12.23.2014
905
Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish
1.7 fl. oz. for $36
Expert Rating
Community Rating (11)
Expert Reviews
Last Updated:12.23.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No

The name really says it all. This sunscreen has a matte finish and cucumber scent thanks to Cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract. Most fragrant plant extracts pose a risk of irritation to skin, but cucumber is actually one of the few that doesn't.

The formula also includes a few other non-volatile plant oils that have anti-inflammatory and emollient benefits for skin. On top of that, the mineral sunscreen it contains is gentle enough for sensitive skin and supplies broad-spectrum sun protection.

In terms of aesthetics, the whipped texture transforms into a satiny-smooth, lightweight, silicone-esque texture that blends on like a dream and has an almost powder-like finish. Its white cast dissipates quickly, although those with darker skin tones will find it a bit more noticeable.

The matte finish blurs imperfections, leaving skin looking smoother, and provides an even canvas for makeup. It may accentuate dry patches, though, so avoid putting this on flaky areas. This really fares best for normal to oily skin anyway—including breakout-prone skin.

Bonus: Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish's airtight pump and opaque packaging helps keep its superstar ingredients stable. This product puts the "cool" back in Coola!

Last, although Coola makes a point of calling this a "natural" product, there is nothing inherently better about natural ingredients than synthetic ones. Plus, although they do occur naturally as minerals, both the zinc oxide and the titanium dioxide present in sunscreen products are processed to make them safe, cosmetically elegant, and effective sunscreen actives. In this case, the natural angle is misleading, though Coola is hardly the only brand to capitalize on the mistaken belief that natural skin-care ingredients are inherently better and safer than synthetic ingredients, which isn't true in the least. There are good and bad ingredients that are natural. Even more to the point, this product contains plenty of synthetic ingredients.

Note: Because this product is regulated in the United States as an over-the-counter drug, its inactive ingredients are listed in alphabetical order rather than in descending order of concentration. Although this is an accepted standard, we have more respect for companies that choose to list their inactive ingredients in descending order of concentration, so that the consumer is better informed about the potency of the ingredients that they are putting on their skin, just like with any other skin-care or makeup product.

Pros:
  • Matte finish diffuses oily skin and blurs imperfections.
  • Formula includes anti-inflammatory and antioxidant ingredients.
  • Satiny-smooth, silicone-esque texture has a lightweight feel.
  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection in a gentle, mineral form.
  • Refreshing cucumber scent.
Cons:
  • None.
Community Reviews
Claims

Naturally shield and nourish skin everyday with this antioxidant-infused, mineral matte SPF 30 sunscreen. Offering broad-spectrum UVA/UVB plus environmental protection, this light, natural cucumber scented formula gives skin an immediate line-smoothing finish.

Ingredients

Active: Titanium Dioxide (3.2%), Zinc Oxide (1.8%). Other: Aluminum Hydroxide, Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea Butter), Cucumis Sativus (Organic Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Glycerin (Organic), Hydrogen Dimethicone, Isopropyl Myristate, Linum Usitatissimum (Organic Linseed) Seed Oil, Oenothera Biennis (Organic Evening Primrose) Oil, Plankton Extract, Polyamide-5, Polysilicone-11, Propylene Carbonate, Rosa Canina (Organic Rose Hip) Fruit Oil, Silica Silylate, Stearalkonium Hectorite.

Brand Overview

Strengths: Products provide broad spectrum sun protection; opaque, air-tight packaging keeps air-sensitive ingredients stable; two especially great sunscreens.

Weaknesses: Majority of the products contain potential irritants and fragrance; misleading marketing claims about products not containing chemicals, but they do (every cosmetic ingredient is a chemical); sunscreen sprays are formulated with an alcohol base that can be damaging to skin; questionable SPF ratings on a few of the products; limited SPF options for those with dry skin.

