This is a hands-on review of the CoTZ Flawless Complexion Sunscreen. It includes photos of the packaging and the product in use on my skin, and a breakdown of features and info you might like to know before making a purchase.
Just so you know, I was sent this sunscreen as part of a 4-product CoTZ sample pack. I’ve written a review on each of them if you’d like to check the others out.
CoTZ are a dermatologist-recommended sunscreen brand that aim to make ‘Healthier Sunscreen’ – as their motto goes. They do a great job of achieving this goal with their entire product range including this sunscreen – Flawless Complexion.
Before we dive into the details, let’s take a quick look at how they position this product:
- Blemish Free
- Non-Comedogenic (translation: won’t clog pores)
The first two basically claim this product won’t cause your skin to break out. The last suggests it has some hydrating ingredients.
You then get the standard CoTZ promise of no:
- Chemical sunscreens
So far so good. But let’s dig a little deeper to make sure this product lives up to its marketing.
Here is the box and 2.5oz bottle with all of the details:
You probably don’t want to zoom in a read all those ingredients so I’m going to make it easy for you:
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 20%.
Inactive Ingredients: C Alkyl Benzoate, Caprylhydroxamic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl PEG/PPG 10/1-Dimethicone, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Glycerin, Iron Oxide, Methicone, Microcrystalline Wax, PEG-10 Dimethicone, PEG-30 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Polyhydroxystearate Acid, Polysorbate 20, Sodium Chloride, Stearyl Dimethicone, Tetrahexadecyl Ascorbate, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethanolamine, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Water.
The inactive ingredients (inactive just means they don’t play a part in the sun protection) are full of long and complicated words with a lot of suffixes from biology class (-oate, -yl, -ane, -one, -ymer, -ine, -ate). Don’t be scared – this isn’t a bad thing though.
Let’s pick through and see if the CoTZ claims make sense.
First off there’s none of the nasty oils and pore-cloggers as CoTZ promised on the bottle. You can check out a list of these ingredients here (so you can avoid them). This means the non-comedogenic claim will probably be true for most people – although you can’t guarantee it for everyone.
You’ve also got the number one hydrating ingredient in there – Glycerin. This stuff occurs naturally, but can be derived synthetically, and it’s a miracle worker. It sucks moisture from the air into your skin and helps keep the texture of the product silky (which we’ll get to later).
Here’s a montage of me applying CoTZ Flawless Complexion:
(I’ve included the stills from this GIF below)
Now let’s get into the details. I’m going to try to cover as many aspects of the product as I can think of to make sure you get all the info you need before you buy.
Flawless Complexion offers amazing physical protection from the sun.
The physical/mineral means the sunscreen forms a barrier between your skin and the sun. It then works like a mirror reflecting light away from your body. This is the most effective sun protection method.
From there you have the SPF 50 rating. This means when applied properly, this sunscreen blocks 98% of UVB radiation (the stuff that causes sunburn).
On top of this it has an insane concentration of its active ingredient. 20% zinc oxide guarantees amazing protection. Zinc oxide is the best physical/mineral sunscreen and arguably the most complete sunscreen as it covers so much of the UVA/UVB spectrum.
So you’re getting thorough and balanced protection across the full range of the damaging and deadly UV spectrum.
When I tried it myself I didn’t have any problems. I spent a few hours in the sun and returned without any redness or dryness.
On the bottle they mention that the sunscreen is lightly tinted. From the GIF above you might have seen that this light tint can be quite noticeable.
Here’s the difference between my natural skin color and the tint provided by the sunscreen. Please keep in mind that my skin is very light here as this photo was taken well before summer.
The longer you let it dry the less noticeable it becomes so this photo might not be the best example. There’s a couple of things that will impact how the tint looks on your skin including your natural skin tone and how thick you apply the sunscreen.
I like to have a healthy coverage as sun protection is my number 1 concern making the tint more visible. But this might not be the case for you and the tint wouldn’t be quite as noticeable.
Having said all that, when I wore the sunscreen on my face I like the look of it and would definitely feel comfortable including it in my daily routine as a base for other cosmetics.
There are no oils as ingredients in the sunscreen and it doesn’t feel oily or greasy on the skin.
If you don’t let it dry properly it can rub off easily and feel wet/greasy – so just be patient. Apply it early in your routine, let it dry thoroughly (at least 5 if not 10 minutes) before you comes back to the same area.
As I mentioned earlier this product is labeled as non-comedogenic. It doesn’t contain any of the usual suspects that would create issues for most people’s skin. But remember that different products will create different reactions for different people.
I have a history of acne myself and after a few consecutive days of use didn’t notice it causing any trouble for my skin.
But again, I can’t guarantee the same results for you.
When dried thoroughly the Flawless Complexion has an impressive matte finish. I think the tint helps the cause on this point but I was happy with the lack of shine and wore it on my face without feeling self-conscious.
Replacement for Makeup
Some people think that tinted sunscreens can completely replace makeup. I think this is true depending on the context.
If you’re heading to the beach – perfect. You don’t want a lot of (or any) makeup anyway. The tint does a fair bit to reduce the appearance of blemishes, however, it’s not perfect. If you don’t wear a lot of makeup generally, it might get the job done.
If you’re thinking about using it on a day-to-day basis and you wear a lot of makeup as is, just the sunscreen isn’t going to cut it. But it does work well as a base for other cosmetics.
Just make sure you let it dry completely before you apply anything else. Give it enough time (and then a little extra) and you won’t have any issues.
It’s not completely free from smell like some of their other products. It’s not that gross chemical sunscreen smell you get with the usual suspects but it’s more than nothing.
I can’t quite put my finger on what it smells like but it reminds me of other cosmetics, like foundation. When on and dry it’s barely noticeable and won’t trigger any sensitivities.
For a sunscreen with 20% zinc oxide, the texture of Flawless Complexion is AMAZING. It comes out of the bottle easily, with the silky formula spreading quickly and smoothly.
If you’ve tried other high concentration physical sunscreens you might be wary because usually they’re a thick gloopy mess that you have to drag across you skin. This is nothing like this and a pleasure to work with.
Ease of application
Because of the amazingly silky texture, application is a breeze. It’s not hard to spread and dries relatively quickly. Definitely wait 5-10 minutes before using additional cosmetics as applying while the sunscreen is even slightly moist will not be pretty.
As mentioned earlier, Flawless Complexion contains Glycerin, one of the most common and effective moisturizers used in cosmetics.
It’s not going to replace an actual moisturizer, but it’s not going to dry you out like some sunscreens can. I used it for a few days in a row and didn’t notice any dryness at all.
In the scheme of the entire sunscreen market – both physical and chemical – this isn’t a cheap sunscreen. If you’re used to buying chemical sunscreens you’ll certainly get a bit of shock from the price tag (check the price here).
However, for a physical sunscreen it’s not too bad. I’m happy with the price, especially given the high quality sun protection and the cosmetic nature of the formula (silky texture, tint etc).
Given the sum of its features, Flawless Complexion is a fantastic sunscreen. I thoroughly recommend it as a premium mineral sunscreen for daily use.