MUA notepad (as at 2014-06-04)

This is here for several reasons, all of them unexciting and technical. Main reason: issues with updating my MakeupAlley notepad, which are as is ever the case both everyone’s fault (including my own) and no-one’s fault. That’s just life, both real and virtual. Previous incarnations are also lurking around here and another site and future ones may continue to do so; previous ones are as “private” posts. No real reason for that, no idea why I did so in the first place. So welcome to the first non-private one.

For the most up-to-date version of my notepad—what I am actually using right now—see “morosophical beautification?” on this present blog.

LAST UPDATED: 2014-06-04

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Delia Smith's chocolate mousse Delia Smith's chocolate mousse Delia Smith's chocolate mousse


These are just some things I’ve found useful over the years, and I’m sharing them here in case they’re useful for anyone else. Possibly just as a starting-point for your own research. Not intended to be prescriptive or restrictive or comprehensive or anything like that 

Some useful places to look up ingredients:

Top-ish ten of some other useful online skincare places:

MUA notepads with lists of MUAer blogs::

Some MUA notepads with lists of useful MUAer notepads:

Some more MUA notepads I’ve found useful, for information & external links: The ones that follow below helped me out with my specific skin; there are many more that are very useful for other skin conditions, but less so for mine. Call me a selfish b!tch if you will. For comprehensive lists of notepads, and the things for which they’re useful, see the set of links immediately above here (MUA notepads with lists of useful MUA notepads):

More saved useful stuff, Green & Skin Care Board FAQ and their FAnswers, board discussions, lists, references to information-sources in the outside world, etc., etc., etc.:

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POINT OF NOTEPAD: To keep track of what I’m using, and in case my skin, hair, colouring, etc. seem anything like anybody else’s: in which case, some of the stuff below might help somebody else out. Not meant to be prescriptive etc… All links in the notepad open in new tabs; and are to MUA further information, usually product reviews (where available).


  • STUFF: things being used currently
  • CHOCOLATE: chocolate proper plus some chocolate-based desserts, recipes for which are at the end of the notepad
  • LINKS: most items on the notepad are liked to their MUA reviews; some links are to MUA board posts

ABOUT MOI expat mainly Scottish & Irish Euromongrel genetic extraction, Canadian resident, often in the USA and EU for professional and personal purposes, previously lived in various parts of Europe and the north-eastern USA. Buying products here in Canada and also online (from etailers based in Canada, the USA, and the EU).

AGE: 41

SKIN: sensitive — (structurally/physically) thin, fragile, delicate, fine (fine-grain, no visible pores) — irritable, reactive (ex. photosensitive), some allergies — on/off eczema — no acne, but subject to irritation breakouts — no wrinkles but gradually acquiring lines of expression: as befits age, experience, and hopefully also wit and wisdom — normal to slightly dry — Baumann type DSNW for whatever that’s worth.

HAIR: short / chin-length — fine (strand diameter) — thick/dense/lots of it — slightly wavy — dryish  porous (test: stretchy when wet), responds well to protein — natural (not dyed or retexturised, dried naturally)

COLOURING: PPP < NW10, some freckles, some blue-purple shadows in inner eye corners — grey/green eyes — red hair. In short: classic traditional typical ginger. Otherwise boringly healthy, medium-sized, and in reasonable condition. Sorry, nothing interesting to report for MUA purposes.

PRODUCTS: stuff used = a mixture of DIY and ready-made, and of “green” and “green-ish,” primary considerations being that the stuff works and is cruelty-free. If I have a choice, I’ll give preference, within reason (i.e. not at an insane price), to the more ethical version available. That is: ethically responsible company, using plant-based and sustainably-sourced ingredients, fair trade, fair labour, carbon-neutral, local, and otherwise generally ticking various ethical boxes. The reason for doing so is that I am a hippy-dippy tree-hugging granolarama sanctimonious pontificating nut. And a ginger nut at that. As we all know, gingers have no souls. So either I’m an over-compensating fool, or this is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

APPROACH and technique: layering. Three reasons:

  • Just as with separate shampoo + conditioner or separate moisturiser + sunscreen: better functionality for both purposes than a 2-in-1; in my experience, 2-in-1s are never “the one product that does it all” but tend to be at best 1/2-and-1/2.
  • Parallel with clothing: there’s greater flexibilty in having a wardrobe of garments of different weights, warmths, etc. and layering them. Allows you the freedom to adapt to circumstances: some areas being drier than others, variations from day to day, changes in weather and seasons, etc.
  • Dry dehydrated skin: what seems to work best is sandwiching a layer of water under a layer of oil, and if need be repeating in double-deckers, triple-deckers, etc. (more on this further down in EXTRA STUFF (2): DRYNESS).

NO NO NO: I don’t use any of the following, due to incompatibility with (my sort of) sensitive etc. skin:

  • scrubs, Clarisonic, Pretika, Mia, other physical exfoliants: hands & facecloth is as much as my skin can take
  • retinaldehyde: though skin can handle the small amounts of low-dose weaker less usable retinol in rosehip seed oil
  • AHA except a very mild version of lactic acid, in the form of yoghurt)
  • BHA except a low concentration of salicylic acid if I get a zit–not happened in a long time though
  • and basically generally chemical exfoliants and peels
  • and anything that has a pH too far removed from that of skin, and raises and lowers it too much; thin skin = thin skin barrier = more easily damaged
  • and a bunch of known irritants / reaction-triggers, compiled over the years: c/o doctors, plus trial and error. They sometimes change—for worse but also for better—which is a PITA but is an excuse to test things out from time to time (carefully, selectively, etc.), when skin’s being calmer and stronger. The main ones (helps me to remember them by putting them up on here, might help other people too): 
    • no. 1 is fragrance/perfume/scent, which in turn includes most essential oils (and all of them, for the eye and nose area);
      NB “unscented” products may include masking fragrance; “fragrance-free” is the term to look for on labels, as it means there are no fragrant ingredients whatsoever, including no masking fragrance.
    • alcohol, bismuth oxychloride, cetearyl alcohol, ceteareth-20, cyclopentasiloxane (on face; lower concentrations OK on body), decyl glucoside (aka decyl polyglucose), DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methylchloroisothiazolinone, methylisothiazolinone, quaternium-15, sodium lauryl sulfate (but s laureth s is OK), triclosan, triethanolamine

My skincare is very very very vanilla. But: it works for my skin; and better boring than exciting, when exciting means reactions, damage, and pain.

I use a Diva Cup

I also use conventional drugs (i.e. “medicine” with thanks to “science”) as appropriate: when in need, in pain, under instruction from a doctor, etc. There are limits to hippy-dippiness. Those limits are (a) common sense, (b) sense full stop, and (c) basic animal dislike of pain, liking being comfortable, and survival/life-instinct.

I believe in sleep. And not much else. OK, chocolate:


Amedei Toscano Black 70% chocolate

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(& other parts from the elbows and upper-midriff and above)

This usually takes about 15-20 minutes, depending on how asleep I am and how long is spent under a shower in an attempt to wake up. And depending on whether (5-8 minutes) or not (3-4 minutes) hair is washed. Turning water off while conditioner soaks in and so on (unless still half-asleep: ethics wake up with rest of thinking-parts-of-brain, not yet a conditioned reflex).


(with a nice cup of tea and a sit down, first thing in the morning; or a large pot of coffee, if time permits greater leisureliness):

  • Calcium + Vitamin D tablets = Calcium (carbonate) 500 mg + vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol: vegetarian, from lanolin c/o sheep wool) 25 mcg / 1000 IU; any brand, currently Jamieson; 1 tablet / day
  • Vitamin C Ester-C 600 mg veg caps = 600 mg calcium ascorbate + 100 mg citrus bioflavenoids—vegan; Solgar or Sisu
  • Probiotic: vegetarian, microencapsulated, 10 billion+ of the buggy blighters per cap; no FOS (indigestion); 1 cap / morning and evening; any brand, Yarrow for temperature-resistant individually-wrapped ones for when travelling
  • + food repeated as needed throughout day


  • facecloth a.k.a. washcloth a.k.a. flannel; the cotton towelling variety, cheap, quite thin, square, about 20 cm L & W. I have a large pile of them, mostly cheap and aged. Used for washing face. They get changed every 1-2 days approximately, all facecloths washed in regular laundry at the end of the week.
  • reusable pads (from Etsy); circles around 3″ diameter, similar dimensions to a standard disposable cotton pad. Made of cotton (slightly softer than facecloth material) or bamboo. They live in one small net bag with a drawstring top (repurposed: used to contain a travel towel), after use they go into a second net bag that’s next to the sink. Each is used once, then the bag of used ones is chucked in the wash at the end of the week. Use just like standard cotton-wool pads. 
  • for anything else on this NP, if no application stuff is specified, it’s either just using good old clean hands or using tool supplied with the thing, ex. mascara wand. 


  • Pre-cleanse with multi-purpose oil to remove sunscreen (unless I’ve done so at night)
  • + clean face with bland unscented stuff.
    • Currently, also used on body and hair: Free & Clear fragrance-free shampoo. This is identical to Cliniderm (Canada, more expensive); both are made by PSIco (parent company to the Free & Clear and Vanicream brands) and cruelty-free (though Curelle’s non-PSIco products are not)
    • application: on damp skin,using hands, wipe at it with wet facecloth (and more water c/o hands) to remove


  • usually: nothing, just leaving skin damp (because MORNING and not yet awake)
  • or witch-hazel hydrosol (no alcohol, ex. the Garden of Wisdom one)
    • applied to slightly damp skin, including eye area, using hands, no tools. Remainder onto backs of hands. 
    • current skin condition: reactive but stable; and dry
  • used more or less recently: seeEXTRA STUFF (3): DRYNESS, a little further down.


Something very bland and unscented (there are a few exceptions that have been fine):

  • multi-purpose oil 
  • + multi-purpose balm: either just on lips and around eyes or (if drier) all over
    • application: melt between finger-tips, pat on and press into skin
  • used more or less recently: see further down: ex. a multi-purpose oil, sometimes with emollient cream or multi-purpose balm mixed in and/or underneath and/or on top, as needed. For the other things usedthere’s an escalation depending on extent of dryness and whether it’s eczema toosee EXTRA STUFF (3): DRYNESS, a little further down.


  • a moisturising unscented all-physical, SPF 30+
    • Vanicream SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2): this stuff always works
    • or Derma E body SPF 30 (ZnO): nicer-looking, testing stages
    • application: all over face, ears, neck, throat, any other exposed skin


  • a non-whitening, moisturising, ZnO-only, SPF 30+ lip sunscreen, preferably unflavoured
    • currently: Elemental Herbs unscented Sunstick (or Babo Botanicals, which is identical)
    • application: scoop a little out, apply with fingers to lips, undereye area, and eye outer corners

alter eco 73% chocolate with cocoa nibs

I’m no good at the whole night-time ritual business. I’m very good at wanting to go from day/clothed/awake/vertical to night/PJs/asleep/horizontal as quickly, efficiently, and lazily as possible. Unfortunately, I am not Wallace and don’t have Grommet and brilliant gadgets to help. Practice makes perfect, though; decades of daily practice have knocked the record for total time for the whole process down to 2 minutes (I cheat in that garments are flung off and get folded the next day). Usually more like 5 minutes.


  • at night if not being lazy, otherwise the next morning
  • also all over face, if I’ve been wearing a lot of sunscreen, reapplying it, and/or using a heavier one
  • multi-purpose oil 
    • method: soak reusable pad, hold over closed eyes for 30 seconds, then swipe; this usually removes most stuff


  • (lazy): none

    • method: hit the sack, and turn the pillow over to grub up a different side of the pillow-case. 
  • (semi-lazy): one step cleanse-and-moisturise

    • method: clean skin using oil, rinse off, no added moisturiser, go straight to bed 
  • (semi-lazy): two step
    witch-hazel hydrosol as 2-in-1 cleanser and antioxidant toner, then moisturise (see next step)

    • steam-distilled, water-based, no alcohol: a different beast from drugstore/chemists’/pharmacy usual 14% vol witch-hazel (but: the alcoholic one is cheaper and most people are fine with it, and many actively prefer it); from Garden of Wisdom
    • applied using a reusable pad, and some more (as a hydrating toner) by pouring a small quantity into palm of one hand, rubbing hands together, and patting over face; all over, eye area too (unless I’m being lazy and leaving mascara on until the next morning; then I’ll slap the witch around everywhere except eyelashes). Quantity: skin dry afterwards = too little, skin dripping wet = too much. As with water. 


