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23 June 2014

The Sunblock Solid Sunscreen Wash

I am somebody who is very self aware - I think it's a trait that comes with most people who chose to become vegetarian/vegan. To be able to think 'outside the box' and recognise how your words and actions directly effect your immediate and distant environment, is something that not everyone has the power or inclination to address. 

Recently, with the negativity surrounding the Lush Kitchen, I have found myself becoming very pessimistic towards the company, despite not having a bad experience to write about. When Lush first revealed this particular product, I immediately reacted with negativity - how could a solid wash protect you from the sun? Yet, I realised that Lush wouldn't release a product that wasn't thought-out and hadn't been through numerous vigorous testing procedures before making it's way onto the shelf. I needed to have more faith.

The Sunblock Solid Sunscreen is the first of it's kind - a wash-on, rinse-off sunscreen that nourishes the skin whilst protecting it from the sun's rays at the same time. Made with cocoa butter, rose absolute and calamine powder, this unique product is a buttery, fragrant offering, and one that I was very keen to test out. 

According to Lush, one 100g bar should be broken into three parts and used on three different occasions - massaging the bar onto the skin towards the end of your shower and then dabbing down when you're drying yourself off. Initially, I was skeptical that using this in the shower would be effective - surely the sunscreen would just wash off and eradicate the need for this product at all?

However, as soon as I began to apply Sunblock to my skin, I realised that it wasn't going anywhere. The bar creates a thick, oily layer that is very similar to what Buffy and Aqua Mirabilis Body Butters do - coating the skin with a layer of silk that seems impenetrable. Once the product has been applied, water cannot enter the pores as the oil and water cannot mix, so it runs away from the areas where Sunblock has been used and allows the sunscreen to absorb further into the skin. 

What you will find is that your skin will stay rather greasy for a good 30 minutes to an hour, so it's not something you throw on before heading out of the door. Furthermore, I found that I was able to use a sixth of the bar to coat my entire body, so this 100g bar could probably stretch across a few more uses than the company claim.  

The cocoa butter makes this a wonderfully smooth and gentle product, and my skin definitely felt really moisturised after using it. However, this ingredient didn't really add much to the overall scent that I detected. For me, the rose and calamine were the key scents here - giving it a smell that was reminiscent of Fresh Farmacy. 

Although there is no mint here, the overall smell did remind me a lot of mint aero. The calamine is at the forefront and gives a refreshing, almost antiseptic smell and it's inclusion makes it wonderful for those with irritated or sensitive skin; the rose rounds off the smell and removes the astringency of the calamine, chamomile and eucalyptus. 

Aside from it's smell and how well it treats your skin, the most important element of this is how it works in relation to the sun. After using this for the first time, I embarked on a five hour walk in the blazing heat and was pleased to discover that I didn't burn or feel any side effects of going out without applying other sunscreen first.  

The Sunblock really does seem to work, although I am still curious about how long the protection from this would last. I'm heading to Spain for a lovely weeks holiday at the end of July, and I plan on taking this to use with me there. I will report back on what I find and whether this really would last an entire day. 

On the positive side, there are a lot less ingredients in this product than you would expect to find in other sunscreens. This stops your skin from being overexposed to too many preservatives and chemicals that might effect the condition of your pores. However, this is not a product you could reapply throughout the day, meaning you'd have to rely on a second sunscreen to do the job when you're out and about. Coupled with the 3-6 use block setting you back almost £10, this makes The Sunblock a rather expensive investment and one that I cannot see anyone buying on a regular basis.

While I recognise that this works and I love the fact that Lush are experimenting with the way they offer products to the consumers, I don't know if it's one that'll prove overly popular and I cannot see it being around in future years.  

Quantitative Ingredients: Fair Trade Organic Cocoa Butter, Calamine Powder, Octocrylene, Octylmethoxycinnamate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Organic Sesame Oil, Magnesium Carbonate, Chamomile Blue Oil, Rose Absolute, Eucalyptus Blue, Limonene.

Vegan?:Yes.


22 comments

  1. I bought some of this today because one of the lovely sales assistants told me I could use it as a solid sunscreen, kinda like a massage bar! Which would make it much better value for money. She also told me that they are releasing a powder sunscreen! I'm going to try this out when I go to the carnival tomorrow... I'll let you know if I burn! Hahaha Rachel x

    Ps. I love this blog :)

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    1. Excellent - thank you for the recommendation! I didn't want to use it in this way and waste it, but if you've been told you can, that's great! Let me know how you get on as I would be interested in using it in this way.

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  2. Thank you for this review, I'm interested in hearing people's view on this before I splurge on it myself. I am pale and prone to sunburn as well. Even if it turns out to be too messy/too expensive/... I still like the fact that Lush continue to experiment and disrupt traditional cosmetics. Sometimes it's a hit - like the solid cleansers, the fresh face masks, the shampoo bars - sometimes it's a miss - like the emotibombs and toothy tabs (at least they're a miss for me) - but at least we should give them the benefit of the doubt on this one!

