Bioelements Ray Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen
Bioelements Ray Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Sunscreen ($42.00 for 4 fl. oz.) is described as a “hydrating broad spectrum SPF 30 moisturizer to protect skin.” It contains several active ingredients so that there is protection from both UVA and UVB rays (to help remember which is which, I think of “A” for aging and “B” for burning, but you want a broad spectrum sunscreen!).
It has more of a cream consistency, so it is thicker, but it doesn’t feel heavy on. This does make it easier to apply the amount you need for good protection. The spreadability is fairly good, though I do prefer to do half the face at a time to ensure even coverage. It doesn’t feel oily once applied, but it doesn’t fully set for fifteen to twenty minutes. The cream seems white initially but after spreading and working the moisturizer into the skin, the white cast disappeared.
Despite the thicker consistency, the hydration seems appropriate for normal, slightly dry, and slightly oily skin. It didn’t give me quite enough moisture when I had a couple of drier areas on my face during the time I used this (I occasionally get dry areas from over-swatching, especially on cheeks and eyes), but it worked well for most of the time I’ve been using it. It does smell like sunscreen (not coconut and sunscreen or the beach, just sunscreen), which lingers for an hour or so. I had no trouble with applying makeup over this, and it didn’t seem to interfere with the wear of any of the foundations I used. However, if this gets in my eyes, it is painful, so I wouldn’t wear this if I was going to be active outdoors (enough to sweat on the face) or heading into water (pool, ocean, lakes, etc.).
Overall, I liked it, and I think it works well: it gives broad spectrum protection and hydrates the skin. I only wished it absorbed faster, because I can imagine that if you were layering this on and needing to apply makeup right after before heading off to work or school, it could be a deal-breaker.
Active: Avobenzone 2.0%, Octinoxate 7.5%, Octisalate 5.0%, Octocrylene 7.0%, Oxybenzone 5.0%
Inactive: Allantoin, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Carbomer, Cetyl Alcohol, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citrus Aurantium (Bitter Orange) Flower Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Leaf Oil, Cyclopentailoxane, Dimethicone, Dimethiconol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycol Distearate, Isohexadecane, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, PEG-100 Stearate, Polysorbate 80, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Salvia Sclarea (Clary) Oil, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Hydroxide, Stearyl Alcohol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Titanium Dioxide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Water (Aqua, Eau)
Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream
Just Hydration — by Lancome
Lancome Bienfait Multi-vital SPF 30 Sunscreen Cream ($45.00 for 1.70 oz.) is supposed to have 24-hour hydration with a greaseless formula and contains SPF 30. For sun protection, the active ingredients are Avobenzone 3.0% (UVA I) Octisalate 5.0% (UVB), and Octocrylene 7.0% (UVB), so the formula does not protect against the UVA II portion of the spectrum.
I tested this moisturizer out, because I was looking for something with sun protection (ideally, you’d get full coverage across both UVA and UVB ranges, but many sunscreens miss UVA II part of the UVA range) and didn’t want a juiced-up, hopped-up, anti-aging-injected moisturizer. I just wanted something that would 1) hydrate and 2) offer sun protection. I’ve really tried to reduce the amount of skincare products I accept for testing, particularly those that are high in price and (supposedly) high in anti-aging benefits, only because I don’t feel I can adequately test the efficacy of most anti-aging products to ever justify a three-digit price tag. Check back with me in a few years
It’s a thicker cream, but I felt like it was rather airy–so it didn’t feel too heavy in the jar, and it had great spreadability on the skin. It took about fifteen to twenty minutes to absorb and really sink in, but after that, it didn’t feel greasy or look oily. I wore it under makeup numerous times, and it did not interfere with the longevity of my foundation, blush, and the like. It hydrated incredibly well; my skin never felt dry or parched in the evening, and some lighter-weight moisturizers can leave me anxious to take off my makeup and apply my night cream.
The elephant in the room is the amount of fragrance Lancome puts into their skincare range. Bienfait Multi-Vital was tamer compared to other Lancome moisturizers I’ve tried, but it was still heavily scented with a nondescript floral perfume. Because of the scent, amount, and that it’s not a scent I want to tolerate, I wouldn’t purchase a jar.
I only tested this product for three weeks or so, because Shaun was also using this (mostly) daily in the morning as well–much to my dismay, of course. If I don’t give him his own moisturizer, he will steal whatever is my section of the bathroom counter! I did ask him for feedback, and he didn’t have much, other than it has a strong scent but otherwise worked well for him.
NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer
Lightweight, Quick-Absorbing – Better for Oily Skin Types
NARS Skin Aqua Gel Luminous Oil-Free Moisturizer ($58.00 for 1.8 oz.) is described as a “aqua-rich gel-cream that hydrates, revitalizes, and fortifies the skin.” It’s supposed to improve water retention, keep skin feeling supple, and soften fine lines. It is “synthetic fragrance-, paraben-, alcohol-, and oil-free,” according to NARS.