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Here are some things that have helped me over the years; might be worth a try for others. This section carries heavy caveats.

1. If in doubt, if anything has been going on for a week, if symptoms worsen over three days: GO TO THE DOCTOR.

2. No promises, no guarantees.

3. What worked for me won’t necessarily work for anyone else. How my eczema works (genetic, with me for life until gene therapy can change that, but its external expression and extent changes with environmental and other influences: in good phases, there’s nothing) isn’t necessarily how yours does, and its biochemical process may be different. Many skin conditions’ workings are not well known. Some are medical mysteries (and I refer you to elf_107, the mistress of medical skin mystery). Many skin conditions are blanket / rainbow / umbrella labels, grouping together common external signs (like much biological categorization). One skin condition can look very like another, if all you can see is a standard textbook skin reaction or some sort of breakout: could be several forms of acne, seborrheic dermatitis (a.k.a. “SD” on the skincare board), rosacea. Or a combination of them, and a combination of causes and contributing factors. Sensitivities can vary depending on location, air, water, hormonal fluctuations, stress levels (and hormones again), sleep, general health. They can come and go. Can start and stop anytime: something that’s been fine for ever can suddently stop being tolerable. And vice versa. There’s also a whole spectrum of irritable intolerant reactions: from slower grumblings that build up over a week or two, to instant massive swelling + rash + redness + pain + skin coming off (and extreme histamine over-reactions, asphyxiation, cardiac arrest, etc.).

4. In short: skin sensitivity varies and your mileage may vary.

See also: relevant Skin Care and Green Board posts and discussions saved in my FAVOURITES > TOPICAL TIPS: for sensitive, irritable, reactive, fragile, eczematic, dry skin



  • eyebright (euphrasia) sterile aqueous solution eye lotion (ex. Dr.Hauschka eye solace)
  • apply to closed eyes using pads, allowing some of it to go into eyes. Hold pads over eyes for a couple of minutes


  • unscented lip balm or other heavy waxy stuff
  • apply to inside of nose, as a first step of defence against pollen, spores, etc. from invading, sticking to hairs inside nose, and triggering reactions

& other stuff applied topically

  • back to basics

& other stuff ingested

  • eating local raw honey
  • I’ve found nothing that works for autumnal spores, mould, etc. apart from trigger-avoidance 😦


  • antihistamines: currently doing very well with cetirizine (branded version = Reactine or Zyrtec)


The information in this sub-section is an abbreviated excerpt from the full “in case of emergency” post over on my unmentionable bl*g*; my old user’s manual to sensitive skin is there too. Ten tips:

1. Check your water, soften it if necessary (Brita filters on taps, shower head, better still at the tank).

2. Use as little water as possible when washing, and tepid–slightly cooler than body temperature.

3. Only shower once a day max.

4. Use very bland unscented products. No actives. Minimal skincare. Hair: when my skin’s been in a bad way, I’ve usually just stuck my hair in plaits/braids or a bun for a couple of days, and got someone elsee to wash it for me (head backwards over sink, minimal contact between products and skin, and using Free & Clear or other unscented minimal shampoo & conditioner). When I’ve been really dry and eczematic, I’ve actually used emollient creams/balms/barrier-repair creams (Allergenics, E45, Elave, Glaxall-base-alikes, A-Derma Exoméga, etc.) for cleaning skinfeels like a cold cream or creamy cleanserrather than a detergent-based actual cleanser.

5. Leave skin damp, apply oil, let that air-dry; while still slightly oily, apply balm/cream to seal in moisture. Oils used: mineral, sunflower, safflower, sesame, almond are my reliable ones that are always OK, never any reactions. If in full eczematic mode, I’ll also use borage-seed oil. Buy the capsules (meant to be ingested), cut one open, spread on skin. Great stuff. If skin is suffering horribly: mineral oil.

6. Smooth all potions & lotions in the direction of flakes & scales, not against them; if they’re very rough and raw, just pat down on top of them. (And no scrubs, exfoliation, etc.: if skin is raw and hurts, justno!)

7. No perfume or scented products. Inc. deodorant–rec. Mitchum unscented smart solid (men/women, same stuff); or the deodowich. Unless you (and your doctor) are 100% sure that certain scents are OK. This (like any other skin over-reaction factor) may change over time; you may become less sensitive overall, or more sensitive, or more sensitive to some things and less so to others. This may change seasonally, or progressively over time.

8. Keep a diary/logbook of what you use, how much you sleep, what you’re eating, symptoms felt (with times and description), also take photos of skin morning and evening, same time every day. It often helps doctors.

9. Change laundry detergent and household cleaning products to fragrance-free minimalist ones. No fabric conditioners. Wear rubber gloves when doing the washing-up. Keep windows op0en when hoovering (better still, get someone else to do it while you’re out).

10. Avoid excessive heating and air-conditioning. All of these things for DH / SO / room- or flat-mates / family / rest of household too. Total quarantine. Some things to put on skin—on irritated patches, breakouts, zits, etc. or all over larger expanses—in alphabetical order. Note that not all people can use all of these things, all skins are different, reactions vary, and reactions may change (ex. from time to time I can’t use aloe, or only in limited doses):

  • alcohol: two forms and uses:(1) rubbing alcohol / surgical spirit / isopropyl alcohol / isopropanol: for disinfecting. May sting. (May also trigger skin reactions: rash, inflammation, etc. It’s OK, if you’re me this just happens dramatically then it goes down and all is well.)(2) the drinkable sort, for its usual purpose and extra easing of pain. May help encourage sleep if taken in hot toddies before bed.
  • aloe vera juice: preferably squeezed straight out of the plant leaf. Or keep some fresh juice in the fridge (often found for drinking purposes in the medicinal section of health-food stores, or in the diet/bodybuilding department elsewhere). Avoid things that claim to be long-life and/or are gels: check ingredients. NBBB: “gel containing 100% aloe vera” ≠ “100% aloe vera”. If the stuff is refrigerated and the only ingredient is aloe vera leaf juice, you’re good.
  • antihistamines taken orally
  • antiseptic cream/ointment, if you’ve scratched at itchy bits, now have open wounds, and risk infection
  • arnica lotion, cream, etc.
  • that old childhood classic, calamine lotion
  • calendula ointment/cream
  • chamomile in creams, DIY poultice, tea compresses, etc.
  • comfrey in a poultice
  • corticosteroid / hydrocortisone cream/ointment, used sparingly, seldom, for a very short time, and as a last resort; under medical supervision, in case of interactions with other medication or diet
  • cream: barrier repair cream / emollient cream
  • frozen peas & ice: brings down swelling
  • honey: spot-treat locally, especially manuka honey but also other raw unpasteurised ones, on wounds, infected patches, zits
  • neem oil
  • oats: fine-ground powdery meal for washing face (mix with water to a smooth paste) or as a mask or poultice (mix with yoghurt etc.), seek it out and its components in product ingredients; use in sock (dangled over running tap) for a bath
  • oil: avocado, borage/starflower seed, hemp, meadowfoam seed, mineral, safflower, sunflower, sweet almond. More on these oils and others in the next section.
  • water: tepid/body-temperature. Out the tap if your water is soft; otherwise get a central filter installed (the kind that uses salts), or fix Brita or similar filters to individual taps (for both washing and drinking/food-use). Or distilled, on skin. Or bottled mineral water, if you’re stuck. Bit of a luxury though.
  • witch hazel distillate or hydrosol, water-based, no alcohol. Unless you know for a fact that your skin is fine with the standard 14% vol kind. Actually: let’s be practical. If you’ve not tried the stuff before, get the standard alcoholic one and see how your skin copes, because it’s much more common and easy to obtain, and it’s cheaper.
  • yoghurt as a mask: full-fat yoghurt, the kind whose ingredients are just milk + bacterial cultures (so: NO skim milk powder, milk proteins, stabilizers, gums, etc.). I usually get organic, sheep or goat rather than cow if possible (but that’s as much for environmentalist reasons as anything else).
  • zinc oxide cream/ointment of the diaper/nappy rash, baby butt paste sort



As before: layering. This may mean a multi-decker sandwich: dampen skin, moisturise, and so on. Layering flexibly: varying thicknesses of layers and location, depending on skin needs: some areas might have one light layer, others several heavier ones.

On days when the weather is massively colder, drier, and/or windier:

  • face & eyes: add shea butter on top of regular moisturiser; on face, in areas that dry out faster (forehead, cheeks, bridge of nose); refined West African shea butter or unrefined East African / Nilotica (irritation with unrefined West African shea); any brand, not fussy abut organic, but only buying fair trade.
  • or anything else heavily occulsive: ex. lanolin cream, petrolatum (unbranded Vaseline), beeswax
  • sunscreen: Vanicream SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2)
  • lip/eye sunscreen: Elemental Herbs unscented Sunstick SPF 30+ (ZnO, unscented version)

When skin is drier, which might or might not coincide with whatever’s going on with the weather:


See further:

Here are some cleansers I’ve used in recent years:

  • The Body Shop aloe calming facial cleanser (old version: new = sucks)
  • CeraVe hydrating cleanser
  • Cliniderm shampoo
  • Curelle ENERGE shampoo
  • Curelle HYDRA shampoo
  • Curelle HYDRA shampoo mixed with Everyday Shea unscented moisturizing body wash
  • Derma E soothing cleanser with pycnogenol
  • Desert Essence unscented shampoo
  • Druide cleansing lotion
  • Earth Science ADE creamy cleanser: IMHO this stuff rocks
  • Earth Science unscented shampoo
  • Everyday Shea unscented moisturising body wash
  • Lavera Basis 2-in-1
  • oats (fine-milled oat flour) mixed to a paste with water, or with liquid cleanser
  • Weleda soothing almond cleanser: not actually very good at cleaning
  • cleansing lotions, milks, creams, andcreamy cleansers:
    various ones from Boots, Marks & Spencer, Superdrug, Tesco’s, Waitrose, etc. And an old CVS knock-off of unscented Pond’s cream cleanser (not used in years, unsure if still exists). 
  • emollient moisturizing cream:
    most of them work well doing double duty as a cold cream
  • moisturising bar cleansers:
    ex. A-Derma, Aveeno, NatureClean, Druide. Syndet (synthetic detergent) cleansing bars but NOT NOT NOT emphatically NOT “true” or “traditional” cold-method soaps. Even the super-fatted ones. On my skin, these strip the already-thin barrier rapidly. After one wash, my skin will be dry and tight. After two washes in a row, there will be visible surface damage including some tears in skin. The best of the lot took 3-5 washes before skin got to that stage: Kiss My Face and other olive Aleppo soaps, Dr. Bronner’s, Weleda.


