Skip to main content

Sun Care’s New Wave

The traditional boundary between skin care and sun protection is fading. The classic tanning market is being challenged by a new breed of treatment and makeup brands that have added sun protection.

The traditional boundary between skin care and sun protection is fading faster than a summer tan.

The classic tanning market is being challenged by a new breed of treatment and makeup brands that have added sun protection.

Due to the increasing popularity of more versatile skin care and color cosmetics with SPF, overall sun protection posted a decline of 2 percent in 2013, falling to $1.4 billion in the U.S., according to Euromonitor

Mintel reported that the sun protection and sunless category saw solid gains between 2009 and 2012, growing sales by 22 percent. However, the category is starting to struggle, with sales declining by nearly 3 percent in 2013, with only modest improvement in 2014. Mintel expects future growth to be slow, forecasting gradual gains of 7 percent total by 2019.

To that end, the latest Euromonitor Sun Care Report in the U.S. read, “It is increasingly common for sun care products to include additional ingredients, such as vitamin B3 and ginkgo biloba nut extract, to provide added value, especially regarding antiaging. As a result, the distinction between skin care and sun care products is becoming increasingly blurred, and as skin care has continued to co-opt SPF and UVA/UVB protection, in addition to other benefits, it has cannibalized traditional sun protection products.”

It’s obviously cannabalized traditional skin care too. According to The NPD Group, for the 12 months ending February 2015, prestige sun care products grew 4 percent, outpacing the prestige skin care market.

You May Also Like

There’s an increased awareness of skin cancer and aging, but that’s still not enough for customers to wear sun protection year-round. Traditional sun care brands today have to evolve and bring consumers to their endcap in January as well as July.

“We incorporate UV protection as a foundation in [all] of our products,” said Holly Thaggard, founder and chief executive officer of Supergoop. “Then, we think about the products that people are using 12 months out of the year.”

“When people think of sunscreen in general, it’s always that additional layer that they need to add to their skin care,” added Maria Sharapova, co-owner of Supergoop, who should know a thing or two about sunscreen given her on-court life. “This is something we’re trying to change.”

Exclusive to Sephora starting Tuesday and launching on today, the company’s newest product, Defense Refresh Setting Mist SPF 50, retails for $28 and delivers UV protection while setting makeup and soothing inflammation, enforces reapplication since consumers don’t need to slather on a new layer of sunscreen.

Click Here to See the 10 Top Innovators with SPF >>

“There really hasn’t been a highly efficacious and refreshing way to reapply UV protection to the face and to the neck without compromising your makeup,” said Thaggard, who added that the mist would be promoted in Sephora’s Beauty Studio, positioning it as a makeup item.

According to Thaggard, the sunscreen brand’s top-selling stockkeeping unit in Sephora is unexpectedly its non-sun related CC Cream, which nevertheless contains SPF.

“We’re in the process of closing 2014 books and when we looked at 2012, 37 percent of our business came in the month of May,” said Thaggard. “When we compared that to what we have in 2014, our May sales dropped 12 percent, yet we were able to maintain an annual compounded growth rate of over 85 percent. Business is getting much bigger on a year-over-year basis and that seasonality has leveled out.”

While Supergoop seems to have found its niche as a lifestyle brand that infuses sun protection in all of its products, skin care companies are differentiating themselves with innovative SPF products, leaving traditional sun care brands behind.

“Traditional sunscreen brands need to start to incorporate daily-use products in their assortment and bring better textures into these products,” said Priya Venkatesh, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of skin and hair care at Sephora, who added that the retailer is launching a sun-care section in-store and online on May 21. The dot-com landing page will feature over 15 brands and 25 sku’s, and will live permanently online as a menu option. An endcap featuring two towers will support the sun-care section in the store in addition to the brand’s own dedicated product space.

Coola is slowing adding new categories to its company. In April, it will launch Coola SPF 30 Organic Makeup Setting Spray, $18, which is a weightless mist that blends cucumber, aloe vera extracts, hyaluronic acid and broad spectrum SPF 30 to protect, refresh, soften and hydrate skin.

“In the future we do see ourselves having more products potentially in that makeup related space,” noted Chris Birchby, founder of Coola. “It’s a natural fit with sunscreen since we believe sunscreen should be worn everyday.”

As of late, consumers are embracing daily sun protection. “In general, the awareness of sunscreen is going up across all age groups,” said Venkatesh. “Especially young women who have grown up wearing sunscreen.”

Although Birchby wouldn’t talk financials, industry sources estimate that the spray could do over $1 million at retail in its first year on shelves.

Meanwhile, Salvatore Piazzolla, founder and ceo of Hampton Sun, noted that he’s expanding his luxury sun-care brand. “We do realize to grow we have to have a 360-degree business,” he said. “Although consumers have gotten more savvy and understand the need for sunscreen protection daily, we realized that we have to close the gap a little.”

Also of note is the high amount of UV protection that companies are infusing into their latest launches.

Prestige skin care featuring SPF 50+ grew 18 percent in dollar sales in 2014, while SPF 15 was down 14 percent, according to The NPD Group Inc.

