Now that we are officially in February we really have conquered most of Summer, although sometimes it has felt like anything but Summer. I was lucky enough to be sent two bottles of Solimara Sunscreen to try this Summer and see how it compares to my previous years using none or minimal sunscreens. I spend a lot of time outdoors in the Summer months, I am well and truly a Summer bunny. I prefer nothing more than melting in the sun with a good book, or a beer. I also spend more time exploring with Diego and making the most of the longer, warmer days. I know many of you are similar to me in this way, so I thought now would be the best time to bring you my sunscreen review. That way, if it sounds like something you would enjoy, you can use it for February and March which are my favourite, warmest 'Summer' months!
Solimara is a New Zealand based company that saw the need to create a product that protects and insulates the skin from the harmful elements of the environment first, and repairing and restoring your skin back to its healthy state. As we are all aware, New Zealand sun is extremely harsh and we need great protection for our skin against this. However, Solimara also didn't want to harm that environment that we live in either so created the world's first ever certified truly natural sunscreen.
Let's first start with the main ingredient, behind water, that makes up this sunscreen. Instead of using the usual titanium dioxide, Solimara uses Zinc Oxide to protect against UVA and UVB rays. Compared to titanium dioxide, Zinc Oxide provides a full spectrum protection for both UVA 1 and 2 giving you better protection against our harsh sun. That is not the only benefit to using Zinc, you will also notice that it is less likely to cause a reaction on your skin, and is not absorbed by the skin. The reason zinc oxide works as a sunscreen is that particles in the sunscreen sit invisibly on the surface of your skin bouncing the UV rays off. As long as the zinc is on your screen, the rays will be bounced off.
Following on from zinc on the ingredients list, you have a range of amazing natural protects that help protect and nourish your skin. Coco-caprylate is the next main ingredient and is a skin-conditioning agent naturally derived from coconut oil. It provides high hydration and is used as a natural alternative to silicones. If you go through the list of ingredients, it shows that every ingredient has been carefully considered and added to give your skin the best chance of being protected, moisturised and glowing. For a full run down of the ingredients, you can see them on the Solimara Website here. Important to note as well as that although there has been fragrance added that are Cosmos approved. Cosmos is a standard that defines the criteria that companies must meet to ensure consumers that their products are genuine organic or natural cosmetics produced to the highest feasible sustainability practices.
Recently there has been a new study that shows that chemical sunscreens can potentially be absorbed into your bloodstream. I dare you to take a look at your sunscreen bottle that you own and have a look at the ingredients list. Most sunscreens contain a lot of chemical ingredients that while protecting you from sun rays, may be putting you at greater risk inside your body. Another reason to double check what is in the sunscreen you use is its effects on our natural coral reefs. When you swim with sunscreen on, chemicals like oxybenzone can seep into the water, where they're absorbed by corals. These substances contain nanoparticles that can disrupt coral's reproduction and growth cycles, ultimately leading to bleaching. It can also affect fish, mussels, dolphins, and algae all in different ways. Solimara sunscreen has been proven as being Coral Safe.
I personally have extremely sensitive skin, especially on my inner arms and face. In previous years I didn't really use sunscreen as it would cause me to break out in a rash and caused more problems than it was worth. I knew that by not wearing sunscreen I was increasing my risk of skin cancers as well as having leathery skin as I aged. I am happy to say that I have had no reactions to Solimara sunscreen. I have used it over the past few months all over my body, as well as my face and have never noticed any rashes or dry spots. I generally put this on my chest, neck, face and shoulders every morning for protection, and then depending on what I do that day will reapply over those spots or across more of my body that may see the sun.
The sunscreen currently comes in two different scents, Golden Sands and White Marine. Before I try to describe the scents, please note I am the worst at knowing what I am smelling, so take this next section with a grain of salt. Golden Sands I believe is more coconut scented, and reminds me of a baked cookie. The White Marine is more fresh and light. Both of them have a sunscreen scent under tone, but is definitely not overwhelming at all.
Alright, as with everything, there are some downsides. Zinc based sunscreens are thicker, and are not as watery as their chemical counterparts. This makes them far harder to spread on the skin. It is recommended that you do place dots of this across the skin you are wanting to sunscreen before rubbing it in. It doesn't move far when you are trying to spread it across your body. This takes practice and time to make sure you are getting it across all parts of your skin. I did a couple of times not completely cover my exposed skin due to it not spreading as far, and got burnt in small little patches where I must of missed. Once you are used to how this sunscreen works, it is less of a problem as you know how to spread out the dots so that you don't miss patches, however the initial first applications can be hard.
As I mentioned above, Zinc doesn't absorb into the skin so this sunscreen can leave a cast across your skin if you use a lot of the product. This is because the sunscreen is visible on your skin. If you use the perfect amount, this should not be a major problem. However, when learning how much to put on, and how to spread it correctly, you can turn mistakenly purple by having too much on your skin that you cannot spread any further.
This product, like many sunscreens, will require top-ups if you are out for a long time. It does have 2h water resistant protection, but it is always wise to reapply if you have been swimming for a while. What I love though, is that because of the natural moisturising qualities of the ingredients when you reapply it is like you are applying a moisturiser and you don't dry out as much lakeside.
Solimara sunscreen comes in either 150g or 88g bottles for the two scents. I personally have the 150g size and I am no where near the end of it even after using it for the past few months. Due to it being zinc, it really does go a long way and you don't end up using as much as you would of a chemical sunscreen. The bottle it comes in is plastic, but is recyclable which is a good step in the right direction.
All in all, I love this product. It is a wonderful mix of eco-conscious, skin mindful, small business and actually effective. So many products try to be natural, effective and good for the skin but miss one of those key elements. I am so happy to have found a product that is just as, if not better than its unnatural, 'normal' version. Although this product is more expensive than the sunscreen you would usually find in stores, I really do think it is worth those extra dollars. The product goes further, you can feel confident that you are doing the best thing for your skin and the environment and you are helping a completely 100% New Zealand company.
If you want to buy Solimara, you can do so directly from their website here.
P.S I did also try Solimara's Skin Rebel Oil and absolutely loved it as well. I would apply this at night after a shower to give my face extra moisture. I never had any skin reactions to this either, and over the time of use I felt like my skin looked more plump and moisturised.
Disclosure statement: Solimara sent me product in exchange for a review. They did not give me key statements to state, and have not dictated the review at all. All opinions and statements are my own.