Product Break-Up: Why I Dumped One Sunscreen for Another

It's not you, it's me. Wait: it actually is you.Sometimes, using beauty products is like dating -- what seems like perfect, brilliant marriage material on paper can turn out to be a status-obsessed mistake that makes you feel bad about yourself.

Coppertone's Oil-Free Foaming Lotion sunscreen isn't that infamous an ex, but it's still an ex. I really really wanted to love this product, too; thanks to a melanoma a few years back (they caught it way early, so knock wood, I'm fine), I can't afford to mess around with sunscreens. A high SPF is required. But a high SPF can also mean a high price tag, or a pasty consistency that's too hard to put on, or too much oil that gives me wrist zits (...right? so bizarre and gross), or weird medicinal smells. As a result, I'm constantly on a (usually failed) quest for that rad sunscreen that protects my epidermis and isn't a pain to put on and smells nice. Kiddie/baby versions, crazy coconut formulations, discontinued European brands, you name it and I've tried it.

I was very psyched when I read about the Coppertone mousse version, because I thought it would solve a lot of application problems. I don't mind a sunscreen that smells like a sunscreen, and Coppertone has a retro, "summer afternoons reading 'Seventeen' at the public pool" thing going on -- but Coppertone's "regular" sunscreens have a pretty high grease quotient, so mousse sounded like a good solution.

Unfortunately, the same grease I was trying to get away from is, I discovered, important in terms of getting an even layer all over; the mousse is too dry, and doesn't "go in" very well. It kind of sat on my skin, and I wasn't sure I was getting enough coverage. And that's provided you can get the product out of the bottle in the first place. I had to brace it on the lip of my bathroom sink while leaning on it with the heel of my hand. A different dispenser nozzle would solve this problem, one more like hair-mousse bottles usually have, and if they redesign the bottle, I might try the mousse again...

My Play-Doh-y valentine....but probably not, because I've found another product to replace it in my heart: Yes To Carrots Hydrating Body Lotion with SPF 30. It's paraben-free, and it smells like Play-Doh, which I love. It does have its downsides: the lower SPF (I usually go for 50+) means I have to reapply more often, although I should probably be doing that anyway; and the consistency is somewhat Play-Doh-esque as well, so it's challenging to put on at first. It also makes disconcerting farty noises coming out of the bottle. I think that's hilarious, but you classy people may not be into that first thing in the AM.

Yes To Carrots doesn't sound like a huge improvement over the Coppertone mousse, but what can I say. The heart wants what it wants.

What's your experience with these two sunscreens? Have you ever dug a lotion's "dating profile," only to find out it's a drag in person? We'd love to hear your beauty-related Product Break-Up stories...especially if there's a juicy love triangle. Meanwhile, stay tuned for a future installment, in which our heroine kicks the highly touted Stila lip stain to the curb.