It's the beginning of summer down here in Australia and SHE's getting ready to head back to Bali for a Christmas break surfing with the girls. Number one on the packing list is sunscreen, an essential part of our daily regime when we're heading out and about. For ladies who surf, it's also proven to be a challenge finding a product that withstands two hours in the water under the hot Bali sun.
SHE has a sensitivity to sunscreen, especially the face kind. SHE's spent thousands of dollars over the years on sunscreen that's designed 'for sensitive skins', that's 'all natural', and 'dermatologically tested'. SHE's had a reaction to a lot of them. Despite diligent scanning of the ingredients list, it's come down to trial and error. A frustrating and expensive exercise.
Choosing a sunscreen that doesn't irritate the skin is hard enough; it now appears that the majority of the daily sunscreens on our supermarket and pharmacy shelves can be doing more harm than good. A recent study has shown that sunscreen could be killing our reefs and that's very disturbing news. A quick scan of the ingredients in the regular body sunscreen SHE uses reveals it contains the nasty oxybenzone. Ouch. In the bin it goes!
SHE's been using other products on her face that, thankfully, tick the 'no harmful chemicals' box. There are plenty of 'reef-friendly' options available made with titanium oxide or zinc oxide, in place of oxybenzone; you just need to know what to look for and where to buy it. (Check out the link to a safer sunscreen cheat sheet compiled by the team at hellocharlie.com.au)
Here's our top 3 good-for-everyone-and-the-environment sunscreen recommendations for this Aussie / Bali summer:
1. Moo Goo: SHE loves this Aussie company. There's lots of information on their website about sunscreens (amongst other things; spend some time trawling around, you will be surprised what you find!). It's possibly the most comprehensive information SHE's read. And it actually makes sense. If you're feeling confused about the myriad of options out there (physical vs chemical; SPF 15 vs SPF 40) it's all explained on this site.
SHE uses both their sunscreen products:
'Cover Up Buttercup' 15+ is lighter and easier to apply. It doesn't feel quite as heavy on the skin and is more easily absorbed. It's a good overall sunscreen as well as being suitable for the face (and SHE has no sensitivity issues).
'SPF 40 Natural Sunscreen' is heavier and takes a little more work to apply. It goes on very white (which can be a bit of a shock!) however stay with it as it absorbs into the skin. A little goes a long way. SHE found this option lasted longer in the surf.
2. Eco: SHE uses this most days. It is a little thick to apply at first but does rub in well. It's all natural, doesn't irritate the skin, and, as with so many of these zinc oxide based products, a little goes a long way. It's also good as a base under a moisturiser or for those who wear makeup.
There's a body version that's a little heavier than the face formula. There's also a baby product (SHE picked that one up accidentally and found it to be almost identical to the regular face option). It's made in the US but distributed and readily available here in Australia in good Healthfood shops.
Buy it online at a heap of places but here's one of our favourites: Shop Naturally
3. Surf Yogis: Born and bred in Bali, SHE loves Surf Yogis sunscreen. Made with chocolate, beeswax, zinc oxide, and coconut oil, it's been designed to handle the hot sun and surf of Bali, and it's proving to stand up to an Australian summer. SHE's been using it for the last two years and it's one of the few face sunscreens that doesn't irritate the skin.
It's a heavier zinc-style texture, coloured a pink-based beige, and doesn't rub in. So if you're looking for a light and clear option, this one might not be your first choice. SHE likes it because you can see where it's been applied, and there's no doubt you're wearing it! Save it for a surf session, or time bobbing around in the pool with a cocktail(s).
Just new on the market with a special mention...
Manda Organic Sun Paste, a new product with no nasty chemicals that's just hitting the market from the US. SHE hasn't had a chance to test this one yet; the company's based in San Diego and successfully managed to fund their product through Kickstarter. They're promising delivery of the sunscreen in the first week of January if you order online. SHE's not sure how this works with an Australian address but SHE's been following their progress closely on social media. SHE likes what SHE sees in the list of ingredients and looks forward to trying it out sometime soon.
Sunscreen packed, SHE's ready to go! Here's to summer, to fun in the sun, to being out in the surf for hours on end, wearing sunscreen that's good for us, and good for the planet!
If you're a water baby like SHE is, come and surf with us in Bali! SHE offers ladies-only surfing holidays, 7 days - 6 nights staying in a stunning villa in Seminyak, surfing beautiful warm, friendly waves every day. Click here to read more about our surfing holidays.