See further:

Here’s a selection of serums etc. used in recent years:


See further:

On dry skin, adding or substituting something from the assorted stuff in the emergency tool-kit. They’re listed in approximate order of increasing seriousness:

The DIY multi-purpose skin oil

A mix that varies, and has been known to contain the following oils:

  • almond
  • apricot kernel
  • argan oil
  • avocado
  • borage a.k.a. starflower seed (from capsules is cheaper)
  • canola a.k.a. rapeseed: really neat omega fatty acid balance, and not a million miles from meadowfoam seed oil; this is the one I use when in Europe, as it’s readily available and cheap
  • evening primrose
  • hazelnut (too dry on me when used alone)
  • hemp seed
  • jojoba
  • macadamia nut
  • meadowfoam seed oil 
  • mineral: a quick note in its defence.
    Brilliant stuff, I’ve used this for my entire life, with skin in all sorts of conditions. No, it’s NOT crude oil (that’s as different as water is from bleach: chemisty 101); and no, it WON’T suffocate your skin. Nor will any other oil, though an oil–be it animal, plant, or otherwise derived–might well clog your pores: the downside to the upside that is forming a barrier on your skin, trapping moisture, assisting your skin in its own normal / natural barrier functions.
    See also: FAVOURITES: OILS
  • olive (extra-virgin): yes, it’s high oleic but has been known to work on my skin when very very very dry
  • peanut (refined: denaturing the proteins c/o heat; NB this enables use on some irritable skins but not necessarily all; in the case of serious peanut allergy, avoid AND in any case follow your doctor’s orders)
  • plum kernel
  • rapeseed: see canola
  • rice bran (too light and dry on me used alone, but good in a mix when skin’s been outbreaky with hormone-swings, back around age 30)
  • rosehip seed oil: 
  • safflower: if your skin is more clog-/acne-prone and/or irritable: look for high polyunsaturated fats (this is the most usual thing you’ll see on food-grade oils), within which look for a greater proportion of omega-6 fatty acids, within which linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA): NOT high monounsaturates and higher oleic acid. This usually means going for the cheaper sorts of oil: the more expensive cold-pressed first-pressed etc. organic (which has many other splendid qualities, of course) tends to be high-oleic for this particular oil.
  • sesame
  • sunflower (with the same comments as safflower on fatty acid ratios)
  • sweet almond

Where to obtain them: a mix of supermarket cooking variety (ex. sunflower oil) and cosmetic-grade from health-food shops and online suppliers. I have zero brand loyalty and buy whatever brand is cheapest at the time; the only other considerations going into purchasing decisions would be company ethics.

A heavier-duty oil

  • borage seed oil
    • capsules: way cheaper than the bottled oil, and keep better without requiring any extra ingredients; otherwise this stuff needs to be refrigerated
  • hemp seed oil
    • (Manitoba Harvest–Canadian; lives in fridge, used for eating too)
  • avocado oil

A lotion, cream, emollient cream or balm, barrier repair cream

I might not always be using something for its labelled intended purpose, looking instead at ingredients, feel, finish, effect on skin; and tweaking them like anything else according to my own needs; so this includes face, eye, and hand creams; men’s post-shave soothing creams and balms; body lotions and creams; massage stuff; etc. See product reviews in the respective categories too.

Brand: I’m not fussy as to which one, so long as it works, is cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain my usual/current irritants; many pharmacies/chemists/drugstores and supermarkets make decent own-brand knock-offs and Variations On The Theme Of Cream… such as:


Heavy-duty waxy thick-to-solid balms

Such as: 


  • Badger unscented balm, the one in the tinsimilar to the tube lip-balm, slightly more minimal
    = extra-virgin olive oil + beeswax
  • Dr Bronner’s balm, naked (unscented) version, either the lip one in the tube or the one in the tin: exact same stuff
    = jojoba oil + avocado oil 
    beeswax + hemp seed oil + vitamin E 
  • Dr.Hauschka eye contour balm
  • DIY multi-purpose balm
    = shea butter + extra-virgin olive oil + beeswax
    Melt shea butter in a bain marie / double-boiler with Badger unscented balm.
    Pour into tins / other containers of your choice, put something on top to protect from other smells, refrigerate until set, add lids on top and you’re all set.
    Instead of Badger balm, use extra-virgin olive oil + beeswax (cheaper).
    Instead of olive oil, substitute any other oil/s of your choice.
  • petrolatum:
    any brand, usually own-brand as I prefer not to buy Unilever skincare products
  • Prevex protectant cream
    = petrolatum + dimethicone + wax base
  • shea butter:
    preference for East African Nilotica, unrefined, fair trade; irritation with unrefined West African shea butter; OK with refined
  • Sierrra Bees organic unflavoured lip balm (used to be Madre Bees):
    = olive oil + beeswax + sunflower seed oil + vitamin E
  • Silk Naturals Naked Organic lip balm
    = olive, castor, jojoba, avocado, hemp, & cranberry oils + beeswax, candelilla & carnauba waxes
  • Weleda Everon lip balm
  • and various other lip balms



What I do with those various things above, either all over or on localised dry patches:

  • if a little drier:
    • mix in with moisturiser
  • if a lot drier:
    • substitute emollient cream or balm for usual moisturiser
    • and substitute it for usual cleanser: works like a cream cleanser / cleansing balm
  • dry undereye skin, or drying out very fast through the day:
    • on top of eye cream, apply some heavy waxy stuff
      • scoop out a teeny dab, melt between finger-tips, dab on and press in
      • doing this as soon as I feel dryness starting (skin feels tight, can be itchy, feels like it’s about to rip; in a more extreme case, feels raw, slightly rough to the toughyet also paperyand actively hurts)
      • following up at the end of the day: through winter, adding waxy stuff around the eyes and on other drier areas every night
  • dry lips:
    • add a layer of heavy waxy stuff
  • if being flaky (this is what my skin does when it’s very eczematic, for instance):
    • under moisturiser, substitute borage seed oil:
      • cut open a capsule, pour oil into palm of hand, rub hands together, apply oil
    • instead of moisturiser, substitute an unscented basic emollient cream or balm
  • if very dessicated:
    • spray on an extra layer of water on top,
    • then seal it in with waxy stuff

When both skin and weather are drier, and/or also irritable, allergic, eczematic, or otherwise upset:

  • Cleanser: oil (sunflower or mineral: the blandest possible) or emollient cream/balm
  • Toner: water
  • Moisturiser: oil or emollient cream/balm; waxy stuff on lips and around eyes
  • Sunscreen: Vanicream SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2)


Same as a.m., except no sunscreen. PRE-CLEANSING

  • if I’ve been wearing and reapplying more sunscreen, or using a heavier-duty more long-wearing one like Vanicream; using multi-purpose oil like in the morning + then washing as per usual


if I’ve been wearing and reapplying massive quantities of sunscreen, or on the odd occasion when I wear more makeup: substitute usual cleanser for:

  • a creamy cleanser / cleansing cream
    ex. (unscented)

    • CeraVe hydrating cleanser  
    • The Body Shop aloe calming facial cleanser (old version: new = sucks)
    • Derma E soothing cleanser with pycnogenol
    • Weleda soothing almond cleanser: not actually very good at cleaning
    • various ones from Boots, Marks & Spencer, Superdrug, Tesco’s, Waitrose, etc. And an old CVS knock-off of unscented Pond’s cream cleanser (not used in years, unsure if still exists). 
  • ex. (scented)
    • Druide cleansing lotion
    • Earth Science ADE creamy cleanser: IMHO this stuff rocks
    • Lavera Basis 2-in-1
    • or an emollient moisturizing cream: most of them work well doing double duty as a cold cream
    • application: use as normal (wet face, massage on cleanser, rinse)
  • or a cleansing oil
    ex. (unscented)



Delia Smith's molten chocolate puddings

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  • currently unscented shampoo, also used on face and hair:Free & Clear fragrance-free shampoo
    • applicationat least in pits & pubes; I often wash the rest with just oil



  • multi-purpose oil 
    • application: if less dry: in shower, leave on for about a minute, rinse off
    • if more dry, then applied at end of shower and left on to absorb
  • a cream or balm:
    •  multi-purpose balm 
      • application: on hands, elbows, any dry bits, and all eczematic patches (even if currently not active)
      • and on super-dry hands (while at work)
  • recent other stuff used: see EXTRA STUFF (3): DRYNESS


  • antioxidant serum: what I’m using on face, serums in testing stages, and/or cheaper ones that failed test on face, needed to be used up, etc.
    • usually none right now, as it is colder and often raining so I’m mostly covered up
  • good unscented all-physical sunscreen: high %age zinc oxide, and at least SPF 30:
    • Vanicream SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2)
    • or Derma E body SPF 30 (ZnO): easy to use and spread, an important given the practical factor of MORNING
    • or using up sunscreens that were less good on face: currently Babo Botanicals SPF 30 (ZnO)
    • application: on all exposed skin


  • Unscented cream deodorant, of the kind that contains at least
    coconut oil + bicarbonate of soda + a starchy powder (corn or arrowroot is most common).
    Optional extras: clay, beeswax, other moisturising butters/oils; I can also use tea tree oil without adverse reaction (but otherwise avoid essential oils in deodorant like in other products)

    • currently: Primal Pit Paste (unscented version)
      + Primal Pit powder (unscented) if sweatier or exercising 
    • previously:
      Chagrin Valley unscented coconut silk cream deodorant
      The Deodowich

      —layer 1 = 
      an unscented potassium alum a.k.a. crystal rock spray deodorant: the mineral salts in aqueous solution. Better IMHO than the rock or the roll-on versions of the same; any brand
      —layer 2 = deodorant cream 
      or zinc oxide nappy/diaper rash cream or any leftover unused ZnO sunscreen, bought for experimental purposes and that proved to be unwearable.
      —layer 3 = if sweater (and hot sweaty weather): add a layer of unscented baby / body / dusting powder 


  • usually (work): (E)au naturel(le)
  • Roxana Illuminated Perfume solid in Green Witch
    • I can’t use alcohol-based scents, rashes ensue; and my skin chemistry turns many scents either very sweet, or to stale dessicated antique musk, or if I’m really lucky: both. The ones above are some rare and beautiful exceptions
    • application: the usual pulse-points usually under clothing, below the belt, etc…


= mostly the same as extra stuff for face, above

  • Substituting, if being very irritable, such as in spring allergicky season:
    • Cleanser: oil or emollient cream
    • Moisturiser: oil or emollient cream
    • Sunscreen: Vanicream SPF 50
  • Additional or changing moisturiser, used as needed on hands, feet, and any dry patches; a whole arsenal follows arranged in ascending order of severity and seriousness:
    • richer oil: 
      • either used alone or added to the usual multi-purpose oil, as circumstances dictate
      • borage seed oil if being flaky and eczematic: the edible capsule form: take one, cut it open, apply oil;
      • hemp seed oil
      • avocado oil
    • emollient cream or balm
    • a heavy waxy balm
    • olive oil 
      • (plain old kitchen-variety EVOO)
      • rub and soak (hands, feet)

I’ll usually shower in the morning; very quick showers after exercise; and if the weather is very hot and sweaty, will have main shower in the evening and just a quickie in the morning, as it were.

 Nigella Lawson's Molten Chocolate Babycakes

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  • currently:
    Free & Clear fragrance-free shampoo, same as on face & body

    • application: in the usual way, rinse very thoroughly with lots of water. And their buildup-remover shampoo every week or two, as a prewash.
    • for others used more or less recently (last few years), see further down 


  • currently:
    EarthSafe Clean Air conditioner (fragrance-free)

    • application (1): in the usual way, but all over as hair is dryish and wavy (plus prone to frizz in some areas), and rinsed out as soon as I’ve distributed it evenly. That takes maybe about a minute, but anyway by the time all hair feels conditioned.
    • application (2): as a no-poo CO-wash. No shampoo. Massage conditioner well into scalp. Leave it on while I wash the rest of myself etc., so for a few minutes; then rinsed out thoroughly. 
    • for others used more or less recently (last few years), see further down



  • The Body Shop old wooden hairbrush with wood quills and their paddle brush (FSC wood for both)
  • for detangling hair, while damp but not wet, and then a second time after applying post-wash defrizzing stuff: fingers
  • if heat-styling (aka the 2-minute blow-dry of curlier bits, about once a year): old cheap classic vented styling brush



  • shampoo:
    Curelle, with a preference for ENERGE (cleans slightly better than HYDRA)orCliniderm / Free & Clear
    when in the UK & Ireland

  • conditioner:
    any mild fragrance-free one without whatever is triggering or aggravating irritation, eczema, etc.: has included Cliniderm, Curelle, Desert Essence, Druide, EarthSafe, Earth Science, Elave, Free & Clear, Green People, Hugo, John Masters Organics Bare, Mill Creek, Prairie Naturals, Urtekram
  • washing hair as little as possible: when I’ve had bad scalp issues, I’ve usually stuck my hair in plaits/braids for a few days until scalp has stabilized
  • dry scalp: massage in oil, gently: I’ve used borage, hemp, argan, avocado; and Plain Jane mineral, sunflower, and sweet almond for this in the past (see section on oils above).
  • emollient balm / cream as conditioner, on hair that’s touching skin (ex. back of neck, where it’s quite sensitive at the best of times… and in the best of ways…)
  • see also: other things for skin in the main EXTRA STUFF section above, for application to the scalp, back of the neck, behind the ears, etc.: that skin is very like facial skin, and on me it’s the thinnest and one of the areas around my whole body where eczema appears first


Plain and simple: oil.