In May, Chanel is launching a reformulated version of its CC Cream with SPF 50, whereas previously it only came in SPF 30. Priced at $55, the hybrid face makeup comes in three shades.

Nuance Salma Hayek, Colorescience, It Cosmetics and La Roche-Posay are all unveiling skin care and makeup items with UV protection of SPF 50. While brands like Dr. Dennis Gross and Amarte have created sunscreens that double as moisturizers. Dr. Dennis Gross Dark Spot Sun Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Sunscreen combines melatonin and vitamins C and E to prevent and also reduce dark spots and wrinkles. Amarte Ultra Veil Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50 contains pure mica, which gives skin a blurred effect. The multitasking nature of the product combines UV protection and instant gratification to deliver an even finish.

“The consumer isn’t using this SPF product as a sunscreen product, they are seeing it as a makeup product,” said Karen Grant, global beauty industry analyst at The NPD Group, of these multifunctional items. “They are using makeup and skin care sometimes interchangeably between the two. It’s about looking good at the beginning of the day and the end of day.”

While a majority of consumers are using skin care and makeup interchangeably, Milllennials have grown up with sun protection infused into their daily products. “There’s good awareness among everybody, but certainly the millennials, that taking care of your skin in the sun is a very big deal,” said Howard Kreitzman, Bloomingdale’s vice president of cosmetics and fragrances. “We see in the sun care part of the business — which for us is a Shiseido and Clarins business — that it continues to grow and the greatest growth is coming in the high spf products. However, sunscreen brands do have the opportunity to excel in their own arena and distinguish themselves as an authority in preventing skin damage and building or strengthening brand identity.”

As sunscreen innovation is thriving from skin care and makeup companies, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula is unveiling its first line of sunscreen called Eventone Sun Care in March at Wal-Mart. Inspired by its original Cocoa Butter Solid, the company created a balm formulation that starts as a solid and converts to an oil.

“Women are very concerned about dark spots and premature aging and they really want their sun care products to have natural ingredients,” said Shara Boote, senior project manager at Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. “One of the things we found, especially with women and dark skin tones, they were really turned off to this whitening effect that a lot of traditional sunscreens leave on the skin.”

To that end, La Roche-Posay paid close attention to its newest product’s aesthetic to make sure this wasn’t just a seasonal sku.

“By its nature, sun-care sales have traditionally been seasonal [for La Roche-Posay],” said Angela Bennett, La Roche-Posay vice president of marketing, who added that the company’s new serum with sunscreen called Anthelios AOX Daily Antioxidant Serum with Sunscreen SPF 50 protects against UV rays, corrects fine lines and uneven skin tone. “We know from extensive research that up to 50 percent of people won’t wear sunscreen because they don’t like the texture.”

The company created this serum with a sun filter featuring antioxidant technology, while waiting for the FDA to approve new ingredients for its products that guard against UVA and UVB rays. Creating this multifunctional product could help increase La Roche-Posay’s sales year-round.

Bennett added that Anthelios is its largest franchise and represents 40 percent of total brand business. Additionally, 60 percent of Anthelios’ business is done between March and August.

But Mintel noted that despite increased efforts to educate people about the dangers of sun exposure, consumers have generally positive associations toward getting sun and being tan and also tend to think about sunscreen in the summer months.

“For us, to get to that year-round usage, a key barrier to overcome that for consumers was product aesthetic,” said Suzy DePrizio, Neutrogena group brand director, sun and digital. “We were able to come in with our dry touch technology, which we introduced through our Ultra Sheer line, and it really has what consumers look for, not in sun protection, but skin care in general.”

DePrizio added, “When you look at our penetration we saw that for total skin care it’s about 70 percent [of total brand sales], where sun is only 40 percent.”

Meanwhile, Target has seen flat growth from traditional sunscreen brands and noted that some of the best sellers in UV protection are from its premium skin-care collection like Laneige BB Cushion SPF 50+ Broad Spectrum Sunscreen.

“Target’s guests are increasingly focused on overall wellness, and interested in using a variety of products to help protect their skin from sun damage,” said Christina Hennington, senior vice president, health and beauty at Target. “Skin care and cosmetics items that contain SPF and other protective ingredients are among our best sellers, and we continue to explore new ways to expand these offerings across premium, exclusive and national brands.”

Traditional sunscreen brands have slowly started making strides. Last year, Coppertone launched Clearly Sheer, a breathable daily sunscreen collection that is said to be ideal for putting on under makeup. “We’re getting our message out about sunscreen and the need to use it year round,” said Lisa Perez, marketing director at Coppertone. “It does skew to the summer months and we leverage that when consumers are open to hearing the message.”

Although the message of utilizing daily sun protection still isn’t heard loud and clear, Sephora’s Venkatesh is predicting that the next stage in sun care will be focused on reapplying sunscreen, something most consumers forget to do.

“We are getting into a phase of beauty where using sunscreen has become second nature for people,” said Venkatesh. “The next phase of it will be more awareness and people realizing the importance of reapplication.”