Long before writing this BeautyCounter sunscreen lotion review, I started extensively researching sunscreen products. I read a lot of articles, press releases, research papers, etc discussing why some brands were safer than others or some products better than others. To my surprise, most of them were actually pretty bad.
While I have zero intention of bad mouthing traditional sunscreen brands, I have every intention of showcasing the health risks associated with chemicals found inside many of their sunscreen products. Not to make them look bad or another company look good, but to help you make safer skin-care decisions.
In my opinion, when it comes to health, only the best will do. No compromises should ever even be considered when given affordable options. I have a feeling you agree. otherwise you most likely would not be reading this review right now.
So allow me to show you the science behind the BeautyCounter sunscreen lotion. Allow me to prove to you that it is the best sunscreen lotion money can buy. Sound fair? Alright, let’s get started!
Know Your Sunscreen Lotion Ingredients
When doing my extensive research on safer sunscreens, there was one thing that kept coming up over and over again: The safest sunscreen lotions on the market use mineral ingredients as their base instead of commonly used hormone disrupting chemicals.
To be more specific, safer sunscreens quite often used zinc oxide and titanium oxide (which are GOOD) as their base ingredients instead of oxybenzone and/or octinoxate (which are BAD).
Although looking for products containing these ingredients is good, paying attention to what is not on the ingredient list can be just as – if not more – important.
For example: BeautyCounter has named a long list of unsafe chemicals they refuse to put into their products. They call it their “never list” and it includes some 1500 chemicals – most of which are still not banned (by law) from being used in beauty products in the USA and Canada.
Their list is extensive. In fact, it’s even larger than the list of chemicals banned in European markets. Check out that long list of chemicals BeautyCounter refuses to use – here!
I keep hinting at good versus bad chemicals being used in sunscreens. Here are are a couple examples:
- Oxybenzone – known to disrupt hormones, damage cells (which can lead to cancer), mess with the reproductive system (for boys AND girls), and bring about hormone related cancers to men and women.
It’s also known to cause various allergies. So much so that it was named “Allergen of the Year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society in 2014.
- Octinoxate – has a strong estrogen-like effect (also a hormone disruptor), causes allergies, and disrupts the reproductive system.
These are just two of 7 – 8 questionable chemicals very commonly found in sunscreen lotions… DESPITE research suggesting they can cause all kinds of havoc to the human body. Sad, isn’t it?
The Countersun line of sunscreen products (by BeautyCounter) on the other hand ONLY uses ingredients that have been proven to NOT have any negative site effects. In fact, many of the ingredients BeautyCounter uses in their products instead are actually good for you.
How refreshing is that?
Dangers of Oxybenzone & Octinoxate
Both of these ingredients – oxybenzone and octinoxate – are chemical compounds that absorb into your skin and then into your bloodstream. If something is entering your bloodstream, you better make darn sure it is not messing with the natural function of your body’s systems.
With that said, let’s look at each of these two chemicals a little closer:
#1.) Effect on Humans
According to EWG research, oxybenzone is a hormone disruptor that has been shown to cause low testosterone rates in boys, shorter pregnancies in women carrying male babies, and it even affects their birth weight.
This chemical has been so carelessly pushed on us through dozens of skincare and beauty products (and through who knows what all) that it is now found in nearly every American tested for it. It even passes on through breast milk. How scary is that?
The other ingredient, octinoxate, does not have as bad of a reputation as oxybenzone, but is still not a chemical you want in your DNA. And definitely not in your sunscreen lotion. It too has been linked to effects on the reproductive system as well as the thyroid gland.
These two are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hormone disrupting chemicals found in traditional sunscreens.
#2.) Effect on Nature
Aside from the effects on the human body, a major discovery has come to light that these chemicals are harming the coral reef and other marine life. It has gotten so bad that places like Hawaii, Key West (Florida), and the island of Palau are banning these chemicals from being sold locally as of January of 2021.
A report done by the National Ocean Service (in conjunction with NOAA), outlines the vast effects octinoxate and oxybenzone have on our oceans and marine life. We’re talking issues like coral bleaching and DNA damage, to deformities in the larvae of sea urchins and mussels.
I don’t know about you but this just breaks my heart. I want my children and my grandchildren to be able to enjoy the oceans in the future.
We can help this cause by becoming more aware of these and other harmful chemicals found in many of the products we use on a day to day basis.
As much as I am for protecting our oceans (I believe it to be our moral obligation), a part of me finds it sad that we were willing to ban these destructive chemicals to protect our oceans and yet were unwilling to do it a lot sooner to protect humanity.
Especially considering we have had a lot more concrete evidence for a lot longer that these chemicals messed with the human body than we have now of it damaging our oceans.
I am in not way suggesting the oceans (and the life in it) isn’t important or not worth protecting. On the contrary: If we had taken human health more seriously (or equally as serious as we are now taking ocean and marine life) decades ago when we had the evidence of what these chemicals did to us, we would not be having the problem in our oceans today.
Either way, better late than never. I am super grateful that governments are finally taking a stand against these disrupting chemicals being used so freely. Whether for human benefit or the benefit of the oceans, less of these chemicals polluting our world is a good thing.
What to Look for in Sunscreen Lotions
Since this is a review of the Beautycounter sunscreen lotion (from the Countersun line), I’m going to use this product as an example of what you should look for when hunting for the safest sunscreen options available to you.
