Mineral Sun Silk Creme Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Getting the aesthetic issues a pure mineral sunscreen requires isn’t an easy task, but Coola pulled it off! With one somewhat forgivable exception, their Mineral Sun Silk Crème Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is a winner for normal to oily and combination skin (even if breakouts are a concern).
Packaged in a sleek, frosted glass bottle with a pump, this silky, thin-textured lotion dispenses easily in a controlled fashion. The pure zinc oxide base provides gentle, broad-spectrum protection. The gentleness is reinforced because Coola didn’t add fragrance, another plus!
A word on the glass bottle: because this daytime moisturizer with sunscreen contains some antioxidants, and these ingredients are light-sensitive, it’s a good idea to store this away from natural light.
Speaking of the antioxidants, Coola includes some intriguing options, including a non-fragrant cell culture from the jasmine plant, cocoa seed, and an extract from an evergreen tree known as Schinus molle. If you’re worried about this being a skin irritant because it’s a type of pine tree, fear not: There’s research that proves it does not irritate skin.
All of these have research pertaining to their antioxidant benefit for skin and support this product’s claims of defending skin from the visible effects of all types of environmental light.
Antioxidant niacinamide is included in the formula, too, and has multiple benefits from barrier repair to skin tone improvement.
In use, this does take a bit more blending than non-mineral sunscreens, but once set it doesn’t leave a discernible white cast unless your skin tone is very dark. The amount of zinc oxide and its lotion texture leave a soft matte finish that works well under makeup, especially in oily areas where excess shine can cause foundation to break down.
The only issue is that compared to many other daytime moisturizers we recommend, this one lacks replenishing and is low on restoring ingredients to create a well-rounded roster of anti-aging benefits. However, this gentle formula has such impressive aesthetics we’re willing to recommend it with the caveat that you should always apply it over a treatment serum packed with the ingredients missing here (examples would be retinol, ceramides, peptides).
One more comment: Because sunscreen is regulated as an over-the-counter drug in the United States, brands can list the inactive ingredients in alphabetical rather than descending order. The problem is that this method doesn’t help you determine how much of any particular ingredient you’re getting.
- Silky, thin-textured lotion doesn’t leave a visible white cast on most skin tones.
- Provides gentle, broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Niacinamide helps replenish and strengthen skin’s barrier.
- Contains some intriguing antioxidants.
- Soft matte finish works well under makeup.
- Fragrance free.
- Lacks replenishing ingredients for better anti-aging benefits.
- Frosted glass packaging means this should be stored out of direct light.
This multi-tasking modern masterpiece does it all. Our oil-free, airy-light formula gently glides on to form a transparent veil, ideal for everyday use. Non-nano Zinc Oxide provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection while our plant-derived Full Spectrum 360° complex helps mitigate the effects of today’s modern-world skin-aggressors – HEV light, IR, and pollution. A proprietary blend of supercharged antioxidants helps defend against free radicals while a bouquet of plant stem cells and niacinamide helps promote skin radiance and youthful-looking skin.
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 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, 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 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 amounts, and 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 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 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.