So you think you know about sunscreen — after all, our (Asian) parents have been nagging at us about the importance of SPF since we were barely conscious. With the ever-evolving beauty landscape though, there’s bound to be SPF truths we’re still in the dark about. Reapplying sunscreen over your makeup? That’s easy enough, but how about whether oral sunscreen is effective, if chemical formulas are all that bad, and whether all SPF products protect against the dreaded new-age threat of blue light?
Here to answer some of our burning questions, and bust some SPF myths along the way, is Holly Thaggard, Founder and CEO of Supergoop!, a brand famous for countless sunscreen innovations, including a virtually undetectable sunscreen, or an eyeshadow that protects even our eyelids from sun damage.
Since 2007, Thaggard and her team have been constantly dreaming of the perfect SPF products, and have delivered on a silver platter a collection of effective, clean, reef-safe formulas that offer broad-spectrum protection in ways that work with our modern lifestyles. The goal, she says, is to make wearing SPF “the most seamless, easy thing ever — and fun! — something that you want to do every single day.”
Then, there are other illuminating insights from our chat that never even crossed our minds. An SPF wardrobe, for instance. This concept of hers acknowledges that there’s no one SPF product to rule them all, and instead, we should embrace a series of items we can mix and match, depending on our skin or what we’ll be doing for the rest of the day. Very much like the clothes we wear, actually.
“Just like there’s no one right formula for your skin and my skin, there’s no one right SPF for every activity under the sun,” says Thaggard. “That wardrobe may be different on a day you’re out running and playing tennis, compared to days that you’re in the office.”
In fact, she maintains that Supergoop! isn’t a suncare brand — truly busting all preconceived notions here. Instead, she says, “We’re a true skincare brand, where protection is our goal — to protect our skin from all of the damages that happen from the environment, whether that’s UVA, UVB, blue light, pollution, all of these things wreck havoc on our skin.” We can’t help but agree. Ahead, the SPF truths you absolutely need to know about, and how to build an SPF wardrobe with Supergoop!’s innovative formulas.
SPF TRUTH #1: There’s no “one size fits all” sunscreen that works for everyone. Instead, select a few SPF products depending on your skin colour, type, tone, and activity.
“Many people think that if an SPF product doesn’t work for their skin type, colour, or tone, then SPF doesn’t work. I mean that’s not true, gosh, we have over 40 options! We know that what is right for my skin is likely not right for yours — not everyone has one right SPF for every skin colour, type, and tone, for every activity under the sun, every single day.
For some people, physical sunscreens don’t work for their skin colour; they leave that ashy, white, hazy tint. And for some, lotions don’t work because they look too greasy on oily skin types, so they need something like Unseen Sunscreen to absorb oils for a velvety finish. We really have to think beyond the idea that there’s one or two right SPFs for everyone — you have to find the 3, 4, 5 products that work for you, then pull them into your routine and incorporate them into your day.”
SPF TRUTH #2: Chemical sunscreens aren’t bad — there’s a time and place for physical or chemical sunscreens.
“Today, there is the tendency to think that mineral / physical sunscreen formulas are healthier than chemical, and that’s a huge misconception. In fact, many mineral formulas, usually formulated with zinc oxide or titanium oxide, are made with nano-technology, so they can still be absorbed into the skin’s multiple layers.
I think there are many fabulous benefits to chemical formulas, especially for athletes or people involved with high-intensity sports. Mineral formulas sit on top of the skin, and often trap heat and cause you not to sweat the toxins you’re meant to sweat; but they’re great if you’re in front of your computer all day. There’s a time and place for it — which is why I believe wholeheartedly in finding a wardrobe of SPF. That wardrobe may be different on a day you’re out running and playing tennis, compared to days when you’re in the office.”
On building an “SPF wardrobe” of different products to suit your skin type and activity for the day.
“Just like there’s no one right formula for your skin and my skin, there’s no one right SPF for every activity under the sun. You have to look at what you’re doing that day and your skin type. I’m completely for mixing and matching — I think the broadest protection can come from mineral and chemical combined. I love that! One of the reasons why I believe it’s important to have multiple products is that you often don’t apply any one product as generously as you should to get that full SPF protection.”
How we can build our SPF wardrobe.
“Find about one to three products that you can layer. The first product should be hydrating, so maybe the Superscreen or Zincscreen. And then, if you go for Unseen Sunscreen or Mattescreen to control shine, you’re gonna put a little bit less, but at least there’s a second layer of protection. Finally, you can put on the CC Screen for covering imperfections. You’re now getting the benefits from all three layers; they’re building on each other and giving you that broad spectrum protection. We’ve recently launched a Product Finder too, which helps you find the perfect wardrobe for your skin. I don’t know what I’m wearing the next day, but I know what my SPF wardrobe is!”