To deal with dryness and frizz. Oils used: 

  • coconut oil (organic, virgin / cold-pressed, fair trade: Dr Bronner’s); see also reviews just on its use on hair: previously a heavy greasy disaster, but I was using a refined odourless version; different results with the virgin oil. It, olive, and avocado are the three oils with proven benefits for the whole hair strand, down to the core. On my hair (fine, thick, wavy, some frizzy bits), this is the lightest of the three, leaving no greasiness afterwards.
    Argan and meadowfoam also have anecdotal evidence, but all the sources I’ve found so far are too close to industry and not independent enough to be entirely fiable (much as I like those two oils…). Any oil is going to work to smooth down the outer hair cuticle anyway; either left to sit on hair before washing, or used afterwards, or both.

    • application: to dry hair, left there for at least 15-30 minutes (eat breakfast, do early-morning pottering, etc). On the lengths of hair below the ears–not scalp and near hairline, or it greases up fast. On coarser drier curlier longer hair, apply for longer. Frequency: anything from occasionally to weekly. I’d also previously used the hot oil method, the overnight method, on damp or wet hair rather than dry, etc… all of which entail more time and effort, and (on my hair) the results were either as good but no better, or not as good.
  • multi-purpose oil
  • argan oil (Mountain Rose Herbs): good, but not convinced it’s better than the other ones here
  • olive oil (plain old kitchen-variety EVOO): last used this successfully on longer hair, on the lengths. A thick oil, needs a lot of work to wash out.
  • avocado oil: lighter than olive, works in well
  • borage, hemp, or meadowfoam seed oil
    • different use and application for these last three: on the scalp itself, if skin is drier or more eczematic
    • pre-wash with oil as needed, during a dry/eczematic phases about one or twice a week
    • all over, mainly the lengths and ends of hair, and left on for at least 30 minutes before washing hair. Or overnight: wrap hair in at least a towel, or the entire bed will be oily…


All fragrance-free unless indicated otherwise.

  • Avalon Organics olive & grapeseed moisturizing shampoo: drier on hair, irritation on scalp with new version
  • Ballyhoo Bath Fragrance-Free Solid Shampoo Bar (Etsy)favourite solid shampoo; Get Lathered (used previously) is also good. Note: these are actual concentrated syndet shampoos (minus the water), unlike most “shampoo bars” that are just cold-process soap relabelled 
  • Beauty Without Cruelty Moisturizing (scented)
  • Cliniderm: see Free & Clear, same stuff; this and the conditioner are made by the same people (PSIco, and are cruelty-free), though most other Cliniderm products are not (and are not cruelty-free)
  • Curelle ENERGÉ
  • Curelle HYDRA: moister than ENERGE, possibly too moist and weighing hair down on me (but” fine hair). I prefer ENERGE as it cleans hair better and seems more concentrated, in that you need less for the purpose. NB neither shampoo cleans that well, in the long term (even when used with their build-up-remover shampoo too)
  • Desert Essence: OK for one wash, but if used twice of more in succession, drying and some scalp irritation (bumps, itchy) 
  • Desert Essence Coconut  (scented): great, moisturising, fabulous stuff; some issues with scent, can’t use this now
  • Druide
  • EarthSafe Clean Air
  • Earth Science 
  • Elave
  • Faith in Nature (various, especially the Hemp & Meadowfoam)
  • Free & Clear (reviews for the newer formula are here): good
  • Get Lathered solid Shampoo That Rocks (from Etsy)
  • Green People (various, including unscented & rosemary)
  • Hugo
  • Mill Creek
  • Prairie Naturals
  • Urtekram  


  • Alba Botanica Coconut (scented): nice, moist, but issues with the scent, can’t use this continuously; with amodimethicone, which is good on my hair
  • Aubrey Organics GPB (scented): one of my favourite protein-y ones, but hair takes ages to dry afterwards; stopped using due to irritation and eczema-exacerbation on scalp and neck
  • Avalon Organics olive & grapeseed: old version was mostly OK, new version = irritation
  • Ballyhoo Bath Fragrance-Free Solid Conditioner Bar (Etsy): ace
  • Beauty Without Cruelty moisturising and everyday conditioners (scented): a (light-ish but rich) protein favourite, plus a nice balance of silicones (not too much), good for everyday use: maybe a teeny bit moister than their leave-in, and hair dries faster (thank you silicones), but not much between them 
  • Beauty Without Cruelty leave-in conditioner (scented): very like the moisturising non-leave-in one, but the leave-in has no silicones; can of course be used as a rinse-out (but less moisturising than the moisturising non-leave-in); probably the best leave-in I’ve used since the demise of the lovely Aveda Elixir leave-in…
  • Cliniderm: see Free & Clear, same stuff
  • Curelle RICHE: moister than TRESLITE below, but weighs down finer hair
  • Curelle TRÈSLITE: less moist than the RICHE, but preferred on fine hair. Also works for CO-washing / as a cleansing conditioner
  • Desert Essence: poor, not very conditioning
  • Desert Essence Coconut conditioner (scented): very moist, but issues with scent, can’t use this continuously
  • EarthSafe Clean Air
  • Earth Science Fragrance-Free: decent but not moisturising enough 
  • Elave
  • Faith in Nature (various, especially the Hemp & Meadowfoam)
  • Free & Cleardecent
  • Get Lathered solid Conditioner That Rolls (from Etsy): very good conditioner bar, with dimethicone 
  • Green People (various, including unscented & rosemary)
  • Hugo
  • John Masters Organics Bare conditioner/detangler, and the citrus neroli scented version: slightly dry on me
  • John Masters Organics Honey Hibiscus (scented) hair reconstructor: scary price, but lovely stuff
  • Mill Creek
  • Prairie Naturals
  • Urtekram


  • if dry and frizzing more: a drop of an oil, any moisturiser, or a multi-purpose balm
    • application: on ends and any frizzy bits, while hair is damp after shower



  • CONFESSION: it’s unutterably skanky but sometimes I don’t have time to wash my hair and it’s no longer adequate to put it up or in a plait. Yes, even though I can usually get three days out of a wash; yes, I am that lazy and/or disorganised and zombie-like in the morning.
  • using a fine-spun starchy powder: arrowroot powder is great
  • or whatever I’m also using as a body powder, as the occasional third layer in the deodowich), best one I’d used as a dry shampoo–but not that great for its main purpose–better than actual dry shampoos like Klorane, Ojon, Batiste, etc.–was the pricey Dr.Hauschka Body Silk Powder


Dennis Cotter's olive oil chocolate mousse

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These are either being used currently right now, or are in The Bag and have been used at some point in the past month.


Skin currently in decent shape; but I refuse to leave my burrow and encounter fresh air outside, let alone people, without a minimum coating of black mascara. Down to roots of lashes, looking vaguely convincing as though tinted. Can go from alien to human-ish-oid in an easy comfortable 10 minutes (with tea), current record is 6 minutes.


  • black, ideally waterproof, certainly smudge-proof and non-flaking (more on mascara preferences further down)
  • the regulars: 
    • Reviva Labs
    • Herban Luxe waterproof (Etsy)

    • application: a rapid once-over, all over; top and bottom lashes, upper and lower sides; two to three coats on upper lashes, but no going back over lashes in another full coat. Water-resistant and smudge-proof for everyday purposes.
  • other mascaras used more or less recently and liked:
  • see also: CRUELTY-FREE BRAND LIST: the first of multiple parts, compiled in May 2012 and updated through July, just for mascara though all of the brands listed also make other makeup and most of them make skincare and some haircare too








  • Silk Naturals perfecting powder (translucent)
    • decanted into an old loose powder container (Laura Mercier finishing powder: has neat internal swivel top)
    • applied all over with hands à la Clinique-powder-rubdown + a teeny bit applied with a small brush—same kind as used for eye concealer—under the lower lashline: helps prevent mascara smudging, if done before doing eye makeup
    • I don’t use this often, as it’s drying on my skin
    • I’ve also experimented with a cheap DIY version of this, made up while waiting for fresh supplies of the SN lovely stuff: silk powder + serecite (mica) + very small quantity of silica microspheres. My skin’s on the dry side; add more silica if you’re oilier. Source for raw materials: Garden of Wisdom. I didn’t follow a recipe but approximated, based on the SN ingredient list and what felt right when mixing. Poured into large ziplock bag. Thrown, mushed, and squidged around. Some decanted into the old loose powder container, the rest kept in the bag. I’ve subsequently added zinc oxide powder to it (approximately 1/4 quantity)


There is a Level Four: full-out war(paint). Used so rarely that I would have to go out and buy stuff if I actually genuinely needed to use the stuff again (which is unlikely): I no longer have any foundation, blush, illuminators, eyeshadow, etc. 



equal exchange chocolate

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A couple of quick definitions:

  • physical = mineral = inorganic
    chemical = organic
  • a physical sunscreen is one whose actives are ONLY
    zinc oxide (ZnO)
    titanium dioxide (TiO2)

For more, much more, here on MUA:


  1. This list is not complete.
    It does not include every single physical sunscreen in existence. I have not used, or indeed met, every sunscreen even just currently on the market right now this very minute.
  2. It’s probably not up to date.
    It’s maintained more regularly off-MUA. 
  3. It’s just a list.
    I may have added some notes on ones I’ve tried, or not; I may or may not have reviewed some (on or off MUA). You and your skin may well disagree with me and mine. Your mileage may vary, as ever.
  4. It’s just for information.
    Bare bones information,
    intended as a starting-point for your further research. For more on each item, go look it up c/o your search-engine of choice.


= five stars. Plain and simple. And SHOUTING OUT the name.

= good around the eyes, as well as primary intended purpose (face, lips, general use all over, etc.)

= powder mineral sunscreen: may be a good idea on oilier skin; or for those who can’t tolerate all known liquid, cream, etc. ones; or as a top-up for using over main sunscreen during the day.
NB: Will not be as protective as a non-powder sunscreen, as the latter ensure more even coverage whilst using a thinner layer of less product.

= a tinted sunscreen (some are also powder ones), including some BB and CC creams and suchlike. A good idea on most skintones, when dealing with ZnO and TiO, which are whitening. Not a good idea on paler skintones. Hence why I’m not using them.
NB: if applied in a light elegant fine layer, may not be as protective as a sunscreen proper. Depending on formulation.

non-bold name + italics + TESTED ON ANIMALS
not cruelty-free, or cruelty-free status uncertain
Using the term “animal-tested” re. a company conducting animal testing themselves, on products and newly-developed ingredients, in development and production stages. As distinct from all testing of all ingredients, which have all (well, pretty much all, everything legally allowed to be used on human skin: water, for example) been tested on animals at some point even a long long time ago and not by that company for that product.
“Cruelty-free” can be misleading, and can give the illusion of innocence and purity. No-one is pure as the driven snow: we are all tainted by generations of animal abuse: while sins of the fathers cannot be washed away, and while we ourselves may not be individually guilty, this is a minimal mark of respect for other fellow sentient beings’ suffering and sacrifice.
NB: this position is changing (as of March 2013) for European companies, in the wake of new changes in EU legislation. In an ideal world, many of the animal-tested companies will have joined civilized humanity by this time next year, or the year after, or soon anyway…

non-bold name + italics +TESTED ON ANIMALS (CHINA)
the company itself doesn’t conduct any animal testing itself (from ingredients through development and manufacturing and on to final product at last stages), but its products are for sale on the Chinese market. They may be subject to testing by the Chinese authorities prior to approval for sale. That testing may (currently mostly does) include testing on animals. As such, the original company concerned is guilty of washing its hands of responsibility for ensuring that its products are not tested on animals as part of that pre-sale state approval process (this is particularly the case for sunscreens, which are in a different category from other cosmetic products, closer to that of drugs).
UPDATE (2013-11, 2014-04): the animal testing situation in China is changing in a positive direction. Products may be sold on the Chinese market that have been tested by non-animal means elsewhere (ex. in the EU, in accordance with changes this year to EU rules), without having to be tested on animals in China. This situation is in a state of movement, so consumers would be best advised to contact manufacturers directly. 

