Mineral Sunscreen Face Gel-Lotion SPF 30
Bare Republic’s Mineral Sunscreen Face Gel-Lotion SPF 30 doesn’t earn our seal of approval due to its fragranced formula that puts skin at risk of irritation. Moreover, it has some aesthetic issues that leave skin looking dull.
We’re particularly perplexed at Bare Republic’s decision to label this sunscreen as being free from “synthetic fragrances,” when in reality it contains several (gamma-nonalactone, just to name one), in addition to fragrant extracts. Whether synthetic or natural, fragrance causes issues in skin’s lower layers where you may not instantly see or feel the damage (see More Info for the long-term repercussions). In this case, the aroma is strong enough to waft during application and lingers thereafter.
That’s enough reason to not use this sunscreen, but making matters worse, the gel-cream texture dries down to somewhat chalky finish. Its mattifying effect is a plus for those who struggle with oily skin, but the fact that it makes skin look dull and feels drying detracts from the overall appeal.
In term of ingredients, there are some good antioxidants in the mix, but because the ingredients are listed in alphabetical order rather than in order of concentration, we have no way of knowing how much you’re getting. Listing ingredients this way is technically permissible in the U.S. where sunscreens are categorized as over-the-counter drugs, but descending concentration order is the standard most skin care companies follow because it’s more helpful for anyone who reads an ingredient label.
As for the pure mineral zinc oxide sun protection, because that’s an “active” ingredient the percentage is listed (18.2%) so we know you’re getting a good dose of broad-spectrum protection to help safeguard skin from UV rays. This sunscreen’s SPF 30 also meets the recommendation by health organizations around the world.
The bottom line: Even though Mineral Sunscreen Face Gel-Lotion SPF 30 delivers adequate sun protection with a lightweight feel, why settle when you can find plenty of top-rated sunscreens without this one’s chalky finish and irritants?
- Offers broad-spectrum sun protection.
- Contains some antioxidants.
- Contains natural and synthetic fragrance ingredients, which can trigger skin irritation.
- Imparts a drying, chalky finish.
Why Fragrance Is a Problem for Skin: Daily use of products that contain a high amount of fragrance, whether the fragrant ingredients are synthetic or natural, causes a chronic sensitizing reaction on skin.
This reaction in turn leads to all kinds of problems, including disrupting skin’s barrier, worsening dryness, increasing or triggering redness, depleting vital substances in skin’s surface, and generally preventing skin from looking healthy, smooth, and hydrated. Fragrance free is always the best way to go for all skin types.
A surprising fact: Even though you can’t always see or feel the negative effects of fragrant ingredients on skin, the damage will still be taking place, even if it’s not evident on the surface. Research has demonstrated that you don’t need to see or feel the effects of irritation for your skin to be suffering. Much like the effects from cumulative sun damage, the negative impact and the visible damage from fragrance may not become apparent for a long time.
References for this information:
Toxicology In Vitro, February 2018, pages 237-245
Toxicological Sciences, January 2018, pages 139-148
Biochimica and Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419
Aging, March 2012, pages 166–175
Chemical Immunology and Allergy, March 2012, pages 77–80
Experimental Dermatology, October 2009, pages 821–832
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008, pages 191–202
International Journal of Toxicology, Volume 27, 2008, Supplement, pages 1–43
Food and Chemical Toxicology, February 2008, pages 446–475
American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003, pages 789–798
Mineral protection never felt so light! The first of its kind, Bare Republic's Mineral Face Sunscreen Gel Lotion SPF 30 is an ultra clean mineral gel-lotion formula that feels refreshingly light, smoothing easily over skin to deliver hydrating mineral sun protection.
An offshoot of the popular (and more expensive) COOLA brand of sunscreens, Bare Republic focuses on mineral-only sun protection catering to the entire family of outdoor enthusiasts. Based in Southern California, the name is a pun on that state’s nickname (“The Bear Republic”) and reflects the ideology of a lifestyle focused on routinely spending time in the sun.
For the most part, Bare Republic gets its sunscreens right: all its offerings focus on SPF ratings that are at least 30, and in most cases even higher. Given SPF 30 and up is recommended by medical boards around the world, clearly Bear Republic did their SPF homework—you’ll be getting reliable broad-spectrum protection.
In most cases the products are also affordable, meaning you’ll be more likely to apply these sunscreens liberally to get the most from them.
A couple of missteps occur, like the inclusion of fragrance ingredients in some of the products that mean these mineral sunscreens aren’t ideal for those with sensitive skin (and sensitive skin usually responds best to mineral sunscreens).
Speaking of those fragrances, Bare Republic claims its sunscreens are free of synthetic fragrance ingredients in an effort to be eco-friendly. While the brand does use natural fragrance sources like coconut and vanilla, it also uses synthetic fragrance ingredients like heliotropine and gamma decalactone, making this claim disingenuous.
For more information about the brand, visit https://www.gobareoutside.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.