MDSolarSciences Beauty Balm Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is a sheer-tinted version of their Mineral Creme SPF 50 formula, but this version is available in two shades: Light/Medium and Medium/Dark. Fragrance-free and housed in a tube with a twist-off cap, this silicone-based gel formula has a thick texture on application that dries to a powdery matte finish on skin. Due to its matte finish, this is best for normal to oily skin types, including those with sensitive or rosacea-affected skin.
Although it has qualities similar to those of their Mineral Creme SPF 50, the MDSolarSciences Beauty Balm includes a few “upgrades” to the formula that arguably make it the best facial sunscreen in their line.
First, you’ll find a nice array of antioxidants and cell-communicating agents, including caffeine, niacinamide, ubiquinone (commonly known as coenzyme Q10), green tea, and many more. This is an excellent feature for any skincare product, but especially for a sunscreen because they provide additional free-radical and anti-aging benefits.
The sunscreen actives include titanium dioxide (2%) and zinc oxide (17%), a gentle duo that will absolutely provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays. The aforementioned tint largely counteracts the white cast from the mineral actives, making it a non-issue in this sunscreen. (The white cast of MDSolarSciences formulas is a quality that can be polarizing among consumers, and, to be fair, it’s characteristic of many mineral sunscreens.)
The tint is quite sheer, so don’t expect any coverage from the color—making the “BB” aspect of this product more marketing than capable of fulfilling the expectation of light-to-medium coverage that you can get from most BB creams in the U.S. cosmetics market. Nevertheless, both shades are neutral (nary a hint of orange or pink) and workable for most, except for those with super fair or very dark skin tones.
This is also water resistant up to 80 minutes; in fact, this is an incredibly tenacious sunscreen! You may need to use a soft washcloth/cleansing brush or a bit of nonfragrant plant oil to break up the sunscreen prior to cleansing, because one pass with your cleanser will likely not be enough to remove it entirely.
Although this is best for normal to oily skin types, its tenacious nature can make it tricky for the acne prone—it’s certainly an option to experiment with, but make sure you remove it completely in your nighttime skincare routine.
Note: If you are using this as your facial sunscreen, be sure to use a non-tinted option for your neck because the tint of this formula will transfer onto clothing.
Strengths: Excellent array of fragrance-free mineral sunscreens; products are packaged to protect ingredients from exposure to air and light; a very good eye-area treatment; water-resistant sunscreen formulas; nearly all sunscreens contain beneficial antioxidants and are suitable for sensitive skin.
Weaknesses: Some products are on the pricey side; some of the mineral sunscreens are difficult to remove; a few formulas contain irritating fragrant ingredients or fragrance.
MDSolarSciences specializes in mineral-based sunscreens, and you will find multiple variations of silicone-based, gel-cream formulas with a blend of the sunscreen actives titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Mineral sunscreens are particularly ideal for those with sensitive skin, including those with rosacea or eczema, as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are virtually non-reactive; that is, they have little to no ability to provoke irritation. To our delight, nearly every MDSolarSciences formula is free of fragrance, including their mineral sunscreen options.
While many love the scent of citrus, lavender, or spicy notes, such ingredients and compounds-whether natural or synthetic-are potentially irritating to skin (especially if you're dealing with issues like rosacea or eczema). A few of the newer MDSolarSciences formulas do include some degree of fragrance, which is a disappointing turn for the brand and one we hope doesn't continue as the brand's product lineup expands. Those that contain fragrance are noted as such in their respective reviews.
The polarizing aspect of mineral sunscreens is often aesthetic-and that's certainly no exception with the options offered by MDSolarScience. Any mineral-based sunscreen will have some degree of white cast-it's unavoidable-and whether a particular product's degree of such is suitable for you is subjective. The white cast and the texture of the MDSolarSciences mineral sunscreens have varying levels of intensity and thickness, all qualities that are noted in each review.
Another note: As all of their mineral sunscreens are water-resistant (at the time of this review), they are exceptionally tenacious. You may need to use a soft washcloth or cleansing tool (like the Clarisonic, etc.) with your cleanser, or consider using a few drops of nonfragrant plant oil before your cleanser to help aid the removal process.
For more information about MDSolarSciences, call 1-877-301-5355 or visit http://www.mdsolarsciences.com.
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