Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hobo Mama Giveaway: Episencial Natural Sunscreen Skincare Kit $30 ARV {8.24; US} CLOSED

This is a joint giveaway with Hobo Mama Reviews and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory main entry and optional bonus entries.

Episencial sunscreen giveaway skincare value kit boxEpisencial is offering our readers a giveaway of a baby-safe Fun Summer Skincare Kit, a value of $30.

Episencial all-natural sunscreen is chemical-free and newborn-safe.

Here are the products offered in the giveaway:
  • Sunny Sunscreen (SPF 35)
  • Protective Face Balm (SPF 6)
  • Soothing Cream
  • plus a creative art project with The Very Hungry Caterpillar from The World of Eric Carle

I was excited to receive an all-natural sunscreen to review. I have very fair skin (I do not tan — it's fish-belly white or lobster red for me!), and I've been trying to cut down on the unnecessary chemical-based products in our home, particularly since I have two young boys: a four-year-old and a newborn. I know it's important to protect them from too much sun exposure — but I also want to protect them from absorbing too many harmful ingredients!

Episencial has created a convenient, kid-friendly, eco-friendly sun solution in this skincare line.

The Skin Deep Cosmetics Database at EWG has highly ranked Episencial's sunscreen products with ratings of 1 and 2, which indicates ingredients with low hazard.

Whereas chemical sunscreens carry warnings not to use on babies younger than 6 months, the minerals in Episencial are all natural and sit on the skin to physically block the sun's rays rather than absorbing into the bloodstream. That makes this a skincare line that's safe for the whole family.

Episencial sunscreen giveaway opening box m3yo
Digging in!

Episencial sunscreen giveaway posing m3yo

Sunny Sunscreen

The active ingredients in Sunny Sunscreen are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which may be familiar to you as white strips on lifeguards' noses in movies. These are powerful mineral sunblockers that give this sunscreen an SPF of 35 — plenty for even us pale people.

What I worried about, however, was if the white chemicals would go on pasty or if they would absorb into my skin the way chemically based sunscreens do.

The texture was a thick lotion, but it spread fairly easily. There was a faint glistening of white as I applied it, but that soon disappeared. I don't know how it would look on darker skintones, but I imagine it would absorb soon enough not to be a problem.

For overall convenience, I prefer spray-on sunscreens, but I know there's a concern about the safety of the nanoparticles in such products. I'll have to take glooping on lotion over causing harm to my family's health, right?

Sunny Sunscreen is labeled water resistant, which is nice. It's still recommended that you reapply after any contact with water.

Some information from
Have fun in the sun without exposing your skin to harmful UVA and UVB rays or harsh chemical sunscreens using this natural blend of zinc and titanium minerals. Organic ingredients like shea butter, beeswax and avocado oil nourish and soften skin while green tea extract neutralizes sun-induced free radical damage.
  • SPF 35.
  • Water resistant protection for face & body.
  • Environmental Working Group top-rated sunscreen!
  • Blocks both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Protects sensitive skin with natural minerals zinc and titanium (no harmful nano-particles).
  • Milky texture creates a protective layer with no harsh chemicals and minimal white residue.
  • Fortified with organic green tea extract to prevent sun-damage.
  • Organic sesame, safflower and avocado oils to moisturize and nourish the skin.
  • Beeswax and organic shea butter increase water resistance and sun protection without the use of petroleum or chemicals.

Now, the real test was whether it kept me from burning! I'm happy to say that it did. I had to wait awhile on this review until we got enough sun (come on, summer, visit the Pacific Northwest already!) to try it out. I finally was able to wear it to our sons' outdoor summer party — several hours in the sun with few options for shade. I wore a hat as well, but the good news is my skin came home just as pasty white as it was when I left. (Wait, is that good news?)

The other test is whether my four-year-old, Mikko, would like it. He did! He asked for it by name. I think it's because the bottles have the Eric Carle Very Hungry Caterpillar designs!

