Nivea · Thinksport

Sun Protection Showdown – Nivea Sun Lotion vs ThinkSport Sunscreen

Hello Lovelies,

Although temperatures in Malta peaked at 40 degrees Celsius for the majority of the summer, I was not a regular at the beach or at the pool due to work and the thought of spending time in the sun. In spite of the coming cold and cloudy weather, the importance of sun protection cannot be stressed enough, be it staying indoors during peak hours, wearing hats, sunglasses and clothes which shield the skin from the sun, and utilising sunscreens or sunblocks.

As many of you probably know I am not a skin expert, however, I will attempt to explain the difference between sunscreen and sunblock from the research I conducted when I was researching sun protection.


First off, irrespective of whether you are shopping for sunscreens or sunblocks, it is imperative that the product is broad spectrum meaning that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, both UVA and UVB have proven to contribute to the risk of skin cancer.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) has a longer wavelength, and  is associated with skin aging.

Ultraviolet B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength and is associated with skin burning.

The product must also be water resistant, meaning that it will be effective for a period of time in the water (typically 40 minutes unless it says that it is very water resistant or states a higher time period) before it loses its effectiveness and has to be applied again.

Also, take note of the SPF! For those with fair skin, sun protection of SPF 50 and higher is optimal to prevent burning as much as possible.

A distinction may sometimes have to be made between sunblocks (physical sun protection) and sun screens (chemical sun protection). The latter when applied would penetrate the skin and absorb the UV rays before they can cause their damage, whilst physical sunblocks would sit on top of the skin and act as a barrier against UV rays. A very easy way to tell whether the sun protection you are eyeing will offer physical or a chemical protection is to look at the ingredients list. If there are zinc oxide and titanium dioxide the sun protection would probably be a sunblock offering physical protection. I used the term ‘may’ above because some brands have taken to make their sun protection a hybrid of both.

Irrespective of the type of sun protection you choose, both physical and chemical have their pros and cons. Physical sunblocks are preferred by those who have sensitive skin since it sits on the skin, however they are most likely to rub off and leave a cast. Chemical sunscreens apply like a lotion, but they may take some time to start working and can clog pores and possibly irritate the skin.

Finally, and perhaps the reason why I have posted this review so close to the end of summer, is that sun protection should be used all year long if your skin is exposed to the sun!!! Let’s be honest, if you’re wearing long sleeves, you need not wear sun protection on your arms, however, you should be using it on your face! Foundations and BB creams which claim to provide sun protection may be more desirable in colder weather, however they do not provide adequate protection in direct sunlight during the hot seasons. Why? For all the reasons explained above – broad spectrum, spf, water resistant etc.

Following the above long introduction, which in no way covers all that needs to be said about sun protection (so do some research of your own), let me introduce you to the two products I have been using religiously these past months and compare them for you:

Nivea Protect & Hydrate Sun Lotion 50+ SPF


NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture Sun Lotion contains highly effective UVA/UVB filters and immediately protects against sun exposure and long term UV-induced skin damage. The sunscreen helps to reduce the risk of sun allergies, offers long-lasting and intensive moisturisation and is water resistant.



  • Shake well before use.
  • Do not spray directly onto face/avoid inhalation.
  • Apply generously before sun exposure enough before rubbing in, let it dry then reapply to ensure adequate coverage and no missed areas.
  • Reapply frequently especially after swimming, perspiring and toweling.
  • Applying insufficient product will lower the level of protection.
  • Avoid intensive midday sun (11-3pm).
  • Allow to absorb completely and avoid contact with textiles and hard surfaces to prevent staining.
  • Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight.
  • Wear protective clothing (hat, t-shirt, sunglasses) and apply sufficient sunscreen on sun-exposed areas (face, arms, and legs).
  • Even when protected avoid over-exposure to the sun as it is a serious health threat.
  • Skin compatibility dermatologically approved.

Aqua, Homosalate, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Dibutyl Adipate, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Copernicia Cerifera Cera, Panthenol, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Tetrasodium Iminodisuccinate, Cellulose Gum, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sucrose Polystearate, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Trisodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Ethylhexylglycerin, Phenoxyethanol, Linalool, Limonene, Benzyl Alcohol, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Geraniol, Parfum

In terms of ingredients, Nivea have issued a declaration that since they are regularly adjusting their formulations to incorporate new scientific findings, the list of ingredients is always subject to change so you should always check the ingredients list if purchasing this product. However, at a first glance, it is very clear that this sun lotion offers chemical protection.