= changed, reformulated beyond recognition, discontinued, disappeared, and otherwise deceased

= Badgeriffic Badger-likes: thick, greasy, pasty, whitening; clown-face guaranteed; not for adults and anyone else post-pubescent, but probably great on toddlers. Having said that, some of the 2013 reformulated Badger sunscreens are non-Badgeriffic. Heresy.

= not tested this myself: there may be a reason for this (contains known irritants, that is, ingredients known to irritate my skin; YMMV for all other skins), or not (just haven’t got round to it). Includes some other all-physicals that have received good reception on MUA and seem to actually work; I don’t always have full names and SPFs and ingredients, but should have included enough of the name to make these findable if you’re interested and (re)searching.


  • 100% Pure Argan Oil Hydration Facial Moisturizer SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T (reason: contains known irritants)
  • 100% Pure Pomegranate Antioxidant Hydration SPF 20 (ZnO):
    N/T (reason: contains known irritants)
  • Alba Botanica fragrance-free/kids mineral SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    Decent on body, some breakouts on face
  • All Terrain aqua/terra/etc. physical SPF 30, and the spray versions (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T properly (just did patch-test on hand), looks decent on paper, but failed 2013 Consumer Reports testing for label claims on sun protection 
  • Andalou Naturals All in One Beauty Balm Sheer Tint with SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: tint, scent
  • Andalou Naturals Oil Control Beauty Balm Untinted with SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: scent (palmarosa = frquent irritant on my skin); otherwise looks really nice
  • Arcona Reozone 40 SPF 40 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T (reason: silly price for what it is)+ animal-testing status unknown
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Unscented SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    Near-unwearable: greasy, whitening. Newly reformulated (2013), and AO have at long last binned the old unstable chemical sunscreens in favour of some straight-up (albeit old-fashioned) all-physicals. The old grapefruit-seed-extract preservative has been replaced by Japanese honeysuckle extract (works like parabens, roughly speaking, and a better solution). Still, old-fashioned Badgerlike formulation… think older Badger… Also in scented versions (tropical / green tea). With all the AO sunscreens: a better bet on body than face, re. potentially clogging ingredients. One point of interest / questionable: large particle size, and a very high %age of filters used for the resulting SPF.
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Unscented SPF 30 Spray (ZnO):
    N/T: looks decent on paper, but at the greasier and more Badgerlike end of the spectrum.
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Unscented SPF 45 (ZnO):
    UNWEARABLE Badgerlike and greasy, but the most protective of their current offerings
  • Avène High Protection Mineral Cream SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    thick, pasty, and either chalky or a disastrous tint for anyone other than a narrow band of population: neither for paler people nor for darker ones. For tinted s/s, look elsewhere.
  • Aveeno Natural Protection Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    There’s also a “Baby” version that’s identical (except for the word “Baby” which has been inserted before “Natural”).
    failed 2013 Consumer Reports testing for label claims on sun protection
    Decent, very moisturising, thick but slightly mousse-y; some clogging around nose and forehead after several weeks’ use (this often happens to me with shea butter). Very like Elemental Herbs.
  • Badger Unscented Sport SPF 35 (ZnO):
    the most adult-compatible of the current Badger sunscreens; very simple, just zinc oxide in oils & beeswax. No irritation on me, but insufficiently protective: early stages of burning.
  • Badger, other sunscreens (ZnO or ZnO + TiO2):
    Add also, re the Unscented SPF 34: failed 2013 Consumer Reports testing for label claims on sun protection (but possibly not the current 2013 formulation? check with CS and B)
  • Banana Boat Natural Reflect Sunscreen Lotion/Kids SPF 30+ (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T, looked Badgerlike on paper
  • BECCA Mineral SPF 30+ Face and Body Sunscreen (ZnO):
    N/T; scented, replacement for the old discontinued SPF primer
  • BECCA Mineral Tint SPF 30+ Sunscreen (ZnO):
    N/T; three shades available, scented
  • Belly Buttons & Babies SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: a very high-zinc minimalist one, looks on paper like it might be baby butt paste-y
  • Bioderma ABCDerm Sun Cream SPF 50+ (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Bioderma Photoderm Mineral SPF 50+ Fluid  (ZnO + TiO2):
    Tested out: lovely stuff, good protection, good on photosensitive reactions. Very much improved on previous very pasty versions; the 2014 version is very liquid, spreadable, elegant and with little siliconey feel. 

  • ***** BLUE LIZARD SENSITIVE / BABY SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2) *****
    unscented; the baby and sensitive versions are identical; when buying this, I usually buy a gallon, which will last (two people, the other one using this on face too) the next couple of years or so. Our regular summer slap-it-on-all-over sunscreen. “Australian formula”: American company, made in an American lab, but to Australian standard. Usable all over, including eye area.
  • BurnOut Eco-Sensitive Clean & Clear SPF 35 (ZnO)
    Reformulated (2014) and no longer a joy and delight. Badger-like.
  • BurnOut Kids SPF 30 (ZnO):
    (this refers to an older version; not tested since 2011) thicker, greasy, and slightly irritating on me
  • BurnOut Ocean Tested SPF 30 (ZnO)
    Waterproof without clogging, good in water, if sweating, etc. Used to be a regular until change in formula 2013-07. Slightly smoother and more wearable / usable than the reformulated (early 2014) Eco-Sensitive.
  • Burt’s Bees, various:
    UNWEARABLE + I think also RIP, for their old Badgerlike sunscreens
    some might also consider their products NOT CRUELTY-FREE / borderline TESTED ON ANIMALS as the parent company, Clorox, isn’t.
  • California Baby SPF 30 super sensitive / no fragrance (TiO2):
    OK on body, otherwise greasy though not as bad as Badgerlikes; iffy on face (zits); like their other TiO2 sunscreens, insufficient UVA protection. Also: failed 2013 Consumer Reports testing for label claims on sun protection
  • Cancer Council Australia Sensitive SPF 30+ (ZnO):
    N/T: looks decent on paper; their other sunscreens are all at least part-chemical
  • Canyon Ranch Your Transformation Protect UVA/UVB SPF 30 Facial Moisturizer (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T; contains known irritants
    ??? ANIMAL-TESTING STATUS: unknown, have emailed company to check
  • Cellex-C Sun Care SPF 30+ (ZnO + TiO2):
  • CeraVe Body Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: looks decent on paper, there are reports of greasy thickness
  • CeraVe Face Lotion Sunscreen SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: looks decent on paper, quite a siliconey one
  • Chocolate Sun Marigold Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T (reason: contains known irritants) and RIP? (2013-05-27: products no longer on MF website and all extant references to it online are from 2010-11)
  • Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40 Day Screen (TiO2):
    fond memories; some irritation from fragrance; changes name and varies formula from time to time, current one has some more of some fruit or other in it (watermelon?). Their men’s SPF 20 (and its various incarnations) is similar.
    Big con: insufficient UVA protection (TiO2 being the only active). May also have too much alcohol in it for more sensitive skins. And scent. And, depending on version, SLS which is not a great idea for a leave-on product on assorted kinds of sensitive skins.
  • Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40 Day Screen Tint (TiO2):
    N/T: tinted version of previous item, three shades available
  • Clarins Sun Wrinkle Control Eye Contour Care SPF 30 (TiO2):
    splendid unscented eye-area sunscreen, except for the insufficient UVA protection
  • Cliniderm SPF 45 (ZnO + TiO2):
    very matte, too dry on me
  • Clinique old City Blocks SPF 25 and the even older 15 … (ZnO + TiO2):
    the next versions of the 25 were unwearable, tint too dark and greasy.
    NB Clinique’s CX SPF 40, and their other sunscreens, are part-physical, part-chemical.

