Fair trade shea butter, organic jojoba oil, and organic green tea leaves sound like ingredients to an eco-luxe beauty concoction, but those are just some of the natural ingredients that make up Elemental Herbs’ sunscreens. This green-minded company offers sunscreens that get a “low hazard” score of 2 on Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic safety database — made by combining organic and fair trade ingredients with non-nanoparticle zinc oxide.

Zinc oxide sunscreens tend to always leave me looking freakishly white — so I was eager to try out the tinted Elemental Herbs Sunscreen Sport with SPF 22. I slathered on the pinkish goo before heading out — for a 12 hour urban hike around Los Angeles, no less.

The long hike took all day, so I kept putting more sunscreen on every few hours — and turning curiously pinker. “Do I look human?” I finally asked my friend, to get a not particularly reassuring “We can tell you’re still Siel” reply. Hmmm….

Turns out, I was putting on a little too much sunscreen, using my usual slather on liberally technique. I read Elemental Herbs’ 3-part how-to-use info a little belatedly, post hike, to find out that I should have shaken the bottle more vigorously, started with just a dab, then rubbed it in well before adding more. I followed these instructions today, and do look a lot less like a pallid, pink extraterrestrial.

Which is to say that like most zinc oxide sunscreens with a good safety rating, Elemental Herbs does take more work to use, with all the shaking, rubbing, and incremental dabbing on. Since I sunscreen most every day for a run, the daily sunscreening can seem a bit of a chore. And even after all the work, the sunscreen still feels a bit greasy, sitting more on top of the skin and leaving me afraid of leaving faint pinkish streaks on everything I might brush by.

On the upside, I do really like Elemental Herbs’ commitment to using safe, effective sunscreen ingredients, as well as to organic and fair trade ingredients. The company’s also a member of 1% For the Planet and of Green America. A 3-ounce tube costs $19.39 at Elemental Herbs’ web store.

While Elemental Herbs’ sunscreen didn’t quite make it onto my favorite sunscreens list, the company’s All Good Lips lip balms did. You may already be familiar with the original organic certified All Good Lips; now that balm’s available in SPF 12. Pick from Original, Cool Spearmint, or — my favorite — Sweet Tangerine. Each tube costs $3.50.

Also on MNN:

Elemental Herbs: A Safe tinted sunscreen
Organic and fair trade ingredients are combined with non-nanoparticle zinc oxide to make Elemental Herbs' effective and safe sunscreens.