As their marketing suggests, the product contains ingredients which provide protection against both UVA and UVB rays, meaning that the product is indeed broad spectrum. However, some of the ingredients raised my eyebrow. Homosalate, the second ingredient to feature on the list is flagged since there is insufficient data to determine that it is safe to use. There are some studies which suggest that once it is absorbed by the body it may disrupt our hormones and is difficult to get out of our bodies. Alcohol Denat, although used to make creams lighter and helps other ingredients absorb into skin, may cause dryness, irritation and breakouts so those who have sensitive skin may want to be on the lookout for this ingredient if Nivea decides to keep using it. Although Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid is generally considered a safe sunscreen ingredient, the Cosmetic Database rates it as a moderate hazard, citing cancer concerns and cellular level changes. Moreover, it has the ability to block UVB rays and not UVA rays. Thankfully, two other ingredients in the product, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, and Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine pick up the slack.

The sun lotion also has Sodium Hydroxide, which is a PH adjuster, is a moderate hazard ingredient according to Cosmetics Database, and it is classified as “expected to be toxic or harmful”. Moreover, it is a skin irritant. Phenoxyethanol, Linalool, Limonene, and Benzyl Alcohol, Alpha-isomethyl ionone, Citronellol and Geraniol may lead to skin irritation and allergies. The latter has been classified as “known human immune system toxicant or allergen”.

For some reason, Tocopheryl Acetate, a form of vitamin e which is usually found in skincare, is marked as potentially not safe to utilise. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which helps prevent skin damage and may also be anti-inflammatory.


This product is readily available in the European market, especially in Malta, and it is a relatively good priced product for 200ml.

You may purchase it off EBAY if you wish.


Since the consistency of this product is like a lotion, it does in fact spread like a lotion. A little product goes a long way, although technically you need to use a decent amount to fully reap the benefits of sun protection.

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As you can see from the swatches, I used a bit too much product on a small surface area so it stayed sitting on my skin. It was only when I spread it out that it absorbed into the skin fully, leaving me with pleasant smelling and glowing skin. My only comment is that, even though I classify the scent as pleasant, there may be some who think it is a bit too fragrant, although, in my opinion, it smells like any other sun protection I’ve used.




Although I am not in the habit of wearing foundation over my sun protection, I decided to test it out for you. Since this sun protection absorbs so well into the skin, the foundation felt like it was being applied on my skin as a first layer, and not as a product on top of a product. My only suggestion is that to be cautious if you religiously re-apply your sun protection.

ThinkSport Safe Sunscreen SPF 50+

  • First Sunscreen to pass Whole Foods Premium Care Requirements
  • Top Rated by EWG with a “1” rating since 2010
  • Free of biologically harmful chemicals. No Avobenzone, Oxybenzone, or UV Chemical absorbers.
  • SPF 50+ (Highest allowed by the proposed FDA 2012 Monograph)
  • Broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection (Highest allowed by the proposed FDA 2012 Monograph)
  • Does not contain any known reef harmful chemicals. Mineral sunscreens are generally regarded as Reef Safe.  Our formulation achieved the highest level of biodegradability (OECD 301B Testing)
  • Water resistance (80 minutes) (Highest allowed by the proposed FDA 2012 Monograph)
  • Does not contain any known reef harmful chemicals. Mineral sunscreens are generally regarded as Reef Safe.  Our formulation achieved the highest level of biodegradability (OECD 301B Testing)
  • Non-nano zinc oxide – Average particle size >100micron
  • Non-aerosol formulation (High concern of both ineffectiveness and particulates being inhaled)
  • Paraben, phthalates, PABA and 1,4 dioxane free
  • Applies and absorbs easily. Non-oily feel.
  • Sunscreen produced in the USA
  • Does not have an obtrusive smell that many organic sunscreens have.
  • A member of the Safe Cosmetics Campaign Compact
  • Founding member Sun Safety Coalition
  • Gluten-free (third-party verified) and Vegan
  • No animal testing (Leaping Bunny member)
  • More awards than any other sun care line
  • Featured in: Tennis, Bicycling, Natural Child, Daily Candy (top pick), Men’s Health (top pick), Competitor, Backpacker (Top Pick), Standard, People Magazine (Must haves), Pharmacy Times, Men’s Journal (top pick), Chicago Tribune, The Bump (Top pick), Favored. by (Top Pick), Times Square, The Daily Green, YNN News, Denver News (Must haves), Triathlete, Cribsie and Red Hat Product Finalist. Eco-Excellence Finalist. Silver Award NAPPA, Baby Maternity Magazine (Top pick), Babble (Top 10 Best), Its a Belly (Seal of Excellence), Metro Moms (Hottest Product), Green Scene Mom (Winner) and a whole lot of blog reviews…








































Thinksport formula applies easily and absorbs quickly. Be sure to apply all areas that will be exposed to sunlight, including behind the ears, neck, hands, feet, and scalp. Reapply every two hours or more as needed. While the sunscreen applies very easily, we recommend not spreading it too thin. Otherwise, you will decrease the effectiveness of the sunscreen. Keep in mind that physical sunscreens work by reflecting sunlight.



