Ah…remember the good ol’ days when you could climb out your bedroom window onto the roof and sunbathe, smeared in baby oil? SPF-what? (That wasn’t just me, right?)
If you’re like me and escaped with little more than a few sunburns along the way, let’s count ourselves lucky. I’ve wised up since then and rarely venture outdoors – year round – without at least some sunscreen on my face. And, in the summer months, I’m vigilant about slathering sunblock on every inch of my kids’ exposed skin.
I even broke the rules last year when Miss Q was five months old. Our little piece of suburbia didn’t have fences yet and we didn’t have a patio umbrella or anything under which we could take cover on a particularly sunny day. No park with lovely trees. So I had a choice: keep my three year old indoors on a beautiful day or put sunscreen on a less-than-six-months-old baby. I chose the latter and we all enjoyed the sun.
There are few companies I trust when it comes to lotions and potions for a baby’s tender, sensitive skin. Matter (which might still or formerly be called “Substance”; it’s confusing – I’m trying to figure this one out) is one of them. I’d used the Belly Jelly throughout each pregnancy, and am a huge fan of the Baby Body Foam and Nappy Rash Ointment – both of which I’ll review another time. So when it came to finding a sunblock I was comfortable applying on a teeny-tiny baby during one of the hottest summers I can remember, I snapped up one of Matter’s Baby Sun Care Creme.
Really, I only bought one tube of the stuff – for the whole summer. If there’s one thing Matter’s mastered (say that one five-times-fast), it’s concentrated formulas. As the cliché goes, a little goes a long way.
It’s a bona fide sunBLOCK – not a sunscreen. I know the vitamin D is good for them, I do. And I do ensure they get a little unprotected sun time in addition to their vitamin D supplements (Ddrops for Miss Q and IronKids Gummies for The K Man). But they’ve been blessed with Irish skin that’s so white it has a blue sheen. They’re burn magnets. So the zinc oxide in the Matter Baby Sun Care Creme works well for us.
This is a physical barrier sunscreen versus a chemical barrier sunscreen (which means it has the added benefit of blocking UVA rays). Written on every Matter product: “The ingredients are the product.” A quick scan of the ingredient list proves that it is possible to make baby creams without unsafe preservatives (like the carcinogen sodium benzoate, found in “natural” or “eco-friendly” baby product lines like California Baby and Live Clean) and cheap filler ingredients. Shae butter adds a bit of a water barrier and I love anything with Calendula in it.
Made in Toronto, I feel good about supporting what used to be my hood, and would still qualify if I was crazy enough to try a 100-mile anything.
You know that zinc oxide I mentioned? It doesn’t rub in as easily as a traditional sun cream does; there’s always a hint of white (like Casper the Ghost white) that remains, no matter how much I rub. However, if this is the price we pay for safe and effective sunblock – so be it. And, on the upside, you can definitely see if you missed any areas.
We all know that you have to pay more for good products that aren’t made by children in third-world countries. But sometimes it’s hard to part with nearly 20 bucks for something like sunscreen. If you can get past the initial sticker shock and use the price-per-use principle, my bet is that you’ll whip through four $8 spray bottles of Water Babies before you use up one tube of the Sun Care Creme.
It’s only available in a 30 SPF; if I had all the time in the world, I would now start Googling to find out if it’s even possible to make a truly natural sun cream in anything higher than a SPF factor of 30 – but I won’t. Because I’m sticking with this stuff. That said, I’d prefer a 50 or 60 SPF.
5/5 (that’s right, I don’t even care that my kids look ghostly – it’s that good)
So…where can you buy it?