In the past, I’ve used the previous version of the Aqua Gel, and I really liked it and found it hydrating enough for my skin type (normal-to-dry; more normal when I was testing this, as it was during the summer). It was actually a go-to product for when my skin was getting dry. A lot of what was great about the original is true here: it’s lightweight, feels and glides on like a gel-based moisturizer, and it sinks into skin quickly. There is a little tackiness, though, even if it doesn’t look or feel oily/greasy. It has a pleasant smell, though it is hard for me to articulate the scent; it’s not quite herbal, but it seems natural enough–not perfume-y or anything like that. During the summer, it was lovely against the skin, because it felt cool when applied.
This moisturizer is much more suitable for combination to oily skin types; it was not hydrating enough for me with normal skin. I would use it at night, but my skin really need more moisture. NARS says it is ideal for normal to combination/oily skin types, but it was not hydrating enough for when my skin was normal. I went through the jar in a month, only using it at night time. I didn’t notice an impact on minimizing or softening fine lines.
Ultimately, this is a lightweight, quick-absorbing gel moisturizer that will be most suitable for oilier complexions.
Ole Henriksen Herbal Day Creme SPF 15
Ole Henriksen Herbal Day Creme SPF 15 ($35.00 for 1.7 oz.) is designed for daily use to “protect against UV rays and environmental aggressors.” It’s supposed to moisture and yield “healthy, radiant results” without leaving any residue behind. The brand says the formula is suitable for normal, combination, and sensitive skin.
I have normal-to-dry skin, though I’m rather normal right now, which is typical for me during the summer months. I’ve been using this as my day cream for the past month, and I’ve got about one or two uses left. It comes in a plastic jar, and the cream itself has a thick, creamy consistency that feels on the richer side. What I’ve noticed is that while it feels fantastic on, it can take awhile to absorb into the skin. It consistently would take at least a half hour to sink into my skin, and until then, there was a slightly greasy feel to my skin; I could just touch it and know it wasn’t absorbed yet.
Now, I know the first thing that comes to mind is to use less product, and you totally could; it would sink in faster, and you don’t necessarily need a whole lot, but if you’re using this as a sunscreen, you absolutely do need a certain amount. Most recommendations say 1/2 teaspoon for face and neck. If you’ve never measured out what a 1/2 teaspoon looks like of your favorite sunscreen, I highly suggest you do so. You’d be surprised! So if you want to get the SPF 15 protection, you can’t skimp on the product.
It has an herbal and citrus-scent that some might love, others can hate. I like more herbal-scented products (and loathe more generically perfume-y ones, e.g. Lancome) myself, and I didn’t get strong whiffs of the scent while I wore the cream during the day. I mostly smelled it while I was applying the product to my face.
Overall, I liked the cream, and it’s something I’d consider using it again, if it had a slightly higher SPF rating. The texture is really appealing, because it has that luxurious, rich feel and hydrates my skin excellently. That hydration lasts all day long–my skin isn’t parched at bed time–and that’s what a good moisturizer should do. If it didn’t have SPF, it could be a really nice night cream. Based on my experience, I think this is more suitable for normal to dry skin, because it did feel a bit heavy for my skin in its more normal state.
Octinoxate 7.5%, Oxybenzone 2.0%, Meridamate 3.0%. Water (Aqua), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oilm, Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate, Retinyl Palmitate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Squalane, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Cymbopogon Schoenanthus Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 80, Sorbitan Oleate, Carbomer, Potassium Hydroxide, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Hexylene Glycol, Citral, Geraniol, Limonene, Linalool, Citronellol, Eugenol, Annatto (CI 75120).
Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel
Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel
Boscia Revitalizing Black Hydration Gel ($38.00 for 1.0 oz.) is a moisturizer that can be used for either day or evening application. Boscia states that this moisturizer is supposed to “refine skin texture, brighten skin clarity, and minimize the look of pores instantly and over time.” According to the brand, it’s suitable to all skin types.
It’s gel-based, which means it has a thicker consistency (like a gel!) but feels very lightweight and as if you’re applying cool water against the skin. It absorbs very quickly, which is a huge plus if you’re short on time. The first time I used it was an interesting experience, because it really is a charcoal-hued gel, so it’s not quite opaque black, but it’s darker than gray (it actually does contain charcoal, which helps to absorb excess oil and detoxify). It spreads easily across the skin, but it does tint the face gray while it absorbs, but once it’s dry, it disappeared. Initially, I felt a very subtle cooling sensation, less than a tingle I’d say, that disappears soon after it starts. It hydrated well in some ways, but I did still have some drier patches on my cheeks that this just couldn’t combat. If you have more combination to oily skin, this would be more appropriate, given the ingredients Boscia calls out and the gel consistency–you definitely won’t feel like there’s a greasy layer of moisturizer on.
There’s a discernible scent of roses, charcoal, and something a little herbal. It’s not heavy, strong, nor does it linger. I smelled it mostly when I pumped it onto my fingers but almost not at all when I applied it. It’s packaged in an opaque black tub with an airless pump mechanism. I couldn’t find a way to unscrew the top (short of prying it open, but me trying to pry something over with a sharp edge is likely to result in a trip to the emergency room), so I don’t know if anything was left over, but it felt empty.
