Things We Finish: Coola Classic Face Sunscreen

Coola Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber
Coola Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber

When you work in beauty (at a magazine or website), a big part of the job is trying out new products, no matter if you already have your face moisturizer or your red lipstick. Which isn't to say you can't have a few standbys, but the name of the game is experimentation: you're constantly moving from one product to the next, to see what works and thus what's important to tell the world (i.e., you) about. It's a rare experience, then, to find yourself coaxing out the last drops from a moisturizer tube, or fumbling with a tiny stub of eyeliner. **Cue violins** But when we do finish something, it means we must really love that product. Hence, our new feature: Things We Finish, in which we talk about the products that we spoiled beauty junkies squeeze, scrape, or shake 'til there is nothing left. First up: Nick and his Coola Classic Face Sunscreen SPF30 in Cucumber.

I hate sunscreen. It smells bad, it feels bad, and no matter what dermatologists tell us, most days I think I don't need it. I'm barely going to be in the sun anyway, who cares? If I manage to absorb a few precious rays somewhere between my office and Dean & DeLuca, I'm OK with that. Isn't vitamin D deficiency the leading cause of death (after water bottles) these days, anyway? Plus, I like my face moisturizer straight up and full of 'complexes' and potent, proprietary ingredients, so as to best freeze 'visible signs of aging' in their tracks. No SPF to spoil the broth.

But sometimes I let my mom and Dr. David Colbert get to me, and I decide I'm going to try to be good and wear some (skin) protection. It must be: lightweight, non-smelling, and totally uncolored (there are lots of good tinted SPFs, like Skinceuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense, but I don't wear makeup). Coola Classic Face Sunscreen SPF30 in Cucumber fit the bill, in that it's completely inoffensive. It's thin, goes on easily over moisturizer, leaves a nice dewy finish, and there's no lingering scent after an initial hit of unisex cucumber. It's also 70% organic and contains ingredients that sound like they are helping me turn back the hands of time: plankton extract (!!!), acai oil, safflower oleosomes... My tube is kicked. My mom is happy. All is good in the world.

—Nick Axelrod

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • tera

    SPF before or after moisturizer??? Help.

    • ITGNick

      I'm pretty sure you're technically meant to apply SPF before your moisturizer, since sunscreens are tested for efficacy directly on skin and that's the only way to guarantee full protection. BUT I usually put it on after moisturizer :/ Thoughts?

      • Mia

        I believe that physical sunscreen should be applied after moisturizer and chemical sunscreen before. This was also discussed here:

      • MissWix

        Sunscreen is your last step. Think of your products in terms of thinnest to thickest...serum, moisturizer, sunscreen, then makeup if you wear it. The actual sunscreen, whether it's titanium dioxide or zinc or whatever, is super bulky. If you put it on first, nothing else will penetrate through it.

      • CK

        I use a moisturizing sunscreen, the Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense (sold in Asia) and since it's moisturizing in itself, no need for separate moisturizer. (Plus, its like a highlighter making your face radiant. Seriously.) And gets rid of the problem of what we should be applying first.

      • murt

        I think it depends on whether it's a chemical or physical filter - chemical goes under moisturizer, physical over.

        • Amanda

          yes this

        • Gillian

          You're exactly right. Always apply chemical sunscreens closest to the skin so the active chemicals can be absorbed. And apply physical barriers last.

    • MojoJojo

      I've always thought it was SPF after moisturizer. I pretty much follow the order laid out here:
      BUT- I honestly think the most important thing is to just make sure you're wearing it and wearing enough of it (most people use too little).

      • adamalpha

        But y'all, L'Oreal Miracle Blur says to put it on as the last step in your regimen. And it's a chemical sunscreen.

  • Ella

    Definitely going to try this out! I've been using La Roche Posay's facial sunscreen, and it makes my skin dry… This seems like the perfect alternative.

    xx Ella

  • Meredith

    Coola forever!!!! And for us oilier folk, the Coola matte cucumber SPF 30 is amazing. I prefer to use physical sunblock, and this is the only one I've found that doesn't leave me a total greaseball with a white cast on my face. Plus, it performs well under makeup. And the packaging is beautiful and comes with a pump.

  • wonderskirt

    I want to mention that Coola is confirmed non-comedogenic. For those of us who tend to break out, this one is a great option.

