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Summer Series: Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+ review

Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+

Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+


Soleo say..

Designed as a safe alternative to common synthetic based sunscreens, this all natural sunscreen has been formulated without the use of any chemical UV-absorbers, titanium dioxide, or synthetic preservatives. It is water resistant for up to 3 hours (in ocean and fresh water), neutrally scented, and has a low skin irritation factor to care for even the most sensitive skin. It won’t sting the eyes and is safe for the whole family (including small children and pregnant women).

Soléo Organics’ All Natural Sunscreen is free from titanium dioxide, synthetic preservatives, parabens, petrochemicals, benzoates, sodium lauryl sulfate, artificial colours or fragrances. It is a broad-spectrum sunscreen and blocks both UV-A (which ages skin prematurely) and UV-B (which cause sunburn) solar radiation while providing natural moisturising care for the skin. Enriched with botanical extracts that are naturally soothing and nourishing to the skin, it can easily become a part of any daily skin care routine.


Price: $26.60 for 75g, $35.95 for 150g

Availability: , selected pharmacies and health food stores, check for international distributors.


This review is the first of my sun protection posts for the Summer Series. I will be trialling  number of different physical sunscreens and moisturisers with SPF over the coming months.

Only sunscreens that have a minimum of 15% Zinc Oxide will be reviewed (Zinc Oxide is considered the gold standard in sun protection), and I won’t be trialling anything with Oxybenzone, or any sunscreen which relies predominantly on chemical filters- simply because I refuse to use such products.

If you’re unsure of what this all means, or for further info, I’ve got it all written out in detail in my previous post  The Sunscreen Lowdown Part 1  .


Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen

Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen SPF 30+

UVA/UVB protection, photostability, and safety:

Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen has 22.4% micronised Zinc Oxide which gives excellent UVA and UVB protection; furthermore, Zinc Oxide is one of the most photostable sunscreen ingredients (doesn’t easily break down in the presence of UV light) so it’s not surprising that in the Environmental Working Group analysis of this sunscreen, the photostability has been described as ‘excellent’.

Micronised Zinc Oxide is the safest sunscreen ingredient available. It does not absorb into the bloodstream, or generate free radicals like chemical filters can. In addition, Soleo Organics All Natural Sunscreen does not contain petrochemicals, parabens, or photosensitizing agents (like Vitamin A derivatives and citrus family essential oils).

Soleo has taken the ‘All Natural’ claim so seriously that they even use Lecithin as their emulsifier!


keep reading after the jump!


Posted by on Nov 2nd, 2011 in Reviews, Sunscreen | 49comments

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Saturday Skin Care: Marie Veronique anti aging kit

I was over the moon when Catherine from Marie Veronique Organics sent me their Anti Aging Pack to review. I had been wanting to try their famous Moisturizing Face Screen for ages now (it is in the top 5 on the Environmental Working Group’s Sunscreen guide, and quite a cult item amongst sunscreen fanatics).

The more I learn about skin care and cosmetic chemistry, the more sceptical I get of many products on the market (with big claims, big price tags, celebrity spokespersons, and very very mediocre ingredients in negligible concentrations).

I’m thrilled to find that I absolutely love the Marie Veronique products I’ve tried, as well as their intelligent approach to skin care.

price: $170 US for the anti aging pack



Anti Aging Oil +

Marie Veronique Anti Aging Oil +

Marie Veronique Anti Aging Oil +

I’ve found that what works best for my dehydrated skin is layering night time skin care. After my shower I like using a serum, then moisturiser, and then a treatment oil. 

This is one of the best face treatment oils I’ve used, I’d say it might even be better than *GASP* Kosmea’s Rose Hip Oil (one of my favourite product ever). After massaging into my face, my skin feels really nourished and ‘plump’. The next morning I wake up with glowy perfect skin that I can’t stop touching.

This is a great blend of skin loving oils chosen for their nutrient profile, including my old favourites Jojoba and Rose Hip, as well as exotic oils like Argan, Sea Buckthorn, Black Raspberry and Meadowfoam.

