review: BurnOut sunscreens: Eco-Sensitive Clean & Clear vs. Ocean-Tested

BurnOut made a mistake with a recent order, which resulted in my having to use up some Ocean Tested. Given it would cost more to send it back to the US from Canada, tracked and all, than the stuff itself is worth. Well: thank you BurnOut, because the OT felt completely different from the last time I used it. Skin different, definitely drier right now, and more irritable what with the merry allergy season. Or rather: one of the allergy seasons. Come to think of it: winter is the only non-allergy season, really; and that’s only so long as it’s properly cold. But I digress. The other reason this was a happy happenstance: skin currently mildly to majorly (depending on concentration) irritated by aloe vera. Which is in my favourite Eco-Sensitive. So for both the aloe-reason and the economic one, I shrugged my shoulders, sighed, and tested the damn OT out again.

UPDATE (2013-07): Been fine with the Eco-Sensitive version for the last while. No aloe issues. Used it as main face sunscreen over the last two months; it really is a joy and a delight, in feel and finish and performance.

Using the Ocean Tested on body (NB: applied to dry skin; being pretty waterproof, it doesn’t apply at all well or easily to damp skin!). And neck, ears, top of forehead (my more burnable areas). This is also the stuff that lives in my bag in a mini refillable tube, along with a stick of the BurnOut lip balm, in case top-ups are needed through the day. Used in the event of outdoor action, and a full tube accompanies all sporting excursions.

Also been using: Graham’s SunClear SPF 30+ (also ZnO-only; more transparent but greasier, I find it runs or sweats off in warmer weather); Replenix sheer physical spray SPF 50 (ZnO again; excellent, and very transparent and durable, but much more expensive than the BurnOut).


BACK TO 2011-09: Change of skin, change of mind. Just updated MUA review: copy here below:

[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 fomulation (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, and from some online boutiquey establishments.

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, equally ZnO-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

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