Thursday, 6 August 2015

Jessica Alba's Honest SPF30


Jessica Alba's Honest company is under fire from customers who say that they and their children were badly burned after using the company's SPF products.

The billion dollar company started receiving complaints back in March via reviews on Amazon, complaints direct to their website and obviously, social media - as the below..




All of the complainants said that they applied the SPF as directed, and always reapplied every two hours as guided.

There are numerous theories as to why this SPF, which was reformulated this year after customer feedback, is failing. The two main ones being that after feedback from customers, the company lowered the percentage of zinc oxide from 20% to 9.3% so that it would not leave any white residue and be easier to apply - and that perhaps customers did not shake the product before use, leading to an uneven distribution of the zinc oxide.

Why, exactly, it took nearly 6 months for the company to address the complaints publicly and release statements to the media is a lesson in PR. If parents are saying their children are being burned, you act. 
Own it, fix it, move on. Don't ignore it and advise people that they must have applied it incorrectly.

The lessons for the rest of us?

'Natural' is not always the best option.
A product that claims to be 'natural', in most cases, using zinc oxide, is and should be fairly thick to apply. You can't have it both ways.
The Honest SPF30 scored brilliantly on the EWG website. As I said in my first SPF post, take the EWG with a pinch of salt.
Shake well before use. Always, no matter what the SPF product. 
Trust your instincts, not the product bottle description. If you feel like you are burning, you probably are.
Watch your children. Kids never like having SPF applied, but they have to be completely covered. I'm not publishing the pictures of the children with sunburn allegedly caused by the Honest SPF, but they are awful.  Neck, ears, forehead and the apples of the cheeks are where I see the most sun damage in clients and their little ones.

Please do leave me any comments if you've used the Honest SPF - good or bad, and equally, let me know of your favourite SPF products, especially for your children. 

You can read the Honest Company's statement here: blog.honest.com/a-message-from-the-founders





38 comments:

  1. I have been using the kids Anthelios by LRP on my toddler (who has ginger hair and is fair skinned). I'm actually really proud of him (and a little of us as parents!) as whenever I get the tube of sunscreen out he sits down, holds out one of his arms before then swapping it and then offers me his legs. His face isn't always quite so easy! I like that, even at under 2 years old, he is getting into the routine of having sunscreen on.

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  2. I was shocked when I heard this because I bought a whole bunch of honest company sunscreen on sale at costco earlier this year (which is supposedly the new formulation in question) and my son, who is fairer than fair, used it the whole time we were at Disneyworld in May, and he never burned whatsoever. So what I'm guessing is there must have been a bad batch or batches made, I don't know.

    My absolute favorite sunscreen for kids and for me also (everywhere but my face) is Sanre vanilla sensation spf 30 organic skinfood. It's the best ever-feels like a luxurious body butter. I also trust 100% pure pomegranate antioxidant spf 20 and their argan spf 30 facial sunscreens for my kids.

    I love your blog Caroline and genuinely appreciate it. Take care

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  3. Have you seen the SPF body wash Caroline?
    Stating to provide all day protection with something you apply in the shower?!

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    Replies
    1. I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole personally.

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  4. I would not conclude from this that mineral sunscreens are not good. Actually, zinc oxide is the best ingredient you can find in a INCI - it protects you from a broader spectrum of UVA & UVB and it does not clog your pores (unlike titanium dioxide). Yes, it leaves a white cast on your skin, so the Sun rays can reflect back, not burning your skin.
    So what I conclude from what happened to this people is: first, do not rely EVER on ANY sunscreen! The only good protection is physical one: sunglasses, hats and shadow! Avoid Sun exposure from 11h to 16h. Be smart!

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    1. No-one is suggesting for a second that zinc oxide isn't a great sun protecting ingredient. I'm saying 'natural' doesn't always mean 'best'.

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  5. I buy La Roche Posay anthelios sf 30 gel for the face and clarins sf 30 lotion for the body. I walked with this 3 full days through rome in the very very hot mid day sun and neither me, nor my husband burnt. I also used it for Portugal and i did not have any burns or redness whatsoever. However, i went into the shadow when possible. I was wearing a sun hat and i tried to not have my full shoulders exposed all the time. I think full on sun for 8 hours is not healthy in any way, no matter the sun screen.

