review: ecō logical sunscreen

Review time, including compare & contrast, and comments on a truly wonderful discussion thread on the Skin Care Talk forum.

Two sunscreens: one for face, one for body (there’s also a larger tube of the body sunscreen and another one for babies). Here’s the full lineup:

ECO Logical Face SPF 30 (20% ZnO): 1.8 oz

  • 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*.
  • Price: 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.

ECO Logical Body SPF 30 (22% ZnO): 3.5 and 5.3 oz versions.

  • 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*.
  • Price: US$18.00 for 3.5 oz/100 ml; about the same price as BurnOut

FACE SUNSCREEN FACE-OFF

The competition: my usual everyday favourite, BurnOut Clean & Clear Eco-Sensitive SPF 32:

  • INGREDIENTS: Active ingredient: 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.
  • OLD REVIEW: 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 (more of that old review here).
  • PRICE: USD17.99 for 3.4 oz/97 ml.

Another point of comparison: the much pricier DermaQuest Skin Therapy ZinClear SPF 30

  • INGREDIENTS: Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 18.60%,
    Other ingredients: 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. No preservatives–on which, see here (restriction of water activity technloogy).
  • REVIEW: Similar feel to BurnOut (from testing a sample): indistinguishable.
  • PRICE: USD53.50 for 2 oz/60 ml, which works out as $89 for 3.4 oz, so 5 x the price of BurnOut

INTERIM REPORT OF RESULTS

Good.

Eco Logical face feels very like BurnOut for application. 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. No irritation, which is always a good start, being the first hurdle at which so many well-fancied favourites take a tumble. Seems to protect: it’s been through daily use plus the proper test of one very bright sunny afternoon (yesterday) which involved a little over 2 hours’ direct sun exposure. No burning, no colour. All of this is, so far, so much like BurnOut. Other points of resemblance: 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); recyclable packaging, in a decent practical squeezy bottle that stands on its flip-top lid. Easy to clean off. And 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.

PROS:

  • Eco Logical is moister. Without, so far, clogging–will of course report back if that dread fate strikes me down.
  • Actually, add to that: feels blooming gorgeous. Tested split-face, the Eco Logical side feels smoother and plumper.
  • The packaging is much nicer. BurnOut, we’ve previously asserted here, is not very pretty.
  • The manufacturers seem like good eggs: more on that further on in this post.
  • Australian aspects: like Blue Lizard, it’s formulated to satisfy Australian standards. Ex. water-resistance; and the sensitive / baby formulation is near-identical to Hamilton Sensitive, which is Australian. Yes, I agree, the Lizard shouldn’t say “Australian”–am surprised the Australian authorities haven’t complained: should call itself “Australian-style” or “Australian-standard” or some such.But  I digress.
    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.” More about them here.

CONS:

  • Price.
  • Size of bottle: too small. Yes, this is linked to my “price” complaint; but the bottle feels half-empty. 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?

QUIBBLES: minor, trivial, not really proper cons:

  • greenwash alert, issues with use of “all-natural”
  • “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 MF poppets: next time, look up a dictionary. A proper one.
  • I like the fonts, and the lower-case; but that diacritical ō in “ecō logical” is tricky… hence why you’ll see this called ECO logical all over the place.

BODY SUNSCREEN: THE SMACK-DOWN

The nearest would probably be Purple Prairie, for an all-zinc moister cheaper sunscreen. My usual body one over the summer has been the ridiculously cheap Blue Lizard Sensitive SPF 30, but it also contains titanium dioxide, so it’s not a like-for-like comparison:

I’ve never found a sunscreen as cheap: this stuff works out at under $2/oz, when buying the gallon (128 oz) size. As I do.

  • 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.
  • OLD REVIEW: 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: […] neither irritated reaction nor burning. Can be used all over, inc. face. […] 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 (more of that old review here).
  • PRICE: USD for 1.25 oz, $12.00 for 3 oz/90 ml, $15.00 for 5 oz/150 ml, $25.00 for 9 oz/260 ml, $200.00-250.00 for 1 gallon/3.6 l.

Clearly, the old Lizard wins on weight alone.

