BB cream was a bit of a buzz word in 2013. At the time, I briefly wondered what BB meant and what the fuss was all about, then promptly ignored it. I figured, as the cream was made by huge well known cosmetic companies with reputations for using decidedly unnatural ingredients, or testing on animals, I definitely did not want any of that on my skin. Then, whilst on a recent trip to the USA, I saw a vegan Beauty Balm. Now this time I was intrigued. What was it the cosmetic companies were banging on about? Well, I ignore those that say a product is good for you and one look at the synthetic ingredients has me sure that they are not. But a VEGAN, paraben free, tinted, SPF15 beauty balm!! Now that has my attention.
It is made by a totally vegan and paraben free skin care company called Devita. They have an extensive range of cosmetics and toiletries used by top make up artists who are now embracing vegan products. This is such a huge leap forward.
So what is in it? Here are the ingredients listed:
ACTIVE INGREDIENT: Zinc oxide 9%. INACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Aloe barbadensis (organic certified aloe vera gel), Purified Water (aqua), Capric/caprylic triglycerides (derived from coconut oil), Glycerin (vegetable), Pomegranate extract, Japanese green tea, Hyaluronic acid (vegan source), Glyceryl stearate SE (derived from vegetable oil), Stearic acid, Lecithin phospholipid, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Allantoin*, Vitis vinifera* (grape) seed extract.
Packed full of quality ingredients. One of which is Hyaluronic acid. It helps to retain over a 1000 times its weight in water within the cells of skin, making it an excellent moisturiser. It is reported that no other biological substance can retain as much water. Fabulous! The only question I had was about the addition of zinc oxide. What is that? Is it safe? Am I going to look like I've covered my face in chalk, like some sun protection products do? Why does it contain zinc and not titanium dioxide (both physical sunscreens that deflect the sun rather than chemically producing a barrier on the skin (less effective for both types of A & B spectrum rays)? I did some delving.
After much research I discovered that zinc is thought to be superior in UVA & UVB protection then the other minerals used in sunscreens,
here is a report by EWG to highlight different sunscreen methods
Then, as I slipped further down the rabbit hole, concerned that I only recommend safe and effective products to you, I read that some cosmetic companies use nano particles to deliver their mineral sunscreens. Scary sci-fi stuff! Nano particles are so tiny they are absorbed into the blood stream and accumulated systemically in the bodies organs. Tests performed at UCLA showed that (in mice) the particles actually genetically altered the DNA within 5 days! Can this be safe for humans?
The Environmental Welfare Group answer this question on their FAQ page.
Could nanoparticles cause internal damage if they penetrate skin or are inhaled?
Yes. Though sunscreen lotions do not pose penetration concerns, inhalation of nanoparticles particles is dangerous for many reasons. EWG strongly discourages the use of powder or spray sunscreens using titanium dioxide or zinc oxide of any particle size.
I decided to make a call to DeVita to ask them about their product. They told me that they use micronised zinc oxide which is nearly transparent and has a particle size of 250nm, whilst nano is considered UNDER 100nm. You can read about their micronised zinc oxide here.
It seems that more research needs to be conducted on humans but another check under the product list hazard rating at the EWG website listed DeVita's sunscreen product as a LOW HAZARD.
Enough of the science and research. So, aside from all that, what did I think of the beauty balm?
It is hydrating, non-greasy and has no trace of white sheen. I found the medium a great tone for my olive..y skin. The coverage is light to medium. It didn't clog my skin or feel heavy, it was whipped and light. The SPF is only 15, but, as I tend to love the sun but seek shade, this is sufficient for the climates I am currently spending time in.
In short, I'm very happy to have it in my vegan beauty box!
UPDATE: The product has just won an award.