The story of the Coola brand begins in 2004 when now-CEO Chris Birchby came up with the idea to create a simple sunscreen for surfers. As a former surf instructor who practically lived in the water, he understood the risks of sun damage. But those risks really hit home when both of his parents were diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which mounting research has shown is largely due to unprotected sun exposure.    

Birchby wanted his line to be sustainable, locally sourced, and organic. To some extent, his products do fit that bill, but not as much as the marketing makes it sound. There are plenty of synthetic ingredients in these products and the “sustainable” assertion doesn’t have any standard of acceptability, so that’s a loose claim at best.

Despite Birchby’s surfer dude background, Coola brand sunscreens are not practical for surfers. The price tags are relatively high, especially if you are spending entire days outdoors at the beach or in the water. Given that you must apply sunscreen liberally and must repeat application after 40 to 80 minutes in the water, that’s going to take a lot of sunscreen!

As a result, Coola is sold at spas and dermatology offices, as well as through various upscale websites. The line has expanded from traditional lotion sunscreen to include lip care, baby care, spray sunscreens, BB creams, and more.

One of the high notes of the Coola brand is that all of their products provide sufficient broad spectrum sun protection. Each formula also includes antioxidants and other skin-repairing or skin-soothing ingredients that benefit all skin types. The antioxidants provide added value when it comes to sun care because they help offset free-radical damage from UV rays.

Coola also did a great job on the packaging, offering opaque squeeze-tube or pump-style applicators that help keep the air- and light-sensitive ingredients (such as antioxidants) stable—no jars to be found here!

Coola also makes a big deal about their products NOT containing parabens and phthalates, but definitive research has shown that these ingredients are safe (click on their respective links for the full scoop); sadly, in some cases, fear sells better than facts.

They also call out that their products do NOT contain the somewhat controversial sunscreen active oxybenzone nor do their formulas contain nanoparticles, although those aren’t necessarily bad, either. It’s always a sad day for us when we see yet another brand jumping on the bandwagon of maligning ingredients that research has shown aren’t the risk they’re making them out to be. It gives consumers the wrong idea of what’s safe and what’s not when there’s rarely cause for concern.

What you should be concerned about are the volatile, fragrant, plant ingredients that Coola includes in many of their formulas, because these have the potential to irritate skin. Although this isn’t the case with all Coola products, it’s a pretty common occurrence. An even larger concern is that several products contain alcohol, which, while organic, is irritating to skin when present in high amounts—and potentially more so when it’s combined with synthetic active sunscreen ingredients.

Another marketing platform for the Coola brand is their use of organic ingredients. First, we hate it when companies fib about their products containing no chemicals because these products are not “zero chemicals.” We explain more about this in the individual reviews.

Moreover, there is no substantiated research showing that organic ingredients are superior to non-organic or synthetic ingredients. Plus, there are no FDA-approved standards for labeling cosmetics products as organic or not; nor is there an agreed-on definition from the cosmetics industry itself. Get the full scoop here. And perhaps most telling that this is merely a marketing issue for Coola is that they don’t really seem to think non-organic and/or synthetic ingredients are a problem—after all, they’re present in almost all of their products!

As for the products themselves, there are a couple real standouts, such as Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish and Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint Natural BB Cream. The rest range from questionable to problematic, mostly due to their potential to irritate skin, although in some cases that potential is small, which we point out in the reviews.

We really do appreciate the idea behind the brand, but until they drop the irritating ingredients we can’t recommend the bulk of this line.

You can find Coola products throughout North America at spas, dermatology offices, Ulta, and Nordstrom, as well as on numerous websites. For more information about Coola, call 760.940.2125 or visit www.coolasuncare.com.

About the Experts

The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.


Beautypedia cuts through the hype to bring you product insights and recommendations you won’t find anywhere else!

See all reviews for this brand

Strengths: Products provide broad spectrum sun protection; opaque, air-tight packaging keeps air-sensitive ingredients stable; two especially great sunscreens.