I have acne-prone, oily skin, but I didn't have a problem with grease or blemishes when using this sunscreen on my face, even under (mineral) makeup.

One downside would be the manufacturer's suggested price of $14.99 for 4 ounces. However, you are paying for all-natural ingredients from a smaller, eco-conscious company.

Protective Face Balm

I was a little confused at first about what the Protective Face Balm was for. At first I thought maybe the Sunny Sunscreen wasn't for faces, but it is. I finally realized it was less a sunscreen and more of a moisturizer and protectant for skin that was already irritated, whether by the sun and weather or by conditions such as eczema. It has a mild SPF of 6, to give skin a bit of everyday protection, which is essential if skin is already sensitized and raw.

The balm goes on smoothly but has a slight white tinge from the zinc oxide. A little goes a long way.

I have horribly cracked lips, and I've enjoyed using this on them. It protects them and feels soothing, while helping shield them from the sun when I'm outside.

Insulate baby's vulnerable skin from wind, sun, and the ravages of runny noses and drool-y chins with this organic licorice extract and raspberry butter infused, intensely hydrating facial balm. Also protects chapped skin with zinc derived SPF 6 and shea butter.
  • Provides all-over relief for chapped skin & lips — SPF 6.
  • Organic aloe vera, coco butter, and shea butter, for soothing protection for dry, chapped skin.
  • Zinc [oxide] for healing protection from sun, wind, and pollution.
  • Fortified with vitamins A, D, E, and C to help restore and repair skin balance and texture.
  • Packed with organic raspberry juice, cranberry extract, and grape seed to revitalize skin.

I imagine this could work for diaper rash, too, since zinc oxide is a common diaper ointment ingredient. Though granted the SPF will be wasted if you put it where the sun don't shine…

The price of $5.99 for 0.75 ounces seems reasonable for a face balm of this quality.

Soothing Cream

I thought the Soothing Cream was lovely — an easily spreadable milky gel. It's supposed to be ideal for eczema and other itchy, bothersome skin conditions.

Bring comfort to dry, itchy, irritated skin with this intensely nourishing multi-purpose moisturizer featuring an organic blend of calming calendula, oat extract and borage seed to enhance natural lipids and restore moisture balance. Acidophilus and neem boost immunity while oxysomes protect skin from harsh elements. Perfect for after-sun too!
  • Helps relieve eczema, itches & bothered skin.
  • Fortified with probiotics (acidophilus and bulgaricum), organic cucumber extract and aloe vera to help soothe and comfort bothered skin.
  • Organic borage seed oil, jojoba seed oil, and oat extract to hydrate and restore natural lipids to help relieve itchy skin.
  • Organic safflower helps protect from the sun and elements, restoring skin balance and moisture.
  • Organic green tea, neem oil, and calendula extract to naturally boost skin immunity and help heal from eczema.

I tried this on my lips, and it stung where the skin was broken. However, in poking around reviews, I've seen glowing recommendations for use on eczema and sunburns. I'd simply be cautious in using it on broken skin, particularly with little ones. The active ingredient is oat kernel extract.

The full-size tube retails for $10.99 for 4 ounces, which might be pricey for some families. (Note that the giveaway tube is a smaller travel size of 0.75 ounces.) I'm sure the price is worth it for families who need soothing skin relief that's safe for even young children.

Episencial sunscreen giveaway Eric Carle art project m3yo
A nice bonus was this Eric Carle artwork to color!


Episencial is committed to making green products that are targeted toward families and children. The founder, Kim Walls, is a mother herself who wanted products that were safe to use for her own family.

The company's goals are to make high quality skincare that is affordable, all-natural (with most ingredients organic), and safe for the most sensitive skin of young children, ages 0 to 5 — though the products are perfect for ages up to 150! There are no fragrances, but juice extracts give a pleasant and mild scent. It is not a strong scent at all — just natural and faint.

