Back at the beginning of the year, Emily wrote about her experience with COOLA sunscreen and natural skincare company, Badger, left a comment saying that they had recently switched to a non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide active for their sunscreens. Badger then sent me a sample and I have been trying out the SPF15 for face and body.

Zinc oxide is probably the safest sunscreen active and offers both UVA and UVB protection (chemical protectors and titanium dioxide give rise to concerns that they penetrate the skin and cause free radical damage). However, many sunscreen manufacturers use nano-size zinc oxide – partly so that it can be more easily rubbed into the skin leaving less of a chalky film. Badger was using nano zinc and still insists that it is safe. Nonetheless, consumer concerns about nanotechnology prompted a switch to non-nano zinc oxide particles.

Badger sunscreens now use a zinc oxide powder particle range of 120nm – 51,580nm – the average particle size is 6,880nm. The switch to larger zinc oxide particles means that Badger no longer has to coat them with an inert substance. This is typically done to make small nanoparticles less reactive and to make them easier to mix with the base ingredients. Badger claims its uncoated zinc oxide is less reactive than titanium dioxide that has been coated. This is because the new particle size is unlikely to penetrate the skin.

Badger’s SPF sunscreen for face and body definitely rubs in with less of a chalky film than the old (nano) SPF30 formula that I have lying around from last summer. But it still requires careful blending to avoid a white sheen or streaking. For that reason, I definitely prefer using it on my hands rather than face. By way of comparison, I tested its blendability against some other mineral sunscreen brands that I had to hand.

The most invisible upon application is MD Solar Science (and for an SPF40 no less - you do have to go along with a lot of silicone though), followed by Lumixyl's sunscreen. Suntegrity takes a bit more rubbing in than either of these, but goes on more easily than the Badger.  Although from the chalkiness perspective, Badger is the least refined, it is still perfectly usable. It also chalks (no pun intended) up extra points for being totally natural, decently moisturizing, having a dash of seabuckthorn, and a very reasonable $16 price point. Not to mention listening and responding to its customers.

Active Ingredient: Non-Nano, Uncoated Zinc Oxide 10%

Inactive Ingredients:  *Olea Europaea (Extra Virgin Olive) Oil, *Cera Alba (Beeswax), *Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, *Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Butter, *Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Essential Oil of *Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender), Tocopherol (Natural Vitamin E), and CO2 Extracts of *Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn). * = Certified Organic

BPA and Phthalate-free packaging made from >50% Post-Consumer Recycled #2 plastic