SuperGoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist with Rosemary SPF 50 claims to provide a "boost" of broad-spectrum SPF 50 via a refreshing mist that can be applied over makeup, helping to control oil along the way. (It's an almost too-good-to-be-true marketing claim.) Unfortunately, the reality of this product doesn't live up to its promise, a fact made even worse by its inclusion of multiple potentially irritating ingredients and the risk of inhalation that this formula presents.
Let's take a closer look at each of the claims.
Claim #1: "Broad-spectrum SPF 50." This formula does provide broad-spectrum protection via a combination of non-mineral sunscreen actives—avobenzone, homosalate, octinoxate and octisalate—with the ingredient butyloctyl salicylate to ensure stability. However, we should note that it isn't recommended to spray sunscreens directly on the face due to the risk of inhalation, a safety concern that the FDA is currently taking a closer look at (U.S. Food & Drug Administration, 2013).
Now, what about that "makeup setting" promise?
Claim #2: "Sets makeup." Makeup setting sprays can be a confusing concept due to the fact there is no universal definition for this category of products. Some are designed to prolong the wear of your makeup with film-forming agents or hairspray-like ingredients. These types of ingredients can be irritating, making these setting sprays, at best, more for the rare special occasion use versus the everyday. Other variations are more akin to toners, which can be spritzed on to aid in blending makeup (softening the look of an over-powdered face, for example).
Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 doesn't contain any ingredients that make it able to prolong the wear of makeup. There is a tiny amount of the film-forming agent PVP (polyvinylpyrrolidone), but in this concentration, it isn't enough to replicate the performance of setting sprays like those from Urban Decay, the brand that arguably popularized the concept of hairspray-like setting formulas.
Claim# 3: "Oil Control." This spray does have a dry finish and feels light on skin, which it owes to an alcohol-based formula and dry finish solvents (isododecane). Alcohol does help dissolve oil on the surface of skin; unfortunately, it also goes further to disrupt the skin's barrier when used at this excessive amount. See More Info additional details.
So, claim #3 is technically accurate, but only in a "let's throw the baby out with the bathwater" context. Absorbing excess oil is a nice benefit in a product for those of us who battle shine, but to do it at the expense of the health of skin is quite another.
With that fact in mind, we'll take a moment to note a fact that may surprise you—Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 is actually no different from any average, alcohol-based spray sunscreen. That's right, there isn't anything revolutionary about this formula as brands like Coppertone have been selling variations of it for years. For example, the Coppertone Clearly Sheer for Beach & Pool Continuous Spray Sunscreen SPF 50+ and MDSolarSciences Quick Dry Body Spray With SolSci-X Broad Spectrum SPF 40 both have a nearly identical ingredient list, only they cost much less and don't have nearly the degree of fragrance that this formula does.
The fragrance in this formula comes from the blend of three essential oils, peppermint, spearmint, and rosemary leaf. Essential oils are particularly problematic due to their greater concentration of volatile compounds, which at their degree here, serves to exacerbate the damage done by the alcohol. See More Info for details on fragrance irritants.
It's ironic that a product with anti-aging claims, as this one has, would include such a pro-aging degree of ingredients. For that reason, as well as the concerning recommendation that this be regularly sprayed onto the face (which can be a risk in terms of inhalation), Supergoop! Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50 earns our lowest rating and isn't recommended. It's a nice concept, but if you really want to boost your degree of sun protection over the course of the day, consider a pressed or loose powder with SPF instead.
Alcohol-Based Skincare Products: Alcohol helps ingredients like retinol and vitamin C penetrate into the skin more effectively, but it does that by breaking down the skin's barrier—destroying the very substances that keep your skin healthy over the long term (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012 and Journal of Hospital Infection, 2003).
A significant amount of research shows alcohol causes free-radical damage in skin even at low levels (Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, 2012). Small amounts of alcohol on skin cells in lab settings (about 3%, but keep in mind skin-care products contain amounts ranging from 5% to 60% or greater) over the course of two days increased cell death by 26%. It also destroyed the substances in cells that reduce inflammation and defend against free radicals—this process actually causes more free-radical damage. If this weren't bad enough, exposure to alcohol actually causes skin cells to self-destruct (Alcohol, 2002).
