True Botanicals Review: NEW Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30

August 18, 2022

Gone are the days of either choosing white-zinc-noses or a sunburn. Mineral sunscreen is no longer a beach day eyesore AND if you find the right one, it can actually improve the look of your skin. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve tried a mineral sunscreen on your face, it’s time to try it again. The performance of mineral sunscreen has come leaps and bounds just over the past year alone and the new True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 is no exception—here’s my honest review.

a smiling woman holds up a bottle of True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF

This post is generously sponsored by True Botanicals, an ethical and sustainable beauty brand that’s MADE SAFE®, Leaping Bunny and PETA certified, as well as uses non-GMO ingredients. As always, The New Knew only works with brands who we trust are making the world a better place.

By: Lisa Fennessy

IN THIS POST:

It’s no secret that True Botanicals has been changing my skin since 2016. As of late, I’m obsessed with their Chebula Extreme Cream and Ginger Turmeric Cleansing Balm. As a forever fan and *true* believer, I follow along with their new releases religiously, so when I got word they were dropping an SPF this year, I almost died.

Well, fast forward a few months, I finally have it in hand and it DOES NOT disappoint.  

In a nutshell, I’ve been loving this SPF because it’s lightweight enough to wear as everyday sun protection, but it’s loaded TO THE MAX with skin benefiting ingredients. More on that in a min. First, some thoughts on performance…

a close up of true botanicals spf being applied to a hand

How the TB Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 feels + applies

The first thing you will notice about Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 is it pumps out a little pink. This is due to the addition of antioxidant-rich astaxanthin, which is a red / orange / pink color. I wouldn’t call this SPF a “tinted SPF” because it’s not, in the standard sense. It’s not tinted to match a skin color…it just doesn’t pump out stark white like most SPFs. 

That being said, when you apply this, it will still apply white-ish on your skin and you will have to rub it in to ensure no whitecast. I can report back with confidence that this does in fact rub in clear.

The formula feels moisturizing and a bit plumping on my skin, which helps keep my complexion looking radiant throughout the day. It’s easy to layer over skincare and under makeup. It’s easy to work with, doesn’t pill and isn’t super heavy. 

Some SPFs double as moisturizers, some double as foundations or BB creams and some are just straight up SPFs. I would classify True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 as an SPF only (not a moisturizer)…although it is moisturizing on its own, I prefer it layered over my daily moisturizer. I find my skin is more moisturized throughout the day and this formula applies more evenly when it’s applied to hydrated / prepped skin.

Here’s what it looks like, applied. 👇

RELATED: What’s the BEST nontoxic tinted moisturizer with SPF? We tried these 9—and this is our favorite.


Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 good for sensitive skin?

Nicolle stepping in here, the team rep for sensitive skin (holla!). First, prep yourself on some details about zinc + sensitive skin and sensitive skin in general. Finished that note? Okay, good—here’s how the new TB SPF worked on my sensitive skin.

When an SPF is waaaay too drying for my reactive skin, I get big, bold, red blemishes on my cheeks and chin. I can usually tell right away if this is the case because my skin also feels tight and itchy.

On the other end of the spectrum, even my previous top picks for SPF for sensitive skin gave me a little bit of redness + irritation around my nose, especially if I wear them more than one day in a row.

The True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 is so clearly on the LESS IRRITATING end of my sensitive skin spectrum—little irritation or redness at the end of one day of wear, and minimal reaction even after multiple days of wear. I will say that, like Lisa, I do need a heavy-duty moisturizer underneath the TB SPF (try this trick, p.s.), but that’s true of all SPFs for me.

Sensitive skin rating: Full speed ahead if you have sensitive skin, love TB and want to give this SPF a go.

RELATED: An easy sensitive skincare routine to try now.


True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 ingredients 

Let’s start off by saying the True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 is MADE SAFE® certified, which is huge considering there are currently only 3 other MADE SAFE® certified SPFs

We value the MADE SAFE® certification because it ensures someone outside of the brand has taken a look at the ingredients and deemed them safe to use. MADE SAFE® specifically screens for over 6,500 prohibited ingredients and takes into consideration the environmental impact of these ingredients before approving or denying certification. More here

Beyond that, let’s take a closer look at this formula’s superpower: the actual ingredients. Here are some of True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 standouts and why you want them on your skin. 