Ingredients: Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba oil), Vitus viniferi (grapeseed oil, expeller-pressed), Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam seed oil), Prunus armeniaca (apricot kernel oil), Borago officinalis (borage oil), Argania spinosa (argan oil), emu oil, Rubus fruticosus (blackberry seed oil), Oenotherus biennis (evening primrose oil), Rosa rubignosa (rosehip seed oil), Sclerocarya birrea (marula oil), Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Rubus idaeus (black raspberry seed oil), Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn oil), Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu oil), Vaccinium macrocarpon (cranberry seed oil), Actinidia deliciosa (kiwi seed oil), Rosemary oleoresin, lecithin, lycopene, Euphasia superba (krill oil), Daucus carota (carrot seed) essential oil, Lavendula angustfolia (lavender) essential oil, Helichrysum italicum (helichrysum) essential oil, Rosa centifolia (rose absolute) essential oil, Citrus aurantium bigaradia (neroli) essential oil

Moisturising Face Screen SPF 30+ (no tint)

One of the most highest rate sunscreens on the market in terms of UVA/UVB protection, photostability, and safety (no hormone disrupting chemical filters like Oxybenzone). It uses micronised (non-nano) zinc at an impressive 20.6%.

With such a heavy duty sunscreen, you would expect it to be thick, uncomfortable, and cosmetically unacceptable- but *cue parting clouds and angelic music* it is quite the opposite! It is light, spreads effortlessly, and has a matte finish. Yes, you heard right – a MATTE finish. No finishing powder needed to take away the ‘sunscreen shine’.

For dry skinned folks (like myself), you will need a moisturiser underneath because this product isn’t very emollient and can feel a bit chalky when used alone on top of dry skin.

Even though I got the ‘untinted’ version (they also have light tint and medium tint), it is beige in colour and gives me a small amount of coverage. Enough to even out my skin tone and cover up some redness- perfect for ‘no makeup’ days.

Marie Veronique Moisturising Face Screen SPF 30+ swatch

Marie Veronique Moisturising Face Screen SPF 30+ swatch


Active Ingredient: 20.6 % non-nano zinc oxide

Other ingredients: Camellia sinensis (green& white tea), non-nano zinc oxide, Simmondsia chinensis (jojoba oil), Prunus armeniaca (apricot kernel oil), Limnanthes alba (meadowfoam seed oil), Helianthus annuus (sunflower oil), emu oil, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), vegetable glycerin, Elaesis guineensis (red palm oil), Rubus idaeus (red raspberry seed oil), lecithin, potassium sorbate, allantoin, Cosmocil CQ*, xanthan gum, mica, Hippophae rhamnoides (sea buckthorn oil), Calodendrum Capense (yangu oil), Rosemary oleoresin, pearl powder, Daucus carota (carrot seed) essential oil, Cistus incanus (cistus) essential oil, Lonicera japonica (honeysuckle), Helichrysum italicum (helichrysum) essential oil, iron oxides, spirulina (medium tint only).


keep reading after the jump!


Posted by on Apr 16th, 2011 in Reviews, Skincare, Sunscreen | 628comments

Saturday Skin Care: Skin QR L’air du Soleil SPF 30+

L'air du Soleil SPF 30, 2.5oz

description of product from website:

Water resistant, non-greasy unique formula provides chemical-free mineral UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 30, that protects skin from harmful sun rays and prevents sun damage and pigmentation.

Kojic Acid contributes to the action by lightening and repairing existing sun damage. Caviar Extract very rich in vitamins A, D, B1, B2, B6 and micro-elements Co, Cu, P, Si, Zn, Vitamin C, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamin B12, folic acid as well as amino acids. In combination with Reishi Mushroom, they increase cell turnover and collagen synthesis, improve firmness and hydration, and reduce appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, intensify the processes inside the skin cells and at the same time slow down the degradation process.Fruit extracts provide gentle invisible exfoliation to shed dead skin cells and keep your skin fresh with rosy glow. Sea Kelp, Cucumber and Spirulina provide hydration to your skin all day long
Ellagic acid, an antioxidant found in raspberries, strawberries and cranberries, protects against ultraviolet damage by blocking production of matrix metalloproteinase enzymes that break down collagen.

price: $36.00 US
availability :

I recently used up all my Key’s Soap solar rx moisturising sunblock SPF 30+, and found myself suddenly in the market for an everyday moisturising sunscreen.

