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Ao Skincare 6000X Elemental Screen SPF30

Formerly Ao Skincare Protect

Size: 2 fl.oz. (59 ml)

Formerly called Ao Skincare Protect, 6000X Elemental Screen SPF30 is a broad spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 that combines nature and science to keep you safe from the sun without leaving your face sticky, oily, or chalky. Compared to Ao Protect, 6000X Elemental Screen SPF30 has upped the concentration of the antioxidant Astaxanthin.

The cream feels silky smooth to the touch and can even work as a primer for makeup. Full of antioxidants, this nourishing formula is one of the few sunscreens that you will want to wear everyday. Lightweight and non-greasy, it pairs perfectly with your favorite serum and moisturizer. Like all of the products we carry, it has been tested for over 30 days and approved by a member of our community, so you can be confident as you shop.

6000X Elemental Screen SPF30 features some favorite ingredients – astaxanthin, vitamin E, pomegranate, and ferulic acid. Astaxanthin is an algae-derived antioxidant fights free radicals, wrinkles, and UV damage. Free from parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrance, this sunscreen won't use nasty ingredients to keep your skin protected. Just rub it into your skin following a moisturizer and before sun exposure, and apply any makeup once it has dried. What once felt like a chore will feel like a luxury!

Tested for 30 days and recommended by Marta:

The first thing that I pounced on from this New Zealand-based, doctor-backed line was a sunscreen with astaxanthin, 6000X Elemental Screen SPF30.

Before I explain why I was so excited by a sunscreen with a tongue-twister ingredient, I’ll give some context about the Ao brand. Ao is a reference to Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand and the “embodiment” of pure and natural beauty. Behind the brand is a dermatologist, Mark Gray, MD, whose mantra is that science and nature can coexist.

Right off, I want to say that from a cosmetic and comfort perspective, this is the best sunscreen that I have ever encountered. I look forward to wearing it — and I typically don’t like sunscreen. Ao 6000X Elemental Screen SPF30 is silky and smooth, not in the least bit chalky, sticky or shiny, but does provide a subtle (very subtle) amount of coverage, somewhat like a primer. I never use primer, but I’m willing to bet that I could ditch it for Ao.

As sunscreen actives (yes, even mineral ones) are controversial and potential cytotoxic, I am very particular that a sunscreen formula be tempered by antioxidants. This is where astaxanthin comes in. According to one scientist, astaxanthin can eliminate free radicals 6,000 times more effectively than vitamin C and 800 times more than CoQ10. It can prevent UV-induced collagen degradation, wrinkles, sunburn and phototoxicity.

Ao has also included ferulic acid, another great antioxidant that is credited with providing sun protection, as well as vitamin E, niacinamide and pomegranate.

Although plant stem cells are becoming more widely used in cosmetics, there aren’t too many sunscreens with them. This one has meristem stem cells from the gardenia plant, which are supposed to synthesize collagen production.

Ao goes to some lengths to explain the function of every ingredient — and in some cases, justify them. Lanolin was one that caused raised eyebrows. I know there are a lot of sheep in New Zealand, but the oil from their wool has in recent years been dismissed as an unwelcome irritant in skin care. According to Ao, lanolin gets a bad rap. Much as I like Ao’s sunscreen, I wasn’t going to take this at face value and went off to do my own research. It seems that lanolin’s reputation as an irritant is based on misinterpreted research from the 1950s. Although subsequent studies have demonstrated that lanolin sensitization is relatively low and only mildly comedogenic, the myth lives on to this day. I’m pleased that my own bias against lanolin has been revised.

The feel-good factor of this silky sunscreen is due to a number of synthetic emollients. They proved to be only a small price to pay as I looked into each one and found them to be largely benign — same for the suspending agents and thickeners (mostly fatty acids). And it’s nice to see that there are no harsh preservatives, the antimicrobial is a natural one from an indigenous New Zealand plant.

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$ 59.95
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Our Take

Here at Truth In Aging we have had a good track record with beauty products from New Zealand — think MitoQ, Snowberry and Moana — so I was very receptive to taking a look at a brand called Ao. The first thing that I pounced on from this down under, doctor-backed line was a sunscreen with... read more

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2 Reviews
  • Jan-marie

    (5 out of 5)

    Update on earlier review -- I love it even more knowing it has niacinamide, and now my husband is using it too. He had previously been using NIA 24 sunscreen and likes this better.

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  • Jan-Marie

    (5 out of 5)

    I am always looking for sunscreen with high percent of zinc and when Marta reviewed AO Skincare Protect and said that it had astaxanthin I was eager to try it. Having just returned from 10 days hiking in the Alps -- high altitude plus high temps, it got a thorough test! While everyone around me was frying, I did not. I used it on face, neck, chest, hands , arms and back of neck. It feels like a luxurious moisturizer and my skin is supple and smooth. It layers well over serums and under makeup. Did not melt off in the intense heat and I was able to re-apply without breaking out. It washes off with my regular face cleanser+microfiber cloth. I am 64 years old.

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  • Marta

    July 26, 2016


    One of the reasons why we don't see astaxanthin used in more products is that it makes everything orange/red and concentrations in cosmetics are restricted for that reason. Plus, there's very little research - if any - on what an effective concentration might be.

  • Dennis

    July 25, 2016


    Went to their site and I love their packaging! I want to give this a try, but I notice that Astaxanthin is at the very bottom. I know that Astaxanthin is very powerful, but is there enough here to make a difference?

  • Zinc Oxide (18.9%)
  • Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride
  • Water (Aqua)
  • Glycerin
  • Polysorbate 60
  • Sorbitan Stearate
  • Cetearyl Glucoside
  • Cetyl Alcohol
  • Astaxanthin
  • Niacinamide
  • Ferulic Acid
  • Tocopherol
  • Totarol
  • Manuka Honey
  • Phormium Tenax Seed Oil (Harakeke Oil)
  • Gardenia Jasminoides Meristem Cell Culture
  • Punica Granatum (pomegranate) Extract
  • Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil
  • Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice
  • Carrageenan
  • Lecithin
  • Xanthan Gum
  • Sodium Phytate
  • Isostearic Acid
  • Polyhydroxystearic Acid
  • Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate
  • Dehydroacetic Acid. Stearyl Alcohol
  • Benzyl Alcohol
Apply cream liberally to the face and neck in the morning after moisturizing. Reapply regularly, especially after swimming and exercise.

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