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COOLA Suncare: SPF for your face, perfected

A blog by The Spa Whisperer


“Similar to the Farm-to-Table food movement, we believe in sourcing our ingredients and vendors locally”

A little background: Before founding COOLA suncare, Chris Birchby was a successful painter and a professional poker player. He calls himself an eco-entrepreneur and, just like you and I, had many a sunburn growing up. One of the most exciting things about COOLA (besides these no-nasties-good-for-you sunscreen!) is that when it comes to the ingredients, Chris and his team are also dedicated to responsible farming and manufacturing… I had you at organic, no?

Can you explain your Farm to Face® philosophy? Similar to the Farm-to-Table food movement, we believe in sourcing our ingredients and vendors locally to promote communities and jobs as well as cutting down on the costs of long distance shipping (both financial and environmental). Additionally, we formulate with Plant Protection®, which allows us to achieve clinically tested, broad spectrum and antioxidant-rich protection while using fewer traditional actives. Better for your skin, better for the environment.

Can you explain to how the three different lines—Plant UV, Mineral and Classic—differ? Classic and Mineral Sunscreens are differentiated by their active sun protection ingredients. Classic sunscreens use chemical active ingredients designed to absorb and dissipate UVA/UVB rays, while Mineral sunscreens use mineral active ingredients such as Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to scatter and reflect UVA/UVB rays.

Chemical active sunscreens can break down over time and exposure to the sun, rendering them less effective. This is one of the reasons why the Skin Cancer Foundation and FDA recommend reapplying sunscreen every two hours. Mineral active sunscreens don’t break down while working like chemical actives, but like all sunscreens they can rub and sweat off and should also be reapplied every two hours and after swimming.

Our classic sunscreen should be applied at least 30 minutes before sun exposure, while our mineral sunscreens are effective right after application. But both of our formulations guarantee broad-spectrum protection from UVA and UVB rays.

COOLA suncare is second to none in terms of organic, good-for-you ingredients and responsible manufacturing—why is eco-consciousness so important to you? Being a San Diego native, I appreciate the power of Mother Nature and the fine line she draws between healthy and dangerous, especially when dealing with the sun. As a child and the oldest of four boys, I spent a lot of time at the beach, eventually teaching surfing and windsurfing lessons over the summers. Sunburn was a common occurrence.

It wasn’t until 2002, when both of my parents had melanoma scares that I started investigating proper sun protection and was inspired to create COOLA. I dove headlong into intensive sun science and skincare formulation research, a period that took more than five years. With an elite team of industry professionals assembled, including several top FDA experts on sun protection, we created COOLA, a broad collection of natural sunscreens.

  A blog by The Spa Whisperer