  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sun Protection SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    very good loose powder sunscreen, several delivery systems of which the brush-on one is the easiest to use, several tints; better on oilier skin, if drier need serious moisturising underneath (I can’t use this alone, and when I did use it—a while back—I used it as a sunscreen top-up over regular sunscreen; also, used on places like legs, evens out skintone like foundation would)
  • Colorescience Sunforgettable Mineral Powder Sun Protection SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T, sounds like it’s much heavier and more drying
  • Colescience Sunforgettable Eyescreen SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T, on paper sounds like a finer-milled, pink-tinted version of the regular SPF 30 powder
  • Coral Safe → see Mexitan 
  • CosMedix Reflect SPF 30 (TiO2):
    N/T + insufficient UVA protection+ animal-testing status unknown
  • CoTZ Face SPF 40, Untinted for Lighter Skin Tones (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T current version: notes refer to older one (2010-11). Siliconey loveliness; but needs more serious removal. I.e. in the evening, I can’t be lazy but must pre-cleanse (plain oil or oil cleanser–GoW or SN), then wash thoroughly. Otherwise I get zitty bits in the more sensitive areas of face, around nose.
  • CoTZ Face SPF 40, for Natural Skin Tones (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: tinted version of previous item
  • CoTZ Pediatric / Sensitive SPF 40 (ZnO):
    N/T these two current versions; used previous version (looks similar to identical) called “20% Zinc Vanishing Formula SPF 35.” Good, but again I get zitty with this; and too dry on my skin.
  • CoTZ PURE SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T; main difference from previous items = use of plant-based ingredients, no silicones; light tint (which could mean anything; on me, usually rings warning bells)
  • ***** DERMA E BODY SPF 30 (ZnO) *****
    Nice: smooth, fluid, easy to apply, moist, no irritation, seems to protect decently. Unscented, extra antioxidants (green tea extract, SAP, vitamin E).
  • Derma E face SPF 30 (ZnO):
    similar to the previous one, but oil-free; tested out rapidly, too dry on me. Similarly pleasant texture.
  • Dermalogica SuperSensitive FaceBlock SPF 30 (TiO2 +ZnO):
    reactions (but when skin was generally reactive); reactions to the fragrance i.e. sneezing; occasionally been known to be OK on skin. Contains, hilariously, some phototoxic essential oils. Expensive, but cheaper than the similar-feeling Clarins UV Plus SPF 40
  • Dermaquest ZinClear SPF 30 (ZnO):
    Used a sample; formula may have changed since then. Seriously lovely stuff. Reason not using: silly price, and on my skin it’s very like (the much cheaper) BurnOut Eco-Sensitive (that is, the old alas now RIP version). 
  • Devita Solar Protective Moisturizer SPF 30 (ZnO):
    irritation; burning (i.e. from sun); MF issues on functionality-testing; otherwise, feels gorgeous
  • Devita Solar Body Block / Body Moisturizer SPF 30 (ZnO):
    irritation and burning
  • Devita Rx UltraSolar 50 Moisturizer (ZnO):
    N/T; actual UVA & UVB protection uncertain, and once bitten twice shy on protection (or rather: twice burned thrice shy)
  • Dr Mercola → see Mexitan
  • E45 SPF 25 & 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    RIP: though they were thick and greasy, for a long time they were the only commercial sunscreens available to me. When they were terminated (and while I was still in the UK), I had to go over completely to pharmacist-compounded stuff. Fond memories, nostalgia.
  • Eco Logical Baby SPF 30+ (ZnO):
    Feels very like the Body one below, moister still, but irritation thanks to frankincense. American company, but Australian formulation, manufacture, and to Australian standards. All their sunscreens have a light sweet scent (c/o coconut & cocoa derivatives; unfragranced).
  • ***** ECO LOGICAL BODY SPF 30+ (ZnO) *****
    excellent around the eyes; slightly too rich/heavy for me on face.
  • ***** ECO LOGICAL FACE SPF 30+ (ZnO) *****
    lovely, all over face, around eyes too.
  • Ego SunSense Sensitive SPF 50+ (ZnO + TiO2) *****
    decent body sunscreen, light and clear; slight outbreaks on face (probably shea butter)
  • Elta MD Pure Broad-Spectrum SPF 47 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: looks good on paper, if OK with the silicones
  • Elta MD UV Physical SPF 41 (ZnO + TiO2):
    used and disliked old versi0n (tint unsuitable on my skin), many other people love it
  • Éminence Organics Persimmon & Cantaloupe Day Cream SPF 32 (ZnO):
    tested out (um, forcibly, and thereby hangs a tale), irritation; overpriced for what it is; no idea if it actually works as a sunscreen; but nice light texture
  • Epicuren Zinc Sunscreen SPF 20 (ZnO):
  • Episencial Babytime! Fragrance-Free Sunny Sunscreen SPF 35 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T; looks decent on paper
  • Erbaviva Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: lavender oil
  • Fallene CoTZ → see CoTZ 
  • FANCL Sunguard SPF 30 PA+++ (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: heavy on the silicones
  • Ganehill → see Invisible Zinc
  • Glycolix Elite → see Topix
  • Goddess Garden Baby SPF 30 (ZnO):
    probably the best-formulated of their sunscreens (other versions have lavender), but basically a Badgerlike
  • GoodSkin All Calm Gentle Sunscreen SPF 25 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T (not available here, never seen, seems not sufficiently amazing—only SPF 25—to be worth making that extra effort; but looks good on paper, and a decent price)
  • ***** GRAHAM’S SUNCLEAR SPF 30+ (ZnO) *****
    very good simple stuff, unscented (but coconutty smell), clear zinc, slightly greasy feel but superb spreadable suff on body
  • Green Babies Zinc Oxide SPF 30 (zinc oxide)
    N/T: unscented but looks somewhat Badgerlike on paper, though users report it ging on clear (but unclear whether that’s by Badger-on-child standards or by cosmetically elegant adult ones)
  • Green Beaver SPF 30 Adult/Kids (ZnO):
    Usable: very oily, takes at least 30 minutes to sink into skin (and we’re talking moisturised by dry skin: on most people, this stuff will take for ever), but no reactions and skin stays moist all day.
  • ***** HAMILTON SENSITIVE SPF 30+ (ZnO + TiO2) *****
    formula almost identical to Blue Lizard (which is interesting, as BL claims to be “Australian formula” but isn’t from Australia or for sale there, whereas Hamilton is, and is); available in Ireland (where BL isn’t); used this in the Antipodes in the late ’90s and in Ireland in the mid-’00s. Fond memories, good stuff.
  • Hara Sport SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T; reason: heavy butteriness (likely to be Badgerlike, looks it on paper)
    ??? ANIMAL-TESTING STATUS: unknown, have emailed company to check
  • Heiko SPF 40 (ZnO):
    UNWEARABLE Badgerlike; also, contains lavender oil. The Kids and non-kids versions are identical. There also used to be an SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2) and an SPF 15. Not seen for a while; brief internet searches suggest all these Heiko sunscreens have been discontinued (2013-05-27).
  • Image Skincare Image MD Reconstructive Moisturizer SPF 30 (ZnO?):
    N/T; may be RIP
  • Image Skincare Prevention+ Daily Hydrating Moisturizer SPF 30 (ZnO):
  • Image Skincare Prevention+ Daily Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Invisible Zinc 4-Hour  Water Resistant Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    a.k.a. Ganehill / Megan Gale
  • Invisible Zinc Environmental Skin Protector SPF 30 (ZnO):
    tested: not very invisible, bizarre mix of greasy and dry; in pump dispenser
  • Invisible Zinc Face & Body Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T; this is the one in the (larger) tube, also in a mini clip-on tube
  • Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T; tinted version of the ESP one
  • Invisible Zinc UV Silk Shield Foundation Stick SPF 30 (ZnO):
  • Jason Earth’s Best Mineral-based SPF 30+ (ZnO + TiO2):
    UNWEARABLE, poor protection, and overly-scented (incl lavender)
  • Jason Mineral Natural Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    2014 version is unscented and wearable; a smoother version of the Alba Botanica one further up this list. Ingredient-list and feel suggest it might be using zinclear or a similar coated microfine ZnO, which would (in my book) be good news. Fine on body, less good on face (aloe vera, shea butter).
    one of the most elegant, wearable, and just plain nice super-squeaky-green sunscreens I’ve used. As good as the best non-green ones.
  • Johnson & Johnson Baby Daily Face & Body Lotion SPF 40 (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Josie Maran Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 40 (ZnO + TiO2):
    elegant but overpriced and siliconey; slight scent
  • Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Repair CC Cream SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: scent, citrus oils. Listing it as some high-zinc BB and CC creams like this could be a good option for light exposure, and for those with darker skin-tones; the JB stuff listed here all has 20% ZnO.
  • Juice Beauty SPF 30 Oil-Free Moisturizer (ZnO):
    N/T: known irritants (mainly, again, essential oils inc. citrus ones)
  • Juice Beauty SPF 30 Tinted Mineral Moisturizer (ZnO):
    N/T: scent, tint. Available in several tints. If you’re OK with the essential oils and other ingredients, a good tinted option
  • June Jacobs
    RIP, old all-physical sunscreen has been discontinued; and that aside, N/T as all JJ s/s also contain known irritants
  • Kabana Green Screen SPF 32 (ZnO):
    N/T  but looks like a decent option
  • Karen’s Botanicals Simple Sunblock Lotion SPF 30, Unscented (ZnO):
  • Key Sun White Zinke SPF 30+ (ZnO + TiO2):
    I’ve used an ancestor of this: thick pasty old-skool zinc oxide. Like baby butt paste. Great all over. Careful, as the other sunscreens from this brand are not all-physical.
  • Keys Solar Rx SPF 30 (ZnO):
    serious irritation
  • Kibio Body Lotion SPF 50+ (ZnO + TiO2):
    A Clarins spin-off company; superior if still scented sunscreens. This one is in a larger size than the Face one (next item), cheaper, and creamier texture. There’s also SPF 20 face & body lotions too.
  • Kibio Face Lotion SPF 50+ (ZnO + TiO2):
    Slightly scented, elegant fluid “veil” texture.
  • Kinesys Sunscreen Ointment with pure zinc oxide SPF 30 (ZnO):
    UNWEARABLE, applies like nappy-/diaper-rash cream, plus strong scent; note that the other Kinesys sunscreens are all part-chemical
  • Kiss My Face Kids Mineral SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    irritation, breakouts, and Badgerlike
  • Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: higher %age (clear) zinc than the kids’ one, looks decent on paper but failed 2013 Consumer Reports testing for label claims on sun protection
  • L’Occitane Angelica UV Shield SPF 40 (TiO2):
    N/T: looks like an overscented pepperminted version of the Immortelle one further down

  • L’Occitane Buriti do Pará SPF 30 Veil (TiO2):
    another pleasant siliconey veil; BUT irritation from fragrance + insufficient UVA protection; best of their short-lived Buriti sunscreen collection.
    Nb: company was fully cruelty-free at the time
  • L’Occitane Immortelle  Brightening UV Shield SPF 40 Veil (TiO2):
    another pleasant-feeling siliconey veil; BUT irritation from fragrance + insufficient UVA protection
  • Lavanila The Healthy Sunscreen SPF 40 Face Cream (ZnO + TiO2):
    very average (old-fashioned), overpriced, over-scented; OK on hand for me, too greasy and cloggy for face
  • Lavera Babies & Children Neutral SPF 20 kids’ spray (ZnO + TiO2):
    their spf 20 (old 40) cream is too thick and greasy, though
  • Lise Watier Sun Smart Universal UV Shield SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    decent unscented siliconey primer
  • Lise Watier Sun Smart Universal UV Shield Tinted SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: tinted version of previous item
  • Little Twig  Extra Mild Unscented Sunscreen SPF 30+ (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T, looked very good indeed on paper
    very decent, may be too moist on some people, but goes off fast
  • Loving Naturals Clear Face SPF30+ (ZnO):
    lighter than the Body version; potentially great if you’re OK with the aloe vera
  • Loving Naturals Adorable Baby SPF30+ (ZnO):
    thicker and heavier than the Body version
  • Luzern La Défense SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: Z-cote, no silicones, no fragrance, looks nice. But pricey
  • Marie Véronique Kid Safe Screen SPF 25 (ZnO):
    N/T: reason = contains known irritants (ylang ylang oil); also, looks like it’s tinted
  • Marie Véronique Moisturizing Face Screen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T current incarnations; used an earlier incarnation: issues with tint, scent, and irritation.
    But: this is a favourite amongst the tinted sunscreens, and available in a range of tones. For lots of other people.
  • MD Moms Baby Silk Daily UV Shield SPF 30+ Moisturizing Lotion (ZnO + TiO2):
  • MDSolar Sciences Mineral Tinted Crème SPF 30 (ZnO):
    ??? ANIMAL-TESTING STATUS: unknown, have emailed company to check
  • Megan Gale → see Invisible Zinc
  • Mexitan Tropical Sands SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    also, their SPF 30 (but looks much inferior: the 50 has 22.5% ZnO, whereas the 30 only has 6)
    = same stuff as Dr Mercola
    = and also branded as Coral Safe
    N/T: never seen or used, but looks good on paper: Z-Cote & T-Lite (good), but (bad) also eucalyptus oil which is an irritant on my skin.
  • MyChelle Replenishing Sun Defense SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: reason: new + price; but looks like a decent option: except for… the sandalwood (and, for clog-prones, watch that algae extract)
  • ***** MYCHELLE SUN SHIELD SPF 28 (ZnO + TiO2) *****
    2014 unscented version with zinclear: nice. Smooth, light, even. Very like the feel of a siliconey sunscreen. And untinted. Old version was tinted and no use on me: tint. But that may be a great thing for anyone who’s darker than NW05, i.e. most of the human population. Pricy compared to my current stuff, but cheap compared to other zinclear sunscreens (DermaQuest, Invisible Zinc); would rebuy this for winter.
  • Natural Instinct Day Cream SPF 30 (ZnO):
  • Natural Instinct Micro-Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T; usually called “Mineral” sans “micro-” though that’s what it says on the label
  • Neutrogena, variously-named Sensitive (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: silicones
    2012 version
    failed 2013 Consumer Reports testing for label claims on sun protection
  • NIA24 Sun Damage Prevention Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T (price, silicones, fragrance)
  • Obagi NuDerm Physical UVBlock SPF 32 (ZnO):
    N/T (reason: silly price for what it is)
  • Origins Silent Treatment SPF 15 (TiO2):
    one of the first of its kind? certainly my first veil, in the 1990s. Before I know about the need for full-spectrum protection, living in blissful ignorance with no zinc oxide… 

