Ugh, I struggle with sunscreens.
Finding a good sunscreen that works, feels good on your skin, doesn’t give you breakouts, and doesn’t have the dreaded white cast can be quite a feat.
I feel like I’m on a never ending journey trying to find the perfect sun block. I have fair skin and my skin can get irritated easily from a lot of sunscreens.
I prefer mineral sunscreens over chemical sunscreens. Since I was a teenager I would get terrible rashes and hives from most chemical sunscreens, so I just stay away from them. Some chemical filters are also known endocrine disruptors, and when you have acne prone skin, or you’re like me and have a history of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), you don’t want to be using anything that might mess with your hormones.
In my opinion, it’s much safer to use mineral sunscreens, especially sunscreens high in non-nano zinc oxide. Zinc is actually quite soothing and anti-inflammatory for the skin, and won’t clog pores. But the problem with a lot of mineral sunscreens is the heaviness and the white cast. Luckily there’s more and more companies working on creating sun protection that is easier to apply and wear, and technology to eliminate the dreaded white cast.
In today’s video and blog post I’m reviewing 3 mineral sunscreens I’ve used over the past year, and what I liked and didn’t like about each product. All of them are for the face, tinted, and none of them gave me breakouts.
Mineral Sunscreen Review
Coola – Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint
After seeing so many reviews and recommendations for Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint, I bought it last year. I didn’t even check the ingredients before purchasing it because I trusted the green beauty bloggers who were reviewing and recommending it, plus the natural skincare shop that was selling it online.
When I received it, I was really hoping this would be the answer to my sunscreen dreams. My first impressions of Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint was how lightweight and smooth it was. I couldn’t believe it was a sunscreen, let alone a “natural” one. On the front of the product it says “Natural BB Cream” but it didn’t feel so “natural.” In fact, it felt like a silicone-based primer. I couldn’t help but feel suspicious of the product, so I looked it up on the EWG Skin Deep website (which rates safety levels of skincare and makeup products), and to my dismay, it was rated a “6” (which is a high toxicity score in my opinion, especially for a product that is described by the company as a “Natural BB Cream” and a “Farm to Face” sunscreen???!!).
Once I saw the toxicity score on EWG website, I then went to Coola’s website to have a look at the ingredients. The first thing that threw me off was all the ingredients are listed in alphabetical order, not in order of quantity. Usually ingredients are listed in order of quantity or weight, with the first few ingredients making up the bulk of the product. If it’s listed alphabetically, you really don’t know what the base of the product is. And under closer inspection, this product is made with 4 different silicones, which could very well be the base of the product. I don’t know how this product can be described as “Farm to Face” or a “Natural BB Cream”?
I was pretty gutted that this product wasn’t as “natural” as it claimed. I have nothing against non-natural products, but I don’t like buying something thinking it’s natural when it’s not. I was also concerned with the amounts of silicones in the product and what it would do to my skin (silicones in hair care products gives me breakouts, in skincare not so much, but I prefer to avoid it when possible).
But I decided to put my feelings and disappointment aside and try the product. I ended up using it for a few months. Despite all the silicone in the product, I’m happy to report it didn’t give me any breakouts or skin irritation. I also really liked how thin and lightweight the product is, which makes it easy to reapply throughout the day (most sunscreens can be heavy, which makes them difficult to reapply). The product is tinted (it’s a little too yellow for my liking), but when applied it becomes quite transparent. I always add a pinch of Annmarie Skin Care Minerals Multi-Purpose Foundation to the sunscreen to match it to my skin tone.
As I mentioned, there’s a lot of silicone in the product, which I find can be drying, and accentuates wrinkles. To counter this I wore a moisturizer and eye cream underneath. I find this product is best suited for youngers skins, oily or combination skin, or if you want a sunscreen with a matte finish.
Most of the time I wore Coola Mineral SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint when I was running errands and briefly outdoors, and as far as I could tell it helped protect my skin from the sun. There was one time when I went out for lunch at a restaurant that was outdoors and shaded and I got burned despite reapplying the sunscreen. That experience made me concerned just how effective the product is. I checked the product description again to see how much zinc oxide and titanium dioxide is in the formula. The recommended percentage of broad spectrum mineral sunscreen is at least 10% – 20% zinc oxide. Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Tinted Mineral Sunscreen has only 1.8% Zinc Oxide, and 3.2% Titanium Dioxide – that’s nothing! I even checked their ingredient list again to see if there’s any chemical filters I missed, but the only two active ingredients are Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide. I’m not a chemist, but that seems extremely low amount of Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to make a broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen?
One way or another, there’s so many things about the product and it’s marketing that just feels off. I was happy and relieved when I could finally use something else. I will mention that upon writing this review, I noticed on their website that the wording on the front of the product is different than the product I have. The product I have has “Natural BB Cream” written on the front of the product, in two places. On Coola’s website, the product label now states “Mineral BB Cream” instead. It’s good that they made this change, it’s much less misleading. I hope one day they also change how they list their ingredients which would eliminate any confusion customers might have about the product and what it’s really made out of.
Suntegrity – 5 in 1 Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen – Tinted, Broad Spectrum SPF 30
After the whole fiasco with the Coola mineral sunscreen, I moved on to Suntegrity 5 in 1 Tinted Sunscreen Moisturizer SPF 30. This is a great sunscreen. The big stand out for me is it’s a reliable sun block (you’d be surprised just how many sunscreens I’ve tried over the years that don’t really work!).
