Read the Label: Bella B Sunny Bee Natural Sunscreen 40+ SPF

Bella B Sunny Bee product

This ingredient label is crowded with unnecessary information, which violates the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rules on labeling cosmetics. Terms such as derived, natural and organic should be saved for marketing copy, and the ingredient label should only include the INCI names of ingredients as designated by the Personal Care Products Council. In addition, the active ingredients should be listed at the top of the label with the concentrations in a Drug Facts box, as outlined by the FDA for OTC products.

This is a liquid crystal emulsion based on C14-22 alcohols and C12-20 alkyl glucoside. Glyceryl stearate is used to reinforce the lamellar network. Beeswax, which should only be listed once, is used as a natural oil phase thickener. A water phase thickener, incorporated to increase emulsion stability, seems to be absent from this product. This formulation also contains sodium chloride, which is common for stabilizing w/o emulsions, but has the opposite effect in o/w emulsions. If the formulator were experiencing stability issues, he or she should have thickened the water phase rather than increasing the electrolytes in this system. Note that zinc oxide is a polyvalent salt.

Octyl palmitate and caprylic/capric triglyceride are dispersing agents for the inorganic sunscreens and provide emolliency for the formulation. Tocopherol is used to prevent oxidation of the natural oils while the phenoxyethanol, ethylhexylglycerin and methylisothiazolinone are being used to preserve the emulsion.

The viewpoints expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Cosmetics & Toiletries.

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