Needing protection from the harsh sun Down Under, it’s not surprising we are seeing a number of local sunscreen brands spring up: not nearly on the scale of local skincare brands however, and
there’s good reasons for that.
Given the recognition of sunscreens as a therapeutic good, by the time the product is available to consumers the brand would have jumped through many regulation hoops to get there. To gain necessary retail approval from Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Association, all sunscreen must abide by strict formulation and testing measures – a process that can take up to two years – and must also meet Australia and New Zealand’s shared sunscreen standard. It means there is less appeal for making a quick buck, and more pure passion from its founders.
Sydney-based Frances van der Velden has a compelling motivation for the creation of her new brand Airyday, a range of elegant, skin-nourishing facial sunscreens.
What set you on the path of focusing on SPF?
At 36, I was diagnosed with a skin cancer which left me in shock. I couldn’t understand how it had happened to me, but upon reflection I realised I rarely wore sunscreen as much as I thought or claimed I did.
I wore it only at the beach, pool, or days when the sun was particularly harsh; moments where we are encouraged to apply sun protection.
It then dawned on me I hate sunscreen. Why? I couldn’t stand the smell, the stickiness, the thickness and had convinced myself it did more harm to my skin than good as I have quite reactive, sensitive skin.
Airyday founder Frances van der Velden.
What was your aim for Airyday?
My ultimate goal was to create an SPF 50+ product that people loved to apply daily and not skip. With the rate of skin cancer at an all-time high, the goal is to change people’s thinking about sunscreen: it’s as important as brushing your teeth and should hold the same weight in our daily routine. I wanted to try and tackle common obstacles and hurdles that made people skip applying SPF, like textures, smells, compatibility with skin and lack of options. I also wanted our sunscreens to feel and act like skincare, [to be] lightweight, luxurious, smellgreat and infused with skin-loving actives like hyaluronic acid, vegan collagen and niacinamide, to name a few. Each can be used as the final step in your skincare routine or as primer as the first step in your make-up routine.
What is the biggest challenge in getting people to change their attitudes to sunscreen?
We all remember the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign from the ’80s, which was wildly successful in creating awareness among the general population about sun protection.
However, it also resulted in affirming the ‘by appointment’ mentality, only using sunscreen for those cliché sunny moments versus understanding they should be wearing it every day, all day, as sun damage is cumulative. This re-education is going to take time, but equally as difficult [will be] to remove the stigma that sunscreens are always sticky, heavy and leave a white cast. With melanoma diagnosis doubling since the ’80s, we have our work cut out for us.
There’s a lot of confusion over sunscreen ingredients and what is safe.
There are so many different opinions and a sea of information circulating the internet regarding ingredients, environment and safety. We know this can cause a lot of worry or concern as it’s hard for most consumers to verify these opinions.
We (and most reputable sunscreen brands) will formulate to comply with the requirements of regulatory bodies like Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration and the European Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety. These are some of the strictest regulatory bodies setting requirements for efficacy and safety.
They have strict requirements on approved ingredients and how these ingredients can be used safely, across not only sunscreens but medicines, devices and even cosmetics.
These regulators are very proactive in investigating and researching any ingredient noted to be a safety concern. The same approach exists for environmental concerns as well, where these regulatory bodies will clinically undertake research which matches with real-world scenarios.
While we know our products are safe and efficacious by complying with strict regulations, we still also believe in providing our customers with options of different types of compliant formulas, as we’re lucky to live in a society where we can and should be able to make choices.
Three of the four Airyday sunscreens in the range
You’ve already released four different facial sunscreens.
Much like our wardrobe and beauty bag, we pick and choose items based on how we’re feeling, where we’re going and how we want to look. SPF should be no different. With a multitude of options and a few more on the drawing board, there are options for those wanting hydration, a matte finish, a sun-kissed glow or even those with acne-prone and sensitive skins.
We’ve got our unique all-rounder and hero – Clear as Day SPF50+: a totally invisible, weightless gel formula that leaves skin dewy and hydrated. It’s loaded with hyaluronic acid and is perfect for all skin types and tones. Plus, with a completely clear formula, there is no risk of staining clothes.
Golden Glow SPF50+ is a luminous, blendable cream which leaves your skin with a sun-kissed glow, minus the sun. It’s loaded with vegan collagen, niacinamide and suitable for most skins.
Mineral Mousse SPF50+ is our 100% mineral formula. It’s a physical SPF with zero fragrance that is weightless and leaves skins with a velvet-matte finish.
Pretty in Zinc SPF50+ is our zinc formula designed for sensitive and acne-prone skins – it’s super gentle, nourishing and breathable.