The company manufactures products using solar power. The products are packaged in recycled and sustainable materials with inspiring art. The products I reviewed are proudly made in the USA.


You can use the Store Locator to find Episencial products in a retail store near you.

You can also purchase Episencial skincare items at various online retailers such as or

Besides sunblocks, Episencial also sells other bath and skincare items for children and families.


For your own chance to win a Fun Summer Skincare Kit from Episencial, enter in the comments below. The winner will receive one 4-ounce tube of Sunny Sunscreen, one 0.75-ounce tube of Protective Face Balm, and one 0.75-ounce tube of Soothing Cream. Contest is open to United States mailing addresses.

MANDATORY ENTRY: Visit and tell us one thing you have learned about the company or the products there!

Leave a valid email address in your comments (the line where it says "email address") so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses are not made publicly visible.

This is a joint giveaway with Hobo Mama Reviews and Natural Parents Network. You may enter at one site only, and we'll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy both sites!

Episencial sunscreen giveaway circle logo with Eric Carle butterfly art

Complete one or more of the following to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry above. Leave a separate comment for each so we can count them all.
  • Tell us about another item you like in their store.
  • Tell us who will enjoy your new skincare products.
  • Use the Store Locator to tell us of an Episencial retail location near you.
  • Subscribe to the Episencial Blog.
  • Sign up for Episencial email updates (enter your email address at the bottom of the page next to the green "Subscribe" button).
  • Follow publicly through Google Friend Connect, or subscribe to the Hobo Mama Reviews RSS feed in a reader or by email (1 entry for each).
  • Follow through Google Friend Connect, or subscribe to the Hobo Mama RSS feed in a reader or by email (1 entry for each).
  • Subscribe to Natural Parents Network in a reader or by email (1 entry for each).
  • Leave a relevant comment on a non-giveaway article at Natural Parents Network and tell us which post (comment on separate posts for up to 3 entries total).
  • Leave a relevant comment on a non-giveaway article from and tell us which post (comment on separate posts for up to 3 entries total).
  • Like Episencial Skin Care on Facebook.
  • Like Hobo Mama on Facebook.
  • Like Natural Parents Network on Facebook.
  • Follow @Episencial on Twitter and leave your Twitter name in the comment.
  • Follow @Hobo_Mama on Twitter and leave your Twitter name in the comment.
  • Follow @NatParNet on Twitter and leave your Twitter name in the comment.
  • Tweet about this giveaway (up to 5 times total, at least 24 hours apart). You can tweet this text: #Win @Episencial all-natural sun and skin care from @Hobo_Mama & @NatParNet! #Green summer #giveaway: {8.24, US}
  • Post this giveaway on your Facebook page or wall and leave the link (1 entry). You can use this status update: Protect your family's skin naturally! Enter to win an @Episencial Skin Care summer sunscreen kit from @Hobo Mama and @Natural Parents Network. Contest ends August 24 and is open to US addresses.
    Be sure to attach the contest URL to your update! (This is not part of the status text!)
  • Enter another of my current giveaways or the giveaways on Natural Parents Network (1 extra entry per giveaway — check back for more!).
  • Put my Hobo Mama button on your website or add to your text blogroll for 2 extra entries each. The HTML code for the button is in the sidebar to the right. Leave your site URL in the comment.
  • Put the Natural Parents Network badge on your website or add to your text blogroll for 2 extra entries each. The HTML code for the badge is in the sidebar to the right. Leave your site URL in the comment.


