First of all, let me apologise for my MIA from blogging for the last couple of weeks. The reasons being are as follows: too much work, too tired due to too much work, and too much work (did I mention too much work?)
Anyway…somewhere in between working I did get out in the sun last weekend on what was a very rare 30 degree day which I spent at the Epsom Derby. As luck had it, the day before I happened to have stumbled upon a small, hidden away shop selling all sorts of natural beauty product ranges just around the corner from my office. What a find! So naturally I went in (all in the name of market research of course) and bought a few bits, one of which was Jason’s Sunbrellas Facial Sunblock in SPF 20 (£8.99 for 125g; winner of Natural Health Magazine’s 2009 Beauty Awards). What perfect timing as the next day brought glorious sunshine and the promise of a whole day of exposure to it in the English countryside.
I have to say I was a bit apprehensive about trying this as from what I’ve read and heard of natural sunscreen alternatives, the consensus seems to be that they don’t feel as nice or absorb as well as the chemical formulations. But on the other hand, I do intend to practice what I preach, and after reading and blogging about the Environmental Working Group’s 2010 report on the safest sunscreens (and the dangers of others), I was very excited to give a natural alternative a go.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised! There was nothing too weird or scary about it. In terms of smell, well, it smells like suncream, perhaps a little stronger. Texture-wise I’d say it’s medium consistency – not thick and paste-like, but not ultra thin either. The main winning point for me was that it absorbed really well and felt fine on my face. I was nervous that it would be greasy or sticky , especially as I planned on wearing makeup on top. I left it for a few minutes to really absorb, then applied my makeup as usual (bit of concealer, then loose powder, bronzer etc) and it felt absolutely fine – not at all greasy or sticky and no grey/white-wash residue.
In terms of protection, I found this to be totally up to scratch as compared with any chemical type I’ve used in the past. I was actually surprised I didn’t get a bit more colour considering the length of time I spent in the sun (although admittedly it was overcast at times), but I barely even tanned! (Being a bit of a closet sun worshipper, secretly I was a bit disappointed by that, but of course my sensible, health conscious side was pleased that I’d successfully protected myself from the sun’s rays all day.)
On first impressions, for my first foray into natural sunscreen I was very impressed with my impulse purchase. However, I’ve since looked it up in the EWG cosmetics database to check its safety credentials and found that it’s rated as a 5 out of 10 – so not as great as I’d hoped unfortunately. This is due to it containing oxybenzone which is highly recommended by the EWG to avoid as it’s “a synthetic estrogen that penetrates the skin and contaminates the body”. Darn! And I thought I’d been so clever! It just goes to show that you really need to read the label carefully and be educated of the ingredients in products, rather than just instinctively trusting the promise of a ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ solution. I feel a bit silly to be honest as I even wrote about oxybenzone in my previous post on sunscreen safety so should have thought to scrutinize the label properly.
Well, on the up side, at least a rating of 5 is better than the other chemical types I’d been using before, which are up in the danger zone of 7 – 10. So you could say I’m taking a step in the right direction. Plus, a very nice PR from Lavera suncare has kindly sent me some Lavera mineral sunscreen to test out, which thankfully comes in at a rating of 3 by the EWG. So, if the sun does decide to come out again anytime soon, I’ll be sure to slap on the Lavera and another delightful sunscreen review will be coming your way!