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Sticker Shock: Organic Suncare Collection Uses Chemical SPF Filters

When you read "organic suncare" and "certified organic" on the front label, wouldn't you be surprised to read a list of chemical sunscreens on the back? Snap.
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coola organic suncarae_read the labels

If there's one thing consumers don't expect behind a label stamped "organic suncare" and "certified organic," it's a list of chemical sunscreen ingredients.

I'm not really anti-chemical sunscreens. I go back and forth between formulas with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (physical, mineral filters) and those with chemical filters, such as Octinoxate, Oxybenzone, Avobenzone, etcetera, depending on what format of protection I need. But when someone excited to show me her new sunscreen because it's organic realizes with a shock that the formula contains what she was hoping to avoid, it's time for a reminder: read every label. And hit at least the brand website for information.

Coola Sport Sunscreen Spray SPF 35_chemical sunscreens

If you're all excited about Coola Organic Suncare, just be sure you know which of their formulas you're excited about. While the brand has a selection of mineral-sunscreen offerings that protect with titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, the following list contains chemical UV filters:

Coola Face SPF 30 Cucumber Moisturizer
Coola Face SPF 30 Unscented Moisturizer
Coola Body SPF 30 Plumeria Moisturizer
Coola Body SPF 30 Unscented Moisturizer
Coola Sport SPF 45 Mango Moisturizer
Coola Sport SPF 45 Unscented Moisturizer
Coola Sport SPF 35 Citrus Mimosa Sunscreen Spray
Coola Sport SPF 35 Pina Colada Sunscreen Spray
Coola Liplux SPF 30 Original Formula Lip Balm
Coola Liplux SPF 15 Peppermint Vanilla Lip Balm

The "organic" on Coola labels refers to the base moisturizer ingredients.

Coola Organic Suncare Sport Sunscreen Spray SPF 35_chemical sunscreens

On the Coola Sport SPF 35 Citrus Mimosa Sunscreen Spray, note the word "inactives," which is supposed to make clear that the "active" ingredients, which perform the action you want from the product, are not organic.

Coola Organic Suncare Sport Sunscreen Spray SPF 35_chemical sunscreens_drug facts

That 97 percent refers only to the ingredients the company has deemed "inactive," as in Not Drugs. It does not mean 97 percent of the entire formula.

Coola Organic Suncare Sport Sunscreen Spray SPF 35_chemical sunscreens_organic base

On the plus side, the natural ingredients in the mix provide some antioxidant care. Antioxidants are a good thing in sunscreens with chemical UV filters -- there is some worry that chemical sunscreens cause free-radical damage. A hefty dose of antioxidants might offset that.

Also on the plus side is Coola's website itself. Although it's easy to be confused by the labelling on the front of the packaging, it's also easy to get complete ingredient lists from, and their Sun Science section explains the difference between their "classic" formulas and mineral formulas.

If you're all about mineral-filter sunscreens, Coola doesoffer those (you'll still want to check the rest of the ingredients if you're say, looking for a silicone-free face formula). They also have an all-natural, Plant UV Face SPF30 Unscented Moisturizer that looks interesting. You might also want to check out all-natural sunscreens from brands like Kibio, which has moisturizing UV formulas that go up to SPF 50, and Green Beaver, which has organic SPF 30 sunscreens, and, later this summer, a light, SPF 27 natural sunscreen spray too.

Are you an avid label-reader?

Coola Organic Suncare is available at Indigo Books and select salons. Kibio is available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Murale. Green Beaver is available via