In making the switch to green beauty, some products are particularly hard to replace. In this series of posts I will highlight the treasures discovered during my search for products that work as well, if not better, as their conventional counterparts.
In the annals of green beauty products that just never quite measure up to the conventional alternatives, two products prove especially impossible: mascara and sunscreen. Now, finding clean mascara that works well is a pain, but, truth be told, I am not hugely bothered about using dirty mascara (though I have finally found a clean favorite). After all, I hardly ever use it and, ultimately, the ingredients in many high-quality “dirty” mascaras are not all that terrible. Sunscreen, though is another story. We are expected to wear it daily, it covers most of our bodies or, at the very least, our entire faces and a lot of the dirty sunscreens have truly nasty ingredients, hormone disruptors being particularly dangerous culprits. Natural sunscreens use physical UVA and UVB blockers like zinc and titanium dioxide instead of chemicals and while both of those are perfectly effective, they are also notorious for leaving a white cast on the skin. I happen to absolutely adore my daily sunscreen, Suntegrity’s Face Sunscreen and Primer. It smells deliciously of citrus, provides a high level of sun protection and contains fantastic ingredients. But if anyone tries to tell you that it does not leave a white cast, they either have remarkably absorbent skin or they are not being entirely honest.
Sure, it does absorb eventually and even seems to smooth the look of my skin, but for a fair amount of time after application, I end up looking like a ghost – not entirely ideal when I need to run out the doors, while managing to look presentable. If my face gets oily, the sunscreen also tends to leave white streaks across my forehead. In addition, physical sunscreens make my face too hot, making my lips bead with perspiration any time the temperature gets anywhere near comfortably warm. Obviously, this is not exactly ideal for a New Yorker who spends quite a percentage of her life in hot subways or on steamy streets.
I have tried using sunscreens with clear zinc that promised sun protection without ghostification. Both the DeVita Solar Protective Moisturizer and Mychelle Replenishing Solar Defense came with great reviews and had impressive ingredient lists, but they just did not work for my skin. Minutes after the application, my face would start itching, and towards the end of the day I would be an irritated, red-faced mess.
I have all, but given up on finding a quality sunscreen that didn’t turn me white as a sheet, until an order from Integrity Botanicals came with a sample of the Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream. The little flyer included with the sample claimed that the cream, which contains non-nano zinc oxide and provides an SPF of 30, would not leave a white cast and will help improve my skin with a host of fantastic ingredients. I must confess it took me a while to try the sample: I knew how I react to clear zinc and I just didn’t want to bother with the attendant irritation. In fact, I’m not quite sure why I ended up trying it after all: I suppose the intrepid skincare explorer in me took over. After that first reluctant application I was, frankly, shocked. The cream (through I would really describe it as a lotion) applied like a dream and did not, in fact, leave even the slightest of white casts. It also felt perfect on the skin, in the way that is usually achieved by luxury conventional skincare by the addition of silicones: my face felt silky, smooth and soothed. The whole day passed and I developed no irritation or redness, nor did my face get too hot.
I made short work of the sample, immediately bought a full size bottle and I can now honestly say that I never want to be without it. This cream (lotion, darn it!) is a joy to use, it feels luxurious and it is improving my skin. I also absolutely adore its smell. It is quite strong, though not at all cloying. Somehow, I detect a hint of chocolate, though there is no cocoa butter in the ingredients, but a friend who complemented me on my perfume when all I was wearing was the Day Cream described the scent as fresh and herbal, with a strong note of sandalwood. Whatever the scent, components I adore it, though it is strong enough that those sensitive to scents might want to try a sample before committing to a full size (especially since this cream is not exactly cheap).
If I have to find one thing to criticize is that this cream (lotion!!!) does not quite play well with others. That is, it layers beautifully over my oils, but tends to pill over anything that has more of a lotion, gel or serum-like texture. The pilling is not too bad and I wouldn’t ordinarily mind, but since this is a sunscreen, I want to avoid compromising its integrity as best I can. That said, you really don’t need anything besides an oil (or nothing at all if you have oily skin) when wearing this cream (oh, I give up!) because with its excellent ingredients it can provide all the nourishment your skin may need.