  • Osmosis Shade Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: looks great on paper
  • Paula’s Choice Hydralight Shine-Free Daily Mineral Complex SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Paula’s Choice RESIST Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Daily Moisturizing Lotion SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Peter Thomas Roth CC Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Complexion Corrector (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    decent tinted loose powder sunscreen/foundation; various shades available; drying on me but good idea if oilier (there’s also an Oily Problem Skin oil-free version)
  • Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral SPF 45 (ZnO + TiO2):
    like previous item (except just the one version)
  • Physicians Formula MineralWear Talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Loose Powder SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T, brush-on version, looks decent on paper
  • Physicians Formula MineralWear Talc-Free Mineral Airbrushing Pressed Powder SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T, looks decent on paper; there’s also a blusher and bronzer to match
  • Physicians Formula Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Balm Powder SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T, looks decent on paper
  • Physicians Formula Super BB All-in-1 Beauty Cream SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Poofy Organics Spernaturals Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: known cloggers (ex. cocoa butter) and irritants (ex. eucalyptus oil) for my face; otherwise looks decent on paper, and some good reports from other users online
    Beautiful simple formulation; lovely lightweight elegant delicious stuff, feels like silk on skin, like the finest siliconey veils but without the silicones. But: tricky to obtain, though. Prohibitive shipping costs to Canada.
  • Pratima Neem Vetiver Body Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    slightly cheaper body version of the above, more heavily scented. Tested out (many years ago), too scented for me.
  • Pur Vous Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    ??? ANIMAL-TESTING STATUS: unknown, have emailed company to check
  • Purple Prairie Sun Stuff SPF 30 (ZnO):
    nice, moist, too moist and wrong oils for face on me; goes off fast; see separate reviews elsewhere on here
  • Raw Elements Eco Formula SPF 30+ (ZnO):
  • Replenix → see Topix
  • Rodan + Fields SOOTHE Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: looks good if siliconey on paper, but overpriced for what it is
  • Seventh Generation Wee Generation Baby Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: might be OK, might be cloggy, contains lavender oil
  • Shiseido Gentle Sun Protection Lotion SPF 33  (ZnO + TiO2):
    experimented; good for a week or so, then issues (irritated eyes, some buildup-irritation round the nose during the day). Lightweight, fragrance-free “veil”.
  • SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
  • SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical Fusion SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: untinted version of previous item
  • SkinCeuticals Physical UV Defense SPF 30 Cream (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Smart Girls Who Surf SPF 30+ Mineral Sunscreen (ZnO + TiO2):
    decent, Blue Lizard-like, but heavily orange-scented
  • Smart Kids Who Play SPF 35+ Mineral Sunscreen (ZnO + TiO2):
    similar to previous item (slightly thicker), different packaging for different target market; ditto Surf-Vival SPF 30+ Mineral Sunscreen
  • Solbar Shield SPF 40 (ZnO + TiO2):
    not used in many years, and not since becoming prone to skin unhappiness with many silicones 
  • Soleo SPF 30 (ZnO):
  • Sunbow Sunscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T; available in two versions, “Dora the Explorer” and “Spongebob Squarepants”; and in a spray lotion (mainly SBSP)
  • Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen for Baby, Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: best of their options, being unscented
  • Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen for Body, Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T; same as previous item but with added scent
  • Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer, Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T, scented
  • Suntegrity “5 in 1″ Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: = tinted version (2 shades) of the previous item; scented
  • Supergoop SPF 35 Daily Correct CC Cream (ZnO + TiO2):
    in two tints, the lighter of which is too dark on me; this is the only all-physical of the Supergoop sunscreens; unscented, siliconey (nice finish, just YMMV as ever)
  • Surf-Vival → see Smart
  • Tarte BB Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
  • Thinkbaby / Thinksport / Thinksport Kids Sunscreen SPF 50+ (ZnO):
    N/T. Reason: known irritants  (pine resin) and cloggers. But they’ve removed the frankincense from the baby one (was in old SPF 30 version), which is a step in the right direction.
    Same formulae as TruBaby / TruKid.
  • Topix Glycolix Elite SPF 30 (ZnO):
    very matte, too dry on me
    spray (spray into hand before applying): lovely stuff, probably the best siliconey sunscreen I’ve used and the most elegant one; beware if zit-prone with the silicones, though
  • Topix Replenix Sheer Physical Sunscreen Cream SPF 50+ (ZnO):
    N/T, contains known cloggers
  • TruBaby Everyday Play Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30+ (ZnO):
    N/T: formula looks likes next item, but sans pine-wood resin and plus citrus essential oils
  • TruKid Sunny Days Sport Water-Resistant Unscented Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30+ (ZnO):
    N/T: also in a scented (citrus) version. Same formula as Thinkbaby / Thinksport (yes, with that pine resin again too…)
  • UV Naturals SPF 30 (ZnO):
  • UV Triplegard Everyday Sunscreen Lotion Sensitive / Clear Zinc SPF 30+ (ZnO):
  • ***** VANICREAM SPF 60 (ZnO + TiO2) *****
    An indestructible tube is my regular one for high-humidity high-sweat activities, for more intense sun, and if being very irritable and allergicky. It’s a bit thicker and moister–nothing impossible–but a loyal solid workhorse to which I’ve been reciprocally loyal for years. My fail-proof treasure. Has worked on major eczema, has worked in the tropics. Used all over, including around the eyes.
    NOTE: old/discontinued; current version = SPF 50 (next item)
  • ***** VANICREAM SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2) *****
    new version of the old SPF 60. Same ingredients, though as is usual with this brand they’re listed in alphabetical order, so it’s unclear how far proportions and formula have changed. Some users report greasiness, though I’ve not seen any systematic side-by-side comparisons. I’ve found it to be moisturising and with an invisible finish, once it has sunk in; that does take a good 5 minutes though, even on my skin which is fairly dry.
  • Vanicream SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    thicker and greasier than the SPF 60
  • Viva Sana Solar to Polar Baby SPF 42 / Ultra SPF 40 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: overpriced for what it is, insufficient ZnO, clogging ingredients, reports suggest Badgerlikeness
  • Wotnot 30+ SPF Sunscreen (ZnO):
    N/T, looks good on paper
  • Yes To Carrots Hydrating Body Lotion SPF 30 (ZnO):
    decent if a little thick and sticky; some scent
  • Yes To Cucumbers Daily Calming Moisturizer SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    nice, but scent; milder though than the Blueberries version

LIPS (most can also be used in the eye-area too)

  • All Terrain AquaSport Face Stick SPF 28 (ZnO):
    N/T, looks OK and moisturizing but contains bergamot oil (phototoxic, perhaps unwise in a sun-protection product)
  • Aveda Lip Tints SPF 30 (TiO2):
    for a precious while, the most gorgeous (and tasty) then available option; but insufficient UVA protection
  • Aveeno Baby Natural Protection Face Stick with Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2): 
    The unscented one is identical to Elemental Herbs. Good stuff.
  • Badger SPF 15 (ZnO):
    OK but whitening and a bit dry, but perfectly acceptable over a moisturising lipbalm and under lipstick
  • Badger Sport Sunscreen Face Stick SPF 35 (ZnO):
    good, liked; no added fragrance, tastes and smells deliciously cocoa-ish; widely available
  • ***** BURNOUT OCEAN TESTED LIP SPF 32 (ZnO) *****
    in coconut flavour (being the closest to no taste, and better than tasteless puerile bubblegummy flavours). Has not, fortunately, suffered the BurnOut mass reformulations of 2013-14 that have wrecked a previously stellar line-up…
  • California Baby Sunblock Stick SPF 30+ (TiO2)
    fragrance-free version; insufficient UVA protection
  • CeraVe Sunscreen Stick, Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T: looks great on paper, and like it would be suitable for the eye-area too
  • CoTZ Lip SPF 45 (ZnO + TiO2):
    disliked: slightly gritty texture and weird offputting ginger taste. I like ginger. But not this.
    nice: tricky to apply, need to scrape a little off, melt between fingertips, then apply
  • Green Beaver SPF 15 Lip Balm (ZnO):
    nice, no added flavours
  • Hurraw SPF 15 Sun Protection Balm (ZnO):
    decent, but contains cold-pressed tangerine peel oil
  • Jane Iredale PureMoist LipColour SPF 18 (ZnO):
    not the untinted Lip Drink (ZnO, SPF 15) as it contains lemon oil (phototoxic potential + high risk of irritation): suggest instead the tinted lippies (also ZnO), slight vanilla flavour. Some of the more neutral to nude shades would be an option if looking untinted.
  • Lavanila The Healthy Lipscreen SPF 30 (ZnO):
    overpriced, over-scented, peppermint oil and menthol
  • Lavera SPF 15 (TiO2)
    insufficient UVA protection
  • Mustela Sun Cream for Sensitive Areas SPF 50 (ZnO, TiO2):
  • Poofy Organics Spernaturals Sunscreen Stick SPF 30 (ZnO):
    N/T: known irritants (ex. eucalyptus oil) on me; otherwise looks decent on paper
  • Purple Prairie Sun Stuff lip balm SPF 30 (ZnO):
    OK but whitening and a bit dry, but perfectly acceptable over a moisturising lipbalm and under lipstick; goes off fast.
  • Raw Elements Eco Stick SPF 30 (ZnO):
    OK but whitening and a bit dry, but perfectly acceptable over a moisturising lipbalm and under lipstick
  • Smart Girls Who Surf / Smart Kids Who Play SPF 30+ Organic Sunscreen Face Stick (ZnO + TiO2):
    nicely moist, unscented; company also has sunscreen lipbalms, but flavoured and only SPF 15.
  • Surf-Vival SPF 30+ Organic Sunscreen Face Stick (ZnO + TiO2):
    identical to previous
  • True Natural Broad Spectrum SPF 30 (ZnO + TiO2):
    N/T; looks decent on paper, but see comments on items below (tested out in MEC)
  • True Natural Broad Spectrum SPF 50 (ZnO + TiO2):
    tested: Badgerlike, thick & pasty, known clogging ingredients
  • True Natural Unscented Face & Sensitive Skin SPF 50 (ZnO):
    tested: slightly less heinous than previous item
  • TruKid Sunny Days SPF 30+ Stick (ZnO):
    N/T: citrus oils
  • UV Natural SPF 30 (ZnO):
    OK but whitening and a bit dry, but perfectly acceptable over a moisturising lipbalm and under lipstick
  • Vanicream Lip Protectant SPF 30 (TiO2):
    insufficient UVA protection; I’ve often wondered when they’re going to get round to reformulating this as something super-stellar…

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I don’t want to call all that stuff above a routine. Sounds too… rigorous? Regular, regulated, religious, repressive? Worrying, given the proximity between “regimen” and “régime”? Quite aside from any absolutist, tyrannical, or cultish associations: the implications of organization and discipline—be that imposed by external authority or self-discipline—would be very misleading. That stuff above doesn’t always happen, doesn’t always happen in that order, and can take any length of time from 10 minutes to a good hour or so. Bearing in mind the sleep factor, as well as caffeination and chocolate-hunting urges and emergencies.

For other stuff used—not necessarily being used right now—plus extra tweaks to cope with irritation, allergic reactions, zits, eczema, dryness, and other Grand Special Occasions: see product reviews, board posts, favourites (on profile page), and written about elsewhere. I am often to be found on the Skin Care and Green boards. It sometimes feels like too often, but fortunately work, real life, and writing elsewhere often conspire to thwart my over-boarding activities. Long live the Hive Mind, Knowledge Collective, and joyous exemplary utopian anarchist community that is MUA! And if it all gets too serious, earnest, solemn, and generally a bit much: thank heavens for café. Where I admit to lurking…


(Non-gingers and others not blessed with pale lashes might want to skip this section…)

Mascara is very important to me. I’ve worn it nearly every day (other than some lash-tinted days) for 25 years. I’ve tried, used, and abused a lot of different ones. And I’m fussy. Besides the usual criteria (cruelty-free, tested on sensitive-skinned humans, no daylight robbery, no BS, etc.—see ALSO section further down the notepad), my requirements are:

  • No irritation to eyes or skin; no fragrance, no fibres, none of my other usual irritants
  • A good brush that actually gets every lash and gets down to the roots, all over and around the lashes, under and upper sides. All a matter of taste—like dark roots showing on hair—but I prefer not to have pale roots showing. While smaller is great for getting down to the lash-roots, most of my favourite mascaras have traditional brushes. But no to (American) footballs, giant furry caterpillars, curved spoolie things, and those rubber-tipped horrors
  • No clogs or blobs or gunkiness on lashes. No spider legs or dryness. I’ve found dry lashes are more fragile and prone to falling out.
  • Shouldn’t be too wet either: never drying, lashes sticking to my glasses, smudging, etc. Another reason to prefer waterproof.
  • The effect/resulting “look”: simply YBB. Lashes shouldn’t look thinner, sparser, and shorter than before I put on mascara; then again, I don’t like thick, clumpy, heavy, and phoney either
  • Nice on and to lashes: they should feel soft and supple and, well, like lashes; not dry, stiff, and crunchy
  • No smudging or flaking or otherwise needing touching-up or worrying during the day; must, I insist, still look impeccable by the end of the day, around about 16 hours after application.
  • Must stay on and be waterproof for most everyday purposes. I live in the Pacific Northwest, where it’s usually damp and it rains quite a lot.
  • The tube should last a respectable time, around 3 months, without drying out or going off or otherwise becoming unusable.
  • Must must must contain decent preservatives that kill bugs (but no formaldehyde releasers): this is mascara, and these are the only pair of eyes I have. FFS.