If you’ve read any of my Sunscreen Lowdown posts you would understand I’m very particular about sunscreens- I look for something that has good UVA/UVB protection, is photostable, uses micronised titanium dioxide or micronised zinc oxide, does not use hormone disrupting chemical filters like Oxybenzone to inflate the SPF value, and is cosmetically elegant. phew.

 A few weeks ago I received my SkinQR L’air du Soleil SPF 30 that I had purchased from their website, and I’ve been quite impressed with this product. 

It ticks all the boxes above, and is one of the most pleasant sunscreens to wear that I have come across. It is a fairly light lotion (rather than being thick and greasy like many physical blocking sunscreens tend to be), leaves a natural looking satin finish on the skin, and feels feather-light on the face. Something I can definitely wear every day quite comfortably. I should say, however, that I have normal to dry skin, so I have no idea how this performs on oily skin types.

There is a slight white cast when first applied but this fades significantly after about 10mins and is virtually invisible, especially if you wear foundation on top.

It is a non-nano sunscreen.

My one reservation about this product is the lightening/brightening actives. On the one hand, the Asian girl in me loves the idea of a brightening product without adding an extra step in my regime, but on the other hand, I’m not so sure I want to be using these particular actives (Kojic and Ellagic acids) during the day because they can be photosensitizing. Perhaps at the concentrations in this product this isn’t an issue? *hopeful look*

Even though it has a pretty good UVA/UVB rating, there are certainly products that exceed this, for example my Key’s sunscreen is 14% zinc oxide. It is, however, a great balance between protection and wearability.


ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Titanium Dioxide (Sunscreen)-10%, Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen)-2.5%. NON-NANO  

Deionized Aqua (Water), Organic Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice (Aloe), Ethylhexyl (Octyl) Palmitate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Glyceryl Monostearate (Plant Derived), Sclerotium Gum, Cetearyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil Unsaponifiables, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Stabilized Vitamin C), Glycine Soja (Soybean) Lecithin, Helianthus Annus (Sunflower) Seed Extract, Organic Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea), Behenyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid (Plant Derived), Cetyl Alcohol (Plant Derived), Polysorbate-60 (Plant Derived), Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Oil, Allantoin (Comfrey Root Derived), Tocopherol (Vitamin E/Antioxidant), Sodium Carbonate Hydroxide, Organic Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola), Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp), Spirulina Maxima (Spirulina), Prunus armeniaca (Apricot) fruit extract, Fragaria Vesca (Strawberry) Fruit Extract, Citrullus lanatus (Watermelon) fruit extract, Pumila Mill (Apple) fruit extract, Caviar Extract, Organic Argania spinosa (Argan) Oil, Rubus Idaeus (Raspberry Seed Oil), Co Q10, Lavandula Augustifolia (Lavender Essential Oil), Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Hyaluronic Acid, Helichrysum Italicum (Helichrysum Essential Oil), Organic Ganoderma Lucidum (Reishi), Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Seed Oil, Organic Cannabis Sativus (Hemp) Seed Oil, Hippophae Rhamnoides (Seabuckthorn) Oil, Calophyllum Inophyllum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Euterpe Oleracea (Acai), Vaccinium Macrocarpon (Cranberry) Seed Oil, Carica Papaya (Papaya) Fruit Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Organic Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Seed Oil, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin) Seed Oil, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Oil, Organic Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oil, Xanthan Gum (Natural Thickener), Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexyl Glycerin.

Posted by on Apr 8th, 2011 in Reviews, Sunscreen | 193comments

The Sunscreen Lowdown Part 2


Gisele Bunchen’s recent comments about her attitude toward sunscreen (calling it ‘poison’) has caused a bit of a sensation in the media, and although I think that what she was trying to say was probably distorted through a poor choice of words and quoting out of context, I also think that this is a great time to discuss sun protection.

The Sunscreen Lowdown Part 1 that I posted previously goes through in detail things like what UVA and UVB are, what SPF actually means, and chemical filters vs physical blockers in sunscreens.

So that leaves us with the issue of finding a good sunscreen!

As you can probably guess, sunscreen labelling can be a little misleading. ‘Broad Spectrum’ doesn’t necessarily mean true broad spectrum, an SPF sunscreen of 50 isn’t necessarily better than an SPF 30 in another formula, and ‘child safe’ means jack all.

