The Raw Elements Face + Body Lotion is being reviewed by news articles as being some of the most sustainable sunscreen you can get on the market today. But is it really the most sustainable sunscreen out there? Is this sunscreen worth the expensive price for being more earth friendly than all the other brands? Let’s see; They have over 9 certifications that they proudly list on their website, yet it was extremely difficult to find any information on 5/9 certifications listed on their page. This is definitely a form of greenwashing, because when consumers look on the main page they will immediately assume that they are getting a product that is extremely certified, when in reality they are being misguided. If these certifications are honest then it should be easier to find information about them. I want to see more transparency from this company because I love the natural ingredients they are using, but I cannot fully verify if they are actually sustainably sourced ingredients. I respect the fact that they are not using chemicals like Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Homosalate, Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide, and Nano-particles because it is known that these chemicals commonly used in sunscreens have negative effects on coral reef/marine habitats and water systems. Raw Elements Face + Body striving to not use these harmful ingredients is forcing a needed shift in the market. I think this company has great values and intentions, but they unfortunately lack transparency at the moment. The founder of the company, Brian Guadagno, is just a normal beach lifeguard who wanted to create a product that he felt was missing in the market. Since it was not transparent enough on their website to where the ingredients are sourced from I reached out to the company through email to find out more information on the supply chain of Raw Elements Face + Body sun Balm. I have yet to receive a response. Compared to the majority of sunscreen on the market, I think Raw Elements Face + Body is more sustainable than other sunscreen. I seriously wish that this product was more affordable to people of lower incomes so they could have access to a more sustainable option for sunscreen. Right now, the price is simply just too high for the average consumer ($20-$30 per item!).
Raw Elements claims to use all natural ingredients in its products. I looked into all of their ingredients and I discovered that Non-Nano Zinc Oxide is their only active ingredient. Non-Nano Zinc Oxide is a bigger molecule, and the concern with Nanoparticles is that they find their way into the body by penetrating the skin and getting into the bloodstream. A Nanoparticle can enter your bloodstream, but a non-nano particle will not. I was pleased to see that all of their other non-active ingredients are great for skin health. This includes beeswax, coffee, black tea, green tea, candelilla wax, cocoa butter, hemp seed oil, rosemary oil, sunflower oil, and tocopherol (vitamin E). Is it biodegradable? I would say mostly yes. As for being reef safe? I would say yes for the most part as it’s only active ingredient is Non-Nano Zinc Oxide. Raw Elements also claims that all these ingredients are certified organic and sustainability sourced; I cannot find links to the specific certifications they are referring to for each one of these ingredients. I wish that Raw Elements would be more transparent about the sustainability practices in regards to the natural ingredients they are using. While many of these ingredients are sustainable alternatives to other products within their niche, if the extraction of these materials cannot be proven as being sustainably sourced, then we cannot trust the authenticity of the products’ claims to it. Unfortunately, for many of these ingredients, it’s necessary for them to be sustainably sourced because of the potential hazard posed when that’s not the case. For example, honey bees are a highly endangered, keystone species subject to constant exploitation for their beeswax and honey. With that being said, out of the 9 certifications listed on their certifications page, only 4 are backed up and the other 5 were impossible to find information on. This is a form of greenwashing and it demonstrates a lack of transparency on the company’s part. This also leads me to feel very suspicious as to how the natural ingredients are sourced for this product, because they do not provide valid information on the supply chain of their products.
Lastly, on their ‘Restricted Substance’ list we see that they included Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, PABA, Titanium coated in Aluminum, ect. which I’m glad to see because we do not want these chemicals entering our water systems or our bodies. Raw Elements is soy, gluten and nut free, which is perfect for people with allergies. As for packaging, Face + Body Lotion is available in a recyclable, reusable tin—a much more sustainable alternative to plastic.
I could not find any information on the supply chain of this company. They had certifications stating that they are USA made, but I could not find any information to back that up. I reached out to the company to find out more about the supply chain. I sent them an email on 3/30/21 and have yet to hear back from them. In the FAQ’s section of Raw Elements website they state that they make their products in a facility, but they did not specify where, or how.
The founder of the company, Brian Guadagno, was a regular beach lifeguard who felt there was a need for a more sustainable sunscreen on the market. He cooked up the first batch of Raw Elements sunscreen with the intention of creating an all natural sunscreen that could keep up with the active person and develop a brand that could connect with many different types of people. I really appreciate the values that this company has, although I wish they were more transparent about the supply chain of their products. I could not find any information on the sources of their materials. I have reached out to the company to find out more information on the supply chain of this product, but I have yet to hear back from them. This sunscreen is much more expensive than other sunscreens on the market, about $20-$30 woah . . ! I suppose that may have to do with the ingredients they are using, but if the product was more accessible to people of lower income then we would be supplying a huge market demand.