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GODDESS GARDEN ORGANICS SUNNY BODY NATURAL SUNSCREEN

Test Report by Richard Lyon

Initial Report October 21, 2013
Long Term Report February 18, 2014


PERSONAL DETAILS AND BACKPACKING BACKGROUND

Male, 67 years old
Height: 6' 4" (1.93 m)
Weight: 200 lb (91 kg)
Email address: Montana DOT angler AT gmail DOT com
Home: Bozeman, Montana USA

I'm in my fifth decade of backpacking, undertaken mostly in the Northern Rockies, where I now live.  I do a weeklong trip every summer, and often take three-day trips.  I'm usually camping in alpine terrain, at altitudes 5000 to 13000 ft (1500-4000 m).  I prefer base camp backpacking, a long hike in with day trips from camp.  I’m always seeking ways to reduce my pack load, but still usually choose a bit more weight over foregoing camp conveniences I've come to expect. Winter outings are often on telemark or touring skis.

Particularly pertinent to this Test Series, I'll add that as a fair-skinned former redhead I am particularly attuned to sunburn prevention. Doctors' orders for many years have included religious use of long-sleeve shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and especially sunscreen. As I consider any minor discomfort preferable to melanoma I've followed those instructions dutifully. Spraying or swabbing on sunscreen is virtually second nature when I'm expected to be outside for more than a few minutes.

INITIAL REPORT - October 21, 2013

THE PRODUCT


Sunny Body is politically correct sunscreen - "Biodegradable, Reef-Safe, Gluten-Free, Cruelty Free, Vegan & Non-GMO," and 94% (per the website) or 92% (per the tube) organic. The active ingredients are titanium dioxide (6.4%) and zinc oxide (6%). This latter item brings back memories of my lifeguarding days fifty years ago, when I'd supplement a sunscreen with zinc oxide from a tube on my nose, a white badge that was part of my uniform. At any rate zinc oxide has been used to block ultraviolet (UV) rays for a long time.

Sunny Body includes a raft of inactive ingredients, each given pharmaceutical and common name on the tube. (Example: Helianus Annuus - Sunflower.) Those that are certified organic are marked with an asterisk. The tube also includes instructions for use, discussed below, and warnings that I've found to be relatively standard for all sunscreens - external use only, keep out of the eyes, consult a doctor if a rash occurs, consult a poison center if swallowed.

GG-size Product: Sunny Body Natural Sunscreen
Manufacturer: Goddess Garden, Boulder, Colorado USA, www.goddessgarden.com
Size furnished: Two tubes, each said to contain 3.4 fluid ounces/100 ml. Each tube is 5.25 x 3 in (133 x 76 mm) with a cap 2 inches (51 mm) in diameter and before opening weighs 4.75 oz (135 g). This is called "Airline size," presumably because it meets U.S. federal guidelines for cosmetics that may be carried in cabin baggage. Shown in the photo next to a standard size tube of toothpaste.
Also available: 6 fl oz [177 ml] tube or continuous spray and 8 fl oz [237 ml] spray bottle.
SPF rating: 30
MSRP: $14.99 per 3.4 oz tube

TRYING IT OUT

At the Summer Outdoor Retailer this past August I was fortunate enough to have received several samples of Sunny Body. These were in single-use foil packets, which I stashed in my car for use when dayhiking or fishing. The manufacturer's directions are simple enough: apply 15 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply (a) immediately after towel drying, (b) "at least every two hours," or (c) after 40 minutes' "swimming or sweating." I'd open a packet and apply to my face, neck, and backs of hands (and knees if wearing shorts) before setting out to the river or trailhead, but reapply only after towel drying or swimming or sometimes after lunch.

At first touch Sunny Body seems slightly greasy, a character trait I dislike in sunscreens or anything else applied to my skin. But after working the product into my skin the slickness and stickiness quickly vanish, leaving only a faint and very pleasant odor of lavandula angustifola (lavender flower to those of you who don't understand Latin). That odor disappears after perhaps half an hour. Sunny Body has thus passed my first sunscreen test - no serious grease.

