Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sunday Riley Cashmere SPF 30+ Advanced Sun Defense

Being a resident of the planet earth, with its badly depleted ozone layer, has made sunscreen a modern day necessity. My dermatologist specifically told me to never walk outside of the house wearing anything less than an SPF 30 on any area of my skin that is exposed, and preferably to wear clothing with an SPF factor as well. That, my friends, is the world that we now live in.

The problem for me was finding a non-greasy physical, rather than chemical, sunscreen that didn't feel and/or look terrible. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV radiation, whereas physical sunscreens work by physically blocking it (click here to read more about the differences). The problem with chemical sunscreens is, well, the chemicals. Many contain known carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, and that is just too risky for me. I worry that we do not know the long-term effects that these chemicals will have on our skin, and our overall health. In fact,  there is a tremendous amount of controversy surrounding their use (click here to read more about this issue). Chemical sunscreens, for the face in particular, have tended to be far more user friendly because they absorb more readily and can easily be incorporated into a beauty routine which includes the application of makeup, but at what cost. Additionally, many chemical sunscreens are not particularly photostable which means that they ultimately break down in sunlight. What this means is that their efficacy is short-lived, and once they break down you will not be protected against the damaging rays of the sun. In fact, once broken down the absorbed radiation disperses into the skin, along with all of the chemicals from the sunscreen causing you even greater damage. Physical sunscreens, on the other hand, have had a history of creating a gross streaky oily gloppy white-tinged mess on the face, and have tended not to play well with foundations, tinted moisturizers, and powders (in large part because it simply sits on top of the skin).

Somehow Sunday Riley has managed to create an outstanding physical sunscreen specifically formulated for the face that is very refined and works brilliantly, and it doesn't impede a great foundation finish either! In fact, once you apply it you don't even know that it's there! Cashmere SPF 30+ Advanced Sun Defense has been my go-to daily sunscreen for the last couple of years, and I am deeply grateful to have found it. I now no longer equivocate about applying a sunscreen to my face daily!

Cashmere SPF 30+ is a sheer 100% mineral sunscreen (which means that it is of the physical, rather than chemical variety). The texture is luxuriously smooth and silky, and therefore it doesn't feel anything like the thick and oily mineral sunscreens on the market.

Key Ingredients & their functionality:

1) Titanium Dioxide: This ingredient provides physical protection from UV rays- which literally bounce off of this ingredient. The specific Titanium Dioxide used in Cashmere 30+ is micronized- making it a sheer, rather than having the streaky white oily finish often associated with Titanium Dioxide.

2) Cashmere SPF 30+ is a water-based formula, rather than oil based. This brilliant attribute makes this the most user-friendly mineral sunscreen imaginable!

3) Wheatgrass: This powerhouse ingredient is rich in chlorophyll which has a detoxifying effect that helps to heal the skin and to aggressively protect it against pollution. Wheatgrass wakes up the skin by energizing it-- in the same way that a wheatgrass shot energizes your whole body.

4) Ginseng: Like Wheatgrass, Ginseng also wakes up and energizes the skin. Ginseng is an ingredient that has long been used for it's ability to tone and revitalize the skin, and is well known for its ability to invigorate. It is also used traditionally to support the immune system, and is thought to create an increased resistance to infections.

5) Cashmere Protein: This ingredient strengthens, invigorates, cushions, fortifies, and softens the skin.

6) Ellagic Acid (from pomegranates): Ellagic Acid is another powerhouse ingredient that helps prevent hyperpigmentation before the damage can occur.

7) While this protein rich sunscreen has a listed Sun Protection Factor of 30+ Sunday Riley says that it actually clocks in at about an SPF 53. If you want to further bolster its Sun Protection Factor mix it with Juno Oil (reviewed here).

Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Cashmere Protein, Wheatgrass, Stone Root, Ricegrass, Ellagic Acid+Pomegranate, Ginseng, Squalene, NV-5 Ageless Complex Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Butylene Glycol, Sunflower Seed Oil, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Meadowsol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Xanthan Gum, Triethanolamine, Hyrolized Kertain, Phenoxyethanol, Methyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben, DMDM Hydantoin.

Overall assessment: I can't live without it! Hands down the BEST sunscreen that I have ever used. It is easy to use, and doesn't impede the use of finishing products. The only downside is that it is quite expensive, but it is well worth it to me!

$125.00 1.7 oz at Nordstrom, Sephora, Bloomingdale's, Beauty.comBarneys New York (Affiliate links).


  1. It has parabens in it

    1. Hi Anonymous, Yes there are a couple parabens in this sunscreen- thankfully at the bottom of the list- presumably as a preservative.

  2. I wouldn't be worried about only the parabens, this also has peg 100 in it as well as Triethanolamine, these are rated quite high on EWG's safety database for allergies and immunotoxicity.
    The biggest thing is many people with acne prone skin would break out from this formula due to the use of coconut oil based emollients, silicones and cocoa butter. This isn't a natural product, this is what they call greenwashing. Putting a few good ingredients in with toxic ones.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I completely hear what you are saying about the presence of those ingredients, and I am very aware of the EWG ratings of them. People who do not want any parabens, PEGS, silicones etc- in their skincare/sunscreen products will definitely want to avoid this sunscreen- no question. Certainly those with known sensitivities to those ingredients that you have mentioned- whether due to allergies, or those known to cause acne etc. in certain people will also want to avoid this product as well.

      I am not at all under the impression that Sunday Riley is trying to greenwash. The company explicitly states that they "firmly believe that ideal skincare is based on a perfect union between botanicals and biotechnology." They don't make the claim that it is a 100% natural, organic or chemical free line. In fact Sunday Riley, the person, has a degree in chemistry, and decided to combine her scientific background with the use of Native American botanicals (that her grandmother taught her about).

      I think that it is safe to say that her particular skincare ideology is not going to appeal to everyone. Anyone looking for an all-natural line free from all known compounds with high EWG ratings will not be drawn to the line because they will neither share the philosophy of Sunday Riley, nor appreciate the use of biotechnology (and it's resultant chemical ingredients)

      Some of their products are paraben free, while others are not. Some contain silicones, PEGS etc- while others do not.

      I have pretty sensitive skin, and am often quite sensitive to lots of silicone-based products, but I haven't personally had a bad reaction to any of the Sunday Riley products that I use.

      I do appreciate you voicing your views, and know that there are a great many people who completely agree with you. This line is not for everybody. Those looking for natural or organic lines thankfully have a great many to choose from. Companies like Suki and Tata Harper offer highly effective natural products that are very favorably rated by EWG. Of course many people with skin sensitivities can also have reactions to natural or organic products filled with botanical oils as well, but companies such as Suki or Tata Harper don't contain any toxic chemicals.

  3. This particular product just have TiO2, not Zinc oxide so protection wise its only saving us from UVB not UVA(or the other way around). So, protection form both we still need something else.

  4. I love ALL of the Sunday Riley products but am having issues with this one balling up on me when I go to add anything on top any thoughts?

    1. Hi Victoria, I had some weird textural issues with my last bottle of Cashmere as well. I'm not entirely sure why. After that I switched to Clarins UV Plus HP Ecran Multi-Protection SPF 40, and have never been happier. It is lighter and spreads so easily. I loved my Cashmere until my last bottle became wonky. It sounds as though there may be a problem with your bottle like there was with mine- because none of my previous bottles of Cashmere had any issues. You might try to exchange it for another bottle- hopefully it was just a fluke- rather than it not being compatible with your other products. It definitely should not be behaving that way!


I love reading all of your comments and interacting with you- so please do not hesitate to share your thoughts, and to ask questions. Remember that what you have to say is of interest to all of us! Always feel free to email me directly as well. SPAM and advertising links will not be published.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...