In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve reviewed quite a few sunscreens on this platform yet none of them have been mineral sunscreens (if you’re unfamiliar with the term, these are sunscreens that predominantly use physical filters such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide). I just don’t like mineral sunscreens! I don’t like the difficulty in applying them, the white casts they leave, or the metallic smell that they frequently leave behind.
You may be wondering why I bought this sunscreen then. It’s because it includes a Burmese cosmetic ingredient made from ground up tree bark called THANAKHA!
Thanakha is scantly used in Korean cosmetics- The Saem makes a few products that contain Thanakha, but other than that, you’d be hard pressed to find it in many products. However, according to a 2014 article in the NYTimes, it’s been used as a wrinkle-preventing, sun damage fighting, acne clearing cure-all in Myanmar for years. Back in 2014, I barely got through the first two paragraphs of this article before I started searching around online for anything with thanakha on it, only to find it unavailable except in powder form. I like my cosmetics in ready-to-use form, so I forgot all about thanakha and its super powers until this sunscreen popped up on Wishtrend, boasting about it’s inclusion of thanakha.
I threw it in my cart and had purchased it before realizing I could get at least 3 bottles of Biore Aqua Rich Watery Gel, my favorite sunscreen, for one bottle of this sunscreen. That’s the first reason for not buying this sunscreen. There are more to come. Buckle in.
Appearance and Packaging
Chica y Chico doesn’t make very exciting packaging, does it? This sunscreen comes in a white and yellow 50ml plastic, rectangular bottle.
Out of the tube, this sunscreen is white in color and has a light, lotion like texture. It is not sticky at all and dries matte on the skin.
Picture #3 below shows the sunscreen on my wrist immediately after application. Picture #4 was taken 20 minutes later. As you can see, this sunscreen leaves a white cast, although the cast is not as bad as some other physical sunscreens I’ve used. If you are very pale, the cast is likely not to be very noticeable. For reference, I am currently a NC25-NC30 in MAC foundations and the white cast is problematic mostly because it makes my skin-tone look grey. However, it’s easy enough to cover up with makeup.
The instructions on the box state in bold and all caps to shake lightly before use. This is very important as this sunscreen has the tendency to separate, kind of like how ketchup starts to separate, if you let it sit for too long.
Other than the white cast, the biggest challenge I ran into with this sunscreen is that it is extremely drying on my skin. After a day of wearing it, my skin feels totally parched, regardless of how many moisturizing products I put on before this sunscreen. In fact, the only times I would use this sunscreen is when I’m going running or playing tennis outdoors on a hot day and I know I’ll be sweating a lot. Even then, I do my best to remove this sunscreen immediately afterwards.
Also, I think this sunscreen is a good example of how it is difficult to judge products solely by their ingredients. This sunscreen contains:
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide, Cyclohexasiloxane, Titanium Dioxide, Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange Oil), Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Peel Oil, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Limonia Acidissima Extract, Jasminum Officinale (Jasmine) Oil, Mrytus Communis Oil, Artemisia Absinthium Extract, Rose Flower Water, Vanilla Planifolia Fruit Extract, Ferula Galbaniflua (Galbanum) Resin Oil, Aluminum Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Dimethicone/Methicone Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Copaifera Officinalis (Balsam Copaiba) Resin, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol
There are a generous amounts of fruit and flower extracts and oils in this sunscreen. Yet, you would never be able to tell from the product itself. It doesn’t smell like any of those flowers or fruits and it certainly doesn’t have any of the hydrating properties that those oils should have.
Also, there are two ingredients bolded in the list above. The second one is Limonia Acidissima Extract, which is the thanakha. The first bolded ingredient is Cedrus Atlantica Bark Oil. While trying to figure out which ingredient was thanakha, I checked this one first. It is not thanakha but is a tree native to the Atlas Mountains. You guys, the Cedrus Atlantica tree is an endangered species. Why the hell is Chica y Chico formulating products with an endangered tree?
Even if this oil was sourced in an environmentally responsible way, there are NINE other oils on this list. The inclusion from this oil seems to achieve very little other than beefing up an ingredient list by a marginal amount. I’m sure the pressure on Korean cosmetic companies to include the most novel, exotic, and exciting ingredients is huge, but there have to be some boundaries, right?
Recommended for: Pale skinned people with oily skin in need of a sunscreen to wear in high-sweat conditions.
Not recommended for: Dry and normal skin types. Darker skin tones. Anyone who takes issue with endangered trees being used in their skincare products.
No dino rating scale this time. Just this disappointed turtle:
To see other sunscreens I’ve reviewed, see here.