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    Replies
    1. Good to know. We go to Rome on Sunday!

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    2. Hubby is going to Rome next month. Can you let me know if, and where, you find Serozinc anywhere? I need to give him a shopping list AND stores to hit up.

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    3. You can get Serozinc in the UK now, have seen it in Boots :) x

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    4. You can get Serozinc in the UK now, have seen it in Boots :) x

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    5. You can get it in the UK now, have seen it in Boots :) x

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  6. Caroline pleeeaaaassssseeeee post some videos - need a dose - x

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    Replies
    1. It'll be a couple of weeks yet - sorry! Between the accident and the summer holidays I've been somewhat out of commission. x

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  7. I have a huge problem with companies that throw around the words "chemical" and "toxic" and claim their products are neither. Mostly because I never really know what that is even supposed to mean if you know the literal meaning of both those words. Anyway. I haven't used the Honest sunscreen but I saw on their website that their stick, for example, supposedly does not leave a white cast whatsoever. When I looked, the lotion was not listed. In my experience, if you use mineral sunscreen, it leaves some form of visible residue. But correct me if I'm wrong, new products come out all the time so I could very well be mistaken.

    I don't have kids but my favorite sunscreens are Avene and Clarins, SkinCeuticals for every-day city protection. Lovely if not cheap. If I had kids and had to slather them in it every two hours, I might go for something more budget. Or not. Now that I think about it, money would not be a deciding factor when it comes to kids' sunscreen (if you can afford it).
    My mom (AND BLESS HER FOR IT) was always paranoid about sunscreen when we were little and kept us in the shade as much as humanly possible. It was the 80's and even then she insisted on the highest SPF she could find. Which didn't have broad spectrum protection I think but still, bless her.

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  8. Well, never tried it and never will be but I am thinking about the baby products she offers and now I am not so sure they are reliable anymore... it a big kick in the butt for the company, maybe she should educate herself more or read CH blog :)

    Ok speaking of sunburning, once you said you recommend the Clarins sun line so I did buy an oil and had terrible reaction, rush and burn - I ran to the chemist's and the was a doc there and when she saw me she said immediately that it was reaction between the sun and the oil and told me to never use it again, I got some medicine and it took 3 weeks to go away,and I checked the label one again and there was an alcohol in the 2nd or 3rd place ,so I guess It was all about to happen... I am olive skin tone, tan golden bron in 15 minutes so I was pretty shocked ... so the good ones:
    Avene mineral sunscreen for the body spf30 - let beautiful tan and no more freckles ; for the face Vichy spf50 and Alpha-h face sunscreen spf50 - so far the winners.

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  9. I do use mostly organic products but I'm not fanatical or all judgemental on those who don't. I've never used the honest company but I've read so many stories about how bad their products are. I do like the sun and a tan and playing in the water with my son but I want to do it safely. I bought green people kids lavender 25spf initially for my son and now we all use it. It's the best sun tan lotion I've ever used. I've used the adult version too but I love the smell of the kids one. I've never burned or even got a bit red and I'm a wee bit in love with it lol. I use clarins normally on my face. I suppose you need to find what suits you best.

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  10. I wanted to add that I just grabbed a tube of the honest sunscreen we have that is about 90% empty and hasn't been used since that vacation in May, to check it out and see if it separated or whatever, and even after shaking it, it came out as a clear kind of oily liquid and then after squeezing it down, the white cream came out. When we were using it, this never happened- it was only just cream before. So I wonder if the bad ones were left in a hot cargo truck, warehouse, car or in the sun and just separated. I live in a cold climate 8 months of the year and usually the only time products go off is when it gets hot here. Also, I never shook the sunscreen when we were using it because it was just creamy and didn't think I had to. (I know better now.). I am just so relieved my son didn't get burned like some people did, and I think the lesson in this is that if you are hyper vigilant about protecting your children from sun damage, then maybe the wise thing to do would be to always test new products out on yourself before trusting it on their vulnerable skin.

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  11. When my kids where very small I used Dr. Haushka and Lavera on them, and tried to keep them out of the sun during the midday. I also bought a very good organic kids sunblock from Carrefour's own brand when I was in France in the past.
    Now I use the Anthelios kids 50+ one on them and reapply and reapply ad nauseum... When we are on holiday on the beach I always make them wear UV shirts till 17:00. I've given up on the hat struggle...

