The days of tolerating sunscreens with white casts and greasy residues might finally be over. Nowadays, people expect more from their sun protection: They want their SPF to feel like a luxe finishing step to their skincare routine, not a necessary evil destined to break you out. To meet this demand, more and more brands are stepping into the suncare world, bringing with them formulas that feel more indulgent than practical (even if they're actually both).
In this endeavor, Summer Fridays might just be leading the way. (As they should, considering summer is literally their brand.) For their first-ever SPF, launching May 31, the brand wanted their "community to have a mineral sunscreen that fully blends into skin, while also pairing well with makeup," Lauren Ireland, one of the brand founders, explains to Byrdie.
With the launch of Summer Fridays ShadeDrops Mineral Milk Sunscreen ($36), the brand fulfills a longstanding request—one that dates back to 2018. As with most great things (and I can attest to this product being great), it took them some time to perfect. "Since the launch of Summer Fridays, our community has been asking us for a sunscreen, and it has taken us this long to get it just right," says Summer Fridays founder Marianna Hewitt.
The result? A sunscreen that fits so perfectly into your skincare routine, you'll never be tempted to skip it. "There's really an ease to using this product, and that was so important to us," Ireland adds.
Ahead, all the details on Summer Fridays' first-ever sunscreen and our honest review.
Summer Fridays ShadeDrops Broad Spectrum SPF 30
Key Ingredients: Zinc oxide, squalane, antioxidant complex (vitamin E and ethyl ferulate), chamomile
Product Claims: Moisturizing, gentle formula with broad spectrum SPF 30
Why We Love It: Milky texture that leaves skin looking naturally dewy and protected
For this launch, Summer Fridays customers were top of mind. "Our customers always inspire us, and SPF was consistently at the top of their requests," Hewitt explains, "We are so thrilled to finally have it for them!"
To be clear, Summer Fridays devotees didn't just want any old sunscreen. They wanted something that spoke to all the best parts of the brand they love: ease, usefulness, and summer-inspired goodness. In short, the Summer Fridays SPF needed to feel like a natural addition to their other offerings. "To us, SPF has an emotional tie to it, both because the product is part of a daily routine, but also because it's often tied to memories with others," Ireland says. "This product specifically feels like an extension of our brand story—that is, to create Summer Fridays feelings regardless of the time or place."
Hewitt sums it up, "For years we have talked about the importance of SPF as a part of your daily skincare routine regardless of the season or weather, so we are so excited that we were able to create such an important step of your routine."
"It took years for this formula to come to life," Hewitt tells Byrdie. "We wanted to make sure our SPF was perfect before launching it, and we allowed some of our customers and community to be a part of the process."
Their thoughtful approach worked. Summer Fridays wound up with a milky formula that is lightweight, hydrating, vegan, and cruelty-free. ShadeDrops' ingredients include: zinc oxide to protect the skin from UVA/UVB rays, squalane to keep skin moisturized and smooth, and an antioxidant complex to help guard skin against damage from free radicals.
For Summer Fridays, the feel of their first SPF was just as important as its ingredient list. It needed to feel light going on and blend seamlessly into skin, no matter the skin tone. "Versatility was most important to us when formulating this product. ShadeDrops has been tested on a wide range of skin tones, and its naturally-derived tint blends in beautifully with all skin tones for a natural-looking finish," Ireland says.
I'm a very picky sunscreen user. With sensitive skin that is very prone to burning, I am well-versed in the world of suncare. And unfortunately, I often find that sunblock that feels good going on usually doesn't work that effectively. Summer Fridays is the happy exception.
To put this formula to the test, I brought it with me for a long day at the beach. After six hours in the sun (reapplying every two hours), I was happy to find that I was decidedly not burnt to a crisp. This effectiveness made the fact that ShadeDrops is lightweight, serum-like, and non-sticky all the more impressive. All in all, I think this formula is an amazing option for everyday sunscreen—even if I wish the bottle was a bit bigger.