Only within the past decade or so has the idea of facial sunscreen moved beyond the idea of slathering on a veil of cakey Banana Boat, always a surefire way to look ghostly and wind up sobbing a pool of fiery sunscreen tears at the beach. These days, sun protection is no longer an anomaly but rather an everyday necessity. Modern discoveries in skin cancer have given rise to a bourgeoning upscale sunscreen industry featuring HABIT, a new beauty brand that takes SPF very seriously.
"Traditional sunscreen brands, like Coppertone and Hawaiian Tropic, do a great job narrating around the beach use case," HABIT founder Tai Adaya told The Zoe Report. On the other hand, she says, "a lot of great beauty brands sell sunscreen, but often the primary function is a beauty function (like with foundation) with SPF actives added in for a secondary function of sun protection."
HABIT — the latest to join Supergoop!, Vive Sana, and Everyday Humans in the category of trending, beauty-worthy SPF — falls into neither category. While its debut product, a touchless SPF 41 mist that goes by the name of N°41, does include flowery lavender and rosemary in its 16-ingredient makeup, Adaya says it may not actually fit into the industry's notoriously precarious definition of "clean."
"Mineral actives, zinc and titanium dioxide, are often considered more ‘clean’ or more ‘natural’ than organic actives," she says, "but this is based on marketing rather than science. It was startling to me to learn that the actives that work on darker skin tones are not considered ‘clean’ by many prominent voices in the industry and that this definition of clean is not based on science."
Adaya herself has had trouble finding sunscreen ("especially with mineral actives," she notes) that didn't leave a white cast on her half-Mexican, half-Indian skin tone. With HABIT, the residual sheen will no longer be a reason for people of color to not partake in sun protection.
Although data from the Skin Cancer Foundation shows that people of color make up only 10 percent or less of all skin cancer cases in the U.S., Adaya maintains that sunscreen is necessary for all skin tones. "Every human being is subject to skin aging," she says.
"I really feel there’s a need for new, innovative formulas and formats, especially those geared towards daily use and reapplication rather than for beach days," Adaya says. "Sunscreen really works in protecting against not only sunburns, but skin cancer and skin aging. With innovative formulas and formats, I believe we can get more people into the daily habit." (Pun intended.)
We only include products that have been independently selected by The Zoe Report's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.