As someone who loves to be outside a lot — like, a lot lot — I’m always looking for safe sunscreens that don’t contain a smorgasbord of chemicals. Many mineral sunscreens leave you pasty white or smelling funny or feeling like bacon (both in the fried and the greasy sense). Some sunscreens are like the processed foods in the middle aisles of the store — they look good on the shelf, but once you give the ingredient list a glance-over, you feel like you’re in science class.
At some point you start to wonder: Is it safer to forego sun protection altogether, or to coat your skin with a cocktail of chemicals?
One of my go-to sites is the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Sunscreen Guide, an annually updated database of virtually every sunscreen on the market (257 brands and over 1,800 products and counting). You can look up your favorite sunscreen and see how it ranks on EWG’s scale of toxicity. Green icons (showing ranks of 0 to 2) indicate low hazard; red icons (showing ranks of 7 to 10) indicate high hazard. Not surprisingly, you want to be as green as possible.
Goddess Garden‘s natural sunscreens are as green as they come (check out their EWG scorecard; they were rated one of the best beach and sport sunscreens for 2012). And how could I resist the name? But I needed a sunscreen that went beyond the garden, and into the betty — it had to be light enough for everyday wear, but also tough enough for surfing, swimming, climbing, and even whitewater kayaking.
After a month of spending my summer outside, I’m happy to report: No sunburns, no peeling, and a giveaway of my favorite Goddess Garden products to one lucky winner!
I’ve used Goddess Garden’s sunscreen on long days in the garden and lazy days at the lake, but last weekend, I finally put it to the real test: Coloma, California. Sunny afternoons soaring over 100°F. UV rays intensified by 15 miles on the South Fork American River. Class III rapids smacking me in the face.
The facial sunscreen felt like a normal moisturizer; easy to apply, lightweight, sheer. I actually couldn’t feel (or see or smell) it once I rubbed it in. The sunscreen spray was non-greasy and didn’t leave my hands feeling sticky after applying. (If you’re that person who always gets stuck rubbing in someone else’s sunscreen on their back, you know how annoying sticky hands feel.)
My nose and cheeks are notorious for turning red and chapped after a long day in the water, but amazingly, they stayed protected through the entire 15 miles of whitewater. Even after swimming through a section of Class III rapids! I reapplied halfway through our river run (because no matter what any sunscreen says, it is water-resistant only to a certain point — and never truly waterproof).
By the next day, you couldn’t even tell that I’d been outside the whole weekend, sweltering under the blazing sun. Goddess Garden held up impressively!
For comparison, I also made my fiancé slather on some of my sunscreen. This is a guy who was born with Norwegian blood. He burns faster than you can fry an egg. He was skeptical about a “natural” sunscreen, believing that the only sunscreen that worked for him (other than full body armor) was a thick, goopy, chemical-laden brand that you had to scrub off in the shower. But he dutifully put on a layer of Goddess Garden’s facial sunscreen (ears and neck included) and whaddya know? He was still as white as can be the next day, through all the sun and sweat and splashes. We have a convert.
So you know that Goddess Garden works. But that’s only the beginning. Goddess Garden is also made with 92% organic ingredients — the highest certified organic content available in a sunscreen. Only the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are not organic, because minerals cannot be certified organic. They’re also non-nano particle, meaning they won’t absorb into your skin. The minerals act as an invisible shield to physically block UV rays from your skin. The sunscreens are also biodegradable and ocean-friendly, so you can surf your favorite reef break and not worry about damaging the eco-system below.
How to enter: Simply leave a comment below and tell me where you would use Goddess Garden’s sunscreen this summer! (I’m talking activities, not body parts.) To receive an additional entry, follow @theGardenBetty on Twitter, and leave a second comment below indicating your Twitter username. You have two chances to win!
The giveaway will end at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time on Friday, August 3, 2012. Winner will be drawn at random and announced the following week. Good luck!
- Sweepstakes begins July 30, 2012 and ends August 3, 2012.
- No purchase is necessary. To enter, leave a comment on this blog post.
- Only US residents ages 18 and older are eligible to enter.
- Two entries allowed per person.
- Odds of winning are based on number of entries received.
- Winner will be drawn at random.
- If winner does not respond within 48 hours after time of contact, that entry will be forfeited and a new winner will be drawn.
Disclosure: Goddess Garden is kindly providing the prize mentioned in this sweepstakes. All opinions expressed are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation.