Monday, August 8, 2022

Skincare Reviews: Some Mineral Sunscreens for Body

During our recent Turks and Caicos vacation - in which K and I spent basically all our daylight hours relaxing on the beach, with several dips in the ocean throughout - I tested out three different mineral body sunscreens. In trying to research "reef safe" and mineral sunscreens before our trip, I found myself quite overwhelmed because there were so many brands out there, many of them smaller or less well-known than what's typically available at many US drug stores. So I figured I might as well review the ones I tried, in case that information could possibly help anyone else!

Please note that my reviews here are subjective and not particularly scientific. I'm basically going off my personal observations from using each of these sunscreens for the equivalent of around two full beach days each, ~10:30 AM to 6:30 PM, switching between them as I ran out of one or the other. (Many mineral sunscreens aren't available in super-large packages like the drugstore brands.) 

Each day, I reapplied sunscreen roughly once every 2 hours, or a bit sooner if I thought more sunscreen than expected had washed off during one of my quick ocean swims. So I was generally applying around 4 times a day, and maybe a fifth time on my shoulders and arms, spots that felt like they got more sun exposure. Additionally, I wore a straw sun hat - albeit one that'd gotten a bit floppy and squished from somewhat careless packing - and also tried my best to stay as covered as I could under a beach umbrella whenever I wasn't in the water. That beach umbrella definitely wasn't perfect protection because of how the angle of the shade changes drastically throughout the day with the sun's movement.  

I may not have picked the best or most popular brands of mineral body sunscreen available in the US. I didn't have much time or mental energy for research before our trip because I'd been so busy at the office. Every time I searched  Google for the "best" mineral or reef safe sunscreens, I felt like many websites had drastically different lists of recommended brands or products. Plus, I was nervous about buying any fancier, Sephora or department store-priced mineral sunscreens if I didn't have someone I personally know make the product recommendation. Thus, I ended up sticking with things sold at Target, which maybe limits one's options too much in this product category. 

Please note that this post contains affiliate links that could result in my earning a small commission - at no extra cost to you - if you click and make a purchase. Thank you for your support!

My biggest worry was that, with many mineral sunscreens, one often sees at least one or two extremely negative reviews. Think something like "this sunscreen doesn't work at all, we still got badly burned wearing it" or "it was impossible to blend into my skin" or "this had a really off texture that made it difficult to use." If any of the sunscreens I picked turned out to have issues like that, it would have been a disaster with the kind of high sun exposure beach vacation I was planning. Happily, there weren't any big problems, all the sunscreens I tried were reasonably functional. All three also had no noticeable scent or fragrance. 

Though one warning, I generally found these mineral sunscreens were not very waterproof, with sometimes very visible signs that they were washing off, potentially after an extremely brief swim. I think this may be a common issue with many or even most products in this category, compared to many chemical sunscreens?  

Pipette Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50 - ~$12.00/4 oz (~$3/1 oz) - (also herehere, or here) This Pipette sunscreen was the easiest to apply out of the three I tried, in that it absorbed the most quickly and was the least prone to leaving a noticeable white cast. (Though especially when I applied in a hurry on the beach with sand and dried salt water still on my skin, all these sunscreens could leave a white cast. I think that's expected with mineral sunscreens under those conditions, it's likely the inherent nature of the product.) But this was also the sunscreen that seemed the least water-resistant of the three, and the most prone to washing off while swimming. I'd notice it was visibly starting to come off my skin almost immediately once I submerged myself in the water. 

Nonetheless, because this Pipette sunscreen felt like the one that applied most quickly and easily, with the least tendency to leave a white cast, I think I'd still pick this if I wasn't doing any water sports and also didn't expect to sweat especially much. Of the three sunscreens, this one also had the runniest texture and was the only one that could separate a bit in the tube: I needed to shake it well before using the first time. 

Native Unscented Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30 - $19.99/5 oz (~$4/1 oz) - Out of the three body sunscreens I purchased for the trip, this product was very middle of the road. It was the next easiest to apply, though didn't absorb quite as quickly or easily as the Pipette. The texture is a more liquid lotion compared to the Blue Lizard, which seems like it should absorb quickly. Though in practice, it needed a more careful and slower application than the Pipette to avoid a visible white cast. (And again, for beach applications, there was no avoiding some white cast.) I found this one to be the next most prone to washing off in water, something that was also visible on the skin after I'd been in the ocean for a while, though it wasn't anywhere near as bad or as quickly as with the Pipette. 

With the relatively elevated price, not having the smoothest application, and the poor water resistance, I think it's hard to make a case for preferring this sunscreen over the other two. Though I wouldn't actually call it a "bad" product either. I totally didn't mind using it until it ran out, it just can't quite compete with the strengths of the other two I had on hand. 

Blue Lizard Sensitive Mineral Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50 - ~$14.99/5oz (~$3/1 oz) - (also here) This one felt like the slowest to apply and absorb into the skin, and I don't think I could avoid some visible white cast even when I first applied it more carefully and methodically in the hotel room in the mornings. I would ultimately say the Blue Lizard was only marginally more difficult to work with than the Native sunscreen under the same conditions, and both were tough to work with while on the beach with sand stuck to my skin. 

It might seem like the application challenges should be disqualifying for my recommending this product at all, but this body sunscreen was also the only one of the three that seemed to make a real case for water resistance. I would notice a bit more of the visible white mineral substance on my skin after getting in the sea with the Blue Lizard sunscreen on, but it seemed to stay put instead of slipping off, like I noticed promptly and seemingly quite seriously with the Pipette and less and more slowly with the Native sunscreen. Heck, the Blue Lizard sunscreen was arguably so water resistant that I noticed it was actually a bit difficult to wash off the noticeable white mineral substance in the shower at night after our beach days. 

Based mainly on water resistance, this is the mineral body sunscreen I'd pick if I was spending at least a few hours swimming or if I expected a ton of sweating over a long day outdoors. The price is also quite good.

And this isn't really on-topic in a post about body sunscreen, but I also brought my Dr. Jart Every Sun Day Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 50+ (also here) on my vacation to test it out in more extreme sun conditions than I usually encounter in NYC. Both K and I used it on our faces, applying 3 to 4 times a day during our beach days, and we found the Dr. Jart to be effective and pleasant to use, with what seemed to be reasonably good water resistance. I don't think I particularly noticed signs of this washing off when we got in the ocean, though we also didn't dunk our faces in the water. (This sunscreen sometimes left a bit of a noticeable white cast when I reapplied without a mirror on the beach with some sand and dried salt water on my face, unlike when I apply it at home in the mornings. But that's probably to be expected.) 

If you have any favorite mineral sunscreens for face or body, including at fancier price points, I'm definitely interested in hearing about them! This is a segment of the skincare market I don't know well, so I'm always eager to have more recommendations for products to try. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear from anyone who might be reading! Please feel free to leave a comment or question.