Green Product Review: Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Sunscreen, SPF 30

Oh Mrs. Meyer’s, why am I so attracted to your good old fashioned packaging and the siren song of your scent?  I have to admit that ever since I smelled Mrs. Meyer’s liquid dish soap in lemon verbena, I have been hooked on Mrs. Meyer’s products.  I assumed they were safe because they are sold at a large chain health food store and are relegated to the eco-friendly aisle at the supermarket.  I didn’t want to know if they weren’t, because I loved them.  It turns out that Mrs. Meyer’s is a mixed bag when it comes to toxicity.  Almost all of their products consistently rank a 4 or 5 on the cosmetics database which is no better than many traditional products.  The reason for the high ranking, is the thing I love the most about their products – the fragrance.  If they used essential oils, instead of the chemical catch-all, fragrance, they would be safer.  In any event, today I’m reviewing their least toxic product, Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Sunscreen SPF 30, Baby Blossom.

Ingredients: Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide (12%), Titanium Dioxide (5%).  Inactive Ingredients: Water, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Isononyl Isononanoate, Glycerin, Sorbitan Olivate, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetyl Palmitate, Sorbitan Palmitate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Lonicera Japonica (HoneySuckle) Flower Extract (Certified Organic), Olea Europaea (Olive Oil) Fruit Oil (Certified Organic), Prunus Armeniaca (Apricot) Kernel Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil (Certified Organic), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil (Certified Organic), Geranium Maculatum (Geranium) Oil (Certified Organic), Decyl Glucoside, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Methicone, Alumina

Cosmetics Database Score:  3 (low end of moderate hazard)

Potentially Hazardous Ingredients:  zinc oxide, fragrance, alumina, phenoxyethanol

Pros:  this works very well as a sunscreen even on sunny ski days here in Park City.  Of course, it smells great, but you’re paying a price for that smell.  It glides on smoothly even after being overnight in a freezing car (not recommended).  It is quite a bit safer than many traditional sunblocks, some of which rank as high as an 8 on the cosmetics database (and are for kids!).

Cons:  the sunblock leaves your skin somewhat white and doesn’t absorb terribly well.  It’s not as bad as some zinc based sunblocks in this regard – they all leave that white sheen, this one maybe less so than others.  If you try to rub it in after it’s been on your face for a minute or two it leaves white crumbles which are not recommended if you’re going on a first date.  Finally, it doesn’t make you shiny, but instead is a bit drying and a little irritating to sensitive skin.

Notes:  this product is supposed to be for babies, so it’s surprising that it contains fragrance and alumina.  I use this sunblock on myself, but we still don’t use sunblock frequently on our little one.  We prefer a hat and shade for her.  When we do use sunblock for her, we use California Baby.  It’s safer, but on the expensive side.  Why do we use the Mrs. Meyer’s sunblock on ourselves when it ranks a 3?  Well, the answer is easy, it was on sale at TJMaxx.

Overall Score (0 being worst, 10 being best): 6.5

Where to Buy:  Whole Foods, online

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