👉Non-nano zinc – The zinc that True Botanicals uses goes through a patented process that True Botanicals explains “…makes it one of the sheerest non-nano zinc oxides available on the market.” 

👉Squalane – A natural antioxidant and moisturizer that can reduce scars, reverse UV damage, lighten freckles and erase skin pigmentation, all while fighting free radicals (1).

👉Sea Buckthorn – An ingredient rich in fatty acids, natural antioxidants, carotenoids, phytosterols and vitamins that helps regenerate and repair skin (2, 3). True Botanicals uses a variety of Sea Buckthorn called turkestanica grown in Tibet. The brand adds that this species of Sea Buckthorn has been measured to have the most potent omega 7 levels available through any other type. 

👉Chebula – A powerful antioxidant (stronger than vitamin C) that has demonstrated efficacy for treatment of photodamage, skin aging and wound healing (4, 5, 6).

👉Astaxanthin – A powerful antioxidant that fights wrinkles, improves skin elasticity, increases skin moisture levels and reduces visible signs of UV-aging (7, 8). It also naturally protects against UV rays (9).

👉Green Tea Water – The base of this formula is not water but green tea water, which, surprise surprise, is another powerful antioxidant (10).

👉Rice Bran Extract – Used since ancient times as a natural sunscreen and recently discovered that it absorbs ultraviolet [UV] light (11, 12).

👉Pea Peptide (vegan) – True Botanicals explains that pea peptides are rich in antioxidants and help to retain moisture leaving skin feeling smooth and supple. 

After combing through this ingredient list and taking a deeper look, what I really value about this sunscreen is not so much the zinc (which is my preferred UV barrier), but the supporting ingredients to back it all up. It’s like watching Twilight…sure we all went to see the Robert Pattinson-Kristin Stewart dynamic, but really what made that movie pop off was the supporting cast. #hotwerewolf #jacob #canigetawitness

It’s not often I see an SPF that’s brimming with antioxidants, ready to protect skin cells against free radicals and additional ingredients that help protect skin against UV. And it feels good to know that I am applying something to my skin that not only is protecting it, but also nourishing and repairing it too. 

Let’s also just check out the full ingredients list… 

Active Ingredient: Zinc Oxide (19.0%) 

Additional ingredients: camellia sinensis leaf (green tea) water, caprylic/capric triglyceride, coco-caprylate, glycerin*, polyglyceryl-6 stearate, capryloyl glycerin/sebacic acid copolymer, water/aqua/eau, oryza sativa (rice) bran extract, squalane, polyhydroxystearic acid, hippophae rhamnoides (seabuckthorn) seed oil*, pisum sativum (pea) peptide, silybum marianum (milk thistle) ethyl ester, terminalia chebula fruit extract, haematococcus pluvialis (astaxanthin) powder*, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) seed oil*, aloe barbadensis leaf juice*, camellia sinensis leaf (green tea) extract, citrus aurantium amara (bitter orange) flower distillate*, isopropyl jojobate, jojoba alcohol, jojoba esters, xanthan gum, polyglyceryl-6 behenate, lactic acid, acacia senegal gum, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, allantoin, phenethyl alcohol, ethylhexylglycerin, sodium benzoate*, potassium sorbate*, sodium phytate, glycerin, leuconostoc/radish root ferment filtrate, tocopherol. *organic

RELATED: How to read a sunscreen label without a chemistry degree.


A close up image of skin barrier sun shield mineral based spf.

True Botanicals True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 pros + cons

True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF strikes that middle ground where I feel like I am getting it all. Protection, skin nutrition and glow. 

Pros: 

  • Delivers skin-boosting ingredients
  • Antioxidant-rich
  • Formulated to support skin’s microbiome
  • Not drying on skin
  • Pumps out light pink, rubs in clear
  • Not greasy
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fragrance free
  • Easy to layer over skincare and under makeup
  • Good for everyday wear
  • Third party vetted / MADE SAFE® Certified 
  • Packaged in glass 

Cons: 

  • Price
  • Smells a little like zinc 

FAQs about True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 fragrance free? 

Yes, True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF has no added fragrance.

Does True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 have a scent to it?

Yes, it smells a bit like zinc.

Are there any essential oils in True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30?

No.

Does True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 dry down dewy or matte?

I would say it has a sateen finish. Not quite matte and not too dewy.

Does True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 leave skin feeling dry?

