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Drunk Elephant Review > Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 for face & body (Tips & Warnings)

Published by Jasmine Seo

Drunk Elephant products caught my eye mainly due to their unique brand name XD. I was checking their products and came across the Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30. It's loaded with non-toxic natural ingredients including anti-oxidants and zinc oxide, so I thought I should give it a try as I'm always up for trying new sun care products. And it's very reasonably priced for a huge tube, so why not :3.

Drunk Elephant Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30

Texture & Scent

I'm normally fine with scents as long as it's not too spicy or too strong. Regardless, Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 is unscented and the smell isn't actually too bad. I would say that it smells like plain paper XD. The consistency of the product by itself is quite brilliant. It's in a soft creamy texture, which I find to be pretty rare for a zinc oxide sunblock. It goes on my skin quite smooth and doesn't feel drying. I can actually feel that it does hydrate my skin to a certain extent.

Drunk Elephant Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30


A broad-spectrum, cell-energizing sunblock loaded with potent antioxidants to fight free radicals and also deliver powerful UV protection, anti-aging benefits and a glowing, iridescent finish.

Umbra™ is a physical formulation loaded with antioxidants that aid in the prevention of oxidative cell damage and photoaging. Infused with Sunflower Shoot Extract, Astaxanthin, Raspberry Seed Oil and Marula Oil, Umbra™ will leave your skin healthy and protected — without any residue or greasiness. Ideal for all skin tones.

  • Sunflower Sprout Extract: A powerful anti-aging ingredient that neutralizes oxidative damage and exhibits strong anti-glycation properties. Preserves the energy of the cells and inhibits production of MMPs.

  • Astaxanthin-rich Algae Extract: DNA protective carotenoid that is able to prevent the oxidative damage to skin after exposure to UVA radiation due to its potent antioxidant properties.

  • Raspberry Seed Oil: Offers the skin broad spectrum protection from damaging UVA and UVB rays. The SPF of red raspberry seed oil has been found to be equal to that of titanium dioxide.

  • Virgin Marula™ Oil: Hydrating oil that protects, heals and rejuvenates skin. High in Antioxidants and Omegas 6 & 9.

  • Sea Water: Has a high mineral content and benefits tired, dry skin.

  • Aloe Vera Leaf Extract: Moisturizes, calms and heals the skin.

  • Grape Juice Extract: Aids in healing and is an anti-inflammatory. Has anti-fungal, anti-microbial and antioxidant properties and acts as a natural UV absorber.


Application & Dilemma

However, I should say blending it into skin is hard work. Yes, I understand that Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 is natural, so I shouldn't have expected the fast absorbing perks from the start or at least at that price point. So it takes about a minute or two to apply the sunblock on my skin. And that's the quickest that I could get with it -_-.

Here is the situation:

A. You put it on your face and most of it just literally sits on your skin.
B. Then, you massage it in with rolling motion, hoping that it will absorb fast enough.
C. Uh, now you have big white circles here and there on your skin.
D. So you try again, and you find out that the skin care products that you put on is starting to be rubbed off.
E. Aaaargh, disaster -_-.

Drunk Elephant Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30

And here's the technique that I developed to avoid the same disaster that I had:

A. Don't layer anything that forms a veil on your skin.
B. Put on something hydrating that lets Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 glide onto skin better.
C. Never use a rolling motion when massaging in.
D. Massage in the product from the center of your face outwards, quickly until you see that it has evenly covered your skin.
E. Make sure your hair line and along the jawline doesn't have the white strokes.
F. Give a bit of light dabbing on your skin, which helps it sink in faster.

Drunk Elephant Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30
Yay, you are finally done with applying! :D

Drunk Elephant Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30


It's very gentle that I even put it around the eye area, and it didn't make me cry :D.
My very sensitive lip line was fine too. I didn't get any itch throughout the day. Trust me, it works brilliantly on body without being sticky or oily. I really love the fact of how gentle the product is <3 Even better, my man and I both didn't get a sunburn! :D

Now the biggest concern arises..

The company claims Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 to be sheer, but it's actually not that sheer unless your skin is very fair. There is none of that traditional ridiculous white cast once it's all set, but there is a visible brightness on your skin and white sunblock stuck in the dry patches, eye brows and long the hair line. Especially, if you are a man with a beard, then it will all stuck in there, which can be quite annoying. And that's the main reason why my man simply doesn't like Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 although it never caused any irritation on his eczema-prone skin. My man has pink-toned very fair skin, yet he got a white cast with the sunblock.

As for my yellow-toned light to medium skin, yes, it still leaves a bit of white cast. You can clearly tell that I have put on sunblock on the street. I've noticed that my skin gets a bit oily on the surface but dehydrated inside in about 3-4 hours. This won't be a big problem if you reapply once every 2 hours, but reapplying is also as challenging as the initial application. For my skin, it actually gave me more white cast when I reapplied the sunblock, which sort of discouraged me to layer it throughout the day :/.


Drunk Elephant Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30

Umbra™ Sheer Physical Defense SPF 30 indeed has lovely ingredients and texture in a reasonably priced package for a face and body sunblock. However, I feel that the slow absorption and finish of the product can make some people hesitant to try out. Certainly, the sunblock isn't designed for those with a layering skin care regime, which is a bit of shame. However, if you have a 1 or 2 skin care products that you use after cleansing, then you should be fine as long as the consistency of the skin care product that you use isn't too mattifying or forms a barrier on top of your skin. Regardless, I still enjoy the sunblock when I take my dogs out for a walk with my cap on as I can cover up half of my slightly white-ish lightened face XD. LOL. I wouldn't really choose to put it on my face if I needed to meet other people though :P. But hey, it's still packed with healthy nutrients for skin and formulated to be very gentle at a very reasonable price with a very generous amount in a tube :).

Further Reading

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