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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Vivesana Organic Sun Care - Product Review

A few months ago I was asked to try out and review Vivesana Organic Sun Care products. Since I'm always on the lookout for more natural products and I'm a sunscreen crazy lady this sounded like a perfect fit. The only snag was that, well, it's Seattle and there's no sun in the middle of April. Or May.

So, it's taken me a few months to get around to really testing the product, but here's the scoop. Vivesana is the first 70% organic baby and high performance sun care on the market and the first 100% natural sun care with strong protection – the highest all-natural SPF (40 & 42) on the market. And it's the first sun care (as far as they can tell) to use exclusively US-grown organics and domestic, sustainable, BPA-free packaging. Are you noticing a trend here?

What does it all mean? To start, they use photo-protective organic botanicals to triple the SPF provided by natural minerals while providing deep moisturization. They also claim to use potent antioxidants to aid skin before, during and after sun exposure. They also state they removed water, fillers and all synthetics from the products. That means no phthalates, parabens, nanotechnology, plastic tubes, or anything at all from China.

Now that you know all the specs, I'm sure you are wondering about the product itself. I wanted to love this product, even though I'm not exactly sure how the 70% organic version really stacks up to something, say, like Banana Boat, as far as the ingredients go. The products are packaged in those old school metal (aluminum) style tubes and from the get go I was less than enthused because it's really difficult to squeeze it out. I don't consider myself to be lacking in forearm strength but perhaps I need to get back to working out with a squeeze ball or something because it was a struggle. Like shaky arms struggle.

Once I managed to extract some sunscreen, I went to town on my arms and was impressed by how creamy the product is. When they say it provides moisturization, they aren't kidding. Unfortunately, the product never really felt like it was fully absorbed and I was left with slick arms that left stains on my wood dining table when I rested them on it. I certainly didn't overapply and maybe I'm just used to sunscreens for the more finicky type that get absorbed rapidly, but this product did remind me of something we had when I was a kid - sure it provided coverage but at a cost of feeling like I had on a heavy moisturizer.

I must also state that I hate having greasy sunscreen on any of my appendages to the point of distraction. So, between that and the grease marks I was leaving behind, I ended up washing my arms. I must say that I was impressed because, even after washing my arms, the water still beaded off. Truly a water resistant product here.

I would definitely recommend this product for someone who has very sensitive skin or allergies to sunscreen or is very concerned about what is in their sunscreen and doesn't mind the tackiness, er, moisturizing. The biggest drawback, however, is that it sells for $30 for a 2.25 ounce tube. If I were to use 1 ounce a day (as recommended by the AAD) for coverage, well, you can do the math - that's about $400 for a month's worth of sunscreen.

What's your favorite sunscreen? Do you consistently use it or only when you are planning a day outside?


Anonymous said...

You might also look at the Badger brand Sunscreen, here - http://www.badgerbalm.com/p-372-spf-30-for-face-body.aspx

It's definitely cheaper, and actually more pure. No aluminum, no fragrance, no questionably sourced glycerin.

Just a thought =)

Jennifer Taggart, TheSmartMama said...

Okay, I was excited when I heard about this product, but I can't afford that! I use sunscreen every day - being redheaded and very fair. I guess I'll stick to TruKids for now . . .

die Frau said...

I admit that as a fair-skinned person, I go more for SPF that's been recommended by the Cancer Foundation than organic. However, I do really like the Alba Botanica products. They feel great, and there's a vanilla-scented one that smells wonderful. Not too bad on the purse strings, either.

I tend to wear moisturizer with SPF in it and a hat. If I'm going to be outside for any length of time over 20 minutes, I slather sunscreen on.

Don't forget to put it on your CHEST (ladies) and HANDS! My dad, a lifelong golfer, wears the one golf glove on his left hand. It's baby-soft, lily-white, and looks healthy. The other hand is weathered, brown, wrinkled/tanned like a hide, and spotted.

Jenette said...

We are using California baby ... but I am unsure of the 'greenness'

Mayo said...

Zinc oxide is considered a safe sunscreen ingredient in Europe and Australia where many of the ingredients in sunscreens sold in the US have been banned for years.

If you're interested in safe and good protection, choose a NON-nanoparticle clear (or the old-fashioned white if you want to look like a lifeguard...) zinc oxide. (The verdict is still out an whether or not nanoparticles are harmful.)


Marsha said...

I have been using Vivesana, on myself and my 3 yr old since March (we live in South Florida where its been summer for quite a while now). I think its an amazing product, with the HIGHEST natural SPF (42 for kids and 40 for adults). Its definitely a bit thick, but that's because its not water based, and a little does go along way. There is a 25% discount code that they posted on their blog its friendfamily25. I think its better then any sunscreen out there.

Allie said...

I've been using it for awhile now b/c they sent me some to try. I love it. But I'm super pale and have a lot of moles (that I have to get checked every 6 months, etc.), so I'm paranoid about sun care and am used to wearing sunscreen (with barrier protection) a lot. I think that makes it easier to adjust to the high moisture level, because the sunscreens I used were already thick (and this one doesn't leave that white film). I also tend to cover up instead of smearing sunscreen everywhere. I use this mostly on my face, hands, ears, back of my neck, etc. So I don't use much on a daily basis and it's more cost effective. I love that it doesn't make my face break out. I also love the way it smells.

Sunguy said...

I have been using the Vivesana Solar to Polar Ultra for about 2 months. I find it to be a superior product than most sunscreens. It does not contain any water, and therefore, it is more concentrated than your average sunscreen - - a little bit goes a long way. I found that I was applying too much at first but learned to apply a bit at a time and it helped with the absorption. Two other excellent mineral based sunscreens I am using are Azur Advanced Pro-cellular SPF 30 and Burnout Eco-Sensitive Zinc Oxide SPF 32.

Anonymous said...

I recently started using Dr. Mercola's Natural Sunscreen with Green Tea (SPF 30). I am wildly happy with this product. After years of searching for a sunscreen that my kids and I could tolerate, I think this might be it. Most sunscreens give off fumes that irritate my eyes and one of my daughter's. Even without sweating or swimming, we are red-eyed and itchy after 15 minutes. In addition, this one goes on smoothly, doesn't feel like it's smothering the skin, uses titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as protective barriers, and smells good!

I have no association with Dr. Mercola in any way. In fact, though I often find him informative, I also find him a bit obnoxious. But this sunscreen is great and I am very happy with it.

Other sunscreens I've like (for kids and myself) have been Aubrey Organics Green Tea Sunblock for Children and Dr. Hauschka Sunscreen Cream for Children.

BTW I should note that I actually encourage my kids to get a little unprotected sun time each day so they can get vitamin D. Most days we go bare for awhile, then cover up with sleeves and hats. But when we know we'll be outside and active all day, either in the garden, on horses, or in water, I definitely use sunscreen.

Frugal Nut said...

Personally I don't use sunscreen, ever. I moisturize, and if it's a super hot day, I stay out of the sun. I am quite pale, so I have to be careful, but that way I don't need to worry about what's in the sunscreen, or what the sunscreen is packaged in.

Hcrummer said...

Hmmm, I can see why you wouldn't like those greasy, super-thick natural sunscreens, but I love them because after spending a day out in the sun, my skin is usually soft and smooth and well-moisturized.