Online Exclusives

Keeping Cool(a)

By Melissa Meisel, Associate Editor | November 30, 2010

Couple develops natural sun care range.

Each of us has a carbon footprint which is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, and this footprint is measured in units of carbon dioxide. Kristian and Chris Birchby aim to minimize their carbon footprint and contribute to a cause that is close to their heart at the same time.
This San Diego-based husband and wife team created Coola, a line of natural sun care that uses organic extracts in addition to active ingredients to create a product that is hypoallergenic, PABA (para-aminobenzoic acid)/paraben/petroleum) free, non-irritating and sweat resistant.
The company develops and manufactures its products under FDA guidelines, utilizing animal-free testing, biodegradable packaging, recycled papers, eco-friendly printing and is 100% made in the U.S.In an effort to spread the benefits of total sun protection to the rest of the world, it is also proud to donate a portion of profits to skin cancer research.
Managing partner and founder Chris took a moment to chat with Happi about the collection.

Happi: What are the benefits of organic sun care and how is this market growing?

CB: There are many benefits of organic sun care.Coola organic sun care products contain at least 70% certified organic inactive ingredients.Several products have over a dozen certified organic ingredients, including shea butter, jojoba oil, rose hips, cucumber extract, evening primrose and starflower oil.These ingredients provide a wide variety of prestige skin care qualities while helping to sustain organic farmers and increase demand for their crops.We have seen a definite trend where more people are becoming aware of how many chemicals can inadvertently make their way into personal care products and the environment.

Happi: What types of SPF ingredients are popular in organic sun care products and why?

CB: We are seeing an increase in popularity of natural sunblockers, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, also known as mineral SPF protection.In the past, these ingredients are most often associated with the telltale “white nose” that lifeguards can sometimes be seen sporting.Using advanced dispersion techniques, we have been able to distribute the mineral SPF particles so that they are almost evenly spaced from each other.This perfect distribution allows what would normally be opaque white zinc and titanium dioxide to apply totally transparent and greaseless without clogging pores.
Coola is a line of natural sun care that uses organic extracts.
Happi: Do certain ingredients work better than others in complementing SPF benefits (i.e. antioxidants, shea butter, etc.)?

CB: Natural phyto-protectors, such as plankton, beeswax and red algae, complement SPF products especially well.These ingredients have an innate SPF and enhance SPF protection naturally.

Happi: Your products have unique scents like cucumber and plumeria – how did you select these fragrances and why?

CB: We both thought that wearing SPF should be fun and definitely comparable with high quality skin care qualities that seemed to be missing in SPF products. We wanted clean and interesting flavor scents that would make the whole experience of SPF something unique and new[plumeria is Kristian’s favorite and mango is Chris’ pick].

Happi: What textures and forms are advantageous for organic sun care (sprays, gels, crèmes, etc.)?

CB: Crèmes are the best base formulation for SPF products, especially natural mineral SPFs.They allow for even dispersion of the SPF particles and keep them from going airborne.SPF sprays with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are potentially very hazardous if inhaled.

Happi: What is your future plans for the line?

CB: We have so many plans.We’ve been developing several exciting and unique products for the last two years that we hope to bring to completion soon.We’ll let you know when they’re ready!
Happi: Finally, where did you get the name Coola?
CB: The name Coola is from a sun myth legend from the Bella Coola Indian tribe and region of British Columbia. We dropped the Bella and kept the Coola. We think it is a fun name and makes sense with sun care!

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