Understanding our Icons

In the past couple of years, Brush On Block has added what we call “icons” to the sides of some of our packages. These icons are your guide to what’s in (or not in) the product inside the box. Here’s a little clarification to what some of them mean!

Broad Spectrum – means that the product associated with this icon protects you from both UVA (aging) and UVB (burning) rays. If a product does not say Broad Spectrum, it will prevent sunburn but will not protect your skin from photo-aging, and its ability to protect against skin cancer is reduced.

Cruelty Free

Cruelty-Free – Just a reminder that our products contain no animal-derived ingredients, and we do not test on animals. We are certified by Peta for being vegan and animal-test compliant. We do not use raw ingredients that are tested on animals and we also do not sell our product in areas that require animal testing.

Family Friendly

Family-Friendly – this means that anyone in your family (except babies under six months of age) can use this product. Some of our products are not labeled Family Friendly (for instance our Lip Oils) simply because we don’t expect that the average person would want to use them on their child, but all of our products can safely be used on anyone over six months of age.

Gluten Free

Gluten-free – Not only are our products free of gluten, but every ingredient is as well. We use no wheat, barley or rye-derived ingredients. If you suffer from Celiac Disease, you could eat the products that have the gluten-free icon. You could, but we do not recommend it.

Mineral Actives

Mineral Actives – this one is probably the most important of all, because without it, Brush On Block wouldn’t exist. The FDA has approved 16 active ingredients for sunscreen, and of those, only 8 are widely used. Of all of them, only two are what the FDA terms “generally recognized as safe and effective,” or GRASE. Those two are the two mineral active ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Zinc oxide is also one of the two ingredients that provides protection from UVA rays, the ones that cause the signs of skin aging.

When they were young, Andrea Wetsel (Brush On Block’s founder) discovered that one of her daughters was having an allergic reaction to chemical sunscreen actives. This led her to learning more about sunscreen and the active ingredients that can be used in it, which in turn led her to creating Brush On Block. All of our sunscreen products contain only mineral actives…either zinc oxide alone, or a combination of zinc and titanium dioxide, for sunscreen that is effective and safe for you, your family and our planet.

Non Nano

Non-Nano – None of the particles in a product with this icon are nano-sized, and are also considered by OSHA to be non-respirable. That means that if you DO inhale them, they cannot get deep into your respiratory system, but are large enough that the nose and throat filter them out.

PA+++ UVA RAY Protection

PA +++ – Did you know that the SPF on a product only refers to how effective it is at screening out UVB rays? And that’s only half the UV story (and less than half in winter months)! In Japan, they developed the PA scale to rank how effective a product is at screening from UVA rays. (Both UVA and UVB can lead to skin cancer. UVA causes signs of aging and UVB causes sunburn.) PA+ means the product offers some UVA protection, PA++ means it offers moderate UV protection. PA +++ (which applies to all of Brush On Block’s SPF 30 mineral powder sunscreens) provides high UVA protection and PA++++ offers extremely high UVA protection. Since the PA scale is not approved by the FDA for sunscreens sold in the US, we don’t put this information on the front of our boxes, but we know it is important information, so we put it on the side with our icons.

Plant Derived Squalane

Plant-Derived Squalene – Traditionally, Squalene, an ingredient prized for it’s moisturizing properties, was sourced from the liver of sharks. As a cruelty-free company, it should go without saying that we would NEVER use squalene from an animal source, but this icon is just a reminder that squalene in our formulas is always plant-derived!

Reef Friendly

Reef-Friendly – Your assurance that the product not only does not contain any of the chemical sunscreen actives that are banned in certain jurisdictions around the world, but that it also does not contain nano-particles.

Water Resistant 80 Minutes

Water Resistant 80 Minutes – Did you know that no sunscreen should ever claim to be waterproof (or sweatproof)? That’s because no sunscreen is truly waterproof, and the FDA ruled in 2011 that sunscreens could no longer make these claims. Instead, there are two tests for water resistance, one is for 40 minutes in water, and the other is for 80 minutes in water. Our mineral powder sunscreens have passed the 80 minute test, which means that after wearing Brush On Block for 80 minutes in the water, you need to reapply. This supersedes the “reapply every 2 hours” rule. All sunscreens should be reapplied immediately if you leave the water and towel off.

Certified Vegan

Vegan – Have we already said that? Well, yes. But so many people ask, we want to be very clear about it. We are completely vegan, from the bristles on our brushes to the tiniest ingredient.