Aubrey OrganicsNatural Sun SPF 15 Saving Face Unscented
2.3 fl. oz. for $9.95
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Brand Overview
Expert Reviews

This sunscreen is the fragrance-free version of Aubrey Organics’ Natural Sun SPF 15 Actives Lifestyles Tropical Scent, and the omission of fragrance makes it the preferred option (fragrance, tropical or otherwise, isn’t skin care).

The emollient formula, which can be worn under makeup as the company claims, is best for dry or sensitive skin not prone to breakouts. Zinc oxide is the sole active ingredient, and it provides gentle broad-spectrum sun protection. Antioxidant plant oils and extracts plus soothing plant ingredients complete this overall well-done formula that also is great for use on babies and children.

The only drawback is the amount of zinc oxide, which can leave a discernible white cast on skin. With thorough blending, this becomes less of an issue, but those with dark skin may find the whiteness objectionable. Otherwise, this is highly recommended.


  • Provides gentle, broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Creamy, emollient formula is great for dry skin.
  • Suitable for use on children and those with sensitive skin.
  • Antioxidant plant oils and soothing ingredients provide extra benefits.


  • Some may find the white cast this leaves objectionable.
  • Only contains SPF 15.

Note: This product was recently downgraded from our top rating to two stars, which is considered average. The reason for the change is due to the prevailing recommendation that your daytime sun protection product be rated SPF 30 or greater. This revised recommendation is due to the fact that most people are not applying sunscreen liberally enough to earn the stated level of protection on the label; therefore, a higher SPF rating will be more advantageous. See the More Info section for additional details.

More Info:

Sunscreens Rated SPF 15: A growing body of current research has demonstrated that it's better to use a sunscreen rated SPF 20 or greater to ensure adequate defense against the sun's aging UV rays. SPF 15 is an option, but only if you’re willing to apply liberally and your skin will be seeing five hours of daylight or less. While this sunscreen will provide the SPF number on the label and has UVA-protecting ingredients. Applying an SPF 15-rated sunscreen under a foundation, tinted moisturizer, or BB cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 25+ will take far better care of your skin. Plus, this layering approach ensures your skin gets sufficient sun protection even if you’re not applying liberally.

For a list of UVA sunscreen actives, see the Cosmetic Ingredients Dictionary entry on PaulasChoice.com.

Last Updated:08.14.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:No
Community Reviews

Light enough to wear under makeup, this gently moisturizing sunscreen is custom-made for the face's more delicate skin. Use it in place of your regular daytime moisturizer to protect skin from sun damage any time you're outside.


Active: Zinc Oxide 12% Other: Purified Water, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Galactoarabinan, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid And Sodium Cocoyl Glutamate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil, Brassica Campestris-Aleurites Fordi Oil Copolymer, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Epilobium Angustifolium (Canadian Willowherb) Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Glyceryl Caprylate And Glyceryl Undecylenate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Lonicera Japonica (Japanese Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Lonicera Caprifolium (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Populus Tremuloides Bark Extract, Gluconolactone, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Citric Acid, Xanthan Gum

Brand Overview

Aubrey Organics At-A-Glance

Strengths: A few decent moisturizer options; one good makeup brush.

Weaknesses: Too numerous to list, but major issues include a lack of sunscreens without a problematic active ingredient; consistent use of ingredients proven to be irritating to skin while offering no substantiated benefit; a complete lack of products to address common skin-care concerns, from acne to pigmentation problems; the makeup is abysmal.

If there is such a thing as a "natural" true believer, Aubrey Hampton is indeed one. His books Natural Organic Hair and Skin Care (Organica Press, 1987) and What's in Your Cosmetics? (Organica Press, 2000) articulately express his convictions. Foremost is his philosophic position regarding his products: "For almost 30 years I have collected herbs from around the world and combined them in 100% natural hair- and skin-care products. I make my natural shampoos, conditioners, soaps, lotions, masks, and so forth the way my mother taught me almost 50 years ago—without chemicals, using herbs known to be beneficial to the hair and skin." And yes, every plant is a miracle and every synthetic ingredient that he doesn't use is avoided solely because it's bad.

If Hampton is relying on information that is over 50 years old, people using his products, which launched in 1967, are in a lot of trouble. What we know about sun protection we've only learned about over the past decade—and Hampton did not offer sunscreens with sufficient UVA-protecting ingredients until 2006 (perhaps he has finally eschewed some of his mother's teachings).

