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Sunscreen has never been ‘cooler’ – here are the brands leading the charge

Sunscreen has never been ‘cooler’ – here are the brands leading the charge

In 2023, there’s no denying the importance of SPF. Thankfully, the days of tanning beds and hours sunbaking slathered in oil are far and few between for a growing proportion of the population. So, it makes sense the sun care market is moving fast, too.

Increased awareness of the risk factors associated with sun is changing the attitudes towards sun protection – it’s now trendier than ever to slip, slop, slap, particularly among millennials and Gen Z consumers. It’s no longer deemed ‘cool’ to flaunt your tan lines in beach selfies. Same goes for boasting your *ability* to “not burn” in lieu of SPF…

The global sun care global sun care market was valued at $13.03 billion in pre-pandemic 2019, according to Fortune Business Insights data. Then, following the turmoil of 2020, NPD reported the prestige sunscreen market had boomed by 60 percent in Q1 2021 alone.

Given its momentum, Fortune Business Insights has projected the worldwide sun care market to reach $16.84 billion by 2027.

This growth will come from an array of skinified multifunctional products and sustainable innovations from suppliers and brands.

According to consumer trends agency Spate, there are 25.3K average monthly U.S. searches for “sun damage,” representing growth of 28.9 percent since last year. Associated search terms include face, skin, eye and chest, indicating wider damage worries. In addition, solution-based searches included “reverse,” “how to, get rid of,” “protect” and “over the counter.” Associated treatment searches include blue light, lasers and chemical peels.

The skinification of sun care

The majority of the category’s growth is predicted to stem from the ‘skinification’ trend, with the most in demand sunscreens being those that impart skincare benefits, too. We can expect sun care brands to tap into this with NPD targeted at common concerns like anti-aging, hydration or acne. On the flip side, skincare brands will increasingly be turning their focus to sun care. According to New Zealand search data, few skincare brands are directly associated with sun care…yet. Neutrogena, Avene, and La Roche-Posay, are the key skincare brands dominating the skincare/suncare hybrid field.

Per Spate data, topical ingredients associated most with sun damage online searches include retinol, coconut oil and rosehip oil, again reflecting a wider skinification of the sun care category trend.


Our top picks

Emma Lewisham Skin Shield SPF 30

This cult day crème combines sun and antioxidant skin protection with 9 high performing active ingredients to improve the condition of your skin. The luxurious formulation delivers SPF 30 broad spectrum UV protection alongside a synergistic complex of ingredients that leave skin powerfully hydrated, resilient, and luminous. Bonus that it’s also available in refill only (distributed direct) | Learn more

Dermalogica powerbright moisturiser spf50

‘Skinification’ epitomised, this daily SPF moisturiser does it all. In addition to SPF 50 protection, brown algae helps combat oxidative stress caused by pollution while niacinamide helps reduce the appearance of uneven pigmentation and balance skin tone. Then there’s ultra-hydrating hyaluronic acid, which works with a plant-based polysaccharide to help strengthen skin’s moisture barrier, reducing the appearance of fine lines. Finally, licorice root extract and bisabolol help soothe the skin (distributed by Two Hundred Doors) | Learn more

Ultra Violette Supreme Screen

Australian made and owned, where the regulations and requirements are some of the strictest in the world, you can be confident Ultra Violette will pass our often disputed Consumer NZ tests. But it does so much more, too. A three-in-one moisturiser, SPF and primer, it delivers the hydration of a moisturiser and the makeup-readiness of a primer. It also harnesses Australian native antioxidants for their natural anti-ageing benefits | Learn more

Coola Dew Good Illuminating Serum Probiotic Sunscreen

This award-winning, silky serum sunscreen boasts big beautifying benefits. It goes on sheer to instantly illuminate for a dewy, hydrated look that also sits well under makeup – double bonus. The organic formula goes beyond SPF to help mitigate the effects of blue light, pollution, and other environmental stressors. Infused with probiotics, which help improve moisture retention, and additional antioxidant-rich hydrators it supports a natural, youthful glow (distributed by Beauty Care) | Learn more

Go-To Nifty Fifty

Dermatologically tested to be non-comedogenic and suitable for all skin types, Nifty Fifty is one of Go-To’s best-selling products. It’s formulated with Kakadu plum to protect the skin from oxidative stress and improve radiance, CoQ10 for antioxidant benefits and skin-soothing effects, and aloe vera to hydrate and nourish | Learn more