Suntegrity 5 in 1 Tinted SPF 30 contains 20% non-nano zinc oxide, and no titanium dioxide. This formula offers broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays, and zinc is always the best active ingredient for anyone with acne, rosacea, or sensitive skin.
The formula is aloe based and made with natural ingredients. It’s cosmetic safety rating from the Environmental Working Group database is a 1, which is nice and low, and this product along with other Suntegrity sunscreens are regularly recommended by EWG.
If you’re looking for a mineral sunscreen that doesn’t leave a white cast, this is a good one. There’s 4 shades to choose from, and the makeup has a light to medium coverage depending on how much of the product you use. Like most mineral sunscreens it is a little heavy, but once you apply it on your skin, it absorbs easily and you don’t feel it on your skin. Suntegrity 5 in 1 Tinted Sunscreen is also moisturizing, and suitable for all skin types.
If you’ve got acne prone skin and worried about coconut oil, the formula does contain a coconut oil extract. I get tiny bumps all over my face from pure coconut oil, but I never had any breakouts or reaction to this product (probably because they use a coconut oil extract, not pure coconut oil). It also contains Cetyl Dimethicone (silicone) which they state is derived from minerals. The silicone is further down the list of ingredients, and the sunscreen itself doesn’t feel like it’s full of it, nor did I have any reaction to that either. I’ve been using Suntegrity 5 in 1 Tinted SPF 30 for the past 3-4 months and I haven’t had any breakouts or skin congestion from the product.
I have to say, I’m really happy with Suntegrity 5 in 1 Tinted SPF 30. I’ve also been using Suntegrity Body Sunscreen SPF 30 when I’m out in the sun a lot and on the beach. It’s heavier and you have to really rub it in to get rid of the white cast, but it’s an extremely reliable sun protection product.
UPDATE: I recently did a video demo using Suntegrity 5 in 1 Face Sunscreen, plus swatches of all the shades, and review comparing it to Suntegrity Natural Moisturizing Face Sunscreen & Primer SPF30. Click here to check it out.
Annmarie Skin Care – Sun Love
If you’re looking for an all natural mineral sunscreen made with just a handful of organic ingredients, I strongly recommend Annmarie Skin Care Sun Love.
This is the most natural sunscreen I have found.
If you’ve read last month’s blog post on my April/May Empties, you know how much I loved the previous Sun Love formula. (I loved it so much, one of our readers reached out and is sending me two bottles of the old formula stored in her fridge!! Thank you Frances 🙂
Last year Annmarie Skin Care reformulated Sun Love. When they announced it, I was REALLY upset, but I also wasn’t surprised. I really liked the previous formula because it really calmed my skin and I was able to get rid of a chronic heat rash on my chest using the product. But, the old Sun Love wasn’t the most moisturizing (which is probably why it helped heal my heat rash), and the tint wasn’t the most beautiful shade. I was happy with the product, but I wasn’t surprised when they announced that they were reformulating it.
The new Sun Love is still made out of all natural ingredients, still very soothing, but it’s much more moisturizing and it now has a SPF rating of 20.
I would say the new Sun Love is much more moisturizing than many mineral sunscreens I have used. For the body this is really nice, and for the face, it can be a great choice for dry or maturing skin. I like how hydrating and moisturizing it is, it softens my skin and disguises fine lines and wrinkles. But it’s rich, it can make skin look shiny, which isn’t for everyone.
This sunscreen is best used in a dry or temperate climate where your skin needs more moisture and environmental protection, or if your skin is dry, dehydrated, or maturing. It will really nourish your skin while protecting it from the elements. There’s 15% non-nano zinc oxide in the formula, which is gentle and soothing, and I never got any breakouts from the product.
*UPDATE 2023: Annmarie Sun Love has been reformulated again! This version is as moisturizing as the previous version, but is now sheer, no tint. It’s still ultra soothing, creamy and super moisturizing; keeping skin soft, supple and dewy. Great as a daily sunscreen moisturizer, primer under makeup, and can be used on the body as well. I’m fully enjoying the new formula!
I love your blog post! Can you tell me where you found the Coola on EWG Skin Deep website? I can’t seem to find it, but when I manually entered in the ingredients it came up with a Score of 2! Also, the website doesn’t seem to be listing the ingredients in alphabetical order. Can you check into this and see if it is different than when you first reviewed it? I was just about to purchase it, but now I’m concerned because I don’t like the same things you mentioned. I’m just curious if it has changed or not. Thank you!
Here’s the link to the Coola tinted sunscreen on EWG website: CLICK HERE
As mentioned in my review, Coola lists their ingredients in alphabetical order, not in order of volume/amount, so there’s no way of knowing what the bulk ingredients of the product is. I can say based on my experience using it, it’s a silicone-based product. I didn’t find it to be an effective sunscreen compared to other mineral sunscreens I use, but I do like to use it when I’m out and need to reapply sunscreen (it’s lightweight, doesn’t leave a white cast, and it’s easy to apply over makeup and other skincare products). So pretty much, I don’t use this as my main sunscreen. First thing in the morning, I put a generous layer of my favourite sunscreen, Suntegrity, and later in the day if I’m out and need another application of sunscreen, I will use the Coola (because it’s much lighter and easier to apply when I’m not at home). I would never use this sunscreen as my primary sun protection, I don’t think it’s as good for sun protection as other products.
If you’ve already tried the Coola sunscreen and like it, I recommend Tizo mineral sunscreen which is similar in texture (silicone-based), but offers much better sun protection.