It’s no surprise that I seriously enjoy testing out beauty products. But when you get to the point where you feel like you’ve seen it all and tried it all, it gets harder and harder to get excited about new launches. There are only so many neutral eyeshadow palettes, felt-tipped black eyeliner pens, and matte lipsticks you can try before everything starts to look and feel the same. After a while you start wondering if you’re mumbling “long-wearing…buttery…opaque finish…” in your sleep. Once in a while, though, a brand will come out with something innovative, something mind-blowing and revolutionary. Something that has people saying “I MUST TRY THIS” and impulsively pressing the “add to cart” button on the Sephora website. Hence where I’m going with this super rambley rant of mine. The COOLA SPF30 Makeup Setting Spray ($36) is one of those could-be-genius beauty products that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on. A lightweight spray that locks down makeup AND provides you with SPF? You’ve got to admit, it sounds pretty brilliant. And after a few weeks worth of use, it’s finally time to let you know whether or not I got myself excited for good reason.
When it comes to sunscreen, Coola has got a pretty solid reputation for providing products that combine eco-conscious, all-natural ingredients with powerful UV protective agents. I’m a huge fan of their Matte Tinted Mineral Sunscreen and Liplux lip balm, and have really been curious about trying some of their body products as well. Knowing that Coola is a suncare company and not a cosmetics company is part of the reason I was so jazzed to see they had developed this product. While I’m all for keeping my makeup looking fresher, longer, having the ability to reapply sunscreen on a makeup laden face is what truly blew my mind.
Let’s be real here, for a moment. We all know that protecting our skin from the damaging rays of the sun is important, and not just in the summer. And sure we may go out of our way to use a moisturizer or foundation with SPF every morning, but its actual effectiveness is only going to last so long. Who, honestly, is going to take off all their makeup and reapply sunscreen throughout the day? Unless I’m at the beach and going totally bare faced, it just ain’t gonna happen. So, knowing that Coola had developed a product that could be used OVER makeup that had SPF 30 and didn’t require a brush or a mirror to apply was so crazy exciting to me that it went immediately to the top of my shopping list.
On top of the whole SPF concept, this formula also contains cucumber and aloe extracts to soothe and refresh, as well as hyaluronic acid to help bind moisture to the skin. Coola claims that 70% of the formula is comprised of organic ingredients, which also sounds pretty darn appealing as no one wants to smother their face in chemicals.
With all that being said, this product had a lot to live up to. I’d love to say that it didn’t disappoint at all, but I don’t think that would be completely honest. It definitely has its merits, but there are also a few things about it that miffed me a little.
My biggest issue with this product is that upon closer inspection of the ingredients list, the very first item is alcohol. Organic alcohol (that’s a thing, apparently), but alcohol. Perhaps this wouldn’t seem like a very big deal until you’re spraying it in your face. Unless you would like the very unpleasant sensation of breathing in and/or getting alcohol fumes in your eyes, you need to be seriously careful when you spray this on. After giving myself a few good spritzes I will fan down my face with my hands until it’s dry before I open my eyes. It only take a couple of extra seconds, and I promise you it’s worth it. Also, if you have any tiny micro cuts or irritations on the surface of your skin, spraying this on top is going to sting a bit. I may or may not have learned this the hard way a few times.
Once it dries down, though, I think this product is quite nice. It doesn’t leave your skin feeling greasy or looking shiney like many other sunscreens do, and I think it does help to keep your makeup on longer. I’m not entirely sold on the whole mattifying thing, although my skin has been so insanely oily lately in this hot weather that I might be a bit of a hopeless case. I’m also not in love with the fact that this uses chemical sunscreens, but I also understand that physical ones would be kind of impossible in a spray-on format. On that note, you may want to consider what kind of SPF might be in other products you use so as not to mix kinds together that will ultimately make them all less effective. Perhaps I’ll have to give a more detailed sunscreen rant at some point, but for now, you are probably better off using this with other chemical sunscreens (aka anything other than titanium dioxide and zinc oxide).
Packaging and design wise I’m definitely loving how this product looks. Coola’s colors are bright and cheery and definitely feel like summertime. There is an agitator inside the canister, so while that does make the whole mixing process more effective when you shake it up, it also makes quite the racket. Also, the spray nozzle does dispense quite a dense amount of product, so you’ll need a few sprays to cover your whole face. Due to the nature of the ingredients the spray is made of the nozzle can also clog or stick easily (although they do send you a nice little note inside the box warning you of this phenomenon and what to do).
So what’s the final verdict? If your main concern is setting down your makeup, I think there are some better (and more affordable) options on the market. However, if you’re more interested in sun protection, I still think this is a pretty genius product. The alcohol is kind of a bummer, and those with super sensitive skin may find this irritating during the application process. However, if you can get past those 30 seconds of discomfort, this is a great way to get some non-greasy SPF on your face with the added benefit of being friendly to the makeup you worked so hard to put on.
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