With over 100 natural mineral sunscreens tested by my family of six in the past 10 years, we’ve had our share of miserable failures. White out? Paint drying? Sticky, chalky, makes you look like an alabaster statue or Casper the ghost?
I will tell you this: it’s entirely possible to find a zinc oxide sunscreen that is reef safe, really works, and goes on smoothly.
This brand is not one of them.
Read the full review below to find out all of its transgressions, and then be sure to go to my ultimate guide to natural mineral sunscreens to find a safe sunscreen that really works.
Beautycounter (Old Formulation)
- Ease of Application
- Clean Ingredients
- Water Resistant
Price: 2020 price estimate: $$$$
EWG rating: 1
Active ingredient(s): non-nano zinc oxide
Other ingredients: 1,2-Hexanediol, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Cera Alba/Beeswax/Cire d’abeille, Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Nonanoate, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Fruit Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Citrus Sinensis (Sweet Orange) Fruit Extract, Coco-Caprylate, Decylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Isopropyl Myristate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Isostearic Acid, Lecithin, Raphanus Sativus (Radish) Root Ferment Filtrate, Magnesium Sulfate, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mimosa Tenuiflora (Mimosa) Bark Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Aqua/Water/Eau.
Antioxidants added: Green Tea
Where to purchase: Beautycounter
Ease of application: +
Water resistant? Rated for 40 minutes
My experience: In previous years I had turned down many, many offers of Beautycounter sunscreen reviews samples for 2 reasons:
This brand is on the pricey side and, while not completely out of line, coupled with the ingredients not being as good as my top recommended, it didn’t make me happy.
Beautycounter’s ingredients are fairly clean, but I couldn’t say, “You could eat this if you got stranded on a desert island,” like I can about some of my favorites. Phenoxyethanol is rated a 4 at EWG but hasn’t been linked to many real health concerns. It’s just…why go there when there are already better options?
I decided to finally try a tube after reading the detailed FAQs BC provides. I would direct you specifically to those on petrochemicals, preservatives, phenoxyethanol, and dimethicone. Their commitment to detail impresses me.
When our tube arrived I became frustrated with it immediately because it didn’t even list all the ingredients on the tube itself. I feel like companies are trying to hide something when they don’t do that. I know we can find the ingredients, but why not just print them?
We flipped our opinions quickly because it rubs in incredibly well, even after it sits on the body for a bit, which can be a problem with mineral sunscreens.
Schizophrenic day continued after a few hours at the pool, however. In every side-by-side test, at least four people, Beautycounter allowed burns. I am not sure I’ve ever seen such a widespread failure. It failed on my husband’s face, and my mom’s shoulders burned like crazy even with raw elements stick on her face yielded absolutely no pink at all. Two other members of our extended family were only out half a day and also burned on their backs with Beautycounter, while other brands protected even their faces and tops of bald heads. I was so dismayed that I hid this tube from the family, never to use it again.
Note: I understand that Beautycounter has reformulated and I’ve been offered a new sample but never received it. I’d love to try it and really hope it’s better!!!
- Rubs in very well
- Contains phenoxyethanol
- Did not prevent sunburn for multiple test subjects
- More expensive option
Wondering if this one is the very best natural sunscreen for your family?
I organized alllll the sunscreens we reviewed in each one’s recommendation category – one page, at-a-glance to find out what is safe to buy AND works! Print it or save to your phone for reference!
The guide also includes answers to questions people ask me all the time:
- Which brand rubs in the clearest?
- What’s the best for all day outdoor sports?
- How do I save money on natural sunscreens?
- What looks good on ladies’ faces?
- Is there an option that is FAST to apply to wiggly kids?
I’ll send a copy to your email so you can see it right away and find it again later!