REVIEW OF THE ECO LOGICAL BODY SUNSCREEN:

Good, again. Better feel, finish, and application than any other all-zinc one I’ve used: slightly thicker and moister than the face version, but sinks in transparently, and no grease-slick. I second what at least one other person has said (SCT forum): you can apply this to the backs of your hands, sit down, start typing, and not only do your hands not slip all over the keyboard, but there’s no greasy smudges either. Have used on body and around the eyes. Lovely stuff, ticks all my boxes, no complaints.

Easier to clean off than the Lizard; although both sunscreens are considerably easier to remove–and more water-soluble–than my other favourite (especially for skin emergencies), Vanicream. This is fairly clear when washing the face at night. It’s blindingly obvious when cleaning out little squeezy tubes. Vanicream takes for ever to clean out. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of not cleaning it off my skin properly. Also, if there is such a place as Hell, it has a special area where people clean out small squeezy tubes; if they’re good, they’ll be allowed a very small toothbrush from time to time, to poke at the deep corners. Sisyphus, you don’t know you’ve been born…

Sorry, I really am the world’s biggest fan of the Muji ones: of which I have a lot, replacing when the flip-top cap breaks, but otherwise cleaning out (and disinfecting with alcohol) in between refills.

Back to our sunscreen. In addition to the more general PROs and CONs of the Face version, applicable here too:

PROS:

  • everything. Works. Price is fair: around the same as most of my usual sunscreens, for that volume.
  • decently waterproof in my own tests so far. Tested more thoroughly by surfers; partners with the Surfrider Foundation (not to be sneezed at, respectable, etc.)
    NB: durability is the case for the Body and Baby versions (the Baby also has avocado and frankincense oils); but not for the Face one, being less oily. Ditto on BurnOut, for the Ocean-Tested vs. the Clean & Clear versions.

CON:

  • Price: chuckle: wouldn’t a gallon at Blue Lizard sort of prices be a nice thing? But then, isn’t that true of every sunscreen on the market.

oOo

MAJOR PRO

for all the ECO Logical stuff–both sunscreens, and the company as a whole:

I said earlier that I reckoned the Eco Logical people were good eggs: that’s based on this lengthy thread on Skin Care Talk is anything to go by.

This is one of the sunscreens that’s been the subject of most interest, talk, and experimentation over the last summer. I was late to the party–started reading the thread a month or so ago–but the quality and extent of discussion, and its inclusion of Eco Logical people, actively persuaded me to try the sunscreen.

Now: I’m allergic to a lot of advertising. Online marketing doesn’t tend to work very well on me, as I buy an eclectic range of items, my patterns are irregular, and the amount I spend and am willing to spend on any given category of thing varies. I’m not sure if I could legitimately claim to be marketing-proof, but it’s a goal. Definitely a goal to aim for. Not all guerrilla marketing is created equal. Some is more creative and clever. Much just shows animal cunning and makes a show of brute force and bullying, misreading all the subtleties of interpersonal relations and social networking as plain old “peer pressure.”

Engaging in straight-up direct dialogue with consumers, very picky well-informed tried-and-tested-it-all sceptical cynical types at that, on their own territory: that’s brave. It takes more time and effort, is a massive gamble, could be painful, could be commercial suicide. If it is still just a marketeering tactic and guerrilla online business sneakiness–and I’ve fallen for it, and all of Skin Care Talk has been taken in by a show of fake sincerity–then it’s sales-tactics elevated to a high art form and somewhere around about the current zenith and apotheosis. Either way: kudos.

Eco Logical is first mentioned on page 4 (2011-04-27, the month after it first launched); then p. 8 (#155) onwards, drops off a bit then intense from p. 13, running through to the current page (62).

See especially: DragoN starts a stupendously stonking hard-ball line at #280, other highlights being #335#353, and #631. Two people from the company contribute to the conversation–Rick S from #172 onwards, EcoDoc from #355. It’s very much a contribution, in a long conversation running over months.

My one quibble is with some knee-jerk blind-faith eco-ness, translating as the kind of fear-mongering greenwash that I love to hate; ex. Burt’s Bees. But: they’re open to dialogue, and overall it’s a productive one. I like that in a company. Sometimes taking yourself seriously is a good thing–when it’s also taking your products and our customers seriously, too. These guys do also have a GSOH too, though. It’s OK. They’re obsessive geeky types but still human.

(There will be another post on this great classic thread, not the details or a commentary: just so as to merge together an updated list of physical sunscreens, from this and other sources…)

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