Coming from a country known for its lack of sunlight sunscreen was not something I had dedicated much thought of until I came to Cyprus almost a decade ago. Growing up, one bottle of whatever sun protection my mother happened to come across at the shop was more than enough to cover for the whole family for a year – including the occasional trips to the more southern parts of our Continent.
Needless to say, my knowledge of the sunscreens out there (and why we need them in a first place) has drastically improved from those days. As I prefer my cosmetics and household products as natural as possible, by now I have done a pretty extensive sampling of “green” (or as close as possible) sun protection products and I am always keen to test new ones. I was familiar with name of the Cyprus-made, 100% natural Gaia Olea range but had never actually tried their products. Therefore I jumped at the chance to test their sunscreen face lotion, especially now that the weather (and the sun) is getting hotter and hotter by the day.
Before talking about the product itself, there are few general things that must be mentioned about sunscreens. Firstly, we all do tan, sooner or later, even when wearing a strong sunscreen so please, please always put some on! It is also important to re-apply sunscreen every few hours or even more often if you are swimming or directly in the sun. A lot of brands are advertised as “waterproof” but trust me, there is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen so apply yours often and with care. Finally, no product will protect you forever so do wear a hat, protective clothing and seek shade when possible, in addition to wearing sunscreen.
The Gaia Olea sun protection comes in a cute jar, rather than in a bottle or a tube and its consistency makes me think of chocolate mousse, and this is a good thing! The sun protection ingredient in the product is zinc oxide, a powdered mineral that offers natural protection against the harmful UVA and UVB rays. Zinc oxide sits on top of the skin forming a protective barrier against the sun. Some zinc oxide products can be really thick and almost bright white but I was positively surprised to realise the Gaia Olea did not leave my face looking like I had just walked out of a face painting party gone wrong. The product leaves an ever so sheer layer on the skin but you cannot really notice that after a while. This does not make Gaia Olea any less efficient though, as the amount of zinc oxide it contains means its SPF is a respectable 30 and effective on all types of skins. It is also very moisturising as it contains shea butter, avocado oil, jojoba oil and coconut oil, all organic and containing nutrients nourishing the skin and helping it to retain its elasticity. Add to this the fantastic smell and the fact the Gaia Olea products are handmade in small patches on this very Island of ours, and we have a real winner of a natural sunscreen product in our hands!