I’m not really actively into swapping; the swaps I’ve done have been individual-to-individual and casual. As it were.


Hippy-dippy sentimental sensitive type: I only use and buy cruelty-free, ideally also ticking as many other ethical boxes as possible too:

  • responsibly-produced and -sourced ingredients; from sustainable and biodiversity-supporting agriculture
  • sound and low-impact manufacturing practices
  • Fair Trade, fair labour practices, and respect for human rights
  • properly (scientifically) researched, and tested on humans especially those with assorted varieties of sensitive skin
  • sensitive-skin-friendly
  • “clean and clear” in the sense of freedom from marketing, advertising, and sales BS
  • showing due care and attention to customers and their intelligence; including writing in grammatically-correct Plain English; I have severe linguistic and logical allergies
  • honest: not manipulating or spreading ignorance, pandering to fashion and its follies, fear-mongering, or contributing to urban myth
  • minimal packaging, and minimalist design; I have a mild version of the Cayce Pollard allergy; recyclable containers and packaging, recycled too where possible
  • fair prices: again, not cynically abusing consumers

I’m also a vegetarian–including on beauty products, as far as humanly possible (which is pretty far these days)–but not a vegan as I can’t live without cheese. What with being a sceptic—and pro-science, pro-reason, anti-bunkum (all perfectly compatible with being a greeny, by the bye)—I don’t believe in many things; but I do believe this: life without cheese is not worth living. And of course chocolate. On which:


This last one below isn’t really a recipe, except insofar as it might be a recipe for happiness (and maybe an elixir of eternal youth and magic beauty-potion): chocolate. At least 70% cocoa solids. Eat daily. At least once daily.

chocolate stack chocolate stack chocolate stack

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As with everything on here: suggestions only. Everything in this next section has been worked out by trial and error, that is, through my own errors (including asking stupid questions). I have made plenty of them, still do, and will probably/certainly continue to make mistakes. Hopefully continuing to learn from them along the way.

  • FAQ: What’s better, natural or “unnatural”? Answer: neither, YMMV for both, applying the same criteria for decision-making.
  • If in doubt, or checking, or even just asking: do some searches. Researchand the collection, sorting, arrangement, analysis, and critical commentary of its resultsis good for you, not least as a life of it may contribute to staving off the ageing process (brain only, no claims made for effects on the top or any other layers of the epidermis):
    • Google
    • Wikipedia
    • and, of course, here on MUA
    • for tips on searching (with apologies to grannies and egg-abuse), see this post.
  • Merely looking up the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database ≠ research.
    • IT’S NOT RESEARCH. It’s an insult to the word and what it means, and to anyone who does actually do proper research—online, in labs, on the street, etc.
    • OK, to be fair, it’s a start. But that’s all it is.
  • Research is a skill and also an art.
    • The first part of The Art is asking the right question: choosing the best search terms with which to interrogate the database, a.k.a. the sum total of human knowledge that is The Glorious Interweb.
    • The second part of The Art is also a virtue: patience, attentiveness, care, carefulness. In reading through as much as is humanly possible of the search results.
    • The third part of The Art is knowing which results are useful, relevant, pertinent, important, significant, and otherwise “good”; and being able to tell the good from the less- to non-good fast, from an item’s first words, thus reserving time and energy for more research and reading. This Part of The Art is a combination of instinct, intelligence (in the fuller, older sense that includes “understanding”), wisdom (including trusting oneself and one’s good judgement), and practice.
    • The fourth part of The Art is reading: in the larger sense that includes all activities involving eyes (and/or other receptive senses) open and brain switched on.
    • The fifth part of The Art is love: of information, of knowledge, and of research itself. For Research Is Also Enjoyable. And a marvellous virtuous thing: it’s good and it’s good for you, and it can be a happy activity and also lead to further happiness. Perfect.
  • Asking questions on the boards: again, skill and art:
    • No-one answers your question?
      • Maybe it’s unanswerable. Or unclear. It can be embarrassing and difficult to say “sorry, I can’t answer that” or “I don’t think anyone can answer that”
      • Or maybe everyone’s busy answering other questions that are easier to answer
      • Or that question’s already been asked many, many times; or very frequently
      • Or maybe… just maybe… it might have been—gasp—a stupid question. Some combination of foolish, thoughtless, hasty, ignorant, and lazy. Maybe people are being polite and kind in not answering. Rather than cruelly saying “that was a stupid question, and that’s why I’m not answering it” (also, that kind of comment makes the respondent look mean, and at least as a bad as the original poster who asked a foolish question).
    • What to do next?
      • Don’t panic. Everyone asks stupid questions: it’s normal and human. Besides, questions are always good (even if stupid: and sometimes they’re good precisely because they’re stupid, as “stupid” can also have the virtues of innocence). Better to ask questions than not to ask questions. Often a question seems intelligent right up to the moment you press “post message” and then brain engages. If your question is genuine, a sincere quest for knowledge, well-meant, innocent of all other motives (as many trolling questions look deceptively sweet and innocent!): all will be well and the truth will out (eventually: alas, the preponderance of trolls means increased wariness). I’ve asked stupid questions plenty of times, and frequently have to go back and edit posts or responses to clarify something that wasn’t clear (worse: sometimes was misunderstood; worse still: misconstrued and twisted). Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. It’s OK, it’s part of the whole learning / growth process: you come out of it bigger and better 🙂
      • Wait politely.
      • Think.
      • Consider reformulating your question, and asking it again in a different way (with some explication saying you’ve reformulated your question in case it was unanswerable / unclear / foolish).
      • Read through at least a page or so of posts, to see if indeed your question’s been asked recently.
      • Do some keyword board searches to see if the topics in your question have been discussed (recently, or even less recently…).
    • People answer your question really quickly but foolishly?
      • Eeeps. You may have asked a stupid question and received stupid answers.
      • Worse, you may have triggered a troll to awaken from napping/hibernation.
      • With a bit of luck, other MUAers may come to the rescue and help out with less-stupid answers, combatting stupidity, and beating trolls back into their caves.

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Each board has a specific subject matter (except for the Café) and dialogue/posts must stay on that subject only. The following is prohibited on all MakeupAlley boards: vulgarity/profanity, sexually explicit discussions or posts, soliciting/advertising in any capacity, religious posts, harassing or obscene posts, swap talk or RAOK posts, off-topic (OT) posts. Members who violate any of the above may be removed at any time without notice. All posts are subject to our review and may be removed at our discretion. Please use common sense and good taste when posting. Thank you.

This is at . There’s variations at the top of every board, too. Full rules: see “Your conduct” and “Message board […] rules” in the MUA “Terms of Use”: . This is at the bottom of every MUA page.


Q: What is a troll and what to do when you spot one?
A: A troll is basically one who posts messages intended to insult and provoke. For each person who responds, the poster (the troll as a person) will consider that person [sic] 5 easy rules:
(1) Don’t read posts from or about trolls;
(2) Don’t read email from or about trolls;
(3) If you can’t resist reading, don’t respond;
(4) If you can’t resist responding, do so by email, not by posting on a public forum;
(5) If you are compelled to post a response, if you just can’t stop yourself, at least do the rest of the readers the favor of adding the troll’s nick to the subject line, so they can avoid reading that post.

Source: This is at the bottom of every MUA page.

trolls: also available in edible chocolate form!



Ginger’s Notes To Self, tidied up into more coherent form.

  • “Use common sense and good taste when posting” (so sez MUA)
    –the one rule that rules them all.
  • Be nice, polite, courteous: always: no matter what.
  • Generosity of spirit, benefit of the doubt:
    • it IS possible for someone to see the error of their ways, become a Reformed Character, and be rehabilitated and reintegrated into civilized society.
    • In the absence of any concrete evidence to the contrary, assume that a post or comment is made in good faith. Otherwise—well, that way madness lies… See also Violet912’s wise words on guarding against neurosis (rule #12) and add to them: avoid paranoia, bullying, abuse, cruelty, damage, and mean-spiritedness. Some things are more important than MUA. Your mental health is one of them.
  • Do not feed trolls.
  • Do not go off-topic.
    • This can be tricky. It’s one of my greatest failings at the best of times, because I’m flippant and facetious by nature. (Lucky old me. Lucky you.)
  • If in doubt, don’t respond.
    • Don’t respond if you have the slightest hunch a post or comment might be Bait, intended for youand particularly you personally—to Rise To It; an attempt at an entrapment manœuvre that aims to get have your account deleted.
  • Tell the board moderators:
    • Send them a quick message (see “Contact us,” at the bottom of every MUA page); OK, not so frequently as to bug them—that might itself constitute trollesque activitybut when necessary: URL of message or thread + explaining why you think this is trolling or otherwise out of order / Not Done / Bad Form + if it’s a repeat offender, their MUA name and a brief outline of part history.
    • Nothing wrong with naming and shaming, if it’s done properly and if it’s true. It’s not brown-nosing: it’s potentially preventing a situation from escalating, and it can protect others.
  • If you can flag, do:
    • responsibly—this is a privilege, not a right—and with no comment on that post. And do also send a message to mods saying why you’ve flagged.
  • The only OT-esque comment I’ll make will be to change the subject to alcohol.
    • If you see me doing this, it’s signalling either “chill out” or “troll alert, do not feed” or both. Please do join in. It’s also an excellent way to swap cocktail recipes.
  • Discretion is the greater part of valour.
  • Beware, and be wary, of TMI. Trolls aside, this place is public.
  • Keep a sense of perspective: it’s only MUA.
    There’s more to life. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t reply or comment. Worrying and obsessing is rarely a worthwhile activity: on anything, anywhere, let alone here. (Don’t get me wrong: I love MUA and being on here. But.)
  • Know yourself, and know your bad habits:
    I HEREBY PROMISE that I’ll no longer start off my discussion-board responses with the irrelevant ethical stuff, legal-style. Nor end a response with interminable caveats, provisos, footnotes, other apparatus.

    • This is very hard for me, because I’m a pathological nerd; compassion for this sad affliction would be appreciated. I’m trying, the best I can. (Poor old me. Poor you.)
    • But: If you see, at the very end of a response, something along the lines of this—”I wouldn’t buy/use it myself, but that’s for other reasons (more on NP)”—that’s shorthand for: “I’m being careful not to go OT or to insult someone else’s choice. Your choice may be different, and it’s your choice, and I respect it. It’s a free world. Individual decisions like these *must* be respected, for all individuals, otherwise they’re not proper individual free choices. I’m aware that these ‘other reasons’—ethics—are immaterial to a product’s functionality and efficacy, and therefore could be construed as being OT; but I do have serious conscientious objections and can’t and won’t silence them completely. This statement is an uneasy compromise, but it’s the best I can do, in all conscience.”

These are just my own notes to self, for nagging at myself and checking I’m not being (too much of a) silly b!tch. Sharing them here, in case they’re vaguely useful to anyone else. And keeping them here is handy for my own reference: for reality-checks, to make sure I’m not going OTT and taking things, MUA, and myself too seriously…  

… VANITAS VANITATUM OMNIA VANITAS: the appendix to the appendices

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