This Fourth of July I went to the beach like the true American I am and made sure to use this opportunity to stock up on some “natural” sun protection to test. I probably should have been a little wary of not bringing my staple sunscreens as I have had an allergic reaction in the past (lookin at you, Banana Boat), but I am happy to report nothing I used over the holiday reacted negatively to me. All three of these products are, at the very least, cruelty-free and recycle-friendly.
Bare Republic Mineral Sport Sunscreen Body Spray
I bought this sunscreen on a total whim after doing a double take seeing “powered by Coola.” I am a member of the Tone It Up Nutrition Plan, and any Tone It Up girl will tell you that Coola has been advertised to us as the Goddess and ruler over all sunscreens. Coola also will cost you an arm, a leg, and your first born for a three ounce bottle of sunscreen, so needless to say I have not purchased it in spite of wanting to. But seeing Bare Republic and how affordable it was, I grabbed a spray bottle (my application preference) without a second thought.
I cannot lie to you; after this trip, I do not recommend spray mineral sunscreens. No amount off rubbing was going to make me not look like I rolled around in baby powder, and it even gave a slightly ghostly glow on my much more fair skinned boyfriend, though that faded after about an hour. I think you need those extra moisturizers from the lotion to really be able to rub it in. I would not not recommend this brand though. The Bare Republic brand is relatively affordable in the realm of “natural” sunscreens ($10-15 range), it was effective, it smells fairly neutral, and they actually have two different types of face sunscreens. Not to mention it’s sold at Target, so super accessible. So this is definitely an option to keep in mind.
Coola Liplux Original Formula
While the Coola sunscreens are abnormally expensive, the lip balms do not cost much more than a fancy tube of lip gloss ($12), and since I signed up for Ulta’s rewards program, I was able to use my coupon I got in my mailing to knock it down a little bit. I’m not sure that I can fairly assess the effectiveness of the lip balm as I do not usually sunburn on my lips (but on the occasions I do, it is ugly), but I did make it through the trip completely burn free. The smell is faint but very pleasant and fruity. What impressed me the most were the taste and color. The first time I burned my lips from too much sun exposure I immediately purchased the Chapstick brand SPF lip balm, which tasted disgusting and showed up completely white on my lips no matter how thinly I applied. Coola’s Liplux had almost no sunscreen taste and showed up clear, just the way I prefer it. Liplux does contain chemical sunscreens, so it is not the most crunchy-granola SPF lip balm on the market. But all of the moisturizers are plant based and mostly organic, which is good enough for me as I am non discriminatory on sun protection. I will without a doubt be making this purchase again.
Badger Balm Lavender Sunscreen Cream
If you have read any of my other blog posts, you know by now that I purchased this because of the lavender. I do not really care for the smell of most sunscreens, as I am sure many others do not, so the idea of smelling like lavender instead was enough to make me throw my money at my local holistic store. And at $18 a bottle, it did feel a little bit like I was throwing my money, but then I reminded myself I was practical and refrained from buying the $32 Coola to justify my purchase. I would definitely buy this again, but it does have a drawback. As it is a mineral sunscreen, it takes some serious effort to rub on. I would recommend doing so before going outside so that you can look at yourself in the mirror. I applied enough for each section of my body with my hands and then rubbed my hands together to smooth it out before applying to help, but I always had a faint purple-ish glow (why purple really don’t know). But I made it four hours in the heat of the day in direct sunlight burn free and smelled like lavender, so the effort was worth it to me. Also, the more research I do on this company, the more I really like it. This is the only product I have purchased that had the seal of the Natural Products Association, which was nice because as the FDA has no definition of natural, I could at least get a specific definition as to how this company defines natural. They also seem to go above and beyond on sustainable practices.
At the end of the day, I will say the best sunscreen is the sunscreen that you will actually wear. Do not neglect applying and make sure you reapply when your sunscreen says to (usually every 80-90 minutes). Skin cancer and premature wrinkles are not worth it.