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  12. I use everyday on my face ISDIN sun fusion fluid 50+. To the beach I use Avène sun care SPF 50+ and I also use it on my son. I don't understand how you can use something lower than an 50 SPF on a chid.

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    Replies
    1. Essentially, anything over thirty isn't much more than 30. Lets say you use 30, so that blocks around 93% of the harm, using a 50 will only give you 2-3% more for a lot more chemicals... But I know that's up for debate a lot, so believe what you want I guess?

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    2. In fact, according to the Australian Cancer Council, it's less than 2%. SPF30 blocks 96.7% UVB and SPF50 blocks 98%.
      http://www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/sun-protection/preventing-skin-cancer/spf50sunscreen.html

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  13. My lovely son has very pale skin (as do I) and ginger hair, and we lived in the Middle East for many years..La Roche Posay was great as was Clarins - both of those I would recommend. But not Nivea, he went red using that despite me using it properly, and I was lucky enough to catch it and cover him up before we had a "proper" burn going on. I've used Ambre Solaire on me with no problems, no burns but I do use the highest factor possible and reapply constantly!!

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  14. I bought a two-pack of this sunscreen in June. We used the first tube completely but hated it so much I threw the second one away - it was the thickest, greasiest, grossest thing I've ever put on my body. We didn't burn while using it, but putting it on was torture and it continued to feel disgusting the entire time. I've used other mineral sunscreens that weren't nearly as thick and greasy. Never again.

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  15. My first comment has evaporated, so I'll recap: I use whatever is on sale for my son's body, because I go through a LOT. I apply a lotion to his exposed skin, then follow with a spray, because no matter how diligent you are, you're going miss a tiny patch. I reapply every HOUR, not every two, because he is in the water constantly.

    Right now, we are using Neutrogena products (Disclosure: my husband is contracting with the company that makes Neutrogena products and they gave him a lot of free stuff when he started) and they are doing a find job. DS is red-headed and pale as a ghost, and he has remained so this far into summer, so I give them a thumbs up. They are doing the job. The only product that I would go out of my way to buy (read: pay full price for when my freebies run out - otherwise, I'll go back to buying whatever is on sale for body sunscreens) is the Neutrogena Baby sunscreen stick (the pink one). It goes on smoothy, blends nicely and STAYS IN PLACE. Doesn't budge after hours in the pool and is perfect for cheeks and ears.

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  16. I have never used their products because I really don't know much about the company so I have no agreeable or negative view of them. But, I did read some of the comments on their website regarding the sunburns and found the use of the word "toxic" annoyed me as much as it does you, Caroline. I mean really, do people have to use the tactic of "scare-mongering" in order to get people to use so called natural products over the ones that have been on the market for years. It's all about choice and personal preference. And the word "natural" my goodness so over used it's annoying, too. Natural doesn't mean better, people have allergies mainly to things that are natural to our environment. The whole issue between so called "natural" and everything else just baffles me and drives me crazy. I do like your post because it is informative and provides clarification. Thank you.

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  17. We use Suntegrity on all of us. Yes, the kids look like Casper, wear sunshirts and wide-brimed hats. I don't care. Better than burnt.

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    Replies
    1. I use Suntegrity too - LOVE the smell! But it's so sticky I'm actually considering switching...

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  18. I use Anthelios Mineral SPF50 for my body and Biore Aqua Rich Watery Gel 50 on my face. I am biracial with brown skin that burns VERY easily, and I am allergic to many chemical sunscreens. And then there is also the problem of the dreaded white cast, which looks even more ridiculous on dark skin. Sunscreen has always been an issue for me, but I think I've finally found a combination that I can live with. I also wear an enormous hat and long sleeves when I am gardening or at the beach, and Bloxsun gloves when I am driving or just walking around in the sun. I'd love it if you'd write about Japanese sunscreens at some point. As I'm in the States, I have to order them via Amazon. It's very annoying to me as a consumer to see good sunscreens such as the ones available in Asia and Europe kept out of the US by the FDA, and yet Jessica Alba's product is on the shelves everywhere.

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  19. I use Nivea or Soltan, Babbles has Soltan baby- it's like dairylea to apply, but i like the white cast so I know I've covered her well! Then she has hat parasol etc and we're ready to go... ish

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  20. I always go with Asian sunscreen; though some of my favorite are japanese ones. They always have broad spectrum, higher SPF (which godsend, considering we have eternal summer here, in my side of the pond) and utterly lovely underneath make up. I use SkinAqua, SPF 30 for the body and SPF 50 for the face, supplemented with parasol or umbrellas if I need to make a trip outside during the day. Shiseido has one of the best sunscreen I ever used, but the price is just... nah.

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  21. This is really very bad. I use avene sun products and love them.

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  22. I used the Honest Co. sunscreen on a Saturday bike ride and burned terribly. I could feel it happening so borrowed sunscreen from a friend to reapply later in the day. By then it was already too late and the damage had been done. I am a fair skinned red-head and have seen my share of sunburns but nothing like when I used the Honest Co. stuff! I felt like it accelerated the burn if anything. I returned it immediately and posted on Facebook warning my friends to not try it. I NEVER do things like that, I normally keep my opinions to myself but this was such an extreme case I felt like I had to share. I really like the Banana Boat 2 in 1 lotion sunscreen, it feels like regular lotion and I have never burned while wearing it.

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  23. The scary thing about this product is that in the States you can buy it in bulk at Costco. I almost bought it when I was out of my trusty Supergoop, but I caved and went to Ulta instead and loaded up on Sunbum. I have three kids and I know I'd be mortified if all three of them got badly burned because of a product I bought on a whim. Granted my kids are olive-toned and rarely burn, but it has happened before. My husband on the other hand. He turns into a lobster.

    By the way, I totally love Sunbum after using it. I also buy Banana Boat too; its good.

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  24. i just started using ISDIN fusion fluid mineral sunscreen on my face and reallyyyy like it. feel totally protected and it states on the bottle that it has high UVA protection along with UVB. they have a non mineral version too that didnt have any too bad looking ingredients as well as many others. i suspect the regular fusion fluid goes on even more beautifully then the mineral but i am very very happy with my purchase and decisiom to look outside the US for a sunscreen. It was a bit harder to find online for sure (as its produced in spain) but definitely worth the hunt! im so sorry for the whole honest company ordeal, both company and ofcourse purchasers. thanks for your post! new to your site but will definitely be looking into further! be well!

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  25. i just started using ISDIN fusion fluid mineral sunscreen on my face and reallyyyy like it. feel totally protected and it states on the bottle that it has high UVA protection along with UVB. they have a non mineral version too that didnt have any too bad looking ingredients as well as many others. i suspect the regular fusion fluid goes on even more beautifully then the mineral but i am very very happy with my purchase and decisiom to look outside the US for a sunscreen. It was a bit harder to find online for sure (as its produced in spain) but definitely worth the hunt! im so sorry for the whole honest company ordeal, both company and ofcourse purchasers. thanks for your post! new to your site but will definitely be looking into further! be well!

    ReplyDelete
  26. i just started using ISDIN fusion fluid mineral sunscreen on my face and reallyyyy like it. feel totally protected and it states on the bottle that it has high UVA protection along with UVB. they have a non mineral version too that didnt have any too bad looking ingredients as well as many others. i suspect the regular fusion fluid goes on even more beautifully then the mineral but i am very very happy with my purchase and decisiom to look outside the US for a sunscreen. It was a bit harder to find online for sure (as its produced in spain) but definitely worth the hunt! im so sorry for the whole honest company ordeal, both company and ofcourse purchasers. thanks for your post! new to your site but will definitely be looking into further! be well!

    ReplyDelete
  27. i just started using ISDIN fusion fluid mineral sunscreen on my face and reallyyyy like it. feel totally protected and it states on the bottle that it has high UVA protection along with UVB. they have a non mineral version too that didnt have any too bad looking ingredients as well as many others. i suspect the regular fusion fluid goes on even more beautifully then the mineral but i am very very happy with my purchase and decisiom to look outside the US for a sunscreen. It was a bit harder to find online for sure (as its produced in spain) but definitely worth the hunt! im so sorry for the whole honest company ordeal, both company and ofcourse purchasers. thanks for your post! new to your site but will definitely be looking into further! be well!

    ReplyDelete

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