First thing first: Despite the name, this sunscreen is not "natural" almost all of the actives are synthetic except for the titanium dioxide. Synthetic sunscreens aren't bad ingredients, but they shouldn't be in a sunscreen sold as "natural."
That said, this is still a good water-resistant sunscreen for normal to dry skin, but it would have been better without the potentially irritating ginseng and myrtle extracts. Most likely, any irritant potential these plants have is countered by the anti-irritants and antioxidants in this sunscreen, but, ideally, the good ingredients should be directing all of their energy toward helping your skin; protecting your skin from the ingredients in the skin-care product you’re using is a waste. It is also a concern that this product contains only 2% titanium dioxide, which isn’t much given the need for UVA protection. A higher amount of titanium dioxide and/or the inclusion of zinc oxide would have made this a better choice for broad-spectrum protection.
Renovated and improved with higher sun protection factors and enhanced natural technology for ultimate sun protection and skin care benefits.
Active: Homosalate (7.5%), Octocrylene (7.5%), Ethylhexyl Salicylate (5.0%), Titanium Dioxide (2.0%) Other: Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glycerin, Cetyl Alcohol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dimethicone, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer , Glyceryl Stearate SE, Hydrogenated Palm Kernel Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract, Myrtus Communis Leaf Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Extract, Cetearyl Olivate, Polysorbate 60, Silica, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Sorbitan Olivate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Xanthan Gum, Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate.
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.