No. True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 has ingredients like squalane, pea peptide and astaxanthin, which work to moisturize skin. I recommend applying this formula over your usual skincare routine.

Does True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 leave a whitecast?

No. This SPF goes on white / pink-ish and rubs in clear.

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 third-party vetted for safety?

Yes! True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 is MADE SAFE® certified.

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 good for sensitive skin?

Yes! Our resident sensitive skin team member gives it her stamp of approval—limited irritation, even after multiple consecutive days of use.

How much True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 should I apply to my face?

True Botanicals recommends applying 2-3 pumps.

How long does the True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 last?

Two to three months depending on frequency of application.

When should I use this in my skincare routine?

Apply in the morning after completing skin care regimen. Reapply when needed.

How should I store True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30?

Store in a cool, dry place, out of direct sunlight.

How often should I use True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30?

Daily—and reapply throughout the day when exposed to sun or water.

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 pregnancy and breastfeeding safe?

We asked True Botanicals to comment on this and they said, “Yes.”

Will this sunscreen provide UVA/UVB protection?

Yes

Does True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 offer any blue light protection?

True Botanicals says, “Yes. We have Chebula in the SPF, which is proven to help with blue light protection.”

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 oil-free or non-comedogenic? Is it good for acne-prone skin?

This has been proven to be non-comedogenic and it’s good for problem-prone skin.

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 hypoallergenic?

Yes

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 sweatproof, waterproof or water-resistant?

No

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 gluten free?

True Botanicals says, “While the product is gluten free, our distribution center is not a certified gluten free facility.”

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 vegan?

Yes

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 cruelty free?

Yes

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 reef safe?

We asked True Botanicals and they said, “Our zinc oxide ingredients have been tested for being safe in a reef environment and have been shown to be safe according to standard US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) testing standards consistent with the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Program (NELAP). The complete product formulas were not tested, just the zinc oxide sunscreen actives, since the other ingredients in the Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 are MADE SAFE® Certified and safe for the environment.”

Is True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 mineral based?

Yes! True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 uses zinc oxide as a broad spectrum UV protectant. It does not use any UV chemical blockers like oxybenzone, avobenzone and octinoxate. More on why to avoid chemical blockers here.

Does True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30 provide broad spectrum UV protection?

Yes.

What is the price of True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30?

$65 for 50 ml.

Do you have a code to save on the new True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30?

YES! Use TOG10 to get 10% off True Botanicals’ new SPF.


Have you tried the True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30? What questions do you have?

xo, lisa in cursive

TNK Team Note: This article contains affiliate links. TNK uses affiliate links as a source for revenue to fund operations of the business and to be less dependent on branded content. TNK stands behind all product recommendations. Still have questions about these links or our process? Feel free to email us.


References

1. Huang Z-R, Lin Y-K, Fang J-Y. Biological and Pharmacological Activities of Squalene and Related Compounds: Potential Uses in Cosmetic Dermatology. Molecules. 2009; 14(1):540-554.

2. Zielińska A, Nowak I. Abundance of active ingredients in sea-buckthorn oil. Lipids Health Dis. 2017 May 19;16(1):95. doi: 10.1186/s12944-017-0469-7. PMID: 28526097; PMCID: PMC5438513.

3. Jaśniewska A, Diowksz A. Wide Spectrum of Active Compounds in Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) for Disease Prevention and Food Production. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Aug 12;10(8):1279. doi: 10.3390/antiox10081279. PMID: 34439527; PMCID: PMC8389226.

4. Swindell WR, Bojanowski K, Chaudhuri RK. A standardized Terminalia chebula fruit extract alters the expression of genes associated with skin architecture and barrier formation. Eur J Dermatol. 2020 Oct 1;30(5):469-492. doi: 10.1684/ejd.2020.3882. PMID: 33021480.

5. Swanya Yakaew, Khwunjit Itsarasook, Jatuporn Ngoenkam, Arum Jessadayannamaetha, Jarupa Viyoch & Malyn Ungsurungsie (2016) Ethanol extract of Terminalia chebula fruit protects against UVB-induced skin damage, Pharmaceutical Biology, 54:11, 2701-2707.

6. Swanya Yakaew, Khwunjit Itsarasook, Jatuporn Ngoenkam, Arum Jessadayannamaetha, Jarupa Viyoch & Malyn Ungsurungsie (2016) Ethanol extract of Terminalia chebula fruit protects against UVB-induced skin damage, Pharmaceutical Biology, 54:11, 2701-2707.

