Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30

6.70 fl. oz. for $ 39.00
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Beautycounter’s Countersun Mineral Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 is spot-on when it comes to getting sun protection right, but when it comes to its claims of being gentle… well, that’s not exactly accurate. It’s a great example of why natural ingredients aren’t automatically the best alternative.

This face and body sunscreen comes in a large squeeze tube. The emollient creamy texture is easy to spread, but it’s not overly creamy, and ends up setting to a soft matte finish. The finish makes it best for those with normal to combination skin (anyone with very dry or oily skin might find the aesthetics don’t work as well for them).

Countersun features the mineral sunscreen active zinc oxide, and the brand is upfront that it can have a white cast (most pure mineral sunscreens do to some extent). True to claims, the white residue is minimal, but it is still apparent, especially on people with deeper skin tones.

In addition to the broad-spectrum SPF, this also contains skin-conditioning ingredients such as glycerin and aloe. The formula is light on beneficial antioxidants, which is a shame since copious research has shown that they help enhance sun protection and environmental defense.

The biggest issue here isn’t a white cast or a paltry number of antioxidants, it’s the inclusion of several citrus oils (they’re prominent enough that this has a citrus smell) plus peppermint oil.

All these oils can irritate skin, which is the opposite goal of a product that’s marketed as gentle and nourishing. Even if irritation isn’t apparent on the first use, over time, using products such as this will have an impact on skin (see More Info for details). It’s best to skip this, and select one of the options on our list of Best Sunscreens instead, many of which contain beneficial natural ingredients.

  • Provides broad-spectrum mineral SPF 30.
  • Easy to apply and blend.
  • Minimal white cast.
  • Contains citrus oils and peppermint oil, which can irritate skin.
  • This sunscreen does not qualify as safer than others.

More Info:

Irritating Ingredients: We cannot stress this enough: Sensitizing, harsh, abrasive, and/or fragrant ingredients are bad for all skin types. Daily application of skincare products that contain these irritating ingredients is a major way we unwittingly do our skin a disservice!

Irritating ingredients are a problem because they can lead to visible problems, such as redness, rough skin, dull skin, dryness, increased oil production, and clogged pores, and they contribute to making signs of aging worse.

Switching to non-irritating, gentle skincare products can make all the difference in the world. Non-irritating products are those packed with beneficial ingredients that also replenish and soothe skin, without any volatile ingredients, such as those present in fragrance ingredients, whether natural or synthetic.

A surprising fact: Research has demonstrated that you do not need to see or feel the effects of irritants on your skin for your skin to be suffering, and visible damage may not become apparent for a long time. Don’t get lulled into thinking that if you don’t see or feel signs of irritation, everything is OK.

Generally, it’s best to eliminate, or minimize as much as possible, your exposure to ingredients that are known to irritate skin. There are many completely non-irritating products that contain effective ingredients, so there’s no reason to put your skin at risk with products that include ingredients research has shown can be a problem.

References for this information:
Journal of Dermatological Sciences, January 2015, pages 28–36
International Journal of Cosmetic Science, August 2014, pages 379–385
Clinical Dermatology, May-June 2012, pages 257–262
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, June 2008, pages 124–135
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798

Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: No

A safer sunscreen for safer sun time. Protect against damaging UVA, UVB and Blue Light with this lightweight, water-resistant sunscreen lotion. Formulated with non-nano zinc and antioxidant-rich California Poppy, this physical formulation provides an effective shield from skin-aging rays, while being gentle and pleasant feeling on the skin. Smooth, nourishing formula blends evenly onto skin with limited white residue.

Active ingredient: Zinc Oxide 19% Ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Coco-Caprylate, Cetearyl Nonanoate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Glycerin, Isopropyl Myristate, Magnesium Sulfate, Beeswax, Phenoxyethanol, Silica, Sodium Chloride, Isostearic Acid, Lecithin, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Decylene Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, 1,2-Hexanediol, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Fruit Extract, Citrus Reticulata (Tangerine) Peel Oil, Eschscholzia Californica Leaf Cell Extract, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Oil, Mimosa Tenuiflora Bark Extract.

Beautycounter At-A-Glance

Beautycounter is the brainchild of self-described serial entrepreneur Gregg Renfrew, a woman who is perhaps best known for serving on the board of Martha Stewart Living after selling her bridal registry company, The Wedding List, to Stewarts media empire. Renfrew has worked as a consultant on cosmetics lines from celebrities like Kate Hudson and Jessica Alba.

Renfrew says she decided to start her own cosmetics line after learning that not all the ingredients used in cosmetics were safe, so Beautycounter was launched in 2013. The brands primary focus is provide what it calls safe skincare to consumers, with its website stating that a rigorous ingredient selection process is used to ensure nothing harmful is used.

For all the interest Beautycounter has stirred up, the line is by and large lackluster, and in many cases overpriced for what you get. Many of the formulas start out with potential, but are ultimately derailed by either the inclusion of potential skin irritants or the jar packaging, which will render many of their beneficial ingredients ineffective over time.

Beautycounter products can be purchased through its website or through product consultants who do home sales parties. For more information, visit www.beautycounter.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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