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.
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).
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
Coola Sport SPF 45
Coola Mango Sport Suncare SPF 45
Coola Mango Sport Suncare SPF 45 ($32.00 for 5 oz.) smells like a tropical cocktail and the beach. It just has that “beach” scent with a fruity sweetness that seems part mango, part something else. It’s pleasant and certainly masks any “sunscreen” scent. This particular sunscreen is available unscented, though. I needed a sunscreen to bring to my parents’ house, because I knew I was going to be outside watching Mellan swim, and I found this in my SPF bin and threw it in my bag.
active ingredients: Octocrylene (Sunscreen) 7.50%, Octinoxate (Sunscreen) 7.50%, Oxybenzone (Sunscreen) 5.0%, Octisalate (Sunscreen) 5.0%, Homosalate (Sunscreen) 5.0%, Avobenzone (Sunscreen) 3.0%
It’s a completely chemical-based sunscreen (although zinc oxide is listed as the last ingredient–presumably the concentration is so low that it doesn’t make it on the active ingredients list or isn’t used as sunscreen here). For a great dialogue about different chemical sunscreens, check out the discussion in this post. Avobenzone has been said to be unstabilized, but the presence of octocrylene will make it photostable (Reference). For their claims of natural/organic ingredients, check their website, but the version I’m reviewing here is slightly different (possibly an older formulation).
As far as a body sunscreen goes, this isn’t cost-effective at all (you should be using about an ounce of sunscreen to cover the entire body, which means this tube is the equivalent of five uses) (Reference). Chemical sunscreens, like this one, should be applied approximately thirty minutes (Reference). From a consistency/texture standpoint, I liked it enough–it spreads easily over the skin, and it dries down within a few minutes to a non-greasy finish. It doesn’t get greasy in the heat, but it did feel a little sticky after an hour outdoors. Coola says it can be used on face and body, though, so perhaps, for some, it would be a possible option.
It’s nice but not something I’d purchase in the future, just because I don’t need a high-end sunscreen for my body (I’m more willing to for facial sunscreens, since I take photos often and sometimes breakout). We all skimp somewhere!
inactive ingredients: Aqua/Water/Eau, C12 15 Alkyl Benzoate, PVP/Eicosene Copolymer, Sorbitan, Retinyl Acetate (Vitamin A), Ginseng (Panax Ginseng) Root Extract (Organic), Nylon-12, Allantoin (Comfrey Root), Dimethicone, DEA Cetyl Phosphate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Acrylates Crosspolymer, Glycerin, Acrylates/Steareth 20 Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Stearic Acid, PEG 100 Stearate, Phenoxyethanol, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E) (Organic), Rosa Canina (Rose Hip) Flower Extract (Organic), Cucumis Sativa (Cucumber) Fruit Extract (Organic), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit (Organic), Borage (Borago Officinalis) Seed Oil (Organic), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Extract (Organic), Linum Usitatissimum (Linseed) Seed Oil (Organic), Prunus Serotina (Wild Cherry) Bark Extract (Organic), Chamomilla Recutita (Chamomile) Flower Extract (Organic), Hydrastis Canadensis (Goldenseal) Extract (Organic), Parfum, Equisetum Hyemale (Horsetail) Extract, Calendula (Calendula Officinalis) Flower Extract (Organic), Arnica Montana (Montana Flower) Extract (Organic), Mangifera Indica (Mango) Extract (Organic), Zinc Oxide
Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+
Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+
Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+ ($34.00 for 1.7 fl. oz. or $56.00 for 4.2 fl. oz.) is described as “oil-free, ultra-lightweight” while using a “patented photo-stabilized technology with long-lasting broad-spectrum protection” against both UVA and UVB rays. Kiehl’s recommends layering over your moisturizer for optimal protection. It contains Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (15%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (5%), and Oxybenzone (6%).
The consistency of this is most definitely fluid, and I recommended shaking well prior to use to ensure proper consistency, which is still thin and runny–much like milk but slightly thicker. The thinner consistency allows for easy application, as it spreads well and evenly across the face and doesn’t require five minutes of massaging it into skin to avoid any white casts or streaks, as some thicker and higher SPF products might.
I loved how non-greasy and quick-absorbing this sunscreen was. It doesn’t leave behind a heavy shine at all–mostly semi-matte to slightly natural in the dry down. It does smell somewhat like sunscreen when applied, but I found the scent faded within a few minutes and didn’t linger throughout the day. When I initially tried this last year, I thought it was breaking me out, so I immediately stopped using it, but I re-initiated testing a couple of weeks ago to great success (and no breakouts), so I’m relieved and pleased to have found a new sunscreen for summer–even if it is still rather gloomy here in June!