We Tried This New SPF, and, Well, We've Finally Found Our Sunscreen Soulmate
by ERIN JAHNS
This article originally appeared on Who What Wear.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve joked that I’m allergic to sunscreen. Of course, I’m not actually allergic to the stuff, but after years of trying (and failing) to find the ultimate elixir to protect my skin from the sun’s harmful rays, the search has begun to feel futile. Interestingly, I’ve had much better luck in the realm of facial sunscreens—more and more new and existing brands are jumping onto that particular bandwagon, but as far as body sunscreens go, there hasn’t been a lot of movement. It feels harder to find high-quality formulas that not only do an ample job of staving off sun damage, but also feel luxurious, comfortable, and entirely wearable atop our skin. I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to be frolicking in the sun all day, I want to feel like a goo-free butterfly.
So, when I heard about a brand new, philanthropically charged suncare brand called Bask, which claimed to be the antithesis of almost every other sunscreen brand on the market, I was intrigued, to say the least. Would I finally be able to toss my old bottles of underwhelming sunblock in exchange for an option that was newer, cooler, and altogether safer for both my skin and the environment? That’s what I wanted to find out, and after chatting with the brand’s founder Michael Huffstetler, I had some answers.
We all know we’re supposed to wear sunscreen to protect ourselves against skin cancer, just like we know we shouldn’t smoke cigarettes in an effort to avoid scary diseases such as lung cancer. That said, the threat of complications due to sun exposure hasn’t seemed to penetrate our psyches in quite the same way or with quite as much urgency.
As Huffstetler pointed out to me, one in five Americans will get skin cancer by age 70 and yet, it is the most preventable form of cancer. The elephant in the room? We need to actually want to wear the stuff that will do said preventing. By creating new, ultra-comfy sunscreen formulas (you have options—there’s both a non-aerosol spray and a lotion) that the masses would actually feel motivated to apply, Huffstetler is trying to help. To glean more information, he surveyed over 50,000 men and women, and according to the results, the number one application deterrent people have is how sunscreen “feels on the skin” and the number two deterrent revolved around the absence of healthy, clean ingredients.
In addition to its light, not-cloying texture (this is not your thick, super-smelly SPF, folks), Bask’s clean ingredient profile is one of its most exciting highlights. Reef-safe, and skin-safe, the brand’s ingredients are all sustainably sourced and free of parabens and sulfates, and while more than 80% of the sunscreen products available for purchase in the United States have oxybenzone and/or octinoxate in them, you won’t find the former or the latter in your Bask products. The brand has also partnered with The Skin Protection Foundation (SPF) to build awareness for sun safety and increase the public’s access to sunscreen. Ten percent of Bask’s profits go to our NPO partners, so every purchase helps pay it forward.
Of course, this is all very exciting and highly impressive, but as a sunscreen-averse beauty editor who has tried almost every SPF under the sun, I needed to perform some more intimate sleuthing. So, I gathered a few of my equally curious colleagues to see if both the lotion and non-aerosol spray would actually deliver on their lofty claims. Keep scrolling for our honest reviews and thoughts on Bask’s new SPF offerings in addition to some of our other favorite summer-in-the-sun beauty products.
Sarah Yang, Managing Editor, THE/THIRTY
A little bit about my skin and what I look for in sunscreen: My skin type is normal to dry. When I’m looking for sunscreens, I want them to be hydrating, but not too greasy or oily. I find that a lot of “old school” sunscreens feel like you’re wearing an extra layer of something—and definitely not in a good way. I love formulas that are lightweight, not sticky or greasy, sheer, and that feels like I’m just wearing regular lotion on my skin.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Well, good news, the lotion did feel like putting on my regular lotion. While it did leave a little bit of a sunscreeny feel, I wasn’t too concerned because it felt grease-free. I also thought it made my skin a little bit softer and more moisturized, which is a nice plus. It was super easy to rub in, and it didn’t leave any white cast for me! As you’ll see below with the spray, the only reason I didn’t give it a full five stars is I personally prefer a higher SPF with my suncare products.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
When I first sprayed the product, I audibly gasped because the mist was so fine and cooling! After applying, the sunscreen didn’t feel heavy or super greasy. It definitely felt like I was wearing sunscreen, but it wasn’t a sticky or oily-feeling layer. The only reason why I didn’t give it a full five stars is I normally wear SPF 40 or higher, and I wish they made it in a higher SPF! Otherwise, this will definitely be a fixture in my everyday sunscreen routine.
Erin Jahns, Senior Beauty Editor
A little bit about my skin and what I look for in sunscreen: I have acne-prone skin that definitely veers combination once summer rolls around. As far as sunscreens, I absolutely cannot handle anything that I can actually feel on my skin, which—eek—has led me to forgo SPF more often than I’d like to admit as a beauty editor. I want something that absorbs easily, quickly, and doesn’t leave any kind of chalky finish on my skin. Since I break out easily (even on my body), I don’t want anything that’s going to suffocate my skin or accrue more and more grease and oil as the day wears on. Instead, I want something lightweight, breathable, and hydrating that ultimately feels practically invisible on my skin. Is that too much to ask?