7. Astaxanthin—the Ultimate Anti-Aging Nutrient. White Paper on Astaxanthin’s diverse anti-aging properties is brought to you by AlgaeHealth, a division of BGG.

8. Tominaga K, Hongo N, Karato M, Yamashita E. Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects. Acta Biochim Pol. 2012;59(1):43-7. Epub 2012 Mar 17.

9. Ito N, Seki S, Ueda F. The Protective Role of Astaxanthin for UV-Induced Skin Deterioration in Healthy People—A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2018; 10(7):817.

10. OyetakinWhite P, Tribout H, Baron E. Protective mechanisms of green tea polyphenols in skin. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2012;2012:560682. doi: 10.1155/2012/560682. Epub 2012 Jun 26.

11. Geoffrey K, Mwangi AN, Maru SM. Sunscreen products: Rationale for use, formulation development and regulatory considerations. Saudi Pharm J. 2019 Nov;27(7):1009-1018. doi: 10.1016/j.jsps.2019.08.003. Epub 2019 Aug 16.

12. Drissi M, Carr E, Housewright C. Sunscreen: a brief walk through history. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2021 Sep 1;35(1):121-123.

True Botanicals Review: NEW Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF 30
  • Price
    (4.5)
  • Ingredients
    (5)
  • Effectiveness
    (5)

Summary

True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield SPF strikes that middle ground where I feel like I am getting it all. Protection, skin nutrition and glow.

Overall
4.8

Pros

  • Delivers skin-boosting ingredients
  • Antioxidant-rich
  • Formulated to support skin’s microbiome
  • Not drying on skin
  • Pumps out light pink, rubs in clear
  • Not greasy
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fragrance free
  • Easy to layer over skincare and under makeup
  • Good for everyday wear
  • Third party vetted / MADESAFE® Certified 
  • Packaged in glass

Cons

  • Price
  • Smells a little like zinc

By Lisa Fennessy

Lisa is the founder of The New Knew. Passionate about clean beauty, organic eats and nontoxic lifestyle, Lisa writes to create awareness. Conscious consumerism and informed decisions will impact the marketplace, our health and THE WORLD!

8 Comments

  1. Reply

    Rose

    How is this different or compare to the Le Prunier Plumscreen? I was debating on reordering that one but now I’m thinking maybe I’ll try the TB.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Rose! The Plumscreen is only 4% zinc because plum seed oil has natural UV blocking abilities so to get FDA approved as a sunscreen, Le Prunier didn’t need to use as much zinc as a typical mineral sunscreen. I really like that about the Plumscreen formula. True Botanicals Skin Barrier Sun Shield uses more zinc so it feels more like a sunblock than the Plumscreen does. HOWEVER Skin Barrier has more skin supporting ingredients than Plumscreen. It’s also third party vetted for safety where as Plumscreen is not. My personal recommendation (since both of these are the best of the best) is try one this time and then try the other next and see which one you like better. You really can’t go wrong! xo, Lisa

  2. Reply

    Rose

    Thanks so much Lisa!! I definitely do love the Plumscreen thanks to your 😁recommendation. I’m looking forward to trying the True Botanicals next. Maybe I’ll have 2 favorites!! 😊💕

  3. Reply

    Kiran

    What’s your say on colorescience sunscreens and their products?

  4. Reply

    Autumn

    Hi Lisa, I love your blog and am using it for so many things! Great inspiration for growing out my gray hair and now also learning about clean make up. Thank you! I am wondering if you’ve tried the new True Botanicals skin tint spf? I’d love any thoughts on it. I love their skin barrier Sun shield. Thanks!

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Autumn! I have it, I just haven’t gotten to try it yet. Will report back ASAP although another reader wrote in saying it was hard to color match and they color they suggested was way too dark for her. But check True Botanicals’ return policy bc for some reason I think it’s really easy to return with them! xo, Lisa

  5. Reply

    Alison

    I’m surprised this doesn’t focus on the fact it’s non nano which is HUGE. I’ve been using a clean brand for years not realizing it was just zinc oxide and a hair mineral test came back with my zinc extremely high. Blood labs showed it being low. The dr immediately asked about my sunscreen.

    1. Reply

      Lisa Fennessy

      Hi Alison! I am so curious which brand you were using that had nano zinc in it? : ) Lisa

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.