Whilst Zinc Oxide is marked as a potential acne trigger and irritant, it is considered safe to use according to the Cosmetics Database, and, as the sunscreen claims, it is a physical sunblock which provides protection by blocking the sun’s rays, thereby acting as a barrier on the skin.

Other noteworthy ingredients in the product include aloe vera extract, which has cooling and soothing properties and reduces skin irritation and inflammation, meaning that it is a welcome ingredient in view of the possible irritation caused by the zinc oxide. Whilst there are some other acne triggers and irritants, such as Sorbitan Stearate (an emulsifier), Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Jojoba Oil, Olive Oil and Tocopherols (a form of vitamin e used as an antioxidant) three of these products may counteract their ‘bad’ acne rep with their beneficial properties. Castor oil has anti-inflammatory benefits and protects the skin against viruses and bacteria due to ricinoleic acid, jojoba oil has anti-inflammatory properties which help to tame chaffing and chapping, reduce redness caused by drying, ease the effects of eczema and rosacea, and keep skin calm and comfortable. Olive oil prevents signs of photo-aging and sun damage.

Apart from the above ingredients, the sunblock also boasts the inclusion of sunflower seed oil, an excellent source of vitamin e which combats acne, irritation, redness and inflammation. Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C) is an antioxidant which is beneficial for anti-aging, and Hyaluronic Acid  collagen synthesis up, retains skin moisture, and thus it contributes to anti-aging benefits to the skin.


When compared to the Nivea Sun Lotion, this product may be considered as expensive as you may have to pay the same price for 89ml of product. However, perhaps the advantages which can be reaped from the Thinksport sunblock outweighs the higher price point….

I have to also comment on availability of this product. Personally, I had to shop this online as I couldn’t find it at the pharmacy or at the supermarket so getting your hands on this product may prove to be a bit more challenging.

You may buy it off EBAY if you wish.


The consistency of this product is not at all unlike a lotion, as it also spreads like a lotion, so you only need a tiny amount to fully cover a surface area.


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As you can see from the swatches, I used a bit too much product on a small surface area so it stayed sitting on my skin. It was only when I spread it out that it absorbed into the skin fully, leaving me with pleasant smelling and glowing skin. The only difference is that this sunblock, to me, smelt a bit better than the sun lotion because it wasn’t as fragrant and didn’t have the scent of “I have sun protection on” which usually accompany many products.

Since it acts as a physical barrier, this sunblock did leave me with a bit of a white cast which wasn’t as noticeable, however I am quite a fair person so my experience may not be shared by all. However, if you are to re-apply this sunblock, I’ve learnt the hard way from experience that the white cast will get whiter and will obviously give you away.

530A7E64-B38A-485B-BE5E-44887A4330DA 6916C970-8F7E-462B-B403-90DE6937E473

Although I am not in the habit of wearing foundation over my sun protection, I decided to test it out for you since this product acts as a barrier on the skin. I personally didn’t feel too comfortable wearing foundation over this product since the foundation cannot penetrate the skin and it felt like it was sitting on the skin.


Honestly? I enjoyed the spreadability of the Nivea Sun Lotion, especially on my body, however I was quite wary to use it on my face due to the numerous irritants in the ingredients list. With that being said, I re-applied the sun lotion after an hour or two and thus did not experience any sun burns.

The Thinksport sunblock, to me, smelt a lot better in that it didn’t have an overpowering scent such that if it weren’t for the white cast I do not believe that it would have attracted people’s attention. There again, this is my personal preference. This sunblock was effective in providing protection from the sun rays, in fact I got quite burnt in the places where I didn’t apply it (I’m sorry hairline and ears).

Whilst I would continue to use the sun lotion on my body, I would not recommend it to be used by anyone on their face, and I would definitely recommend the Thinksport for those of you who do not mind its price and a white cast.

Until next time – and please remember to use sun protection!

Kim xx

This post contains affiliate links. 

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