My new favorite commercially available chemical free sunscreen

Now that summer is in full swing here in New England (finally!) I want to let you all know about a new natural, chemical free sunscreen that I found and LOVE.  It is called “goddess garden organics natural mineral sunscreen.”  

Goddess Garden sunscreen title - chemical free sunscreen


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Goddess Garden organics natural mineral sunscreen – a chemical free sunscreen

I happened upon this sunscreen when I was walking through Walmart.  Maybe it was the endcap display, the pretty colors, the hummingbird on the packaging, the “organic” label.  Anyway, I stopped and picked up the bottle.  I read through the ingredients quickly and it looked pretty mild to me.  

I scanned the barcode in the Environmental Working Group‘s app and found this sunscreen listed as a 3 (on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being best).  Other than the titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are the active ingredients, all ingredients were a 1.  Great!  

I researched titanium dioxide and zinc oxide again to refresh my memory on their health risks.  Both ingredients are a moderate health concern, but only when aerosolized, or when the particles become airborne.  In sunscreens, the titanium dioxide powder and zinc oxide powder are mixed thoroughly into the inactive ingredients.  This makes it impossible for the particles to become airborne.  

Also, the particles used in sunscreens are “non-nano,” meaning that the particles are too large to be absorbed into your skin.  Basically, unless you decide to eat this sunscreen (yes, I know kids may do this), I personally do not believe that either ingredient is harmful.  

Goddess Garden Sunscreen

My Review

I decided to give this Goddess Garden Organics sunscreen a try.  When I got home I read the instructions on the bottle.  I shook it well and sprayed some into my hand.  Unlike traditional spray chemical sunscreens, this sunscreen came out as a more lotion consistency than mist.  It’s like a slightly watered down sunscreen cream.  It’s very easy to apply and spread over your skin.  And it feels cool and smooth, not sticky like most of the chemical free sunscreens.  

goddess garden chemical free sunscreen

I have used this sunscreen on numerous occasions for short outdoor excursions, and it works very well for me.  It’s definitely protected me from burns, which is my main concern.

This Goddess Garden sunscreen is mild and gentle enough for my very sensitive face.  I have experienced no itching, burning, or redness – it’s as gentle as my every day coconut oil moisturizer!  This sunscreen is a definite win in my book.

Notes:  Because this sunscreen is thicker than the regular spray chemical sunscreens, it is not as easy to apply as those sprays that you may be used to.  It’s fine for an adult and probably older children, but don’t expect to be able to spray this on your toddler as he or she runs past. 

Also, because this sunscreen is more watery than other natural sunscreens, I make sure to apply it extra thick to make sure I get enough coverage of all areas of my skin.

A Caution – Shake well!

It’s very important to shake spray mineral sunscreens well, and to know what this sunscreen should look like (see photo).  I have heard that these mineral based spray sunscreens separate more easily than chemical based.  If the spray is a clear/less white liquid, it’s not providing the sun protection benefits of the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide.  Based on my experiences with home made sunscreens, this separation is more likely to occur if the sunscreen gets very hot, such as in your car or in the sun at the beach.  

Cost

One 6-oz bottle of Goddess Garden Organics Natural Mineral Sunscreen costs around $13.  Amazon seems to have the best price I have seen at $12.95 (as of the time of the writing of this post).  I have also seen this sunscreen at Walmart and Stop & Shop.  I’ve even seen rebates in some of my couponing apps for this sunscreen, so you might be able to get it for an even better price!

Comparison

Previously I wrote about Raw Elements natural suncreen. It’s currently about $16 for 3 oz on Amazon.  Based on the spreadability and potency of Raw Elements (active ingredient zinc oxide is 23%) versus Goddess Garden (active ingredients titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are combined 12.4%), I think the cost per usable volume is pretty similar, though I prefer Goddess Garden because it is so much easier to apply and feels better on my skin. 

I also wrote about my own home made sunscreen which to me is very similar to Raw Elements as far as effectiveness and feel.  It’s only about 12% the cost per volume of Raw Elements (much better deal in my book!) but isn’t as easy to use as Goddess Garden.  I am inspired to improve my recipe, and I will be reporting to you soon!

