Honest Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50
Honest Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50 isn't cheap by any measure (starting at $13.95 for a 3-ounce tube, or $4.65 an ounce, Amazon), although subscribers to the Honest Company's bundling service can shave a percentage off that cost. For consumers looking for chemical-free sunscreen, however, the brand's promises and feel-good back story can seem enticing.
The co-founder of the Honest Company, actress Jessica Alba, had extreme skin sensitivities as a child. Wanting to provide safe, toxin-free options for families, she teamed with business partner Christopher Gavigan to create a line of natural health, beauty, and cleaning products. After complaints that the original formulation left chalky streaks, the Honest Company responded with a lotion designed to rub in better. The resulting Honest Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 left some angry users seeing red -- red skin, that is, whether from user error or product failure. Following a firestorm of negative press and countless pictures of sunburned children posted on social media, the company went back to the drawing board again.
Like its predecessors, the Honest Company's most recent sunscreen offering, Honest Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, is touted as chemical-free. It relies on zinc oxide -- a physical sun deflector -- as its only active ingredient and contains shea butter and coconut oil to moisturize skin. This formulation contains more zinc oxide than the previous ill-fated SPF 30 version and promises more effective coverage. However, the handful of recent reviews are far from encouraging. On Amazon, one user claims she suffered second-degree burns after use, while others complain of white residue and a nauseating scent.
Only time and more reviews will tell if the Honest Company's most recent sunscreen attempt pans out, but in the meantime there are several sunscreen options on the market that are safe, effective, and far cheaper.