A Look at Physical Sunscreens

Wear sunscreen. If there ever was a piece of beauty/skincare advice that needed to be reiterated, this is it. Especially so if you live in Australia a.k.a. skin cancer ground zero. Not all sunscreens are created equal, however, and since learning about the difference between chemical and physical sunscreens I’ve made a point to stick to physical sunscreens wherever possible. That said, my personal view is that any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen at all.

When it comes to physical and chemical sunscreens there are some very noteworthy differences. Physical sunscreens contain mineral ingredients and sit on top of the skin to deflect UV rays. Chemical sunscreens, on the other hand, work by absorbing and scattering UV rays. Physical sunscreens also generally have a much thicker consistency than chemical sunscreens and require more effort to blend in. For more of an in-depth explainer I suggest reading this
You’ll probably notice that a lot of physical sunscreens are also labelled as ‘natural’ sunscreens. I’m very wary of greenwashing and if you want to verify a product’s natural or organic claims it’s best to do your research. I’m assuming since most physical sunscreens contain mineral instead of chemical ingredients that this equates to them being natural. Up until a few years ago, the range of physical sunscreens was quite limited in Australia. Compared to the range of chemical sunscreens, it still is, but these days physical sunscreens are becoming more readily available. These are a few that I’m currently using, and my thoughts on each product.

Cost: $19.99 for 75g or $32.00 for 150g (I usually buy a few when they’re half price/on sale)
Where to buy: most supermarkets and pharmacies
Invisible Zinc is one of the more recognisable physical sunscreen brands around. In the past I’ve used the SPF30+ but decided to give the SPF50 a go this time around. It has that classic zinc/sunscreen smell which I don’t mind but it might not be to everyone’s taste. Like most physical sunscreens, it does require a bit of effort to blend in. I prefer wearing this sunscreen as a base under my makeup (tinted moisture or a BB cream, concealer, blush)  as it gives a matte effect and my makeup tends to stay put when I wear it. Perfect for sweaty summer days. I find that it tends to leave a residue behind, so I have to be extra vigilant removing it otherwise my skin can feel chalky afterwards.
Cost: $19.90 for 100g or $34.50 for 200g
Where to buy: online and selected pharmacies and health stores
If you prefer your sunscreen without that classic sunscreen smell then MooGoo’s natural sunscreen is worth a try. The fragrance is very mild and kind of oat-y/reminds me of almond milk. It applies relatively easily and doesn’t leave a noticeable chalky residue. I like to apply this sunscreen to my body and my face when I don’t intend on wearing any makeup (I have, however, worn it underneath makeup and it was fine). The SPF40 is a bit unusual as I’m used to seeing sunscreens labelled as SPF30+ or 50 but generally anything above SPF30 is good (see this explainer on SPF).
Cost: $15.95 for 100g
Where to buy: online and selected pharmacies
I hadn’t previously heard of this brand but spotted it in a pharmacy while I was doing a last minute grab for beach supplies. This sunscreen is probably my least favourite of the three. It has a lighter consistency and is much easier to apply than the other two, however, I found that on occasion white flecks would appear on my skin while swimming or sweating. The first time it happened I thought I didn’t leave enough time between application and activities but it’s happened a few times now. I also tried wearing this sunscreen under makeup and felt that my makeup slid off. While it’s an effective enough sunscreen, I feel that there are others that are much more up to the task.
The Verdict
First and foremost: all three sunscreens do their job. Sure, their SPFs differ but each product has the highest SPF rating for their respective brands. I’ve worn them in a range of situations from the beach to exercising to general everyday activity and have not been sunburnt once. That said, I do take care to stay out of the sun and cover up where I can. I personally prefer the Invisible Zinc and MooGoo sunscreens and will stick to using a combination of these products for the time being. Other physical sunscreens I’m keen to check out include those by Wotnot, and Coola.
Do you use physical or chemical sunscreens? Which do you prefer?


Disclaimer: the Moo Goo sunscreen was a free sample however all opinions and content are my own.

Grown Facial Kit & Tinted Day Cream Review

Grown Alchemist

I rarely have allegiances when it comes to skincare brands. Having ~normal~ skin often means it’s hard for me to tell when skincare products are working or not. Occasionally hormones, stress and environmental factors will throw a spanner in the works but that’s about it. Not that I’m complaining. When it comes to skin type, I’ve struck it lucky. What it does mean, though, is sometimes I can be pretty lackadaisical with my skincare routine, especially in the summer months. Moving into autumn and winter, I thought it would be the ideal time to reasses my skincare routine. I decided to splash out and treat myself to a Facial Kit by Grown Alchemist. And by “splash out” I mean I had some credit remaining on a gift card and there was a gift with purchase deal so I ended up with $100+ worth of stuff for under $30. I’ve used Grown Alchemist products in the past so was more than happy to revisit the brand. Read on for my review of the Facial Kit and Tinted Hydra-Repair Day Cream.