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  3. It's definitely an expensive investment as well as a hit/miss one as us 'pale' people just cannot risk burning by not protecting ourselves. I am more than happy to send you a slab to try yourself if you'd like - free of charge. Let me know what you think :)

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  4. so glad i found this review! i spotted this yesterday whilst in LUSH and thought it was so different but was a bit sceptical especially as i have pale skin! but yes it is definitely expensive compared to highstreet lotions. going away at the end of august so might have to invest in some, might pop into lush before hand and see if they will give me a sample :)

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  5. this page is really helpful to customer!

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  6. Does anyone know if you can buy this in the US? I've read about it on multiple blogs today but they all seem to be based out of the UK. It doesn't seem to be listed on the US website either. I love Lush and would love to give this a try, I'm just afraid that by the time I can get it ordered from Lush UK and receive it, it will be too late in the summer. Let me know if you guys know anything.

    Thanks!
    Morgan Hannah jnmkeepntouch.blogspot.com

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    1. I am a little confused that they haven't released the sunblocks worldwide - it doesn't make sense to release them in the UK, where we have the least amount of sun! I'm guessing as Lush originated in the UK, we are sort of like the 'trial' country. How long would it take to ship it to the US?

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    2. I'm not really sure. I haven't been able to find an exact, or even an estimated date on Lush's website. I really only have 2 weeks before I leave for school which is why I'm worried. I wouldn't want to spend all that money on it and not even be home to use it. It looks like a such a cool product thought. Hopefully we will get it in the US next summer.

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    3. US laws are very staid in concern to sunscreen, they haven't actually licensed any new sunscreen ingredients for about 15 years I think so I suspect this may be why it hasn't been/possibly can't be released over there.

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    4. http://www.specialchem4cosmetics.com/services/news.aspx?id=11409&lr=rss15 for more info

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    5. That's really interesting - I didn't know that. Thanks for the info.

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  7. Are you aware that the SPF testing and claims for any sunscreen are based on the recommended usage amount, so by recommending people use less you are advocating a lower SPF sunscreen?

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    1. Based on my experience of this, I still feel that I had a good amount of protection using the amount I did. My skin was completely covered when only using half a section and the amount that stayed on my skin was quite a thick layer. I don't think using any more would have given me stronger protection. When it comes to this particular format, I would be very skeptical to use this by itself anyway as I know how sensitive my skin is when in contact with very high temperatures. Having spent full days in 33 degree heat, I found myself using both this and Lifesaver and still needing to top up the latter more often than I normally would.

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  8. "If you apply sunscreen with SPF 30, you should max out your sun exposure at 300 minutes." Which was exactly your 5 hour walk but "calculations don't always reflect real life. SPF is determined in a lab setting" and they probably don't account for sweat and stuff like wiping your face, so a higher spf and reapplying would probably be a safer bet.

    Quotes are from this informative article :) http://www.albertahealthservices.ca/apple/4563.asp

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    1. Ooh - this is interesting - thanks for the link and the explanation. I'm going to look into this a little more.

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  9. I only have to look at the sun for my face to turn bright pink, have invested in a block of sunscreen yesterday and am giving it a trial run today, will be back later with the result.

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    1. Let me know how you get on! I'm always interested in hearing about other Lush fans' experiences. I hope this works for you :)

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  10. I stumbled upon The Sunblock on the UK site today, and I'm so glad that I've also found your review! Since the review is a year old, I was wondering if you have any new words of wisdom about this product. Has a year with The Sunblock given you new or different opinions? Would love to hear your thoughts--thanks!

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  11. I bought this product in March and it goes out of date next May, I hadn't opened it till yesterday (September 10th) and had been keeping it with the rest of my shower products in a room temperature, dry environment. Unfortunately when I opened it I was disgusted by the smell, I was still planning on using it as I was more interested in how it worked than the scent. When I broke a third of it off I was surprised to find a vile green colour inside; are all of them green inside or was mine mouldy?! If it is WAS mouldy then I am slightly upset by how lush had the wrong use by date by about 9 months!

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    1. Oh my goodness - that sounds disgusting. No, there should definitely not be any green inside. It's quite shocking that their solid products could go mouldy so soon - surely the point of them is that they don't have a lot of liquid present so should last LONGER than liquid alternatives!

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  12. Did anybody actually give this a good proper trial? Lots of comments from people saying they intended to try it, few if any giving a summary of their findings. Would be interested to know now how it worked (or if it didn't).
    Jen, your comment about a 3-6 use block costing a tenner and thus being an unlikely regular purchase - I think that if it is actually effective I could see it being a regular for people who really suffer in the sun, eg people with extremely pale skin, albinism, lupus, on medication that sensitizes to the sun etc. When a family friend was undergoing chemotherapy cancer treatment, the medicines made them super sensitized to the sun, and even background daylight would burn. Unfortunately they also had incredibly sensitive skin from treatment too. For someone in that position, if this did the job I could easily see it being worth the money.
    Really would like to know how this product fared when people gave it a thorough test

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