It has been quite a while since we've talked sunscreen around here and I believe it is high time to write up our thoughts about some new kids on the sunscreen block. Gauging by the amount of organic/natural sunscreen questions I get in real life--this is a hot topic (no pun intended.) Well, you have been patient for long enough for our organic sunscreen recommendations...so here is the start of F+S's Sunscreenapalooza!
Today was the first day of swim lessons for my kids at our local community college. We've been waiting months for them to start and I knew there would be no better time to test out the sunscreens than during our days at the pool. This morning I decided to try Vivesana Solar to Polar Baby Sunscreen with an SPF of 42. Yep, 42! As you may already know, a high SPF is not all you want to look at in a sunscreen and things like "broad spectrum", "water-resistant" and a high percentage of organic ingredients are all things that will ensure you avoid harm from spending lots of time in the sun. Neither one of my kids has sensitive skin, but if they did this hypo-allergenic sunscreen would be totally safe to smear all over them. My kids are fair-skinned, and spent 45 minutes in the pool at the hottest point of the day, and there is no sign of sun on either one of them at the end of the day.
straight out of the tube
Consistency: This is probably the thickest sunscreen I have ever used and it feels more like a paste on first contact. It was a little bit of a chore to get it out of the aluminum tube at first, but the great thing is--you don't need very much at all. It is super concentrated and very easy to spread once it goes around in your hands a couple of times. It is ultra-moisturizing and soaks into the skin a few minutes after application. It's a mineral-based sunscreen so it is white when applied, but this sunscreen really (truly!) loses the chalky look after application.
3 (or so) wipes on my son
Inside: Titanium Dioxide (8.5%), Zinc Oxide (3.5%), Organic Soybean Oil, Organic Safflower Oil, Beeswax, Organic Olive Oil, Organic Avocado Oil, Organic Jojoba Seed Oil, Alumina (natural mineral), Stearic Acid (natural), Organic Glycerin, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Sunflower Seed Oil, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Oat Kernel Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract, Chamomile Extract, Apricot Kernel Oil, Red Raspberry Seed Extract, Green Tea Fragrance (natural).
5 (or so) wipes on my daughter
fully applied to a cute little back
Fragrance: Sweet and mild. We all know what conventional sunscreen smells like, don't we. For some of us, it's one of the classic smells of summertime. This smells nothing like it--thank heavens! The chamomile and green tea fragrance is just enough to be pleasant, but no one's gonna smell this 20 feet down wind from you at the pool.
Value: For 2.25oz., the retail price for the Solar to Polar Baby is $32. Not cheap, we know. Since we can't all drop $32 on sunscreen without a second look, I will say that given the concentration of this product, you get more bang for your buck than a liquid sunscreen you pour into your hand. Vivesana does not use water in their sunscreen, so the likelihood of the product going bad before you run out is also decreased. Also, with that SPF and broad-spectrum protection, you're not going to have to re-apply as often. Vivesana uses high-end, non-plastic, made in the U.S. packaging for this baby line as well as sourcing their ingredients and manufacturing right here at home, which I'm sure contributes to the price point.
Bottom Line: Vivesana Solar to Polar Baby is a luxurious product that would look great on the pool deck of a Four Seasons Resort, as well as in a sandy beach tote. The 100% natural ingredients are moisturizing, protecting and healing and the fragrance is sweet, but subtle. The impressive SPF, 70% organic ingredients, broad-spectrum protection against UVA & UVB rays and water-resistance all fit the bill of being a great, all around sunscreen for kids, people with sensitive skin or anyone who wants safe protection from the sun. --E
Find :: Spirit Beauty Lounge or Vivesana.com
Learn: Want to know what we think about nanoparticles in sunscreen?? Click here!
Disclosure :: Spirit Beauty Lounge and Vivesana sent both of us sunscreen for an honest and candid review of Vivesana. As you know, we do not write about every product out there--just the ones we think are truly great.
Photo by Erin Lundeen