12.31.2014
7
2012
Very Emollient Sunscreen Mineral Protection, Fragrance Free SPF 30
Rating
4 fl. oz. for $11.49
Category:Skin Care > Sensitive Skin Products > Sun Products > SPF 30-49 Sunscreen
Last Updated:12.31.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Review Overview

Everything about this sunscreen’s name is accurate. The emollient formula is great for dry skin, the sunscreens are mineral-based and provide broad-spectrum protection, and the formula is fragrance-free. Consider this a winning combination for anyone with dry, sensitive skin, including those struggling with rosacea. The shea butter, plant oils, and plant extracts provide an antioxidant boost that helps the skin further defend itself from sun damage. Last, the tiny amount of benzyl alcohol is not cause for concern.

Claims
Ingredients

Active: Zinc Oxide (14.5 %), Titanium Dioxide (2.0 %), Other: Water, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Caprylic / Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Sesquioleate, Glycerin, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Polyglyceryl-3 Ricinoleate, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Magnesium Sulfate, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Benzyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid

Brand Overview

Alba Botanica At-a-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; several good cleansers; some good moisturizers; nice lip balms without sunscreen; most of the facial and body sunscreens provide sufficient broad-spectrum sun protection; mineral sunscreens options are available; self-tanner that includes antioxidants for added benefit.

Weaknesses: The natural ingredients in some of the products are natural irritants; jar packaging won't keep air-sensitive ingredients stable; most of the lip balms with sunscreen lack sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients; subpar toners and exfoliants.

Alba Botanica is part of the Avalon Natural Products group, which is owned by natural product marketer Hain-Celestial. In addition to owning the Jason Natural and Zia Natural brands, Hain-Celestial also owns Avalon Organics, of which Alba Botanica is a part. Although Alba Botanica is not any thinking person's definition of an all-natural line—they use plenty of synthetic ingredients, including sunscreen actives and preservatives—they shine in comparison to the mostly disappointing products offered under the Avalon Organics name, but that's not saying a lot. 

As far as the "natural" visage Alba Botanica portrays—while they do use plenty of natural ingredients, for the most part it's the non-natural ingredients that contribute to each product's texture and function; but then highlighting those ingredients isn't going to attract attention from consumers seeking natural products, is it? Because there are no established standards for use of the word "natural," any cosmetics company can take advantage of the term, as Alba Botanica does. 

Despite not being an all-natural line (which isn't a bad thing), much of what they offer, while not state-of-the-art spectacular, is still worth considering. The prices are competitive with those of drugstore and health food store brands, and they offer some very good options in the categories of cleanser, scrub, sunscreens for face and body, lip balms without sunscreen, and a self-tanner.

It is also worth mentioning that Avalon Products (remember, Alba Botanica is part of this master brand) is commendable in that it uses environmentally conscious business practices, including solar-powered offices and warehouse and relying on organic farming for several of their ingredients. Their environmentalism may or may not correspond to good skin care, but it is admirable. As we have said many times before, just because an ingredient is organic doesn't make it safe or effective for skin (and there's no proof that an organic ingredient is preferred to a synthetic ingredient when it comes to skin care), but the practice of organic farming is a positive step toward creating products that reduce negative environmental impact.

Turning to what Alba Botanica needs help with, you'll see they fall short of being a comprehensive line. There are no reliable exfoliants such as AHAs or BHA products, and those struggling with blemishes or any type of skin discoloration are out of luck. Also, not every sunscreen (especially those for lips) makes the grade in terms of providing sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients, and some of the toners have truly boring, antiquated formulas. Other less impressive products include the enzyme scrubs, masks, and a few of the jar-packaged moisturizers. 

Overall, these products aren't the most advanced around, but comparatively speaking they best many other products from brands with a natural angle (Lauder-owned Origins comes to mind).

For more information about Alba Botanica, call (888) 659-7730 or visit www.albabotanica.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment that Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice Skincare made over 30 years ago-to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!


The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
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04.16.2015
Cystic Acne

Wonderfully moisturizing and high in Zinc Oxide. What more could I want? SERIOUS CYSTIC ACNE. Do't buy!

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Reviewed by
Margaret R.
08.30.2014
Not a bad white cast.

This is one of the best and safest sunscreens on the market. Amazing sun protection! I prefer mineral actives and it's all I'll use and love that this has 14.5 percent Zinc Oxide and some titanium dioxide. Next best thing to putting 20% Zinc oxide ointment on for preventing sun damage.

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Reviewed by
Frosty
04.25.2014
So you are a little white...

I bought this due to price and size. I have acne-prone, sensitive skin and I am biracial so yes, it does leave me a little white, but no more than an oil-absorbing white powder can. It does make my make-up standout a little more (by like a hair), so make sure to blend. I am careful to rub it completely in and use a cloth to assist with this task. But for the cost savings and size for daily usage, you really can't beat it! Plus, it moisturizes my acne treated skin with no additional breakouts!

Recommend
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Value
Reviewed by
Shea C.
10.17.2013
Yes It Is White, But It Is Also Dirt Cheap

I work at home so I don't really have to look polished every day. My home "cubicle" is right next to a window, so I like to have sunscreen on. It can feel a bit greasy, but nothing like the nightmare of Badger. This stuff is cheap, so I keep at least one tube around to be sure that I am protected on the many days when that's all I really care about. The white cast fades a bit, but it is definitely there. Did I mention that this stuff is cheap?

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Reviewed by
Lynne C.
06.25.2013
Whitish Cast & Hard to Rub In

Bought it based on Paula's review, & have read the other member's reviews but I did not have success with this product. I definitely felt like I was protected, I also felt like I smashed a marshmallow on my skin. Will probably purchase Paula's Choice sunscreens from this point forward.

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Reviewed by
LL
05.24.2013
You Can Fade the White Cast!

I'm extremely limited on mild mineral facial sunblocks for dry skin that are not chalky white. This is a nice formula and yes, goes on white but as a brown skinned person with dry sensitive rosacea skin that burns from mostly all products, I had to make this work. The key is to warm your hands (I use hot running tap water) and dry them quickly, then and take the time to meticulously (gently) rub in the cream. No burning, no chalk-face, no sun damage. Yay!!!!

Recommend
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Reviewed by
Lisa
03.28.2013
Great, emollient sunscreen

I've been using this for a few years under my foundation. It initially has the typical white cast because of the titanium dioxide, but after it absorbs a bit, it fades. The only drawback is the oils in it tend to separate from the sunscreen if it gets too hot. This doesn't affect the sunscreen, but it is messy when squeezing it out of the tube! Otherwise, it is the best sunscreen I've ever used and will probably ever use. My skin type is dry/combination and sensitive. Hope this helps!

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Reviewed by
Ellen K
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