Don’t you hate trying out new sunscreens?
It’s like you shell-out an arm and a leg because you’re deathly afraid of skin cancer AND premature wrinkles.
Then, you end up looking like a ghost. Or a greaseball. Sometimes both.
Well, that’s not the case with Australian Gold Botanical’s Tinted Mineral Sunscreen—it’s affordable, non-greasy, and white-cast-free.
Now let’s get on with the review.
The back of the bottle highlights a whole laundry list of reef-safe goodies:
- Oxybenzone free
- PABA free
But that’s just half the story.
Upon taking a closer look, I found that Australian Gold Botanical is also free of every other reef-harming ingredient (or, at least the ones highlighted by Haereticus Environmental Laboratory).
That means it’s also:
- Triclosan free
- Octocrylene free
- Octinoxate free
- Camphor free
Pro tip: If you’re adamant about reef-safe sunscreens, choose a product from the Botanical line. Australian Gold’s other products don’t share the same morals.
Yes. It’s water-resistant up to 80 minutes.
To be honest, the science behind sun protection (i.e. SPF, PA, PPD, and wavelengths) goes over my head.
I don’t know whether :
- The formulation is more important, or
- The percentage of active ingredients (in this case 4% Zinc Oxide + 4% Titanium Dioxide) is more important
So I did the only thing I can think of to get an answer—I emailed Australian Gold via their on-site contact form.
Here’s what they said when I asked about their PA rating, PPD rating, and the low percent of actives:
Thank you for contacting us. Our PPD is 19.2 which is our UVA protection factor. The US does have a broad spectrum test which we have also passed. The UVA protection for the mineral combination of Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide tends to be outstanding. Sunscreens and their ratings have to pass the FDA’s requirements to be on the market.
PPD, which stands for persistent pigment darkening, is a way to measure UVA protection. According to Wikipedia, a PPD of 19.2 means that you can get 19.2 times more UVA exposure without tanning.
PA, which stands for protection grade of UVA rays, is related to PPD as it’s another way to measure UVA protection.
The customer service rep forgot to answer my question about PA. So naturally, I did some sleuthing.
A PPD of 16 or more correlates with PA of ++++. That means that this sunscreen provides extremely high UVA protection.
Here’s a breakdown of the PA scale according to the Japanese Cosmetic Industry Association (source):
- PA+ (PPD between 2 and 4)
- PA++ (PPD between 4 and 8)
- PA+++ (PPD between 8 and 16)
- PA++++ (PPD of 16 or more)
And while they touched on the active-debate (i.e. zinc oxide/titanium dioxide), they didn’t really answer my question.
Either way, I’m happy with the high SPF rating, which is a measure of UVB protection.
Bottom line: Since this sunscreen has an SPF of 50, a PPD of 19.2, and a theoretical PA++++, it provides really good broad-spectrum coverage against UVA/UVB damage.
First off, this sunscreen is fragrance-free.
But I can’t say that it doesn’t smell like anything. On application, it gives off a faint play-doh-like scent.
Don’t worry though. The smell dissipates within a matter of minutes.
About me: I’m a glow-in-the-dark shade of white.
About the sunscreen: It’s a dark burnt orange.
At first, I was afraid that it wouldn’t work with my skin tone.
But luckily, it blends out into nothing. Even looking through a magnifying (10x) mirror, the pigment wasn’t that visible.
What does that mean for you?
It means that it would work wonderfully on light to medium skin tones. If you have a darker skin tone, I can’t promise that it won’t make you look ashy.
Unlike a lot of mineral sunscreens, this one doesn’t require a 45-minute rubdown. Actually, it only takes about 30-45 seconds for me to spread it onto my face, ears, and neck—my morning routine appreciates that.
This is my first matte sunscreen. And I’ve gotta say—I’m impressed. As soon as the sunscreen dried down (~10 minutes), it took-on a powdery finish. The mattifying effect didn’t last the whole day. But, I certainly wasn’t as oily as I would have been had I not applied this sunscreen.
If you have oily skin, take a look at my oily skin guide here for tips, treatments, routines, and more.
When I wear sunscreen, I wear a lot of it. And I reapply it throughout the day. So, I don’t want to buy something that looks travel-sized.
Glad to report:
You get a hefty 3 ounces here.
That means I can apply it to my face, neck, and ears without being stingy. And I don’t have to go back to the store every week because I ran out.
Titanium dioxide 4%, Zinc oxide 4%.
Alumina, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl Peg/Ppg-10/1 Dimethicone, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Disodium Edta, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract, Glycerin, Hexyl Laurate, Iron Oxides, Panthenol, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol (I wrote an article all about this preservative—read it here), Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Polymethysilsesquioxane, Porphyra Umbilicalis (Red Algae) Extract, Silica, Squalane, Stearic Acid, Terminalia Ferdinandiana (Kakadu Plum) Fruit Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylysilane, Water.
Now let’s talk about the details.
Zinc Oxide/Titanium Dioxide
These white powders, which you might recognize from your mineral foundation, are physical blockers when they’re included in sunscreen. They work by sitting on top of your skin to reflect, scatter, and even absorb the sun’s damaging rays. Zinc oxide is better trusted than it’s brother, titanium dioxide, because it’s more bullish when it comes to handling both UVA and UVB radiation.
Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter
Did you know shea butter extracted from the African shea tree? I, for one, had no idea until I started writing this post. Either way, it’s a great ingredient to include in skincare because it’s highly emollient (aka moisturizing/skin softening).
As a silicone powder, polymethylsilsesquioxane is the ingredient that gives this sunscreen a soft-focus finish. Plus, it repels water like a champ (ahem, water-resistant up to 80 minutes).
What I Liked
- It’s a good value
- Offers physical protection
- Doesn’t make me look greasier than I already am
- Spreads out nicely
- It’s tinted (aka no white cast)
- Stays put throughout the day
What I Didn’t Like
- The mattifying effect wears off after ~3-4 hours
- Hard to wash off (enter the double cleanse method)
- Not enough zinc oxide
Who Should (& Shouldn’t) Use It
If you’re oily and you’re looking for a mattifying sunscreen, look no further. You’ve found your match.
On the other hand, if you have dry skin, keep looking for another sunscreen.
Where to Purchase
Check out Australian Gold Botanical Tinted Mineral Sunscreen here on Amazon.
Admittedly, I haven’t tested this sunscreen in extreme conditions like beach days or sweat-feasts. But for average/everyday/sedentary living, it’s a solid choice. Plus, I actually like putting it on in the morning. Especially since it mattifies the heck out of my skin—I no longer morph into an oil slick by lunchtime.
I also wrote an article about sunscreens for oily, acne-prone skin, if you’re interested you can check it out here.