This sunscreen is nearly identical to Alba Botanica's Very Emollient Sunblock Mineral Protection, Fragrance Free SPF 30. As such, the same review applies: 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. This is a great option for use on babies and children, too. Last, the tiny amount of benzyl alcohol is not cause for concern.
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
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.