Not just because I am completely infatuated with the BeautyCounter brand, but because their products really do set the golden standard when it comes to safety and effectiveness. Especially the Countersun sunscreen lotion.
Unlike the BeautyCounter sunblock lotion, most sunscreen creams don’t earn a rating of 1 on the EWG’s safety scale. A rating of 1 means that it has the lowest negative affect on health possible. That’s the lowest allergy concern, lowest developmental concern, and lowest cancer causing concern.
I personally believe all products should be this low. In fact, I believe we should demand it. Sadly that is not yet the world we live in. The industry has left the research up to you and me (the consumer), which is another reason for this short review: To summarize and pass on the knowledge I gained about sunscreen safety from hours and hours of research!
As I mentioned above, sometimes looking for what a sunscreen does NOT contain can be just as important as to look for what it does. When I am shopping for sunscreen (well I guess when I used to shop for sunscreen because I only use Beautycounter sunscreen lotions now) I first check if it is a mineral based sunscreen.
As in, does it contain good ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium oxide? If yes, GREAT!
I then check the ingredient list to make sure it does NOT contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. Both are chemical UV filters with a handful of potentially very serious side effects and are a huge “no-no!”
BeautyCounter Sunscreen Lotion Ingredients
So it’s pretty clear why I stay away from oxybenzone and octinoxate based sunscreen lotions. Lucky for me BeautyCounter never uses either of them. As explained before, both of those chemicals are on their Never List of ingredients they vow to never use.
What they do use that is safe and effective is non-nano zinc oxide and a beautiful mix of natural and some synthetic ingredients that have been strenuously tested for safety.
Why NON-Nano Zinc Oxide?
I mentioned zinc oxide and titanium oxide previously as mineral sunscreen ingredients but what does this “non-nano” mean?
In order to understand the importance of non-nano zinc oxide we have to know that our skin is extremely absorbent. When it absorbs something, it very quickly enters our blood stream.
Now keep in mind that not all products are meant to enter our bodies. Some are meant to sit on the skin. In this case, mineral based sunscreen lotion is meant to sit on the skin as a barrier for the sun. Meaning it is NOT meant to be soaked up by the skin.
Most traditional sunscreen lotions on the other hand (the ones laden with extremely questionable chemicals) are designed for the skin to soak it up.
We now know it is extremely bad for our body to be soaking up random chemicals in any quantity, but that is the main difference between chemical and nano based sunscreens versus non-nano mineral based ones.
I don’t know about you, but I will take non-nano mineral based sunscreen all day – every day – over a traditional sunscreen.
You ALWAYS want to make sure that the active ingredient of your sunscreen is zinc oxide. If you can get it in non-nano form, even better. The best sunscreen that has both is unquestionably the Beautycounter sunscreen lotion.
Effectiveness of the Countersun Lotion
So now that I’ve totally nerded out on ingredient importance, let’s get to another major reason why I love Beautycounter’s Countersun lotion specifically.
I have tried a few different mineral sunscreens and one thing I have found common among them is that they are thick and sometimes hard to rub in. This leads to areas not getting the equal amount of coverage.
The BeautyCounter sunscreen lotion rubs in smoothly and evenly. And I have yet to get a burn when following the “apply every 2 hours” rule. So it works and works well, no question about it!
To add to that, this sunscreen lotion smells amazing. I remember applying sunscreen cream as a kid and hating the way it smelled. It reeked so strongly of chemicals and fragrances that were supposed to cover the chemical smell. That is not at all an issue with the BeautyCounter sunscreen lotion.
Let me repeat that: There is no strong chemical smell here!
In addition to the amazing active ingredients, it includes a mixture of lemon peel, tangerine, peppermint and mimosa bark extracts and oils. Not only is this product effective, but you feel and smell pampered when using it. What more could I possibly ask for?
Hey listen. I get it. Not every brand is for everyone. Heck, that is why there are dozens of different brands making identical products around the world and yet all still manage to sell their share.
The same goes for skincare products. We all have our favorites (I certainly have mine). A company might be making the safest product to ever hit the market that is also exceptionally good (as I believe BeautyCounter’s sunblock products happen to be), and yet it just might not be the product or the brand for you.
I totally understand that. I would be naive to assume everyone should be as passionate about BeautyCounter as I am. Yet there is one problem: There is no company with a track record or committment to clean (safer) sunscreen products like BeautyCounter.
In other words, I understand if you are skeptical. Since the onus of finding safer products is on us (not the manufacturers), we absolutely have to be skeptical.
So here is my challenge to you:
- Show me another company that has a vast line of exceptional skincare products – like BeautyCounter does – that are not riddled with questionable chemical ingredients.
- Show me another beauty company that holds themselves to the highest standard by swearing off a list of over 1500 questionable chemicals.
I bet you can’t. I certainly can’t, and I had been actively looking for safer skincare products (especially sunscreens) for a long long time.
Today I choose BeautyCounter’s sunscreen lotion because they are – and I think science backs my opinion on this – the golden standard of what safer skincare and beauty products look like.
In conclusion, I truly believe that with the safety standard Beautycounter lives up to, I can’t think of any other product that puts me at ease when it comes to safer sunscreens.
This product has a rating of 1 according to the EWG and is effective at blocking the sun the way a sunblock lotion is supposed to.
I hope this article helped you understand why ingredients are so important and why the Beautycounter Countersun Lotion truly is the top leader in quality and safety.