I've had no sunburn issues when wearing Sunny Body, and I've used it under serious conditions, notably fishing, when reflection from the water can't be blocked by my headgear, and packrafting, when the same phenomenon applies and I'm constantly splashed with water. I'll detail these outings together with fall and winter usage in my Long Term Report, but early praise is definitely in order.

GG-apertureThe sample packets were easy to carry but left sticky foil that had to be packed out. I like the tube, whose cap has a small aperture for little dabs or can be unscrewed completely for heavier doses. The top of the cap clicks firmly shut and the cap screws tight. The size is great for storing in the top pocket of my daypack, in the zipped pocket on my packrafting dry top, in a sunscreen-dedicated pocket on the back of my fishing vest, in the console of my car, or in a front or cargo pocket on my hiking shorts. It'll also fit neatly into the pouch pocket on the bibs I often wear when skiing. I see no reason and don't intend to repackage the Sunny Body into a smaller vial.

LONG TERM REPORT - February 18, 2014

FIELD CONDITIONS

Since filing my Initial Report last October I've applied Goddess Garden Sunny Body on every dayhike, fishing day, backpack, and ski day. I might skip application on a rainy or snowy day, but I've been diligent in my testing duties. It's only the colder weather that has allowed the two tubes of Sunny Body to last so long. Except for a few Indian summer hikes I've needed to apply the stuff above the shoulders only - neck and face - as those have been the only parts of my body regularly exposed to the elements. On some fishing days I also used the product on the backs of my hands and wrists too.

Temperatures on outings have ranged from a day hike at 80 F (27 C) to skiing opening day at Bridger Bowl on a clear and frosty -16 F (-27 C), and it's been much colder when doing chores at home. Montana had little rain this fall, and we have generally low humidity, so most of my testing occurred in dry air. The Sunny Body did live through some sudden showers and one long dayhike in the rain.

One tube of Sunny Body lives in the console of my car. The other I pack for the activity: in the top pocket of my day pack, back pocket of my fishing vest, front pocket on my ski bibs, or hipbelt pocket on my backpack. Somewhat in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions I applied the sunscreen twice a day, once before setting out and again after lunch.


PERFORMANCE

I've had nothing but good results with Sunny Body.

First and by far most importantly, I've had no sunburn. In this regard no news is very good news indeed! That's especially important to me, as according to my dermatologist ultraviolet-caused skin maladies, melanoma included, are cumulative. One doesn't build up an immunity and preventive care is as important on the next hike as the last one. With my fair skin I've likely accumulated more sun exposure than is good for me. Also I've had many frustrating experiences with sunscreens (a few that were SPF-rated higher than the Sunny Body's 30) that didn't do their job and left me with a very red face. This product does what it's sold to do - protect my skin.

Since I haven't been swimming outdoors since October I cannot report on Sunny Body's claim of continued sun blocking after forty minutes in the water. I can say that heavy sweating on warmer days or steep climbs hasn't diminished the product's effectiveness. Nor has the perspiration resulted in a drop or two of diluted sunscreen making its way into my eye, another problem I've had with other brands.

After about thirty seconds' worth of a slippery feeling after applying Sunny Body I rarely notice I have it on. Half a minute has been all that's necessary for the initial greasy sensation to depart. Its very pleasant lavender odor lingers for a spell, up to half an hour, particularly on the back of the hand. After that, nothing. It just does its work.

Goddess LTRFor the reasons given in my Initial Report I like the size, flexibility, and utility of the container. The tube fits easily inside the hipbelt pockets on most of my packs and is stout and springy. It holds enough for several people for several days, should sharing among a group ever be necessary. The cap design makes for easy application of either a tiny dab or a fistful. Another pleasant item to report is that neither tube has leaked the slightest little bit at seam or cap, meaning no mess to clean up when I return home and no unsightly stains on my gear or clothing. As noted I generally store the tube in some piece of my gear, making residue or stain removal problematic (can't run the fishing vest through the washer), so I have greatly appreciated this.

SUMMARY and ACKNOWLEDGMENT


After careful consideration I can't come up with a single thing I'd change about this product. Goddess Garden Sunny Body is something that I'll be buying again and again. In fact I have already purchased a spray bottle of the stuff for easy use at home.

Many thanks to Goddess Garden and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this excellent product.








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