sunscreen experiments

Moving over to all-singing all-dancing all-zinc-oxide.
Experiment #1: using up an old ZnO sunscreen.
Experiment #2: ZnO sunscreens for around the eyes (UPDATED: 2011-09-27)
Experiment #3: ZnO lip sunscreens


AIMS: to find some damn way of using up some old sunscreen, bought experimentally, to which I’d reacted when first tried. Waste not want not.

CoTZ SPF 35 (20% ZnO): I’d jettisoned this some months ago, but tried it out again selectively. It’s possible my skin’s being less reactive at the moment (which is always nice).
INGREDIENTS: Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (20%) (Sunscreen)
Inactive Ingredients: C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, Capryl Hydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl/PEG/PPG 10/1 Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Lauryl PEG PPG 18 18 Methicone, Methicone, PEG 10 Dimethicone, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Chloride, Stearyl Dimethicone, Tetrahexadecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethanolamine, Triethoxycaprylylsilane


  • application is beautiful: smooth, silky, sinks in (all that lovely luscious silicone). Feels lovely on skin for a short while. Then irritation. Time-scale: between leaving home and arriving at work, a 20-minute walk. Removed once I reached work, and replaced with one of the Trusty Old Faithfuls.
    NO: THUMBS DOWN: out it goes.


AIMS: to find a new eye-area sunscreen, ZnO-based but moist, creamy but sinks in well, doesn’t interfere with mascara.

Purple Prairie Sun Stuff SPF 30 (20% ZnO):5 oz or 9.5 oz.
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.
→ for more on ZnO, physical sunscreens, and sunscreens in general: see the sunscreens: about post
→ more on Z-Cote: see the sunscreens: products post (in “Tips for selecting a sunscreen”, II. “Particle size and coating”)
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

    very good indeed around the eyes, inc. eyelids. Inc. testing during full-on allergies. While it IS thick and greasy, it’s nowhere near the Badger-like gold standard of mingingness. If you’re looking for an all-zinc oxide sunscreen that’s very moist, but not utterly minging, this would be a good one.
    BONUS: makes a good hand-cream and other sunscreen-containing moist thing. Have been using on neck & throat area. Considering I just got a bottle of the discounted old-label one for cheaper-shipping-for-whole-package reasons, and had little interest in it: any usability is a plus. Decent prices, and generous bottle sizes, beyond the honest (Eco Logical, I’m looking at you here).
    CONS: Not as fine and sleek a texture as BurnOut or my other current experiment, the two ECO Logical ones (more on the latter shortly: they’re very gorgeous, seriously properly elegant sunscreens). On the greasy side, needs to be rubbed in.
    Still a non-no on rest of face, too heavy and rich. Betraying my impoverished roots, I guess… and because, when push comes to shove, I’M NOT WORTH IT.
    Crap bottle. The sunscreen is thick, the bottle is fairly rigid, and you need a lot of squeezing to get it out. I enjoy constipation in my skincare about as much as I do in bodily functions. Even decanting PP into smaller (30 ml) Muji flip-top tubes was a tough one; I use these as they’re practical, and especially for carrying around a smaller container of sunscreen in the bag.
    Huge con: goes off fast (started to smell funny on day 15). No preservatives, and no alternative system for preventing bacterial growth.
    YES: THUMBS UP–USABLE. Would recommend to someone needing a moist all-physical for, say, a week’s vacation; but probably wouldn’t otherwise rebuy.
    UPDATE: especially ad the ECO Logical body sunscreen (SPF30, ZnO-only again) is, IMHO and for my purposes, better yet a similar price.

Loving Naturals Clear Baby Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 (24.7% ZnO): 0.86 oz
INGREDIENTS: Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide 24.7%
Other ingredients: grape seed oil, organic sunflower oil, caprylic/capric triglycerides (from coconut oil), organic beeswax, organic cocoa butter (fair trade), organic shea butter, stearic acid (from palm oil), organic honey, purified water

    Not as easy to use as the Purple Prairie (or other) sunscreen; you need to pick a bit off the stick, rub it between fingers, and pat and rub in (gently!!!) around the eye. Good in the under-eye area. Less good on the eyelid and brow: slides off and into eye. Not an issue for migration into eye and irritation; but can gloop into mascara. Worth bearing in mind.


AIM: to find an alternative SPF lip-balms, that is unflavoured. Including face-stick versions of some balms, which are much cheaper.

ISSUES: must be moist without being greasy. Tricky: I have very thin skin with tendencies to dryness, but because of the thinness, I can’t use really thick heavy rich things on it: they either sit on top and do nothing, or slip off, or lead to zittorrific calamities. Also, lip-balm must get along with lippie on top. And be wearable on its own, in case I’m reapplying it (for purely protective reasons) during the day.


Purple Prairie Sun Stuff Lip Balm SPF 30 (20% ZnO): 0.15 oz
Active ingredient:  20% zinc oxide
Other ingredients: organic olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, organic cera alba (beeswax), organic butyrospermum parkii fruit (shea butter), organic theobroma cacao (cocoa butter), organic jojoba oil, tocopherol (natural vitamin E)

  • RESULTS: Purple Prairie lip sunscreen is one of the most amazingly whitening ones I’ve ever used. Unusable. Even under lipstick: the formula doesn’t settle well under any of my lipsticks. Not a single one. Makes Badger’s lip sunscreen seem a delight, in comparison. Also, weird combination of dry texture, drying feel, and greasiness. Ugh.

Purple Prairie Sun Stick SPF 30 (20% ZnO): 2 oz
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 (sheer butter) fruit, jojoba oil, natural vitamin E.

  • RESULTS: Purple Prairie stick sunscreen is just about usable on lips, less whitening but I’m not sure how protective this is–it’s so greasy it slips off very easily. Lacks the dry issues of the lip-balm, but even greasier. Again, issues with lipstick on top; though not as whitening as the lip sunscreen. Applied to skin: whitening, but I can see how this might be one of the sticks that are easier to use on wriggly small children. Might also be an option for people looking for a very moist lip sunscreen, and with the right texture and thickness of skin to handle the rich texture.
    Eminently usable on arm-pits. Repurposed as Layer 1 of the Deodowich, for when I run out of my current baby diaper balm, or for when I’m traveling: the balm counts as a solid and doesn’t gnaw into my 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).
    THUMBS DOWN as a sunscreen (for me), THUMBS UP as reserve deodorant-material.

Loving Naturals Clear Lips Sunscreen Lipbalm SPF 30 (24.7% ZnO): 0.16 oz
Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide 24.7%
Other ingredients: grape seed oil, organic sunflower oil, caprylic/capric triglycerides (from coconut oil), organic beeswax, organic cocoa butter (fair trade), organic shea butter, stearic acid (from palm oil), organic honey, purified water
The main adult “stick” Clear sunscreen is the same formula, but works out cheaper per ounce.

  • RESULTS: Loving Naturals lip sunscreen proved excellent. It’s lighter-weight than the BurnOut, and pretty much flavourless. Good for reapplication during the day, be that on its own (not whitening) or under lippie. Right level of moisture for me, and that moisture stays.
    Not only would I rebuy this, but in summer I’d buy the adult Clear Stick version of the sunscreen: same formula as the lip-balm, but better value for money (price:weight ratio). Possibly keeping the larger stick at home for morning use, and the smaller lip balm in bag. Yes, one could just buy one and move it from home to bag. But whilst being anal-retentive, I’m also really good at forgetting things and being disorganized and getting into a flap in the morning: my keys are physically attached to my regular bag, so as to ensure I don’t forget them. Anything that has to go back into The Bag for the next day has to sit very near it when not in use or I’ll forget it.
    Anyhoo. The lip-balm is currently residing in the bag.

Loving Naturals Clear Baby Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 (24.7% ZnO): 0.86 oz
Active Ingredient: Non-Nano Zinc Oxide 24.7%
Other ingredients: grape seed oil, organic sunflower oil, caprylic/capric triglycerides (from coconut oil), organic beeswax, organic cocoa butter (fair trade), organic shea butter, stearic acid (from palm oil), organic honey, purified water

  • RESULTS: Loving Naturals baby sunscreen stick works a treat as a superb moisturising lip-balm. One of the best ZnO lippies I’ve ever found for balancing moisture with protection. Application isn’t as easy as with a lip-balm (same goes for all sticks), due to the wider edge, but it can be rubbed around and in. Cooperates well with lipstick.
    Doesn’t come in a lip-bam formula: Loving Naturals baby range only has two products, this stick and a sunscreen in a squeezy bottle.
    This one is living at home, as my morning lip sunscreen.
    BONUS: can also be used around the eyes (see Experiment #2 above).

Ingredients and other information as provided by manufacturers and suppliers/sellers; I’ve tidied up some INCL non-compliance but errors still remain. Purple Prairie is usually around about $12.50-17.00 for 5 oz, $23.00-26.00 for 9.5 oz (I got a bottle of the older version, 4.5 oz bottle, for cheap–same formula, different bottle and labelling, not past sell-by-date). Lip-balms above are in the region of $3.50-6.00 each, the sticks $10.50-14.50, depending on source; plus taxes and shipping.

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