Jun 26, 2014

Sunday Riley Cashmere 30+ Sunscreen

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I'm always looking for the next best sunscreen, and I have two criteria: a purely physical or mineral sunscreen and one that isn't heavily fragranced (as many tend to be! Makes you wonder what smells are lurking under all that perfume). I had some reservations about Sunday Riley's Cashmere SPF 30+ Advanced Sun Defense sunscreen for two reasons: It's pricy, at $125 per 1.7 fl oz, and it contains parabens (the label states that the product is "99% paraben free," though levels typically do not exceed 0.3% in the cosmetics industry). You can read more about the potential health concerns of parabens here; and EWG's review/score about this product's safety, here.

As a non-scientist who last opened up a chemistry textbook (let me think...) at least a decade ago, I've done what research I can and decided that reasonably limiting paraben use in my everyday cosmetics routine is the best option for me. As of yet, there is no conclusive study linking parabens and endocrine (hormone) disruption or cancer. So, I avoid parabens in products like body lotion that cover a relatively large area of skin. And use certain facial products, such as this sunscreen, that are particularly good.

Sunday Riley's sunscreen is a physical sunscreen (containing titanium dioxide), with no 'sunscreen smell' (nor is it noticeably perfumed). And, remarkably, leaves absolutely no white or chalk-ish residue on the skin, as many physical sunscreens do. If I put a dab of it on your skin, you would never guess it was sunscreen! In fact, it has the consistency of a thick moisturizer. The key word here is thick: And it might be a bit too tacky and sticky for those with oily skin (it contains shea butter). But for those with normal to dry skin, like myself, the extra moisture feels quite welcome.

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The one downside to its texture is that it may pill or ball up. The sunscreen applies quite easily, but once it dries, it can rub off into eraser-bits on your skin. Yes, not so attractive. But I've found that this happens only when I've applied something additional over the sunscreen, such as foundation, and even then, only when I've rubbed my skin for blending purposes. So, I'm extra careful not to rub, or else save this foundation for days when I'm wearing minimal makeup (by combining it with a dab of foundation in my palm to make my own tinted sunscreen, thereby avoiding this odd pilling situation).

The 'cashmere' in its name refers to hydrolized keratin, which is among the last few listed ingredients in this product. But the first handful of ingredients are all extracts, including blue agave, wheatgrass, and cactus extracts. Further down the list are ginseng and ellagic acid (from pomegranate).

In short, Sunday Riley's Cashmere SPF 30+ sunscreen is a 100% physical sunscreen, with no noticeable smell or fragrance, and has a nice moisturizer-like texture that leaves no off-color or whitish hue to the skin. However, be careful about pilling when rubbing or applying makeup over the sunscreen. It contains various anti-aging and pollution-protecting ingredients, but also contains parabens. 

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