Sunday, 24 November 2013

COOLA Organic Sun care Plant UV Face SPF30 unscented moisturiser

Background info

I wanted to wait quite some time before I wrote this product review (five months in fact). This sunscreen seemed a little too perfect to be true. Over the years I've had a battle to find an organic sunscreen that wasn't greasy, that didn't cause irritation, that didn't break me out or that didn't leave that awful white cast. Finally I've found the one!

Despite my battle, I'm obsessed with sunscreen, I believe if you are to invest in one product for your skin it should be sunscreen as we all know, UV rays are the number one cause of skin ageing. Due to the naivety of the public, people often think as sunscreen as being superfluous in terms of a daily routine.

Experts and scientists state that you should never rely on a moisturiser that contains an SPF for UV protection, the reason for this is because a consumer is less likely to apply it in an even layer thus leaving patches of unprotected skin exposed to harmful UV rays. Although this product being classified as a moisturiser for me it acts as having the sole purpose of my sunscreen and not a moisturiser.

COOLA Organic Suncare is a brand which comes from the United States, it is relatively new to the UK. COOLA came into existence in 2004. The founder Chris Birchby came up with the idea to start the company when both his parents had melanoma. Chris grew up as a surf instructor spending much of his time on the beach and originally had the idea to start with one sunscreen which would be for surfers however, due to the cost of organic ingredients, he out priced his product from the surfer market. Chris then decided to launch into the luxury market, and what became one product became three products - a face, body and a sports sunscreen. COOLA started to bring their products to the market in August 2007.

The COOLA line ranges from 70% to 97% certified organic ingredients and has quite an array of different sunscreen across its three main lines. The reason why COOLA has over 18 different sunscreens in their line is because they want to have a sunscreen available to suit everybody's needs.

COOLA develop their line using high quality ingredients that are organic, sustainable and locally sourced. Their line seems to be very green but very advanced and luxurious. COOLA claims that each of their products will protect and nourish the skin with vitamins, natural-protectors and age-defying antioxidants.

COOLA offers three distinct lines of certified organic sun protection, including their Plant UV line launched in 2012 and the recently reformulated Mineral and Classic collections.

In the Classic line they use non mineral sunscreen actives by using small percentages of chemical sunscreen actives.

The Mineral line uses Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide sunscreen actives. The Mineral line contains quite a few different sunscreens which are encapsulated and the particles are dispersed of an equal distance resulting in better protection and more transparency. The Mineral Lines also contains tinted versions which act as a BB or CC cream.

The Plant UV line uses Zinc Oxide and Plant Stem Cell actives with the same encapsulated technology as the Mineral line.

COOLA even has their own skincare line - Environmental Repair Plus line (ER+) for pre and post sun skincare.

COOLA's products are very environmentally friendly and manufactured using solar power. The brand has the ethos of farm to face™which describes their sourcing policy for local ingredients and vendors. COOLA offers high performance sun care products with the aim that they are luxurious enough to compliment anyone’s daily skincare regimen, no matter how fussy.

From personal experience, I've never come across such an advanced natural and organic sunscreen line like COOLA.

Product description

Nourish delicate facial skin while shielding it from damaging UV rays, featuring Plant Protection™. Developed with naturally protective plant cells of the Buddleja Davidii stems and the Lilac Leaf, which have been shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, this formula is preservative-free and made with 70% organic inactive ingredients. Beet Root and Cordyceps Mushroom Extracts can help protect the skin and defend against premature aging while Orazanol and organic Beeswax boost natural sun protection. Also infused with organic emollients like antioxidant-rich Olive Oil and Omega-3 enriched Linseed Oil to moisturize, smooth and soften skin.

  • Plant Stem Cells boost SPF protection
  • Transparent application
  • Zinc only actives
  • Most advanced Sunscreen available
  • Water Resistant (40 minutes)
  • No nano-sized particles


The COOLA Plant UV SPF30 comes in plastic tube which later becomes airless see picture below.

Finished product on left, unopened product on the right


Apply evenly over face and exposed body. You’ll have SPF protection immediately after application. The American Cancer Society recommends reapplication every 2 hours while in direct sun, or after swimming/sweating.


With a lot of trial and error I've finally discovered how to get the best use of this sunscreen. The sunscreen slightly leaves a white cast, but no where near as much as 90% of other natural sunscreens I've used in the past. It is to be expected for non nano sunscreens to be slightly white. I've found that if you use a facial oil on your face first and then apply this the whiteness is non existent. Plant UV also pushes the oils from the facial oil you're using deeper into the layers of the skin and creates a matte but dewy finish, perfect!

I also use this all around the eye area with no problems and irritation whatsoever. People often to forget to protect the eye contour area when it comes to protecting the face. Please note this may cause some people irritation. The company does not mention to use this around the eye area so please use at your own discretion.

Ingredients list for Plant UV Face

Active Ingredients:
Zinc Oxide (Sunscreen) 12.61%

Inactive Ingredients:
Beeswax (ORGANIC), Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Buddleja Davidii Meristem Cell Culture, Butylene Glycol, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (ORGANIC Orange) Fruit Water, Cordyceps Sinensis Extract, Ethylhexyl Olivate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glycerin (ORGANIC), Glyceryl Caprylate, Glyceryl Undecylenate, Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein/PVP Crosspolymer, Linum Usitatissimum (ORGANIC Linseed) Seed Oil, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Maltodextrin, Olea Europaea (ORGANIC Olive) Fruit Oil, Oryzanol, Phospholipids, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Propanediol, Sodium Gluconate, Syringa Vulgaris (Lilac) Leaf Cell Culture Extract, Tocopherol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Water, Xanthan Gum.

Certified Organic Ingredients:
Beeswax - natural photo protector
Orange Water - balances skin tone
Linseed Oil - An antimicrobial skin protectant derived from kimchi that repairs irritated skin
Olive Oil - an anti-inflamatory, moisturizing, anti-aging oil

Shelf Life

18 months once opened

Results and review

After five months of daily testing I can confirm that this product really works. This has the most beautiful light weight fluid texture. It is non greasy, silky and despite containing bees wax this leaves no greasy trace behind. It is well known that beeswax does penetrate the skin and can clog pores but this does not. If I did not see the ingredients list I would have never thought that it contained bees wax as it is exceptionally light. Many people are afraid of using beeswax on their face in the fear that it will make their skin break out however, beeswax can be good as it does have some emollient properties and I see no problem using it in the day due to its protective nature. The beeswax in this product does not feel occlusive to the skin and I have not broke out using this.

I used this through the height of summer in which I never burnt. Even in humid conditions it was perfectly light enough to use as it does have a heavy feeling on the skin. Now winter is well on it's way I've been using a face oil, instead of a day cream, this seems to push the facial oil deeper into the layers of the skin and gives the skin a beautiful radiant glow. During the summer I would apply in the morning and sometimes again in the mid afternoon. I had no problem in reapplying over the top.

Although this is described as a moisturiser I would not advise skipping using a serum or day moisturiser underneath this unless you have oily skin. I tend to have quite dry skin and this does feel too light to use on its own.

I am so pleased this contains Zinc Oxide as it does not breakdown in UV light like chemical sunscreens do and does not generate free radicals when exposed to UV light. Zinc Oxide is my sunscreen active of choice as it more photostable and it has a broader UVA spectrum than Titanium Dioxide, covering the full spectrum of the UVA wavelength. The Zinc Oxide stays on the top of the skin reflecting the UV rays thus providing physical protection.

COOLA's formulations use a very cleaver technology which equally disperses the Zinc Oxide particles so that they are an equal distance apart. This means less Zinc Oxide is used and keeps the white cast to a minimum.

Before I started using this, I was using an SPF15 as I could not find a decent high protection sunscreen. After using an SPF30 everyday I never want to be without it now. Researchers and scientist recommend that consumers use an SPF of at least 30 for adequate protection so this is perfect.

The Plant UV line is COOLA's highest end sunscreen in which COOLA uses patented Plant stem cell actives that protect against broad spectrum UVA and UVB rays. These Plant Stem cells are much more intense than other sunscreen actives and provide more protection against the UVA spectrum also. This is extremely interesting but amazingly in COOLA's laboratorys they can make an SPF30 by just using JUST plant extracts, how astonishing is that! However due to the FDA restrictions COOLA were not allowed to market their formulation as a sunscreen as it did not contain an FDA approved sunscreen active, so COOLA added Zinc Oxide. Hopefully one day the FDA will approve COOLA's patented Plant Stem Cells sunscreen actives and then it will provide 100% UV protection from Plants alone.

To summarise this sunscreen is extremely user friendly and very easy to use. As stated above it does leave a slight white cast but this is possibly due to the fact I apply it liberally to ensure I get adequate sun protection. If you do apply a lot like I do and do have a white cast this can simply be solved by putting a facial oil underneath the sunscreen. In the UK this is £35 and personally I do not think this is too expensive therefore, I am not afraid to apply it liberally.

The composition of the ingredients of this sunscreen are superb, not only does this contain a relatively small percent of Zinc Oxide (in comparison to other sunscreens on the market of the same SPF number) due to the technology COOLA uses it also contains the natural Plant Stem Cells that protect the skin from UV rays. It has lots of anti oxidants to help combat free radical damage for extra anti ageing effects.

COOLA sun care is definitely one of the most advanced organic sun care brands on the market.

After much deliberation I am deeply impressed with the COOLA Plant UV SPF30 and finally it feels so good to say I've found the one. As below I have rated this a Holistic Green Beauty rating of a perfect 5 green leaves and although I would say there is nothing to improve, I'd love to see COOLA produce a tinted version of the Plant UV Face SPF30.

Please note that I have bought this product and the views of my review are entirely my own. No affiliation.

HGB Green Leaf Rating

 5/5 Perfect!

EWG's (Environmental Group Working) Hazard Score

1 - Low hazard


£35 / $42 for 50ml/1.7oz


-70% Organic
-Extremely user friendly
-Suitable for sensitive skin types
-Small percent of Zinc Oxide
-No nano particles
-High SPF
-Anti ageing
-Contains lots of protective antioxidants


-Absolutely none!



  1. This does sound too good to be true! I need to try this soon as I am obsessed with sunscreens :)

    1. It is good to be true. Just make sure you use a facial oil underneath this for superb results.

  2. This sounds great, I wondered what your thoughts are on Butylene glycol it seems to pop in quite a few products that are more natural. Thank you for listing stockists too, when I finish my current sunscreen I will give it a try. Xx

    1. Hi babe,

      Although I'd rather it not contain Butylene glycol, on EWG this ingredient is rated as a 1 hazard score and deemed relatively safe. I've also experienced no irritation from this product and the results and performance this products gives containing this ingredient it is a small price to pay.

      Let me know how you get on.

      Lots of love,

      Danny xx

  3. Great in depth review as always, I'll make sure to pick this one up for next summer xx

    1. Hi Clare,

      Thanks for reading.

      I actually prefer this to our much beloved Snowberry sunscreen.

      Let me know how you get on if you try it. Don't forget we need SPF all year round ;)


  4. Sounds amazing! I know what to wear now for the summer months next year :) Great review :) x

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for reading. Yes give this a try, I'm sure you will love it. Try it with a light facial oil underneath it and it should work perfect.


  5. I just bought the same but with the matt version. I saw the incis and mine has silicone :( im surprised this doesnt, although is not 100% natural or clean.
    I hope mine works well, specially because im travelling to australia next week, where is summer time!!

    Big kisses (:

    1. Hello,

      Thank you for reading. Yes some of the mineral line does contain silicone. I think the Plant UV line and the baby sunscreen are very much natural. I think you should give this one a try next, shame you don't have it in time for your trip to Australia. Have a wonderful try and remember stay protected!

      Lots of love, xx


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