Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Review: Alba Fragrance Free Mineral Sunscreen

I have tried a lot of non-chemically based mineral sunscreens. A lot. And most of them leave something to be desired, quite frankly. They feel greasy, or they don't rub in, or they separate in the tube into a sludge-y portion and a greasy portion. Not terribly pleasant.

The reason I was trying all these sunscreens is that first of all it freaks me out a bit to put a chemical sunscreen on my skin. A review of the Skin Deep investigation into sunscreens is posted here. I need some sun protection because I'm pasty, freckly and live in a sunny place, so it's something I use every day - either just on my face or on my arms as well. And I treated myself to a facial the other year and the facialist told me that chemical sunscreens were clogging my pores and causing breakouts. So I set myself a mission to find a good non-chemical sunscreen. I didn't realize how long of a mission it was going to be. Some things that are reviewed as being safe I just can't find in my local stores. Some are expensive, although I've tried some of those too. Some just don't perform well.

And then came Alba Botanica's mineral sunscreen. I've read one review of this which was not positive. The user claimed it dried her skin out and was hard to rub in. Well, yes, it's hard to rub in. It's a mineral sunscreen - they're all hard to rub in. Maybe having come from a year of testing out absolutely awful mineral sunscreens, I feel differently about things. But you have to come to this expecting that it's going to take a while to rub in - the point of a mineral sunscreen is that it contains particles that block the sun from getting to your skin. So you've got to spread those particles around and it's going to take a little while for you not to have a thick white coating on you. But at least it does all disappear after a short time. Think of a surfer dude with his nose completely covered in brightly colored sunblock and thank your lucky stars that you won't look like that. That's where I'm coming from, not from the point of view that it should be an instant sinking in like it's some super-expensive facial moisturizer.

The Alba sunscreen sinks in well, after some rubbing but not too much rubbing. It doesn't smell much of anything - it's fragrance free, after all, although there is a slight metallic tang to it. It hasn't separated in the tube, and I've had mine quite some months now. It doesn't feel greasy on the skin or in any way nasty. Your skin has a slightly powdery sheen to it after you first put it on - I guess that's the sun reflecting off the particles of titanium dioxide. But it feels soft, so it's quite pleasant. And, importantly, it works. I was initially hesitant to buy this, as it's only SPF 18, and normally I try to get SPF 30 or higher. But I haven't burned yet while I've been out gardening or doing whatever in the hot Florida sun while I have this sunscreen on - OK, so I haven't been laying out on the beach for hours at a time, but for general usage it hasn't let me down yet. And that's more than can be said for some sunscreens which sport a higher SPF on the label.

I will definitely buy this one again. It retails for about $7.99-$9.99. Four stars.

1 comment:

Eva said...

Congrats on the site. I am adding you to my 'Green Egg Roll" because I belive in going green. I plan to tune in. Good luck!