Research also shows that these destructive, aging effects on skin cells increased the longer skin was exposed to alcohol; for example, two days of exposure was dramatically more harmful than one day, and that's at only a 3% concentration (Alcohol, 2002). In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
Irritation from High Amounts of Fragrance: 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. Fragrance-free is the best way for all skin types to go for all skin types (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2008 & American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 2003).
The sneaky part about irritation is that research has demonstrated that you don't always need to see it or feel it for your skin to suffer damage, and that damage may remain hidden for a long time (Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2008).
In fact, the effect of inflammation in the skin is cumulative, and repeated exposure to irritants contributes to a weakened skin barrier, slower healing (including of red marks from breakouts), and a dull, uneven complexion (Aging, 2012 & Chemical Immunology and Allergy, 2012).
An innovative three-in-one mist that sets makeup, helps control oil and shine, and refreshes your defense against photoaging UV rays with an uplifting scent of rosemary and mint.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 4%, Octinoxate 6%, and Octisalate 3%. Inactive Ingredients: Alcohol Denat, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Isododecane, Mentha Piperita (Peppermint) Stem/Leaf Oil, Mentha Viridis (Spearmint) Leaf Oil, PVP, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Silica Silylate, Water.
OK, we have to get the confusion out of the way up front. The name “Supergoop!” sounds like it could be a line of hairstyling products, right? Not even close: Supergoop! is a company selling sun care products!
According to their Website: “We wanted to create a sunscreen that people actually enjoyed using so we created Supergoop! as a fun way to deliver a serious message. Supergoop! has a playful name—just try and say it without smiling— but tries to instill the importance of using UV protection every single day. The name also appeals to children, which is important because we want people to begin healthy sun habits starting from a young age.”
Alright, we can get behind that. The folks behind this brand are absolutely right that daily sunscreen use is a must for all ages. Protecting skin from damaging UV rays is the best way to prevent skin cancer as well as keeping skin looking young, smooth, even, and healthy for as long as possible.
Supergoop! also stresses that anything that emits heat (your hair dryer, nail-drying lamps, etc.) also emits infrared-a radiation (IRA) which can wreak havoc on skin by forming free radicals that deteriorate collagen. We can’t confirm that your blow dryer or flat iron is causing you to age (in all likelihood that’s not the case), but certainly pollution in the air is of more concern. Either way, to combat external causes of aging, it’s important to supply skin with ingredients that can offset the damage, and Supergoop! does just that by including antioxidants in their formulas. Unfortunately, they don’t always use a high concentration of them, but some is better than none. Still, this isn’t an inexpensive line, so you’re well within reason to expect more than just a dusting of antioxidants.
We appreciate that Supergoop! strives to produce sunscreens whose lightweight, non-greasy textures easily absorb into skin and don’t feel like traditional sunscreens. Such pleasing textures mean people will be more likely to apply sunscreen on a daily basis (sun protection only works if you remember to use it). In that respect, Supergoop! succeeds brilliantly. The majority of their products feel weightless and have either a quick dry-down or pleasantly smooth absorption. Now that’s a nice change of pace from your run-of-the-mill sunscreens!
The one claim they fail to live up to with multiple products is formulating with non-irritating ingredients. The line wants you to know their products do NOT contain parabens, oxybenzone, or synthetic fragrances, yet several Supergoop! products contain ingredients you should be concerned about due to their documented potential to irritate skin. Irritation is bad for skin whether the ingredients are natural or synthetic.
Specific to parabens, research has made it abundantly clear that parabens are safe as used but tells a different story about fragrant plant oils such as eucalyptus and lemon oils—both ingredients Supergoop! does use, seemingly without knowledge of how they could hurt skin.
To further clarify, oxybenzone and parabens are nothing to be afraid. Still, we realize that many consumers have been led to believe that those ingredients are bad so it’s understandable that Supergoop! avoids the issue altogether by omitting them—but then why include such fragrant ingredients when fragrance-free is best for everyone’s skin?
The bottom line: This sun-care-themed brand is one of the few to offer an entire lineup of products that offer broad spectrum sun protection. However, not all the formulas are worthwhile given their potential for irritation. See individual reviews for a play-by-play on which products earn our seal approval.
For more information about Supergoop!, call 210-787-1378, or visit www.supergoop.com.
Note: We would like to extend a special thank you to the team at Supergoop! for providing products and information necessary for us to do a thorough review. It is the rare cosmetics company that goes to any length to assist us, and we’re grateful to Supergoop! for their help.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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