This American Sunscreen Brand Is Flying Off the Shelves in Europe
Makeup artist Yacine Diallo used to live in fear of airport baggage scales. The Paris-based makeup artist fell in love with Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 when she lived in America, so much so that she'd bring tubes and tubes of it back with her to France anytime she visited the States. It's the opposite of the story we usually hear: Americans smuggling superior sunscreens home from trips to Paris or Rome. But despite trying every European formula under the sun (pun intended), the makeup artist swears she couldn't find an SPF that could compete with Supergoop!'s non-greasy, totally invisible formula, she tells me over dinner in Paris. (It's not a Best of Beauty winner for nothing.)
We are gathered to celebrate the launch of Supergoop! in the European Union — and as a byproduct, Diallo suddenly having a whole lot more room for (non-beauty) souvenirs in her suitcase. As of this month, the brand has rolled out in more than 650 Sephora stores across 16 international markets including France, Italy, Denmark, Romania, and Portugal.
For Holly Thaggard, who founded Supergoop! in 2007, it's a full-circle moment. Back in 2011, when the brand launched at Sephora in the United States, sunscreen was "such a sleepy category," says Thaggard. She woke it up by creating novel ways to apply it, like a quick-to-absorb oil. "If there weren't beautiful, luxurious ways to apply and to reapply sunscreen and easily incorporate it into your routine, everybody would still be putting it in a drawer," Thaggard tells me.
Supergoop! founder Holly Thaggard started the brand in 2007 in San Antonio, Texas.
She laughs as she recounts those early days at Sephora, when the few Supergoop! products carried in stores would sell out so often, she sometimes reverse-shoplifted and replenished the stock herself. Though the brand has since ballooned in size and scale (today, it sells more than 40 different takes on SPF), Thaggard might consider reverting to her old ways: Fellow beauty editors visiting from Poland and Turkey reported that in the few days Supergoop! had been available at Sephora in their home countries, its products were already sold out.
In addition to the aforementioned Unseen Sunscreen, those products include Glowscreen, Mineral Mattescreen, and Mineral Sheerscreen. (You can probably figure out the differences between them based upon their names.) The formulas are the same as those available in the States, confirms Supergoop!, but due to EU regulations, if a person was to compare the INCI lists line by line, the names of some ingredients might appear differently. (At a pop-up in Paris with bright-yellow floors and a neon sign reading "SPF Tous. Les. Jours." — a reminder to wear sunscreen every single day — European consumers seemed more interested in swatching formulas on their hands and snapping selfies.)
Parisians got a window into the world of Supergoop! at the brand's pop-up in collaboration with Sephora EU.
By Aliza Kelly
By Sophie Saint Thomas
By Sophie Saint Thomas
Sunscreens are regulated differently in every country. In the United States, SPF is considered a drug and subject to FDA regulations. In the European Union, however, sunscreen is treated as a cosmetic product, which has allowed manufacturers access to a broader range of UV filters that often make for more"“cosmetically elegant" formulations. That is to say, they smooth on more easily and layer more seamlessly under makeup.
Supergoop!, however, is one of few American brands to achieve the same cosmetically-elegant result while manufacturing under the watchful eye of the FDA. Creating formulations that people will actually want to use remains key to Thaggard’s mission to reduce the occurrence of skin cancer globally. (Currently, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.)
"I want to change the way the world thinks about sunscreen," says Thaggard. "And to do that, I can't just stay in the US."
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6 of June 2023