Gentle Gel Facial Cleanser: Geranium Leaf, Bergamot & Rose-bud
In general, I tend to stick to mild cleansers that aren’t too drying on my skin. This cleanser hits the mark and smells pretty great to boot. However, I keep having to remember to rub it between the palms of my hands to emulsify the gel because I’m so used to foaming cleansers. If I’m feeling particularly spendy I might splash out and purchase the full-sized product.
Balancing Toner: Rose, Ginseng & Chamomile
I’ve never really gotten the point of toner. It always seemed like an unnecessary extra step and I’m all about simplifying routines wherever possible. I’ve never had problem skin and don’t wear heavy makeup so maybe that’s why I never had the need for it. I’m pretty indifferent to this toner but it does seem to work in harmony with the cleanser and day cream, leaving my skin looking and feeling bright and clean. 
Anti-oxidant Facial Oil: Rosehip & Camellia Seed
I first tried this Facial Oil a few years ago now. While I was quite happy with it at the time, I never restocked it after it ran out. I guess I just didn’t feel like my skincare routine needed a Facial Oil after all. The instructions recommend application morning and evening but I only apply it at night after using the Facial Cleanser and Toner. It leaves my skin feeling velvety smooth and is a lush treat especially now the autumn air is a bit drier and my skin needs that little bit of extra nourishment.
Hydra-Repair Day Cream: Camellia & Geranium Blossom
This Day Cream is probably my favourite product out of the bunch. It’s a treat to apply and absorbs into the skin easily. It leaves my skin looking matte which I really like too. 
Lip Balm: Watermelon & Vanilla
This lip balm was one of the first Grown Alchemist products that I tried. It’s basically an organic, cruelty-free version of the watermelon Lip Smacker of my childhood. The one downside is that the aluminium packaging means that if you’re not careful it can puncture and you’ll end up with lip balm leaking throughout your bag (speaking from experience here).
Tinted Hydra-Repair Day Cream: Camellia & Geranium Blossom
Look, I’m not well versed in makeup. My first reaction was to be sceptical of a one-colour-fits-all tinted moisturiser. In fact, I wasn’t even really sure what the point of a tinted moisturiser was? I usually use a BB Cream so I thought it would be somewhat similar to that. The formula is very sheer, which helps it blend into skin easily but doesn’t really do much in terms of covering up blemishes. I have noticed, however, that it appears to even out my skin tone although I don’t know if that’s due to the product alone or a combination of other factors. I’ve come to quite like it and use it for those no-makeup makeup days. If you’re looking for full or even semi-coverage this Day Cream isn’t for you. 
THE VERDICT
These days I’m making more of a conscious effort to support companies that are ethically responsible. Grown Alchemist is one such company that I’m willing to get behind. They are Australian Certified Organic, have a view to sustainability, and their products are free from animal ingredients and no product or product ingredients are tested on animals. The sleek, minimalist packaging will also appeal to the design-obsessed.
It’s understandable that not everyone is able or willing to shell out for the products at full price. The Facial Kit, at $69.95, is a great, albeit slightly expensive, taster of the products in the Grown Alchemist skincare range. If I didn’t have the gift card, I still probably would have bought the Facial Kit at full price as I was already familiar with the brand and looking to try new products. I’ll definitely be picking and choosing between what full-sized products I repurchase. 
Ultimately, if you like your cosmetics organic and cruelty-free, enjoy lush smelling skincare products, and are willing to spend a little bit extra on your skincare routine then these Grown Alchemist products are definitely worth a shot. Of course, it’s always worth taking your skin type into consideration and consulting with an expert to find out what products will ultimately work for you.

Grown Alchemist
Grown Alchemist

Grown Rosehip & Camellia Seed Facial Serum

My beauty routine can be described as basic at best but I’ve recently decided to invest in more targeted skincare products. It’s probably just me buying into all that ‘you’re heading into your late twenties and you’re going to get wrinkles unless you act right this very minute’ talk but oh well. First up on my list of purchases was this Rosehip and Camellia Seed Facial Serum by Grown Alchemist. I’ve used Grown products in the past and keep hearing good things about rosehip oil so this was a bit of a no brainer. I was initially hesitant about using a serum, since I don’t really like products that are too oily, but I seriously love this stuff. It doesn’t feel greasy at all. I’ve been using it for a few weeks and my skin already looks a lot brighter. While I can’t comment on the effectiveness of its ability to reduce the appearance of fine lines (I don’t have any yet) in the meantime you can call me a convert.



Also, if anyone was interested, I bought the apothecary jars from Typo and you can buy similar ones at Molten Store.

an aesop aviary

I don’t usually like to use skincare products that are heavily scented but my friends recently got me onto Aesop, and I can say that I am now officially hooked. I used to walk past the store and be entranced by the aromas that would escape onto the street but had always put it in the ‘not for me’ pile. Oh, how wrong I was. The ‘Preen’ gift kit contains the Resurrection Aromatique Hand WashResurrection Aromatique Hand BalmGeranium Leaf Body Balm and Geranium Leaf Body Cleanser. There were also a few more sample sachets included in this kit but I’ve powered through the face masks and lotions already. I’m loving all of the products so far and can’t wait to work my way through everything Aesop.
In a little bit of housekeeping, I’ve also started a Facebook page for the blog, which I’ll probably use to share links and things I can’t fit into 140 characters or less. You can find it at: facebook.com/andotherthingsblog. Also, I had to call it And Other Things as Facebook wouldn’t allow the use of an ampersand in the title. Boo.