Do you have a favorite natural sunscreen? Tell me about it in the comments!

Drying Laundry More Naturally

One of my earliest posts talked about my laundry detergent recipe.  It’s about time I shared my tips for drying laundry more naturally – in a more environmentally (and clothes) friendly way!

Drying Laundry More Naturally


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Line Drying

The most environmentally friendly way to dry clothing and linens is to line dry.  This requires no energy and no special products.  I hang dry most of my shirts, sweaters, and jackets on their hangers.  Other clothing can be draped over doors, shower doors or shower curtain rods, or you can purchase clothes line for less than $10.  

I have a long hallway in my house adjacent to the laundry closet.  A length of clothes line tied between door hinges on opposite sides of the hallway made a great space for drying laundry more naturally.  I use this to dry sheets, towels, and some clothes.  In the summer, I hang these items over my deck railing or on a clothes line strung across my hammock stand.  

Line drying inside
Line drying inside

Dryer Drying

For heavy items that take a long time to dry such as my bed quilt or jeans, or when I just don’t have time to air dry my laundry, I still use my clothes dryer.  I dry my clothes on low heat both to save energy and to protect my clothes from heat damage and shrinking.  

Anti-Static & Faster Drying

I found a method for drying laundry more naturally that still reduced static.  Instead of using chemical-laden dryer sheets for anti-static, in each load of laundry I also put in the drier an old wash cloth with safety pins in the corners.  The safety pins in the wash cloth help to dissipate static each time they come in contact with the metal dryer walls.  I also toss in a few tennis balls, each tied in their own old sock (to prevent color transfer onto the drying clothes).  The tennis balls help to move the clothing around in the dryer and prevent it from all being “glued” to the dryer drum, so clothes dries faster.  

Caution: It was recently brought to my attention that tennis balls contain latex.  I recommend that you do not use tennis balls in your dryer IF you or anyone whose clothing or linens are being dried in the drier has a latex allergy due to the unknown effects that this may have.

tennis balls and safety pins in a cloth for faster and static-free drying
Machine drying without chemicals
Tried and retired anti-static attempts
Dryer sheets

I used to use dryer sheets.  I initially sought out a replacement because I wanted to be able to dry my clothes without producing any waste.  As I researched, I learned that dryer sheets ruin the moisture-wicking properties of some clothing, because they essentially coat all fabric with a waxy coating.  Dryer sheets also coat the screen on the dryer lint catcher with wax.  This can interfere with the heat exhausting from the dryer, increasing the temperature in the dryer and causing longer dry times as moisture has a harder time escaping through the vent.  

Aluminum foil ball

Crumpling up a ball of aluminum foil and tossing it in the dryer will help to reduce static, and is an effective method for drying laundry more naturally.  Similar to the metal of the safety pins, the foil ball attracts static from the cloths and dissipates it against the dryer wall.  However, I found that the foil ball got too smooth within 1-2 washes, and then became ineffective.  I didn’t like needing to dispose of the foil (I recycled it) so frequently, so I tossed this trick.  

Wool Dryer Ball

I have heard that wool dryer balls are very effective at reducing static in clothing dried in a clothes dryer.  While it is supposedly a great method for drying laundry more naturally, I am allergic to wool and did not want my clothes or myself to be in contact with wool on a weekly basis, so I have never tried it.  

Clothing Materials and Dryer Lint

As much as I try to reduce waste drying clothes, there is always some waste with machine drying: lint.  If the contents of the dryer are all organic materials (cotton, linen, bamboo), I collect the lint and throw it in my compost.  If I have synthetic fabrics (polyester), I throw the lint in the garbage.  

Note:  I have successfully dried many, many loads of laundry using these tricks.  I have found no indication of damage to the dryer or clothing, but I assume no responsibility if it doesn’t work out for you.  

tennis balls and safety pins in a cloth for faster and static-free drying
Machine Drying

Do you have any green laundry tips?  Please share in the comments!