My only real problem with this was that it ran out quickly–less than a month of evening usage–and it wasn’t all that surprising once I read how much the jar contains. A lot of moisturizers contain around 1.7 fl. oz., but this one only contains 1.0 oz. That makes this much pricier than it initially appears! I felt that I needed to use as much of this product as other moisturizers, so it wasn’t one of those “a little goes a long, long way” such that you would use less of this and therefore it would last longer than other moisturizers.
Water/Aqua/Eau, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Butylene Glycol, Glycereth-26, Isononyl Isononanoate, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Glycolic Acid, Menthyl Lactate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethiconol, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Cynara Scolymus (Artichoke) Leaf Extract, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Leaf Extract, Citrus Paradisi Seed Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Carbomer, Sodium Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Silica, Ceteth-25, Oleth-10, Charcoal Powder, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, 1,2-Hexanediol, Tropolone, Potassium Hydroxide
BareMinerals Advanced Protection SPF 20 Moisturizer
BareMinerals Advanced Protection SPF 20 Moisturizer ($30.00 for 1.7 fl. oz.) is available in two formulations: one for normal to dry skin, and one for combination skin. It’s supposed to be hydrating, lightweight, and leave skin protected and smooth. The brand also states that it is “[c]linically proven to reveal brighter, smoother, younger-looking skin, reduced appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and remarkably smaller-looking pores.” Both formulations are also available in a sheer tint, but I don’t know how much of a tint it gives–the one I tried was for combination skin without a tint.
Like the rest of the BareMinerals skincare range, there’s a light, herbal-like scent that seems like it’s the ingredients’ coming through, rather than a specific scent added. It’s innocuous and very subtle, and I don’t notice it at all once I’ve applied it. This product uses physical blockers (5% Titanium Dioxide and 3% Zinc Oxide) to protect against the sun’s harmful rays. Physical blockers can be great for those who tend to be more sensitive to chemical sunscreens. I’ve definitely worn this under foundation in photos, and I didn’t see any major reflection back, but physical blockers can sometimes cause this to occur. If you have a major event, I’d opt for chemical blockers, but during regular life, the preference is yours based on what you find works for your skin!
I liked it! The consistency is thin, more like a lotion, so it spreads easily and evenly across the skin. It feels lightweight, not greasy, and it absorbs in three to five minutes. My face never felt dry at the end of the day, which was surprising, because this is one of the lighter moisturizers I’ve tried recently. Whether I wore it alone or under makeup, it performed well. I can’t speak to anti-aging benefits and the like, but it did keep my skin looking hydrated, healthy, and smooth. It’s packaged in a plastic cylinder with an airless pump. You can unscrew the cap, too, and all that is left is about a usage and a half at best (which is pretty good!). I was able to get the last bit out with a cotton swab.
It didn’t work for me as a sports sunscreen, because when I played tennis, this broke down under sweat more easily than a thicker, heavier sunscreen (I’ve been using Shiseido’s for tennis). I’ve been outdoors just walking about, and it’s held up better, but if you’re going to be really active, I didn’t think this did as well there. I liked it much more as a daily moisturizer. I’m a huge fan of bareMinerals’ skincare range–it’s actually a range I would consider returning to if I stopped testing skincare. It’s affordable, effective (for me), and doesn’t seem to over-promise. I also really appreciate that they include their ingredient lists online.
Ingredients (Normal to Dry)
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 6.0%. Inactive Ingredients: Aluminum Hydroxide, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil [Anthemis Nobilis], Ascorbic Acid, Benzyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetyl Hydroxyethylcellulose, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Citronellol, Coumarin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract [Epilobium Angustifolium], Ethylhexylglycerin, Eugenol, Geraniol, Glycerin, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil [Glycine Soja], Isostearic Acid, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil [Lavandula Angustifolia], Lavandula Hybrida Oil [Lavandula Hybrida], Lecithin, Limonene [Limonene], Linalool [Linalool], Phenoxyethanol, Phytoecdysteroids, Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Potassium Sorbate, Propanediol, Retinyl Palmitate, Sinorhizobium Meliloti Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Metabisulfite, Soil Minerals, Stearic Acid, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethylhexanoin, Trisodium Edta, Water [Aqua], Zizyphus Jujuba Seed Extract [Zizyphus Jujuba].
Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 5.0%, Zinc Oxide 3.0%. Inactive Ingredients: Acacia Dealbata Flower/Stem Extract, Alumina, Aluminum Stearate, Aspalathus Linearis Extract, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract, Bambusa Arundinacea Stem Powder, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Methicone, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matracaria) Flower Extract, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan) Extract, Citric Acid, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Coffea Arabica (Coffee) Seed Extract, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Dicaprylyl Ether, Ectoin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Geraniol, Glycerin, Glyceryl Isostearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Jojoba Esters, Laminaria Ochroleuca Extract, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Lavandula Hybrida Oil, Limonene, Linalool, Methylisothiazolinone, Phenoxyethanol, Phyllanthus Emblica Fruit Extract, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Propanediol, Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Pyrus Malus (Apple) Fruit Extract, Silica, Sodium Benzoate, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Soil Minerals, Spiraea Ulmaria Extract, Tocopherol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Water (Aqua), Xanthan Gum