Weaknesses: Majority of the products contain potential irritants and fragrance; misleading marketing claims about products not containing chemicals, but they do (every cosmetic ingredient is a chemical); sunscreen sprays are formulated with an alcohol base that can be damaging to skin; questionable SPF ratings on a few of the products; limited SPF options for those with dry skin.

The story of the Coola brand begins in 2004 when now-CEO Chris Birchby came up with the idea to create a simple sunscreen for surfers. As a former surf instructor who practically lived in the water, he understood the risks of sun damage. But those risks really hit home when both of his parents were diagnosed with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, which mounting research has shown is largely due to unprotected sun exposure.    

Birchby wanted his line to be sustainable, locally sourced, and organic. To some extent, his products do fit that bill, but not as much as the marketing makes it sound. There are plenty of synthetic ingredients in these products and the “sustainable” assertion doesn’t have any standard of acceptability, so that’s a loose claim at best.

Despite Birchby’s surfer dude background, Coola brand sunscreens are not practical for surfers. The price tags are relatively high, especially if you are spending entire days outdoors at the beach or in the water. Given that you must apply sunscreen liberally and must repeat application after 40 to 80 minutes in the water, that’s going to take a lot of sunscreen!

As a result, Coola is sold at spas and dermatology offices, as well as through various upscale websites. The line has expanded from traditional lotion sunscreen to include lip care, baby care, spray sunscreens, BB creams, and more.

One of the high notes of the Coola brand is that all of their products provide sufficient broad spectrum sun protection. Each formula also includes antioxidants and other skin-repairing or skin-soothing ingredients that benefit all skin types. The antioxidants provide added value when it comes to sun care because they help offset free-radical damage from UV rays.

Coola also did a great job on the packaging, offering opaque squeeze-tube or pump-style applicators that help keep the air- and light-sensitive ingredients (such as antioxidants) stable—no jars to be found here!

Coola also makes a big deal about their products NOT containing parabens and phthalates, but definitive research has shown that these ingredients are safe (click on their respective links for the full scoop); sadly, in some cases, fear sells better than facts.

They also call out that their products do NOT contain the somewhat controversial sunscreen active oxybenzone nor do their formulas contain nanoparticles, although those aren’t necessarily bad, either. It’s always a sad day for us when we see yet another brand jumping on the bandwagon of maligning ingredients that research has shown aren’t the risk they’re making them out to be. It gives consumers the wrong idea of what’s safe and what’s not when there’s rarely cause for concern.

What you should be concerned about are the volatile, fragrant, plant ingredients that Coola includes in many of their formulas, because these have the potential to irritate skin. Although this isn’t the case with all Coola products, it’s a pretty common occurrence. An even larger concern is that several products contain alcohol, which, while organic, is irritating to skin when present in high amounts—and potentially more so when it’s combined with synthetic active sunscreen ingredients.

Another marketing platform for the Coola brand is their use of organic ingredients. First, we hate it when companies fib about their products containing no chemicals because these products are not “zero chemicals.” We explain more about this in the individual reviews.

Moreover, there is no substantiated research showing that organic ingredients are superior to non-organic or synthetic ingredients. Plus, there are no FDA-approved standards for labeling cosmetics products as organic or not; nor is there an agreed-on definition from the cosmetics industry itself. Get the full scoop here. And perhaps most telling that this is merely a marketing issue for Coola is that they don’t really seem to think non-organic and/or synthetic ingredients are a problem—after all, they’re present in almost all of their products!

As for the products themselves, there are a couple real standouts, such as Face SPF 30 Cucumber Matte Finish and Face SPF 30 Unscented Matte Tint Natural BB Cream. The rest range from questionable to problematic, mostly due to their potential to irritate skin, although in some cases that potential is small, which we point out in the reviews.

We really do appreciate the idea behind the brand, but until they drop the irritating ingredients we can’t recommend the bulk of this line.

You can find Coola products throughout North America at spas, dermatology offices, Ulta, and Nordstrom, as well as on numerous websites. For more information about Coola, call 760.940.2125 or visit www.coolasuncare.com.