+ SPF label was actually lab tested according to Human Nature
+ possibly reef-friendlier
+ crazy waterproof
+ no, really. It’s crazy waterproof
+ gives an even, bronze tan
– weird smell in chlorine (but not in salt water)
– white cast upon application (but none in the water)
– too heavy/oily for everyday use but not an issue when swimming
Ingredients: Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, hydrogenated castor oil, zinc oxide, Helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, dicaprylyl ether, Cera alba (beeswax), Glycine soja (soybean) oil, fragrance (all-natural), glyceryl caprylate, tocopherol (vitamin E), p-anisic acid
I’ve talked about the reef-friendly label here and here (open to discussion and edits, of course), but long story short, no sunscreen is 100% reef-friendly. However, there are reef-friendlier products that are worth supporting. Locally, there are a lot of “reef-safe” sunscreens going around that aren’t actually laboratory tested*, so Human Nature is a good option if you’re looking.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice it’s hella thick and oily. It’s actually reminiscent of sunscreens prior to this decade where they all had a sunscreen smell and white cast. It’s pretty bothersome for everyday use, but in the pool and the beach it’s not something you’ll notice. It actually spreads on well and doesn’t leave a heavy white cast. Waterproof sunscreens in general leave white streaks when you’re in the water. Human Nature’s suprisingly doesn’t – or at least not as much. The oil leaves a nice sheen upon application (like you dusted highlighter all over your body or you’re half-unicorn), which fades the longer you stay in the water. The sunscreen itself takes much longer to fade.
Now this sunscreen is so freaking waterproof. It beat out even Armada(!!!), which is no easy feat. Honestly, soap and water isn’t enough to get it off. Unless it’s already faded after a few hours since application, it takes multiple washes to get all the residue out. Water just sits on top of your skin, which also serves as a great indicator for when the sunscreen has faded. If I sweat, it just forms beads on top of the sunscreen.
I was able to test this out in both a pool and the beach. The only difference was the smell. I was only able to test out in my school’s pool so this may not apply to other pools, but it formed a sickening smell. It wasn’t too strong or too bad, but it was definitely there. In salt water, it was a completely different story. What little scent was present was barely detectable and inoffensive.
In terms of performance, despite seeming very sticky and oily at the beginning, it doesn’t feel like anything after time in the water. It gave me an even bronze tan. I usually burn easily or react badly to sun exposure (usually very dry skin and an uneven tan), but this didn’t happen at all with this sunscreen. I tried reapplying every two hours but found it more efficient to play it by feel. I can tell when it’s faded by how water “sticks” to me, which became the most useful indicator for reapplication. The heaviness wasn’t a problem even on the face. It didn’t cause any breakouts and faded evenly in the water. It does use coconut oil as the base, which a lot of people don’t jive with.
To be honest, it isn’t comfortable enough for everyday use though it works great in the water. A lot of sunscreen pollution actually comes from wastewater going into the ocean, so while wearing reef-friendlier sunscreen to the beach is a great thing to do, wearing reef-friendlier sunscreen everyday is an even bigger help. Other points of improvement include the fragrance. The fragrance in the ingredient list didn’t make sense to me because I’m familiar with Human Nature’s fragrances and I definitely couldn’t detect it in the product. If anything, it probably faded within a few minutes in the water so if I could suggest an improvement in formulation, it would be to omit fragrance completely.
Overall, I think this sunscreen is a great intro into going reef-friendlier. It truly is very practical for water-use and holds its own to commercial sunscreens. I argue it’s actually significantly more heavy duty than most commercial sunscreens.
While I think there’s a lot more Human Nature can do to address the reef-safe problem, creating this product does help bring awareness to the issue. I’ve listed some extra steps to be reef-friendly aside from using sunscreen (ranked easy to difficult) below if you’re interested.
- Do not use any additional skincare products before entering the ocean.
- Do not touch or step on corals (or any marine life for that matter).
- Do not bring home sand and shells.
- Use alternative forms of UV protection (eg. rashguards, hats, umbrellas). Check out this compilation for UPF clothing.
- Learn more with Save Philippine Seas.
- Turn your trash (especially discarded beauty products like sheet mask wrappers, old brushes, etc) into ecobricks.
- Say no to disposables, especially in tourist areas/provinces without good waste management. Or even easier, just refuse plastic straws when buying drinks.
- Switch to reef-friendlier products in your whole routine. (Easiest is to check first for biodegradability, and if you’re up for it, toxicity and waste management of said product/ingredients.)
* I’ve been guilty of promoting those sunscreens and I deeply apologize. A lot of those rely on homemade sunscreens, which you can learn more about here. Thank you to @kobecow and /u/Feanne for pointing this out to me!
This sunscreen also comes with a version for babies and kids, but the regular version is more accessible in stores.