Additionally, cell turnover (the life-and-death process of every skin cell) is a recent discovery, too, not to mention the role topical application of antioxidants plays, and options to maintain the skin's barrier function, a vital component of healthy skin for everyone. The whole complex physiology of skin, along with the nature of skin disease, is continually being investigated. Data regarding the exact chemical and biomolecular structure of skin fills volumes with new research, revealing astonishing information that has altered everything we once thought to be true about the skin. It's nice to think Mom knew it all, but we wouldn't make a skin-care decision based on such obsolete and fanciful thinking anymore than we would decide to exchange my laptop for an old-fashioned typewriter.

Hampton also lauds his position on animal testing: "I don't believe in animal testing and never use it. None of my products are formulated with data obtained from animal testing, and yet I know they're safe to use because they contain ingredients that have been used for hundreds, sometimes thousands, of years by people all over the world. That's the best track record, don’t you think?" Well, we don't think so in the least. As nice as all that sounds, in some ways it's actually dangerous. By his own admission, Hampton has only anecdotal history to go by, and that is fraught with risk. "Natural" powders laced with "natural" lead were used by fashionably correct women centuries ago, causing necrotic skin and sometimes death. So much for history being an arbiter of good health. And there are lots of plants we wouldn't know are toxic if it weren't for animal testing.

Furthermore, while we abhor animal testing, over the past 20 years scientists have ascertained the benefits of most new skin-care ingredients, from skin-identical ingredients and the new anti-irritants to AHAs, BHA, Retin-A, and sunscreens, mostly on the basis of animal research. If Hampton is truly telling us that he ignores all that information, his products would be precarious to use and some of the most dated in the industry (and, it turns out, in many respects, they are).

Another Hampton phobia, shared by many other "natural" enthusiasts in the world, has to do with petrochemicals. (We assume Hampton doesn't drive a car, take a taxi, or fly anywhere.) He states, "Petrochemicals, [which] are infinitely cheaper and much more convenient for mass manufacturers to use... [make] our hair and skin suffer as a result. What's worse, the long-term effects of these harsh chemicals on both the body and the environment are still unknown...." Suggesting that all petrochemicals are harsh and all plants are good is as uninformed as thinking that eating any plant you encounter in the wild won't kill you because it is natural. Besides, petrochemicals have a decidedly natural source: they come from decomposed plant and animal life!

Ironically, many of Aubrey's products contain PABA, a synthetic sunscreen ingredient that has long been set aside by cosmetic formulators because it poses a high risk of irritation and sensitizing skin reactions (Source: Australasian Journal of Dermatology, February 1999, page 51). 

Hampton still handles his skin-care ingredient lists with blatant inaccuracy, ignoring basic FDA and European regulatory mandates. They make no mention of standard cosmetic preservatives, and the ones that are listed—vitamins A, C, and E—have their own stability problems, with vitamin C being the most unreliable. Further, given that there are myriad types of vitamins A, C, and E, and there is no ingredient called "coconut fatty acid" (there are dozens of this type of fatty acid, each with its own pros and cons), there is truly no way to make sense of these misleading ingredient labels. This concern was echoed in an industry newsletter, The Rose Sheet (March 15, 1999), which stated that Aubrey Organics was "in violation of catalog mislabeling and Good Manufacturing Practices.… [The] FDA investigators also determined several Aubrey products … bear labeling that is not in compliance." In fact, because Aubrey's labels are not compliant with CTFA (Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association) or FDA labeling regulations, reviewing this line with any modicum of accuracy is a long shot, because there is no way  to know what is really in these products and what is going on your face. A warning letter sent to the company by the FDA contained shocking revelations about how disorganized and noncompliant Aubrey Organics is.

For example, at the time of the FDA inspection, the company did not even have stability testing records for their products (Source: www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/m2393n.pdf). How that may have changed over the years is not information the company is willing to share, but what's right there on every product is inaccurate ingredient labeling, and that's reason enough to view this line with a healthy dose of skepticism and suspicion.

For more information, call (800) 282-7394, or visit www.aubrey-organics.com.

Aubrey Organics Makeup

Perhaps the two best words to describe the small assortment of makeup from Aubrey Organics are "Don't bother"—but "What were they thinking?" is a close second. What you'll find here, available as single products or in preselected kits, is a selection of loose powders and sheer lip tints.

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