Rosalia Di Gesu
Rosalia Di Gesu is a Senior Innovation Analyst. She focuses on delivering cross-category insight and commentary on innovative new product launches and trends.

Suncare innovations are increasingly adding value and responding to changing consumer needs accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Suncare brands are blurring with skincare in new ways, expanding protective capabilities, exploring more disruptive eco-concepts and tapping into growing wellness trends. In this blog, we highlight the most innovative launches of 2021.

Blur with skincare in exciting ways

Suncare brands are increasingly blurring with other markets. Skincare has been a bright spot during COVID-19, seeing continued engagement, especially in comparison to many other beauty and personal care markets (such as cosmetics and suncare) that have been more negatively impacted.

In the UK, over a third of sunscreen buyers think added skincare benefits are important when making a purchase in the category. According to Mintel GNPD, ‘for sensitive skin’ is among the fastest-rising New Product Development claims in suncare.

Clean and ocean-friendly collection for sensitive skin: Coty‘s latest Lancaster Sun Sensitive collection targets consumers with sensitive skin. It is positioned as Lancaster’s first clean, minimalist, vegan and ocean-friendly collection, and is marketed as containing an average of 40% fewer ingredients than previous ranges/competitors.

Coty’s Lancaster Sun Sensitive collection

Source: Mintel GNPD

Water and skincare brands collaborate for ultimate hydration: In Indonesia, dermatologist skincare brand Erha has collaborated with water brand Aqua (from Danone) to launch Erha x Aqua Re-Fresh. The hydration-first skincare range uses ’24-Hour Hydration Lock’ technology to help reveal fresh, hydrated and healthy looking skin over 24 hours.

Erha x Aqua Re-Fresh Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 30 PA++

Source: Mintel GNPD

Protection against five pollutants: UV Plus Multi-Protection Moisturizing Screen SPF 50 is Clarins‘ first UV and pollution screen that protects against five pollutants encountered in everyday life (atmospheric, blue light, pollen, photo-pollution and indoor pollution).

Clarins’ Anti-Pollution Multi-Protection Moisturizing Screen SPF 50 PA+++

Source: Mintel GNPD

Tap into on-trend wellness concepts using scent, oils and playful themes

A big focus on mental wellbeing, especially during the ongoing pandemic, is driving innovation across industries, including suncare. Recent suncare innovations use scent, texture and playful elements to help people unwind.

Sleep aiding self-tan: Isle of Paradise‘s Night Glow Self-Tan Face Mist aims to aid sleep as it works overnight. It uses soothing and relaxing ylang ylang, jasmine and lavender oils.

Isle of Paradise’s Night Glow: ylang ylang, jasmine and lavender aid sleep

Source: Mintel GNPD

Skincare meets surf brand: Japanese brand Shiseido‘s collaboration with US surf brand Roxy is a floral design gift set that is both pretty and distracting.

Shiseido X Roxy Summer Essentials Set

Source: Mintel GNPD

Use bold eco-branding/messaging

The top five fastest-growing claims in the European suncare market are all linked to sustainability, which increasingly inspires New Product Development.

Pro Climate eco-neutral collection: Sun Dance Sun Fluid SPF 30 is part of DM’s (Drogerie Markt’s) wide Pro Climate collection which offsets not only CO2 but also eutrophication, acidification, summer smog and ozone depletion. The sunscreen is also biodegradable, and free of microplastics and octocrylene.

Drogerie Markt Sun Dance’s Pro Climate Sun Fluid SPF 30

Source: Mintel GNPD

Paper bottle sun cream: Paper bottles (and tubes) continue to make inroads in suncare in an effort to minimise plastic waste.

Kosé Cosmeport has moved into the paper bottle space and brings a shape twist too, opting for a cube-shaped paper bottle (versus a standard ‘bottle’ shape). Its Suncut Mild Cream SPF 30 PA+++ is presented in a water-resistant Cube Pak developed by Toppan. 

Toppan’s Suncut Mild Cream SPF 30 PA+++

Source: Toppan

Bold eco-designed branding: Garnier’s Ambre Solaire Éco-Conçu (Eco-Designed) sunscreen milk was created in partnership with Ocean Conservancy. It respects marine life and is available in 100% recycled and recyclable plastic bottles.

Garnier’s Eco-Designed Sunscreen Milk SPF 30

Source: Mintel GNPD

Opportunities for more refills

Disruptive and eco-minded refill options are emerging across beauty categories (eg deodorant, skincare, makeup). Suncare is following suit, with refills niche but fast growing.

Refillable skin tint: American brand Milk Makeup’s Sunshine Skin Tint SPF 30 has been reformulated to be coral-reef-safe. The Refill Cartridges help to cut down on plastic waste by 66% and allow users to repurchase ‘their favourite SPF skin tint’ in a more sustainable way.

Milk Makeup’s Sunshine Skin Tint SPF 30 Refill

Source: Mintel GNPD

Organic sunscreen: Brazilian brand Chameleon Sun is tapping into refill and also solid beauty trends. Its mineral Organic Face and Body Sunscreen (SPF 50 or 30) offers refill blocks to be placed within the main eco-friendly container (made of recycled ocean plastic).

Chameleon Sun’s Organic Face and Body Sunscreen SPF 50+

Source: Mintel GNPD