Supergoop!’s secret to wearing SPF all day every day — making their formulas easy AF.
“For us, it’s thinking about what people are experiencing, and how we can be a solution to that. The ways we can get SPF into their routine in the morning — and the afternoon — has been super important to us. That’s when the sun damage actually happens! These day, it’s not because we don’t know that we need to start our morning with SPF. We know that. But it’s about reapplying throughout the day, when no sun protection exposed to sunlight lasts any more than two or three hours. Our job as a brand dedicated to changing what the world thinks about sunscreen, is to find ways we can get the consumer to easily reapply SPF throughout the day that works into their routine.”
You can — and should — reapply your sunscreen in the middle of the day. Here’s how.
“The top question I get asked is, hey, I have a full face of makeup on, how do I re-apply my SPF? It comes down to thinking of various ways, such as Defense Refresh, which can be misted onto a full face of makeup in the afternoon, or our Mineral Invincible Setting Powder for people that like a more oil-absorbing product to reduce the midday shine.”
A good sunscreen is…
“All about consumer experience. When we have nailed a formula is when someone has to have it, they literally crave putting it on at night, which I think is the ultimate compliment to our formulas. We know it’s a huge win when the formula feels so luxurious on the skin that someone want to apply it every day, frequently and generously.”
On why the Unseen Sunscreen is a game-changing SPF — it’s invisible!
“I think Unseen Sunscreen has been a game-changing SPF! Even for my own family, and I have a 12-year-old son, it’s the formula we most argue about. He comes downstairs in the morning before school and I can’t see it on his face, so I have no clue he has it on. And he says, mom you created this to be completely undetectable! For him and husbands everywhere, and women who’re looking for a makeup prepping primer, Unseen is a phenomenal answer to getting SPF in your routine that’s completely undetectable, no scent, makeup-gripping, with a velvety finish. Unseen was definitely one of those formulas that checks the box on everything we wanted to achieve.”
More innovative products: Glowscreen, and Shimmershade, an eyeshadow infused with SPF.
“Glowscreen was a true innovation, it delivered a different finish than Unseen but all the same SPF, UVA, UVB, and blue light protection that we’re all craving.
I think if you truly go another step further, Shimmershade is a dream SPF for me. I mean, how do you get SPF on your eyelids in a beautiful way? It was featured on TIME magazine as one of the 100 most innovative products for 2019, and for that, I’m super grateful. At the time, my daughter was 14, and I thought, how do I get SPF onto her healthy eyelids in a way that hasn’t been done before, that feels good, and gives a luminous look around her eye area?
Innovation is at the core of every single thing we do and think about — without it, we would not be changing the way the world thinks about sunscreen. No one would be thinking of wearing SPF every single day. The only way that was gonna happen is through true innovation, and only then will people be able to embrace this notion of wearing SPF and incorporating it into their routine every single day.”
SPF TRUTH #3: Edible sunscreen should not be used on its own.
“Absolutely do not use it on its own! It has no immediate skin protection or validity today that it has enough protection, but layered with several SPF products on top of your skin, maybe that’s interesting. We’re researching it. I’m a big fan of SPF, so I am interested in this category of oral sunscreen. I think it’s super interesting how we can further protect our skin from the inside out. As a 4th, 5th step, it could be interesting, but definitely not used alone.”
SPF TRUTH #4: Not all SPF products protect against blue light.
“Blue light protection was tricky, especially when we started doing the research well before it was in the news. It’s caused by the exposure from our screens, our phones, our computers, which often causes inflammation that then leads to an uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation.
Unseen Sunscreen, Glowscreen and Mattescreen — these were all the first products from us that protected from inflammation due to blue light damage. You have UVA, UVB, infrared, which are just heat rays, and then you have blue light, which is far more prevalent actually, only protected through many ingredients we use such as red algae that protects against multiple layers of damage.”
Ultimately, Supergoop! isn’t just a sunscreen brand — they’re a skincare brand that’s all about protecting our skin.
“I would tell you we’re not a sunscreen brand, we’re a true skincare brand, where protection is our goal — to protect our skin from all of the damages that happen from the environment, whether that’s UVA, UVB, blue light, pollution, all of these things wreck havoc on our skin. That’s where we come in, to help protect your skin from all these environmental aggressors.”
Supergoop! products, available at sephora stores and online at SEPHORA.SG.