If you want to pick a good sunscreen (one that is photostable, good UVA/UVB protection, and is not a hormone disruptor or free radical generator), a good start would be getting to know the ingredients and reading the label when you are making a purchase.


 The Environmental Working Group Sunscreen Guide:


2011 Sunscreen Report
image from


If you are a little bit OCD/a control freak like me, then just reading the ingredient list isn’t enough. I generally don’t buy sunscreen without first consulting the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2010 Sunscreen Guide. The EWG is a non-profit organisation that consist of scientists, engineers, and policy experts- the info on the site is generally considered as the most objective, well researched guide to cosmetic and sunscreen ingredients available to the consumer.


Now, I’m not saying that the EGW is the word of God and must be followed to the letter- just that it is a great resource.




On the EGW Sunscreen Guide, they rate sunscreens, moisturisers with SPF, lip balms with SPF, and makeup with SPF on the market in terms of UVA/UVB protection, health hazards from ingredients, and stability from 1 to about 400. I like to look at their top 20 in each category, and also use their database to search available products to see the ranking.

For everyday use under makeup, I’ve been using Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturizing Sunblock (what a mouthful!) SPF 30+. It gives a matte/satin finish and does not feel heavy under makeup. It also comes in an airless pump, which is a big plus for me.  (Keys is not water resistant though so when I go to the beach or exercising outdoor sweating like a pig, I use my Invisible Zinc sunscreen).

This is rated as top 3 in their list of moisturizers with SPF, and when you open up the link in their list, you get this analysis:

image from

Isn’t that just awesome?  The nerd in me just did a little dance.
You can also search sunscreens, lip balms etc. Let’s say you decided to search for Banana Boat Ultra Sunblock Lotion SPF 30+.

Yikes. As an Australian, I feel let down by the friendly Banana Boat Song ( “Bana Nana Nana, Na Na nanana..”) on their commercial which seemed to run almost continuously throughout my childhood.  [edit] I Just realised I had the wrong banana song, it’s actually “Banana Boat doo doo doodoodoo, Banana Boat, it’s 30 plus!”

image from


Lip Balms with SPF:

There is another factor to consider when it comes to SPF lip balms- the ingredients need to be safe to swallow.

The top SPF lip balms include:

-Purple Prairie Botanicals sunstuff lip balm, SPF 30

-Badger SPF 15 Sunscreen Lip Balm, Unscented

 -Alba Botanica TerraTint, SPF 8

-UV Natural Lip screen, SPF 30+





Makeup with SPF:

To be perfectly honest, I don’t really see any point of having SPF in makeup.

First of all, you are unlikely to apply enough foundation on your face to get to the SPF rating on the bottle, and sun protection in makeup generally won’t last very long anyway (1-2hrs).

Secondly, makeup with SPF will usually have chemical filters rather than physical blockers (refer to Part 1 for why this isn’t ideal). On the other hand, mineral sunscreen ingredients like zinc and titanium dioxide in makeup will give you a godawful white cast in flash photography.

Thirdly, SPF IN POWDER FORM IS AN INHALATION HAZARD (most sunscreen ingredients, particularly titanium dioxide, is considered carcinogenic when inhaled)! No spray on sunscreen, or powder SPF product is considered safe by the EWG.

If for some reason, however, I fall in love with a particular foundation with SPF eg. Chanel Pro Lumiere- I’ll probably still buy it (as long as it doesnt have oxybenzone or vitamin A, and is not powder). I would just wear a moisturiser with sunscreen underneath.





1. Philosophy hope in a jar, SPF 20– purely chemical sunscreen with the hormone disruptor/free radical generator 4% oxybenzone. Also has Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) which is a photosensitizer.

 2. Murad Perfecting Day Cream, SPF 30– chemical sunscreen with oxybenzone, absolutely craptastic UVA protection (so you won’t burn, but you’ll get the carcinogenic, wrinkle forming UVA), 

3. Neutrogena Waterguard Kids Sunblock Spray, SPF 70+: another chemical sunscreen with oxybenzone, and vitamin A. Also, sunscreen in spray or powder form poses a serious inhalation risk with many sunscreen ingredients (particularly titanium dioxide) linked with lung cancer when inhaled.

4. Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock Lotion, SPF 55: yet another chemical sunscreen with plenty of oxybenzone that absorbs easily through porous baby skin. Also full of parabens. But put some pastel stripes on the packaging and it can’t be bad, right?  

I think it’s important to add that oxybenzone absorbed through the skin in pregnant women can cause several problems to the bun in the oven. Because it is a strong hormone disruptor, it is linked with issues such as low birth weight babies.

note: even within the same brand there’s big variation in effectiveness/safety profile of sunscreen products. E.g Dermalogica Pure Light SPF 30 rates very well as a sunscreen but Dermalogica Solar Defence Sunblock SPF 30 is one of the worst rated. 


Finding something that works for YOU:

There’s no point in owning the best sunblock on the market if it feels uncomfortable on the skin, or if it is cosmetically unappealing because lets face it- you ain’t gonna use it.

I basically just look at the top 20 sunscreens as listed by the EWG sunscreen guide and make my decision to purchase based on the safety/effectiveness profile, the packaging (I hate sunscreen products in jars), and availability. Then I purchase it and if it feels and looks ok on the skin, then we have a winner!

My staple everyday sunscreen has been Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturising Sunblock SPF 30+  for awhile, and rates as #3 on the EWG sunscreen guide. 

Recently I’m starting to use the Skin QR Organics L’air du Soleil SPF 30+, which is a moisturiser with SPF. I’m really loving it at the moment for it’s comfortable matte-satin finish, and how comfortable and feather-light it feels on the skin (no greasiness or tackiness at ALL). It has a lower percentage of Zinc Oxide compared with the Keys Soap sunscreen, so the UVA protection is not quite as good, but I’m willing to trade that in for the wonderful finish. Also, it is a non-nano sunscreen.

Disclaimer 🙂

I am not a dermalogist, toxicologist, or claim to be an expert on this subject. These posts are a summary of what I’ve learnt from reading lots of different sources, and I’m still learning!

New research is being done all the time in the area of sun protection. The information in this post is, (to my knowledge), accurate at the time of writing but I would encourage you to do your own research. Also, I would love to hear your opinions, and product likes/dislikes! Sharing is caring 🙂

Posted by on Mar 18th, 2011 in Skincare, Sunscreen | 240comments

My skincare routine

My skin is normal to dry, mildly sensitive, and once in a while will break out in unusual unexplainable rashes for no particular reason (this hasn’t happened in over a year and a half though). I also have quite dry lips which used to crack and bleed a lot before I started taking care of them. Apologies for the gross details.

In the last year or so I have been very aware of what ingredients go into skincare. It has been very important to me that I’m happy with what I put on my skin (the biggest absorbing organ in the body, just think of how much nicotine can be administered via a small patch), and I try to avoid potential toxic ingredients like parabens, propylene glycol and mineral oil, as well as unnecessary irritants like Sodium Laureth Sulphate.

– cleanse with Kosmea Clarifying Facial Wash
– moisturise with Trilogy Vital moisturising cream
– apply Key’s Soap Solar Rx cosmetic Sunblock SPF 30+ underneath foundation (uses nano Zinc Oxide so it is a physical, not chemical UV blocker. I could rant on this subject for hours but this will do for now).
 -Lucas Papaw ointment on lips. I can’t live without this and have about 5 tubes scattered in handbags, bedside table, car glove box, bathroom.


Kosmea Clarifying Facial wash. image source

?? ?

image source: Key’s Soap

Lucas Papaw Ointment: what every Australian girl swears by 🙂

-cleanse with Kosmea Clarifying Facial Wash
-exfoliate with Trilogy gentle exfoliant (love love LOVE this) every 3 days or so
-massage 2-3 drops of Kosmea 100% Certified Rose Hip Oil all over face including skin around the eyes.
-moisturise with Trilogy Ultra Hydrating Cream.
-generous slather Lucas Papaw on lips before I sleep.

trilogy gentle exfoliant

Kosmea rose hip oil. image source

And how can I forget? regular intake of alcoholic beverages! (Just kidding)
Me with fellow alcoholic Martin. He proposed to his fiancee the night before! Yay!


Posted by on Nov 23rd, 2010 in Skincare, Sunscreen | 169comments

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