Before getting a skin consultation in my early 30s and really starting to look at what my skin needed, I never wore sunscreen. I don’t burn easily, so figured I didn’t need it. Clearly, I was very wrong; everyone needs to wear sunscreen and I have hyperpigmentation and aging caused by the sun (I just thought they were normal freckles). So of course I needed to buy sunscreen, but didn’t want just makeup or powder with SPF and I didn’t want a cream or lotion as they feel heavy on my skin and are difficult to reapply especially with makeup on. The Sunforgettable SPF 50 loose mineral sunscreen from Colorescience with the brush is the first facial sunscreen I bought (they updated their packaging in February 2017 so looks different from my photo, but still uses the same ingredients). I use the SPF 50 brush-on in the medium shade.
Ingredients for Medium shade (SPF 50)
Titanium Dioxide 23.9%; Zinc Oxide 24.1%
Mica, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Lithothamnion Calcareum Extract, Mannitol, Methicone, Dimethicone, Calcium Silicate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Sodium Sulfate, Laureth-4, Diatomaceous Earth, Zinc Sulfate, Chromium Oxide Greens (CI 77288), Iron Oxides (CI 77491, CI 77492, CI 77499)
This is a lightweight powder mineral sunscreen using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that sits on top the skin to reflect/deflect the sun’s rays to offer UVA and UVB protection. These are called physical sunscreens or physical blockers. Mica is a fine powder used for coloring in cosmetics. Dimethicone/vinyl dimethicone crosspolymer, methicone and dimethicone are silicones. Methicone creates a barrier that prevents sweat and oil from shining through. Dimethicone forms a hydrating barrier on the skin. I’m only assuming these work similarly in powder form as with this sunscreen. Calcium silicate is used as an absorbent or a bulking ingredient and is opacifying. Triethoxycaprylylsilane can work as a binder and emulsifier and has silicone components that allow pigments to disperse well. Sodium sulfate is an inorganic salt. It’s used to increase the thickness of the water portion of a product, so not too sure how this translates to a powder product. Laureth-4 is used as a cleansing agent and/or enhances texture. Diatomaceous earth is fossilized remains of tiny water organisms called diatoms. Their skeletons are made of silica that collect in the sediment of rivers and lakes. Zinc sulfate helps inhibit growth of bacteria. Chromium oxide greens and iron oxides are used as pigments.
To apply, I tap the brush on my hand to get the product in the brush, and then apply to the face and neck in small circles. As with any sunscreen, directions say to reapply every 2 hours. It didn’t look like makeup when it was applied; I couldn’t really even tell it was on unless I looked at a mirror up close. It was easy to reapply through the day and over makeup (the makeup look wasn’t affected by the sunscreen). When I first used this product a few years ago it was summer and I was using Retin-A at night, so it was very important to apply sunscreen as Retin-A makes skin more sensitive to the sun. The Sunforgettable brush-on mineral sunscreen worked well. My skin didn’t burn or get more hyperpigmentation.
I’ve been using this sunscreen for a few years now and at my last purchase had asked for a refill, only to be told that the company discontinued the refills as customers found that over time the brush would become clogged with product and the minerals wouldn’t dispense easily. That was my complaint as well. Despite cleaning the brush as instructed (spraying cleaner on a paper towel and swiping the outside of the brush on it) it seemed inevitable that product would get stuck in the brush and the inner brush bristles would become tangled in each other with the bristles feeling scratchy on the skin. I’ve used about half my current jar and the brush is already becoming clogged as there is product that is not removed from the middle of the brush. The brush itself is soft on the skin (when new) and doesn’t lose any fibers. I’ve always been reluctant to wash this brush like I might a makeup brush, as I am worried that water will seep up the brush and get the product wet.
I was hoping to buy this sunscreen with a different delivery system such as a pressed powder (which would be just as convenient and I could have a bit more control over how much is used). I thought they used to have a pressed powder sunscreen on their website, but haven’t been able to find it again. I find it a bit difficult to tell how much product I’m applying with the brush-on, so probably use too much or too little at times. Colorescience says a jar should last 3 months when used as instructed, but I still find this a bit expensive. However, it seems to works and is probably the most convenient sunscreen.
Update (June 16, 2019) – I recently saw a photo of different sunscreen types under UV light showing that sunscreen powder applies rather patchy and it is hard to build up, so decided to try lotion sunscreen again. I still like to use mineral powder sunscreen for touch-ups throughout the day over makeup.
Thank you for reading.