Natural sun care company, Coola, is expanding its portfolio to include products that extend well beyond its classic sunscreen and self-tanning offerings. The company, founded in 2007 by Chris Birchby after both of his parents survived melanoma, is aiming to be the go-to brand for healthy skin protection by tackling an unnoticed source of skin damage – phones, computers and televisions.
“I have been sensitive to and knowledgeable about the dangers that sun damage poses to skin, but while I was feeling confident about protecting my skin from sun damage, and often staying inside working most of the day, it turns out I was letting the fox into the henhouse,” explained Chris. “Recent scientific studies show the potentially damaging effects of High Energy Visible (HEV) light to skin—primarily blue light rays emitting from modern digital pollution. Surprisingly, they can penetrate deeper into the skin than UVA/UVB rays, reaching beyond the dermis. Research shows that blue light rays lead to skin premature aging and induce skin hyperpigmentation that’s more pronounced than what’s from UVA/UVB rays.”
Using a patented Digital UV technology, Chris’ team developed Organic SPF 30 360 Sun Silk Drops, a lightweight serum designed to offer both blue light and broad-spectrum protection for indoor and outdoor skin safety. The 70 percent organic formula will be in available Sephora beginning in April for $48. The formula also features hyaluronic acid, which aims to hydrate skin, and is naturally scented with neroli blossom. The serum can be worn alone or blended with skin care or makeup products. Additional Coola products utilizing this technology are currently in the works.
In addition, the brand is entering a new category – hair care. Coola Organic SPF 30 Scalp & Hair Mist will launch in April at Sephora and sell for $28.
“By the time skin cancer is detected on the scalp, it’s often in the later stages, so prevention is key,” explained Chirs. “At the American Academy of Dermatology, I learned that many dermatologists are now working with hair stylists and salon owners to help with early detection. Our sun care development team is some of the best talent in the industry, and our innovation process draws from very diverse data points and—fortunately for our hair care line—some of the best hairstylists in the business.”
The product aims to provide SPF 30 UVA/UVB protection, lock-in color, diminish dullness, and strengthen environmentally damaged hair with a blend of plant extracts, which includes gotu kola to promote overall scalp health. It’s also water resistant (for up to 80 minutes) and is scented with a natural ocean salted sage aroma.
Marketing efforts for the new launches will include tapping Coola’s broad network of authentic ambassadors, ranging from yoga instructors to Olympic athletes. “In many cases, our brand ambassadors are stakeholders in the process, from concept to lab samples to finished product, and their feedback is invaluable,” said Chris.
Outside of the upcoming launches, Coola will be expanding into dermatologists’ offices this year and will be partnering with medical field experts to formulate specific and unique products, which will debut next year.
“Dermatologists are experts on skin cancer, so having their validation is very important to us. We believe we make the healthiest sun care and we’re excited to share that with the medical community. These days, many patients are looking for an organic alternative and we’re proud to offer it,” said Chris.
To support growth, Chris said he has built a strong internal infrastructure, and while the company is not able to provide sales numbers, they are expecting to double sales within the next two years.