It's crucial to use sunscreen to protect your skin from dangerous UV and UVB rays, especially if you’re planning to spend a day out in the sun. As the summer season continues to heat up, it's even more important to reapplySPF every two hours. We all know this, and yet so many sunscreens are so greasy, chalky, or sticky, that it makes it easy to skip applying in the first place.
Hoping to do away with those outdated formulas that can leave skin looking ghostly, DUNE Suncare co-founders Emily Doyle and Mei Kwok decided to create their own all-gel sun care line that's suitable for every skin tone. “As avid sunscreen users, we were frustrated by the lack of innovation and practicality in the suncare space,” Doyle tells Byrdie exclusively.
She continues, “We saw the industry broken out into two sectors: mass and specialty. The mass brands we all have been using since we were babies felt like they were lacking innovation in both product offering and branding, while hosting a number of toxic ingredients. Whereas, the newer, more specialty brands felt like they were marketed more towards women, inaccessible at retail, and frankly, fairly unaffordable.”
Using the time allotted from the pandemic, the team knew it was up to them to make the skincare essential inclusive of all skin tones and types. “We started building the company in March 2020, ideating on what we were both passionate about and wanted to put all our muscle behind,” Doyle explains.
That meant developing products with nontoxic, inclusive, and unisex formulations that are affordable in terms of price and (soon-to-be) footprint. “Convenience in suncare is a paramount after-product,” Doyle says.
Ahead, learn more about the inspiration behind the brand, the products, and the formula.
DUNE Suncare's goal is to combine the best of specialty and mass-market suncare brands to create a line of products that meet the needs and lifestyles of their customers. “We hated the feeling of most sunscreens that were available to us—white lotions that were hard to rub in and uncomfortable to wear, even on the lightest skin tones,” the CEO describes.
Sunscreen is a critical and essential item for everyone to use, every day, year-round.
When it comes to the name behind the brand, Doyle and Kwok knew they wanted something easy to pronounce, universally understood, and gender-neutral. The pair admits it wasn’t easy.
DUNE was inspired by the resilience of actual sand dunes, which act as protection against natural damage. “DUNE Suncare was really aiming to achieve a similar mission—act as a resilient barrier for your skin and the first line of defense against the sun’s harmful rays,” Doyle divulges.
Additionally, they knew they could “go wild” using dunes references in their marketing to virtually teleport customers to a sun-soaked beach, “where everyone’s having a good time.”
Meet The Products
The Mug Guard ($28) is a watery gel SPF for the face that provides up to 40 minutes of water resistance. The formula is fragrance-free to be as gentle as possible on sensitive skin.
“It’s actually an incredible prep for the skin before makeup. It’s uber moisturizing, so it helps makeup to apply more evenly and naturally,” Doyle tells us. She even claims that the sunscreen is so light that it can be applied over makeup without causing it to smear.
Also offering 40-minutes of water resistance, the antibacterial properties of The Bod Guard ($25) make it suitable for acne-prone skin. According to Doyle, the body SPF also has a “light, fresh, and unisex sea salt scent.”
The Lifeguard ($23) is also fragrance-free and high in antioxidants from plants and fruits, which help reduce inflammation, redness, burning, itchiness, and dryness. Because it provides 72-hour hydration and evaporation on contact, the solution provides a cooling tingle and instantly quenches the skin's thirst upon application.
The standout product also aids in the improvement of the skin's texture, softness, elasticity, and strength. “The Lifeguard is our miracle rescue aloe gel for all-over, post-sun [exposure]. We use it as a daily moisturizer too, not just post-sun,” Doyle details.
As the team's ideation process took shape, they knew they wanted the formulas to be innovative, especially since this was an all-gel suncare line with skincare benefits. Doyle explains, “Our formulas took about a year and a half to make from start to finish after loads of testing, clinical trials, a bazillion samples—and man, was it all worth it!”
The products went through months of clinical trials, and the results were astounding. Part of the research, according to Doyle, involved testing the products on the "darkest of complexions" to ensure the brand lived up to its invisibility claims.
While the formula is completely invisible on every skin tone, the solution itself is actually green. Doyle says that green is neutral on most skin tones, making it perfect to offset the white appearance.
All three products absorb immediately, are non-piling, and provide 72-hour hydration, the highest hydration claim available in the beauty and suncare industries. Doyle says the formula is “game-changing.”
”We are proud and humbled to offer a revolutionary, clear gel suncare line for all, packed with clinically proven skincare benefits,” Doyle concludes.
After a long day swimming in the pool, I decided to try The Lifeguard. Unfortunately, I had sunburned due to a lack of reapplication of my drugstore SPF (I didn't get to try the brand's sunscreen because I couldn't find it in my luggage at the time. That's another story for another day, believe me).
When I realized I was sunburned, I immediately applied the after-sun product all over my décolletage area, hoping to alleviate the mild pain. Despite the fact that I'm normally allergic to aloe, this product used just enough of the desert plant to help soothe the pain and irritation I was experiencing without causing a reaction. My skin was no longer red or painful after just a few hours of application.
The Lifeguard from Dune Suncare will forever be in my beach bag!