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Coola

Body SPF 30 Plumeria Moisturizer

5.00 fl. oz. for $ 32.00
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Get ready to smell like the perfume your grandmother used to wear! Body SPF 30 Plumeria Moisturizer is so heavily scented that we nearly got a little queasy just smelling it in the container. More important, the fragrant ingredients pose a risk of irritation to skin that can be compounded due to the mix of synthetic active ingredients (see More Info).

That's too bad because the formula also contains some beneficial antioxidants and skin-repairing ingredients, delivered in a fluid, lotion texture with a lightweight, non-greasy feel. Body SPF 30 Plumeria Moisturizer easily absorbs into skin for a natural finish that works for all skin types, and its opaque, squeeze-tube packaging helps keep the sensitive ingredients stable.

Regarding the SPF, Body SPF 30 Plumeria Moisturizer does contain ingredients that provide broad-spectrum sun protection, but the company includes a much lower level of active ingredients - avobenzone (1.9%) and octinoxate (2.2%) - than is typical. They claim that this lower level of sunscreen ingredients is compensated for their "oleosome technology," which supposedly boosts the effectiveness of the sunscreen ingredients; as you might have guessed, there isn't any substantiated, unbiased research to back that up. None!

This contains a small amount of fragrant plant extract, Citrus aurantium dulcis, that poses a slight risk of irritation, but it's trumped by the overwhelming plumeria floral fragrance.

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:
  • Lightweight, non-greasy feel that's ideal for all skin types.
  • Contains some beneficial ingredients to rejuvenate skin.
Cons:
  • Highly fragrant formula poses a risk of irritation skin.
  • There's no substantiated research proving sunflower oleosomes allow formulators to use lower amounts of active ingredients and get the same amount of protection as higher amounts.
More Info:

Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes chronic irritation that can damage healthy collagen production, lead to or worsen dryness, and impair your skin's ability to heal. The potential for this increases when such ingredients are combined with synthetic sunscreen actives, as those can be sensitizing for some even in the absence of any fragrance.

Fragrance-free is the best way to go for all skin types. If fragrance in your skin-care products is important to you, it should be a very low amount to minimize the risk to your skin. (Sources: Inflammation Research, December 2008, pages 558–563; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135 and November-December 2000, pages 358–371; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, April 2008, pages 15–19; Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology, March 2008, pages 78–82; Mechanisms of Ageing and Development, January 2007, pages 92–105; and British Journal of Dermatology, December 2005, pages S13–S22.)

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

Protect and boost your skins defense against aging caused by the sun with this antioxidant-infused, Farm to Face sourced broad spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen. This multipurpose and non-greasy lotion has a plumeria scent, contains 70% certified organic ingredients, and is formulated with patented Oleosome technology. Derived from Safflower, these Oleosomes boost the effectiveness of UVA/UVB filters, helping achieve high SPF values with up to 85% less actives! Fewer actives diminish the risk of irritation, and increase the lightweight texture of this premium formula.

Active: Avobenzone (1.9%), Octinoxate (2.2%). Other: Argania Spinosa (Organic) Kernel Oil, Butyrospermum Parkii (Organic Shea Butter), Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes, Citric Acid, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Organic Orange) Fruit Water, Cucumis Sativus (Organic Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Fragrance, Glycerin (Organic), Oenothera Biennis (Organic Evening Primrose) Oil, Olea Europaea (Organic Olive) Fruit Oil, Plankton Extract, Rosa Canina (Organic) Fruit Extract, Shellac, Sodium Hydroxide, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Water, Xanthan Gum.

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 doesnt have any standard of acceptability, so thats a loose claim at best.

Despite Birchbys 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, thats 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) stableno 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 arent necessarily bad, either. Its always a sad day for us when we see yet another brand jumping on the bandwagon of maligning ingredients that research has shown arent the risk theyre making them out to be. It gives consumers the wrong idea of whats safe and whats not when theres 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 isnt the case with all Coola products, its 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 amountsand potentially more so when its 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 dont really seem to think non-organic and/or synthetic ingredients are a problemafter all, theyre 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 cant 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 team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.

Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.

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