  • Contest open to U.S. mailing addresses.
  • Contestants may enter at either Hobo Mama Reviews or Natural Parents Network but not both. Entries will be combined for the drawing of a single winner.
  • Leave each entry as a separate comment so we can count them all.
  • For actions like following and subscribing, if you already follow or subscribe, just let us know in your comment.
  • For tasks that garner you multiple entries, you can copy and paste the comment with a #1, #2, etc.
  • You don't have to do any of the bonus entries, but you do have to complete the first mandatory one.
  • We will pick the winner through after the contest closes and send an email notification. Leave a valid email address as you comment so we can contact you if you win. If we can't reach a winner or don't hear back within a couple days, we'll draw a new name. Entries will be added together from both sites. If there are 50 entries from the non-NPN site and 65 entries from NPN, we will count the non-NPN entries as numbers 1-50 and the NPN entries as numbers 51-115.
  • After giveaway closes, a representative from NPN will contact the winner. The winner will have 48 hours to respond by email; otherwise, NPN will select another winner.
  • Any questions, let our giveaway editors know: ShannonR {at} NaturalParentsNetwork {dot} com and Amanda {at} NaturalParentsNetwork {dot} com

Contest closes August 24 at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time.

Disclosure: Episencial sent me a summer skincare kit for review. and links are affiliate links.
I try to seek out only products I think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If I don't like a product, I won't be recommending it to you.
That's how I roll. See my full disclosure policy here.


Aili said...

(alisha.huber at
I think it's so cool that they have some method for improving the skin's immune responses. Wow!

Aili said...

I'd like to try their bubble bath. It's so hard to find bubble bath that doesn't have nasty stuff in it.

Aili said...

Mostly I would use these on my 10-month-old son, but might also try them on my DH...who can be a real baby about putting sunscreen on.

Aili said...

It looks like the closest retailer to me is 100 miles away, in Springfield VA.

Aili said...

I subscribe to hobomama reviews in Google Reader.

Aili said...

I subscribe to HoboMama in Google reader

Aili said...

I subscribe to NPN in google reader

Aili said...

I like hobo mama on facebook

Aili said...

I like npn on facebook

Aili said...

I like episencial skin care on fb

Aili said...

I follow hobo mama on twitter (@nilatti)

Aili said...

I follow npn on twitter

Aili said...

I'm in the ECAware pants giveaway!

Aili said...

I'm in the wool dryer balls givaway!

DW said...

They have a 3 step skin system. (

Jenny O said...

I learned their products are manufactured with solar power! Awesome!

Jenny O said...

I want to win this for my two year old, whose favourite thing is "Walk outside!"

Jenny O said...

I'm subscribed to the feed in google reader

Jenny O said...

I follow with google friend connect

Jenny O said...

I'm subscribed to Natural Parents Network in google reader

Jenny O said...

I'm a facebook fan of Hobo Mama (Jenny O)

Jenny O said...

I'm a facebook fan of Natural Parents Network (Jenny O)

Jeri Thurber said...

I was very pleased that Episencial lists their ingredients AND where they come from!

Jeri Thurber said...

My 6 1/2 month old munchkin would get great use of these products at her grandma's in Phoenix!

Jeri Thurber said...

I like Natural Parents Network on facebook.

Jeri Thurber said...

I subscribe to Hobo Mama Reviews RSS feed.

Brittany@Mama's Felt Cafe said...

I learned a square inch of skin has more bacteria on it than skin cells!

Brittany@Mama's Felt Cafe said...

AAF of Episencial Skin on FB

Brittany@Mama's Felt Cafe said...

AAF of Hobo Mama on FB

Brittany@Mama's Felt Cafe said...

AAF of NPN on FB

Brittany@Mama's Felt Cafe said...

The closest place to get episencial is Whole Foods, but I'm still mad at them for harassing a breastfeeding mom (Whole Foods, not Episencial).

Jeni said...

This is great! We live in FL so we definitely need this product here in the Sunshine State!

Jeni said...

I like NPN on FB!! :)

Jeni said...

I like Hobo Mama on my FB :)

Krissy D. said...

Packaged in recycled and sustainable materials, and manufactured using solar power.

msilba said...

i learned that the lotion includes skin immune complex which boosts skin’s immune functions, i've never heard of this before but it sounds like a great thing to have in a sun lotion