A very nice PR from Lavera kindly sent me some of their award winning Family Sun Spray SPF 15 to try (value £16.50). So I’ve been (im)patiently waiting for the sun to shine so that I can test this baby out! Finally summer seems to be upon us and yesterday provided the perfect day to try out this product.
So first a little background on Lavera and mineral sunscreen, which is set out in a little leaflet Lavera sent along with the sunscreen (you can download it here). What I found really interesting was the comparison table between mineral sun creams and chemical ones. Mineral sunscreens contain minerals such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in tiny particles that work by reflecting back UV rays from the surface of the skin. Lavera liken this to the way an elephant throws sand over his skin to protect himself from the sun. This is in stark contrast to ‘regular’ sun creams which contain chemicals such as oxybenzone that work by absorbing UVA and B rays, then transforming them into thermal energy. These chemicals have been found to change the body’s hormonal balance and enter the blood stream, possibly building up inside your body over time. Studies have even found these chemicals present in mother’s breast milk.
Another interesting thing about mineral sun screen is that it’s effective from the moment it’s applied. Because it acts as a reflective barrier to the sun it doesn’t need to be absorbed to become effective like chemical creams, which you need to wait up to 20 minutes before they become effective. Mineral sunscreen is also waterproof, whereas chemical types vary in their degree of water resistance.
In terms of SPF, you calculate this the same way with mineral sunscreen as you would with chemical stuff. SPF is a measure of how long you can stay in the sun based on your skin’s own protection time multiplied by the protection factor. So if you can sit in the sun for 10 minutes without burning and you’re wearing SPF 20, that means you should be able to stay in the sun for 200 minutes (10 x 20) or 3 ¼ hours.
Lavera sunscreen is 100% mineral and has been on the market since 1990; it was the first manufacturer in the world to use a mixture of titanium oxide and zinc oxide as a sun protection factor. It’s won many awards including a 2009 Natural Health Beauty Award and Lifescape Beauty Award. It is certified by the BDIH in Germany, the USDA in the US and the Vegan Society in the UK. All ingredients, packaging and production standards have been approved as to meeting strict guidelines.
So far, mineral is winning on all counts. Now, onto the testing…
Now fully convinced of Lavera’s organic, natural and mineral creds, I was ready to slap it on my skin. This is where I became slightly apprehensive, as I’ve read some reviews of mineral sunscreens that have put me off using them a bit, based on feedback that they’re unpleasant to apply, too thick and leave a whitewash effect on the skin.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised with Lavera’s Family Sun Spray. The spray function is really good – it’s not too fanned out, but quite a powerful squirt which deposits a fair bit of product evenly on your skin. I only needed three squirts for each arm, so it goes a long way. It’s a white-ish colour and the same consistency of other factor 15 creams I’ve tried (excluding the ‘light touch’ type formulas which are lighter). I’m not going to lie – it was a little bit laborious rubbing it into my skin, and at first I was worried it looked a little white-washy. But within seconds it had absorbed and it looked normal again (see the pics below) which I was relieved about. I must confess I’m partial to a tan and although I know I shouldn’t overdo my time in the sun, I do love to have a sunkissed glow, so to cover that up with white streaky suncream isn’t my idea of sexy.
The only thing I found slightly offputting about this sunscreen was the smell. Not that it’s a bad smell – it’s not. I just that I couldn’t put my finger on what it smelt like and it was quite unfamiliar. I suppose I’ve gotten so used to the chemical sunscreens that I associate that smell with summer (and truth be told I quite like that smell). So getting used to something that’s totally different is a bit odd.
However, that aside, I’d totally recommend this product. It’s easy to use, functional, absorbs well and is definitely on par with the chemical formulas in terms of protection. (I had no burn whatsoever after a few hours in the sun.) Plus you can feel assured that it’s safe, free of chemical nasties and completely natural.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with my sun lounger in the garden…