Rating: 5/5 stars
Never have I ever been this obsessed with a sunscreen lotion for my body. This stuff may look like your average thick SPF lotion, but trust me when I say it is so fluffy, lightweight, and silky, it almost starts to feel like a serum once you start rubbing it in. It didn’t leave any kind of cast on me, it spread and absorbed insanely easily, and had I not known what I had just applied, I would never in a million years have thought it was a sunscreen. I’ve sweat and swam in it, and it didn’t have that gunky, cloyingly melty aftermath that so many sunscreens on the market leave behind which makes it much nicer once you hit 80 minutes and have to reapply. I love that it has that nostalgia-evoking tropical scent—coconutty-vanilla—without smelling too sweet or sunscreeny. This is literally the perfect sunscreen in my eyes, and I’m officially abandoning the rest of my collection of body formulas.
Rating: 5.5/5 stars
I know—5.5 stars?! A bold move, sure, but it’s just the honest to goodness truth. If I absolutely love the lotion, than I guess that means I’m in a serious relationship with this spray. First things first, it has that same delicate tropical scent as the lotion, which makes it a true treat to mist on. Speaking of the mist, it’s a super-fine yet continuous airflow, which makes it feel really refreshing while still yielding an impressive amount of coverage with just a few big sweeps. It absorbs easily, doesn’t stick or slip, and it imparts this subtle, light-reflecting glow to the skin which I loved.
Plus, it’s the little details in life, and I appreciate that you can twist the top to ensure there’s zero leakage when you’re traveling to the pool, lake, ocean, or wherever your sun-drenched festivities take you. I also haven’t had any issues with body breakouts from either of the products, so kudos to Bask! I’m thoroughly impressed.
Anna LaPlaca, Associate Fashion Editor
A little bit about my skin and what I look for in sunscreen: I have normal to dry skin. I know I’m not alone here, but I absolutely cannot stand sunscreens that are too greasy. There’s no worse feeling than heading home feeling grimy and gritty after a long beach or pool day and several applications of sunscreen. I honestly never minded the distinct smell that most sunscreens give off because the scent makes me nostalgic for family vacations growing up, but if I had to describe my ideal formulation, it would be minimal greasiness, maximum skin hydration (think a classic body lotion), and little to no scent.
Rating: 5/5 stars
I’m not sure how it could get any better than Bask’s lotion sunscreen. It has a lovely hydrating feel that I could apply and reapply all day without that sticky feeling. While you do have to rub it in a bit, I found it way easier to get rid of that bright white cast than with other SPF lotions, and the scent is hardly detectable.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Right off the bat, I appreciated how light and mattifying this spray is. While other aerosol sunscreens feel heavy and oily, this one did a surprisingly good job of sinking into my skin shortly after I applied it. That being said, it did leave a bit of a residue after a long beach day where I reapplied once or twice, so I docked a point for that although I felt a lot less sticky by the day’s end than I would with traditional spray-on sunscreens. Apart from the super-cute packaging that my friends all gleefully inquired about, I also appreciated the scent, or lack thereof, which is super subtle. I can easily see this becoming a mainstay in my beach bag.
Drew Elovitz, Director of Content Strategy and Senior Managing Editor
A little bit about my skin and what I look for in sunscreen: I was excited to take Bask sunscreen for a test drive for a ton of reasons, but I was definitely lured in by the idea of clean and safe sunscreen that promised no white cast or residue. With a genetic disposition for skin cancers on my side, and my partner having darker but more sensitive skin than my own, we are both extremely particular and conscientious when it comes to sun safety and the products that we use.
Rating: 4/5 stars
Spoiler: We actually both ended up preferring the spray because it doesn’t require as much rubbing in or dry time. That said, the lotion is great and provides more easily visible coverage. I would definitely keep it in my pool tote.
Rating: 5/5 stars
My partner and I both agree: Bask’s broad spectrum SPF 30 spray sunscreen meets all of our needs and passes with flying colors. We lathered up for a day of playing tennis outside in Queens. While the clay courts were worth the hike, there was absolutely no shade to be found. At the end of the day, we were drenched with sweat, but neither of us could feel or see any signs of a sunburn. We applied it one time each throughout the afternoon of playing and were totally good to go.
Although we favor different sunscreen for our faces (he likes Neutrogena while I swear by Supergoop), it’s nice that we can agree upon a single spray for our body to keep in our tennis and beach bags. We tossed it into the cooler with our water bottles, so when it came time to reapply midday, the spray was actually super refreshing. It also doesn’t have an aggressive, coconut scent, which can sometimes be a turnoff if you’re not actually on a tropical vacation.