Sunscreen 2020: Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30 review

I was excited to try Biossance’s new sunscreen product because it’s a non-nano zinc oxide based formula that’s EWG Verified and cruelty free, and of course it contains sugarcane derived squalane, which is what they’re known for.

Ingredient list

While the ingredient list does contain several ingredients I can’t pronounce or spell – Methyl Dihydroabietate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Ethylhexylglycerin – that in the case of the first and last ones, appear to be potential allergens or irritants, overall the ingredient list is short and doesn’t include parabens, chemical blocks, silicones, or oils.

Application and formula

The thing that stood out most to me about this product besides the ingredient list was how light and thin the formula felt and how easy it was to apply – this might be the lightest weight purely mineral block sunscreen I’ve ever tried. It was easy to distribute, went on in a thin layer, and was easier to get off than some other sport type mineral blocks I’ve used (this is what you’d expect, but thought it was worth noting). It’s a little sticky and did sit on my skin all day but didn’t feel oily or heavy. I didn’t notice it unless I touched my face.

Biossance says it leaves a “soft, dewy finish.” I guess that’s true. To me it looked like it highlighted all over indiscriminately, and that seemed to somehow magnify my pores and make my flaws stand out. So while I’m normally a fan of a dewy finish, I’m not sure I love a translucent dewy finish without any coverage. I haven’t tried layering it with make-up, something that might be an option for anyone with this concern.

White cast

I did not notice any white cast. Some other reviewers mentioned a tiny bit in the initial application that blended in easily.

SPF factor

Okay, SPF 30 is not very much SPF, but there is no indication that the product doesn’t live up to this rating. The formula feels like you would be able to reapply without issue, but I haven’t tested this. I did try layering a higher SPF formula from another brand over this and didn’t have any issues.


The only mineral block ingredient this formula contains is non-nano zinc oxide according to their product page, so based on that, yes, it should be reef safe. That said, I’m not sure how well it adheres to your skin compared to something formulated for sport or water activities. After one bout in the water, it did feel like some of it washed off pretty quickly. It also stung my eyes a little.

Final thoughts

In terms of feel, this is the best entirely mineral block sunscreen I’ve tried yet. I’ll have to see if I like the finish more over time. I don’t know if I’ll get in the water again with this one, but it will definitely be great for everyday terrestrial use. I would still opt for a more aggressive, higher SPF formula for sports or extended sun exposure type activities, but for when you just need a little bit of coverage, this is a nice option. I would be interested in seeing a tinted moisturizer line based on this formula.

Self-care for weary hands

One thing I’ve discovered from staying in the same place for so long is that your hands hold a lot of tension. I didn’t really know this for sure until I tested two different manual hand massagers and felt the ensuing relief.

The first product I tested was a finger massager designed for mountain climbers from a company named So iLL. Their product description says it relieves pressure in your tendons and helps blood circulation. It’s an ingenious ring of coated stainless steel wire bent into a kind of triangular helical shape in cross-section that you roll over your fingers. It’s one size fits all, which probably works for almost everyone, but I do wonder if they could make a smaller size for people/kids with small fingers. They’re less than an inch in diameter so not good for small children.

The second product I tested is a finger massager by Gaiam that you roll over your fingers and across your hands, wrists, arms, and neck. I suppose you could even roll it over your face like a gua shua jade roller. There is a downloadable product guide that explains how to use it linked on the product page. Reviewers with arthritis like this device and I can see why. The only thing I think could be improved is the roller end. The rolling wheel doesn’t have much clearance from the plastic holding it in place so sometimes the plastic will scratch you so maybe the wheel on that end could be larger.

While electric massaging gizmos are pretty cool in theory and some of them are downright impressive with what they can do, I like these manual massager devices for their simplicity and the resulting improbability of them turning into unsightly paperweights due to some electronic or mechanical failure that no one wants to attempt to fix.

Both of these are great to have at your desk and would make great stocking stuffers or gifts for those on the front lines of healthcare.

Do you have any self-care rituals?

Sunscreen 2020: ILIA Super Serum Skin Tint SPF 40 review

I was excited to try this ILIA product because it sounded like an all-in-one sunscreen, tinted moisturizer, morning serum skincare routine product that would also declutter your bathroom counter. The ingredients each have an EWG rating of just 1-2, the formula is oil-free, it comes in eighteen both warm and cool shades, has a stated SPF 40 (but more on that later), and contains skincare ingredients like niacinamide and plant-derived squalane. I have always dreamed of a single product that does all of these things that is also clean, and here it appeared to finally be.

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Trying all of Priyanka Chopra’s DIY beauty recipes: yogurt hair mask

In this previous post, I talked about how I wanted to try all of Priyanka Chopra’s DIY beauty recipes. In one of the two videos I linked she talks beauty with her mom and explains how her mom passed down a lot of Indian beauty tips and tricks. Her mom seemed super cool and her tips sounded legit and like they would really work so I am putting them all to the test.

The first recipe I tried was her yogurt hair mask, which is supposed to be good for a dry scalp and dandruff. It has only three ingredients, all of which are probably in your pantry: a half cup of plain, full fat yogurt (less or more depending on your hair type and length), a teaspoon of honey, and one egg. You mix all of these together to make a yellow tinted goo. Then you put it on your hair somehow – she didn’t explain the best way to get it in there.

I ended up using a brush in an attempt to achieve a more spa-like experience. A medium size brush is probably ideal. A small brush makes getting it all on to your hair take forever and a large brush would probably be too messy. I’m talking about something more like a paint brush or pastry brush not a hair brush.

The yogurt provides a soothing cooling effect, honey is supposed to moisturize and has antibacterial properties, and the egg is supposed to be good for your hair, according to Chopra. I’ve tried this three times now and skipped the egg the last time because it makes the goop smell egg-y. That’s how I found out the egg seems to give my hair more movement somehow, more shine, and may also make it feel softer. I skipped a week and my hair definitely looked and felt less of all those things and also more dry. Whereas more ‘natural’ conditioners I’ve tried often rely on oil for hydration that weighs down my hair, this yogurt mask seemed to restore my hair without any added weight.

I think the cooling effect of the yogurt would feel great on sunburn. It felt great on my scalp and skin (used the leftovers as a face mask) and has become a thing I do now on some weekends. I think you want to keep the consistency thicker and not too thin. It’s easier to apply if it’s not so runny.

Next up: sugar lip scrub or gram flour body scrub.

Do you have any DIY beauty rituals?