    • Adrienne Angelos

      "Non-comedogenic" is such a load. Everyone's skin reacts differently to different ingredients so there isn't a definitive list of what will break you out and what won't. As a reference, I give you this:

      That being said, very few people seem to have averse reactions to Coola so I'm still interested in their products!

  • Poulette

    ah its not a physical filter, but chemical…. so you have to re-apply. which is a bummer if you wear make up as I do.

    Sigh…. the search continues…

    • BunnyIA

      the matte version is a physical sunblock - titanium dioxide and zinc!

      • murt

        Oh thanks!!! Will check out the matte version! I was just going to post that it was this sunblock is a chemical filter not physical.... I'm
        not really much for 'clean' or 'organic' or 'natural' skin care
        products - most of the stuff I use is just made up of conventional
        brands, but I am wary of chemical filters in sunblocks like Octinoxate.

    • Alison

      You should try MDSolarSciences SPF 50. It's a physical block with antioxidants. I've tried so many different sunscreens for my breakout prone skin and this one has been the best so far. Chemical sunscreens don't work for my sensitive skin.

      • Amanda

        YES MDSOLARSCIENCES IS SO GOOOOOD!!!! Wearing the tinted SPF 30 right now

  • Jennifer Monforton

    I fell in love with Coola Cucumber sunscreen last summer! Works wonderfully as a makeup base on my oily skin, doesn't break me out, and I love all of the natural ingredients! Glad you're liking it too :)

  • haley cue

    I've got the Coola Unscented Matte Tint - it came as a sample in my Birchbox first and I fell in love. I use it on my bare skin or over a thin layer of primer (maybe that's backwards?), then usually rub in a few drops of rose hip oil. It's the perfect base for me.

  • Kelly G

    I once received a sample of this in a Birchbox, but the little tube was practically empty so I didn't really get to try it out! Glad you liked it enough to finish it entirely! xo Kelly

  • TKB

    I looked at the ingredient list for the Coola Classic Face Sunscreen SPF30 in Cucumber and saw that it ONLY has 2% avobenzone (the sunscreen ingredient that protects against UVA rays, or the aging/wrinkle rays).

    I believe there should be a minimum of 3% avobenzone in any sunscreen to be effective (where that is the only ingredient being used to block UVA rays). The other sunscreen ingredients block UVB rays.

    Does anyone have any insight on this?

  • Firn

    All your fancy anti-aging serums are not going to help if you do not religiously apply sunscreen because 90% of aging is due to UV rays! And it's from small cumulative doses (such as walking to and from Dean & DeLuca).

    • CherHorowitz

      True, that. SPF is the BEST anti-aging "serum."

  • sweetpotato69

    I'm very oily/acne prone and the best sunscreen I've ever used is by MDSolarSciences. Since I've been using it I can go the whole day without blotting my face which something that hasn't happened since elementary school


  • Sylvie

    Badger, Goddess Garden, and Juice Beauty foreva- No smells, no breakouts.

  • LB

    This is a great idea for a column! I'm a total beauty junkie that tries everything, no matter how expensive, the one thing I continuously finish and buy again? Jergens Natural Glow daily moisturizer for the face. And it's not even one of those things I profess my love for to anyone, it's just stuck with me longer than anything else.

  • Eliza

    Love this new column! And this sunscreen sounds great, definitely going to test it out once it hits above 40 and I actually leave my apartment.

  • Guest

    What would this look like on brown skin? Does it leave a white residue? Perhaps you have a brown skinned person on staff who wouldn't mind testing it and getting back to us. Thanks!

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    That's sounding like a good option to try for someone like me who is sensitive.

  • Jessica

    Didn't work for me as burn protection.

    I got this with extremely high hopes! I hate the smell of normal sunscreen as well as the thickness (I prefer a moisturizer constancy to a lotion) but my pale skin burns easily, so I was hoping this would be the sunscreen to end all my sunscreen issues. Unfortunately, despite reapplying dutifully every 30 minutes or so (It's only SPF 30) my face burned! I tried again a few days later and experienced similar results. It smells great (the cucumber sent is nice and subtle,) the constancy is perfect...but it doesn't work well as a sunscreen. As a moisturizer I like it. Overall a major disappointment.


Coola Classic Face SPF 30 Cucumber
SkinCeuticals Physical Fusion UV Defense SPF 50