelty-free credentials.
I am a very fair-skinned redhead, sensitive skin, burns at the slightest whiff of sunlight, and needs solid sun protection year-round; I have tried many on the market, and this is one of the ones that works best for me.
This is a good product if you need a high SPF, in a formulation suitable from sensitive skin, and therefore with mineral blockers and minimal other ingredients to reduce the possibility of irritation. It’s no-frills (so go elsewhere if you’re looking for fancy stuff), but everything in the formula is there for a reason and is well known to work – ex. good quantities of TiO2 and ZnO, and the rest is mainly aloe vera and slip agents.
In terms of how well it works, it’s comparable to Vanicream 30, and like it, suitable for year-round wear. I’d stick to a stronger product (Vanicream 60, Blue Lizard, any of the plethora of antipodean products) for summer and more intensely sunny climates.
The comparatively low price of the products encourages proper liberal application. While the active ingredients are micronised, you will need to rub this in a little, then let it sit for a couple of minutes, then you’re ready to go. Will need reapplication after swimming etc. (like any other sunscreen, apart from Bullfrog, but the evil frog brought me out in a rash…)
NB I have not been able to ascertain whether or not this is tested on animals. If you are looking for a good cruelty-free and sensitive-friendly sunscreen, definitely suitable for more temperate climes (but that I haven’t tested in the Tropics etc.): try Lavera Neutral Sun Screen SPF 40 (just TiO2).
SOLBAR SHIELD INGREDIENTS:
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 7.5%, Titanium Dioxide 5.0%
Inactive Ingredients: Purified Water, Isobutyl Stearate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Cetearyl Octanoate Cetearyl Ethylhexnoate And Isopropyl Myristrate, Dimethicone, PVP/hexadecene Copolymer, PVP/eicosene Copolymer, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate And PEG-100 Stearate, Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Stearate Octyl Stearate, Vitamin E Acetate, Citric Acid, Disodium EDTA.

Clarins – UV PLUS Protective Day Screen SPF 40  rated 4 of 5 gingerrama on 8/24/2007 1:01:00 PM

UPDATE: 09/2008: THIS PRODUCT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED AND REFORMULATED N.B. The following is a review for the *old* formula. The new one is not as good. See here for further information on the new (current, 2008-10) version.
[Original and unadulterated review now follows … ] Big thumbs up because it’s one of the few sunscreens I don’t react to; but I’m no longer buying it as the price is unconscionable, and it’s not the only thing like this out there.
I’ve been using this off and on since it came out. First bought as a replacement for Origins’ Silent Treatment, RIP. I have been to-ing and fro-ing between this and Paula’s Choice Pure Mineral Sunscreen SPF 15.
I have fair skin that has been known to burn in the rain and is sensitive and photosensitive, producing spectacular blotchy hives at the drop of a hat. Literally. It also reacts to non-physical UV blockers with amusing breakouts. I have been wearing sunscreens of one sort or another for decades. This one is the best facial sunscreens I’ve used.
The main useful ingredient is titanium dioxide, which reflects most UVA & UVB radiation. Note that it doesn’t contain zinc oxide, and thus doesn’t bounce off the whole crucial spectrum. Also note that Clarins does not declare how much TiO2 is in this stuff, nor the PPD. That’s a bit naughty. Other MUAers have the info: TM911 (see review) says this has a PPD of “8ish” and springchick (see review too) says there’s “~ 8% Titanium Dioxide.”
I have used this successfully year-round in northern Europe, the Mediterranean, in the Pacific northwest, the Great Lakes, on the East Coast as far south as Virginia, in St Louis MO, and on Bermuda in July (that was the real test). I have *not* used it closer to the Equator nor in the Antipodes, so cannot make any claims as to its efficacy there (though I can recommend E45 reflective SPF50, Blue Lizard Baby, and Vanicream 60 for there). And when it’s very sunny I usually wear a hat, too. Any excuse for a hat.
This stuff should be applied after your usual moisturiser (so: as well as moisturiser – not instead of it). Shake well before use. It is a very light fluid, and one only needs a small blob about the diameter of a dime/EUR 5c/GBP1p piece. That seems too little, but the formula is different from other sunscreens (less background padding/fillers). Apply all over face, neck, ears, and around eyes. Rub in a little. It will dry in an invisible way; on drier skin, it’ll be matte (but not drying), I gather than on oilier skin it may be slightly shiny. On most skin, it’s smooth, velvety, barely perceptible. You’ll know if you’ve put on too much, as there will be a white cast. It is very non-reactive – so can be applied on eyelids.
So far, it works well, in that I’ve had no sunburn, photosensitive reactions, or any reactions to the product itself. I also tested this against the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Fluide Extreme SPF 50 (one on each side of the face for a day), and the Clarins was better. In that the LRP side reacted. That may be my skin; to LRP’s credit, there was no burning.
I have also used Paula’s Choice Pure Mineral Sunscreen SPF 15 (see review). It has similar ingredients (+ ZnO2), the same effect – used in the same way as the Clarins, and in a northern, not-very-sunny place – and is a lot cheaper. While it’s fine here in northern Europe, I would suggest something stronger under more intense sun (nearer equator/antipodes).
NB Contains fragrance (but mild and non-reactive on this and many another sensitive soul). Cost: yes, it is expensive. You’re looking at 30-something USD/EUR for a 30 ml bottle. The Paula’s Choice Pure Mineral Sunscreen SPF 15 is not dramatically dissimilar, can be used the same way, and is 1/7 of the price in Europe and 1/15 the price in the US… But: the Clarins is more elegant than the PC, feels fabulous on the skin, and while it is expensive, the 30 ml bottle lasts a good 6 months – and you can get a 50 ml version in North America and some international duty-frees. Above all, it’s reliable for not irritating or letting you burn. Sure, it’s no Blue Lizard, and I would wear something stronger (and a hat) on day-long hikes. But it is so easy and fast to apply there’s just no excuse for not including it in an everyday beauty routine, ensuring that your skin is protected when working at home and in offices, only outside for brief spells, etc.
[NB I have subsequently moved on to other sunscreens that are as good or better, and cheaper. See other reviews and notepad.]
INGREDIENTS: Cyclopentasiloxane, aqua, titanium dioxide, aluminum starch octenylsuccinate, polyglyceryl-3 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, alcohol denat., aluminum hydroxide, stearic acid, PEG-12 dimethicone, sodium chloride, PEG/PPG-18/18 dimethicone, phenoxyethanol, tocopheryl acetate, camellia sinensis, parfum, disodium EDTA, methylparaben, propylene glycol, butylparaben, ethylparaben, propylparaben, isobutylparaben, benzyl salicylate, geraniol, citronellol, benzyl benzoate, butylphenyl methylpropional, hydroxyisohexyl 3-cyclohexene carboxaldehyde, limonene, hexal cinnamal.

5 comments

  1. Tyler

    Found your blog while doing some research on physical sunscreens. I appreciate you being so open about to which products you react. Being a guy with sensitive/reactive skin it can be hard to navigate the products in the cosmeceutical world, so your reporting is much appreciated. Cheers.

  2. Kitty

    Hi there,
    Just want to say a big thank you for your reviews. They have been extremely helpful in my search for a new sunscreen (have been using same one for years but skin is no longer happy with it).

Care to reply?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s