OPEN THREAD: Read the Fine Print

If you don't, you may realize too late that the beauty product you're using has an unexpected attribute.
Publish date:
September 4, 2015
sunscreen, bronzers, open thread, Australian Gold, mistakes

It's been years since I've gone to the beach, at least during warm weather. A couple winters ago, I went to Dead Horse Bay to collect antique garbage (seriously), but even when I was living only a mile away from the ocean in Delray Beach, Florida, a few years ago, I never stepped foot on the sand.

Last weekend, however, my dude was celebrating his birthday and wanted to go to the beach for a few hours, and who am I to deny his birthday wish?

In addition to other things I've heard humans typically take to the beach, I brought along Australian Gold Sheer Coverage SPF 50 Continuous Spray Sunscreen. I have a bunch of sunscreens at home, but when I quickly glanced at this one's can, I saw the "sheer" and the "50" and was like, Sold!

As soon as we settled on a spot on the sand, I pulled the can out of my bag and started spraying my limbs and spreading it evenly. Then I sprayed it directly onto my hands and applied it to my face and chest.

Nothing struck me as unusual at first. And when Birthday Dude applied the sunscreen to my back, he didn't seem struck by any unusualness either. But when it was my turn to spray his back, I suddenly noticed against his fair skin that the formula looked sort of yellowy-brown. I looked at the nozzle, and there was a rusty color around it.

"Is this oxidizing or something?"

I looked around the can for an expiration date, and that's when I finally noticed the smaller print under the name of product, and even under the claim of Invisidry Technology: "Kona Coffee Infused Bronzers."

"Oh crap!" I said, and then I looked at my hands.

When you don't notice the part about your sunscreen having bronzer in it.

A post shared by Marci Robin (@marcirobin) on

It took everything in my power not to belt out "Goldfingers!" (plural) à la Shirley Bassey. I would've face-palmed, too, if I wouldn't have left a bronze palm print on my forehead.

Kelly was kind enough to say on Instagram, "The word sheer is bigger than the word bronzer on that can so I would have fallen for that too "

Thanks, Kelly.

Luckily, the rest of my body wasn't as Thanksgiving-turkey-esque as my hands, and the sunscreen worked well to prevent burns. But I wanted to give you guys a heads up before this long Labor Day weekend that some sunscreens inexplicably contain bronzer and that "THIS INEXPLICABLY CONTAINS BRONZER" may not be printed in very large type on the package.

I also wanted to ask you:

  • Have you ever totally misread a beauty product label and gotten a surprise like this?
  • What products do you take to the beach other than sunscreen?
  • What are you doing this holiday weekend?