I started making my own sunblock after skin cancer nearly took my dad’s life in 2008. This event spurred me to look at solutions to protect my skin. I learned that the chemicals in sunblocks were linked to negative health effects in humans and coral reefs. Corals are incredibly sensitive to chemicals. It’s been shown in scientific literature that corals have shown abnormal bleaching with sunblock that’s a dilution of just 10 micrometers. That’s one millionth of a liter.
My search for healthy sunblocks took me to a couple natural alternatives produced in Australia, but they were expensive. I searched YouTube and found some tutorials on making sunblock from scratch. They worked pretty well and soon I was making my own block in my kitchen for pennies on the dollar (compared to off-the-shelf products). These experiments led our first Korduroy video in 2009, and then our Sun Care Basics video.
Since then I’ve developed my own formula that’s served me well all over the world. In the time since I started making my own sunblock, a lot of companies have started making organic sunblocks. It’s so great to see more people gathering around products that aren’t dependent upon toxic chemicals. I never thought I’d enter into the sun care market myself until I got an e-mail from my longtime friend and Korduroy co-founder, Reis Paluso.
Reis found an ingredient named thanaka in Myanmar. It’s been used by the Burmese people for thousands of years to protect their skin from the sun, and it comes from the bark and wood of a local tree. The prospect of incorporating it as an active ingredient in a sunblock to offset zinc oxide got me excited. Zinc is an effective and safe ingredient (when not used in nano particulate form) that most organic sunblocks are using these days. However, it’s really hard on the environment to mine and refine. After testing various combinations of thanaka and zinc, we settled on a formula that uses 20 percent zinc and 10 percent thanaka. The quantity of zinc alone qualifies us for what the FDA considers a 30 SPF or greater sunblock. We feel that by adding thanaka and our other natural ingredients that this number is significantly higher.
I personally think our sunblock is one of the highest performing in the world due to the fact that it stays on much longer than your average sunblock. There’s been many times when I’ve put on 50 SPF sunblock only to have it wash off and get sun burned a few hours later. Our sun screen lasts all day and generally needs to be wiped off at the end of the day instead of needing to be reapplied. Because of this, our sunblock goes on thick. This isn’t a fashion sunscreen, this is war paint for surfers, mountaineers, athletes, and beach bums alike.
The last factor to consider was price. I wanted to make sure the product was a better deal per ounce than the vast majority of high performance facial sunblocks. Thankfully, we’ve achieved that. I’m pumped to join this new non-toxic revolution in sun care and push the conversation forward in minimizing our impact while protecting our bodies and our planet.
We are ready to make our first commercial batch and are launching a Kickstarter to take pre-orders and spread the word about our company. You can learn more and pre-order yours today via our Kickstarter.