If you're never quite sure whether the ads for popular beauty products can be believed, relax. Our 4you Beauty Board is made up of veteran testers ready to try the latest when it comes to all things beauty. We'll share what worked and what bombed with the hope of making life a little easier for you.
Check out our online database of reviews at TBO.com, search: Beauty Board.
Eshu moisturizing sunscreen, SPF 30+
Available at Macy's, Sephora and online at Amazon.com; about $30 for 3.4 ounces
“Contains broad spectrum sunscreen filters to help protect skin and Vitamin E to help moisturize it. The scent of eucalyptus, citrus and mint leaves you feeling refreshed.”
Rating: B –
Ken says: We all need an effective sunscreen in Florida, and my spooky pallor requires special attention. The upside of this Australian-made product is that it spreads on easily and isn't exceptionally thick, so you don't notice it when it's on – at first. The manufacturer touts the scent – a eucalyptus, mint and citrus blend – but I found it off-putting in a sunscreen. It's great for a shave gel you plan to wash off, but you don't want to smell like a woodsy lumberjack around the pool. I also found that once I work up a good sweat in the yard, it tends to run into my eyes. Let's just say that hint of Aussie back country in your peepers in 90-degree heat is no mood enhancer. As for protection from damaging ultraviolet rays, it performed well. No noticeable burn or pinkness was evident. But I'd rethink the scent.
Ken Koehn, 50, is managing editor of The Tampa Tribune.
Ocean Potion Instant Dry 30 SPF
Available at drugstores, food stores and other retailers; $9 for 6 ounces
“… offer(s) fragrance-free and highly water and sweat resistant production.”
Julio says: For me, nothing beats the smell of salt water mixed with boat exhaust and Coppertone sunscreen. One sniff and I'm 8 years old again in my dad's boat, anchored just off the shore of Egmont Key, chomping on strips of guava paste. It's why I use Coppertone. It's the main reason why I'm not too crazy about Ocean Potion's Instant Dry Mist Sport, which claims to be fragrance free but has a scent that is a bit fruity. Aside from the smell, there are other issues. I'm not a big fan of spray sunscreens, though they do come in handy on a fishing trip when the only person around to rub sunscreen on your back is an old college buddy named Woody. This one claims to be an “instant dry mist.” It's not. It goes on wet and takes a minute or so to dry. The product provides adequate protection from the sun. It didn't seem any more or less water resistant than other sunscreens, though your skin has to be completely dry when reapplying, which can be a problem in 90 degree heat.
Julio Ochoa, 40, is assistant regional editor for The Tampa Tribune.
Margaritaville Parrot Head Fins Up Sport
Available at margaritavilleretail.com and drugstore.com; $11.99 to $13.99 for 6 ounces
“Only Margaritaville Parrot Head Sun Care is fortified with Aloe Hydrating Complex and the Light essence of Margaritaville fragrance to provide quality sun care protection for you and your family.”
Eddie says: Lesson No. 1: Do not apply this sunscreen if your head or face is freshly shaven! Sure it says so on the bottle, but did I read that part? Of course not. Once you get past the slight smell of alcohol, the sun block applies pretty evenly. Since I'm paranoid and I've felt the sting of a sunburn a few times, I rubbed it in to ensure I was good to go. That's not really needed, though. A recent outing to Busch Gardens combined the full glare of the sun as well as drenching humidity, and it held up just fine. It's clear another application would have been needed, but that comes with the territory. Initially it has an oily look and feel, but it the glisten goes away and it dries with a matte finish. The good news: The stuff works. The bad news: No more free back rubs since you can apply it to yourself.
Eddie Daniels, 37, is a staff writer for The Tampa Tribune, covering news in Pasco County. In another life, he covered professional boxing, arena football, and high school sports for the Trib.
No-Ad SPF 45 Sunblock Lotion
Available at Wal-Mart and other retail stores for as little as $8.47 for 16 ounces
“Enriched with Aloe and Vitamin E, this non-greasy sunscreen lotion conditions your skin.”
Rob says: They've been around for more than 50 years, which is just a tad longer than me, so the folks at No-Ad should know a thing or two about sunscreen. It also might help that the company is based in sun-splashed Cocoa on Florida's east coast; No-Ad is no stranger to the brutal rays of the sun here in the Sunshine State. I used the 45 SPF on beach outings and didn't end up looking like a lobster – not even on those always-sensitive tops of my feet. The only part of my body that did get a little too much sun was my billboard forehead, which frequently gets sunburned because there is so much acreage. No-Ad isn't oily or messy when being applied and dries to the touch quickly. The only thing I could have wished for was a nice tropical smell – maybe some coconuts. But for practical purposes overall, No-Ad has plenty of advantages.
Rob Shaw is a freelance writer based in St. Petersburg.