Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Health & Safety > Sunscreens > Burts Bees Chemical Free SPF 30 > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

BURT'S BEES Chemical-Free Sunscreen SPF 30

June 27, 2009


NAME: Kathleen Waters
AGE: 58
LOCATION: White Lake, Michigan USA
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.63 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

I started hiking in 1998 after an eye-opening climb up Hahn's Peak in Colorado. Hooked, I return to Colorado often. I've hiked/snowshoed glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in domestic and exotic locations, including Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. At home, I plan for 2-3 hikes of 6-8 mi (10-13 km) weekly and one weekend hike monthly. Weekday hikes take place in Pontiac Lake Recreation Area, a mixture of heavily-wooded moderate hills and flat terrain. Weekend hike locations vary. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) including food and water


Manufacturer: Burt's Bees
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: US $15.00
Listed Weight: 3.5 fl oz (100 ml)
Measured Weight: 4 oz (113 g) - includes packageing (tube)

Other details: 100% natural
Ingredients: Active ingredient: titanium dioxide (8.58%)
Inactive Ingredients: water, cannabis sativa (hemp) seed oil, glycerin, stearic acid, fragrance, helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, hydrated silica, sucrose distearate, calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract, crataegus oxyacanthus (hawthorn) stem extract, hamamelis virginiana (witch hazel) extract, hydrastis canadensis (golden seal) extract, symphtum officinale (comfrey) extract, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, alginic acid, acacia senegal gum, xanthan gum, beta carotene, sucrose stearate, lecithin, aluminium hydroxide, sodium borate, glucose, sodium chloride, canola oil, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase
Burt's Bees Sunscreen SPR 30
Picture Courtesy of Burt's Bees


One of two Burt's Bees sunscreen products (the other is an SPF 15 sunscreen), the Chemical Free Sunscreen SPF 30 (hereafter referred to as "Sunscreen") is packaged in a 6.5 inch (17 cm) typical sunscreen tube. At 3.5 fl oz (100 ml), it is just 0.1 fl oz (3 ml) over the Transportation Security Administration's (TSA) allowable carry-on size for air travel.

Trademark Burt's Bees logo and yellow color scheme made the Sunscreen immediately identifiable as a Burt's Bees product to me. Drug Facts are listed on the back of the soft-squeezable tube, along with active and inactive ingredients, directions for use, and use warnings

The dispenser is a flip-top bottom (of the tube) which can also be removed from the tube by unscrewing the flip-top.

The Sunscreen is a thick pale yellow lotion, almost more of a cream than a lotion, but still fluid enough to be able to be dispensed via a very small opening. A clean grassy scent is very pleasant, but strong.

Directions for use are stated as such: "How to Use It: Apply generously and evenly before sun exposure. Reapply as needed or after swimming, perspiring or towel drying. Use carefully. This product may discolor clothing."


Since I have been spending a good deal of my time in high-altitude Colorado, I have become accustomed to wearing sunscreen all the time. I routinely use a moisturizer on my face rated SPF15 even if I am not planning to spend a lot of time outdoors. When I am going to be in that glorious sunshine, winter, spring, summer and fall, I apply sunscreen, at least SPF 15 and mostly SPF 30. It just makes sense. Never mind the wrinkled skin - I'm a Nana, I've earned those smile lines - I don't want to deal with skin cancer. At least 5 of my aunts and uncles, and my mother, have had lesions removed. I don't plan on going there. So I wear sunscreen. I purchased a tube of the Burt's Bees Sunscreen last summer, so I've had experiences with it in all four seasons now.

I've worn the Sunscreen at elevations from sea level to 13,000 ft (4000 m); seashore to mountains; deserts to forests; east coast to the Rockies. Temperatures have been anywhere from below 0 F (18 C) to over 100 F (38 C) with humidity from the single digits to 100%.

First off, the Sunscreen works which is the most important thing. I have never gotten sunburned while wearing it. In my book that makes it a successful product for me, but it doesn't work if I don't use it and I sometimes I don't use it. I'll explain further.

When choosing gear to put into my pack for an overnight or longer, I sometimes get picky and a large tube of sunscreen often will not make the cut. I will often apply sunscreen before I head out and if I don't have a small tube to take, I sometimes take my chances. Sometimes I will squeeze sunscreen from a big container into a GoToob.

Sunscreen on Hand
Sunscreen on my side-turned Hand. No Drip!
The Burt's Bees Sunscreen is very thick. It doesn't squeeze out of the tube very easily or quickly. I certainly don't have the patience to transfer the Sunscreen to a smaller container. This thickness also makes it more difficult to spread the cream on my skin. I have to squeeze the Sunscreen, get a dime-size dollop of the cream, spread the dollop over a small area and repeat and repeat and repeat! I can't squeeze out a good-size blob, rub it around, and cover a whole extremity.

Thankfully, the Sunscreen is not greasy. Even at high temperatures, the Sunscreen doesn't "melt" on my body. But it is a bit sticky. I don't have a problem with the stickiness on my body, but I don't like it on my hands. Again, this is not a problem when applying the Sunscreen at home or when water is not scarce. But I don't like using water I've carried on my back and intended for drinking to wash off my sticky fingers - unless it's residue from melted chocolate!

Hemp seed oil is one of the ingredients in the Sunscreen and I believe it is the reason the Sunscreen smells so nice. It's not a tropical, fruity aroma as most sunscreens are, but a grassy, herbal smell. It's quite strong at first, but mellows out. This is good in bear country where I don't want to attract any wildlife looking for a snack.

Storage of the Sunscreen has not caused me any grief. In the coldest weather, I was still able to get the Sunscreen to dispense. It was even slower than at warmer temps, but still do-able. I would remove the flip-top though to make it easier. Conversely, when the thermometer rises, the Sunscreen doesn't squirt out all over the place as a liquid.


1.) Actually good for my skin
2.) Prevents sunburn
3.) Smells nice


1.) Hard to apply
2.) Leaves my hands sticky


I am a huge Burt's Bees fan and use many of their various products. I will probably not continue to use the Sunscreen while hiking or backpacking however due to the difficulty in applying and the stickiness on my hands after application. I will use it in situations where I don't have large amounts of skin to cover and I can wash my hands afterwards.

All in all, the Sunscreen works well, but it is a bit hard to use. I'd love to see another 100% natural Sunscreen in a small container that is a bit "silkier" from Burt's Bees. Then I'd be a happier camper.

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Read more gear reviews by Kathleen Waters

Reviews > Health & Safety > Sunscreens > Burts Bees Chemical Free SPF 30 > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.

All material on this site is the exclusive property of
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson