Is Supergoop! As Super Clean as it Reports? We Did A Deep-Dive Into This Sunscreen Brand
While Supergoop! might get mistaken for another celebrity brand—Gwenyth Paltrow’s Goop—it stands apart with its unique identity and mission, carved out by its founder, Holly Thaggard. The brand was born when Thaggard, the self-proclaimed “Sunscreen Queen,” saw a gap in the market for an effective sunscreen that was easy to apply and comfortable to wear.
Supergoop! assures customers that as “experts in SPF,” they know what skin needs to stay safe in the sun. But Supergoop! doesn’t stop at functionality. Formulations are light, easy to apply, and don’t leave behind a gooey cast. These innovations in design and application make Supergoop! a popular choice for sunscreen. The company formulates products for all skin types, including sensitive skin.
With its neat white containers adorned with yellow pumps and caps, clear labeling, and the prominent Supergoop! logo, it’s hard to miss these products on the shelves.
Supergoop!’s ethos is encapsulated in five P’s – “product, passion, purpose, people, and our planet!” It aims to create clean, easy-to-apply products that are eco-friendly. Thaggard’s dream was to make sunscreen people would want to wear.
But how accurate is Supergoop!’s mission? Is it as clean and sustainable as it claims? Buckle up as we dive deep into a comprehensive analysis to uncover the truth.
At Better Goods, we rank brands on our three pillars: ingredients, sustainability, and animal welfare.
Brands are rated on the three pillars as follows:
This ranking is for the best of the best. Only exemplary brands will receive a ranking of best for any category.
This ranking is for brands that are typically quite good, but don’t go above and beyond like our best choices.
This ranking is for when we find something we find iffy. Not a good sign.
This ranking is reserved for the worst of the worst.
Ingredients (Rating: Iffy)
Supergoop! reveals a complete ingredient list for each product, demonstrating its commitment to transparency. The brand also has a section of its website dedicated to educating its customers about the importance of sunscreen use.
The company acknowledges there is no agreed-upon definition of natural, organic sunscreen. Thaggard addressed the FDA’s decision to look more closely into sunscreen ingredients and maintained that Supergoop! is ready to pivot if their ingredients are deemed harmful.
The company posted “The No List,” which describes harmful ingredients that never appear in formulations. The current list has about 100 hazardous ingredients left out of Supergoop!’s products, including BHT, talc, heavy metals, and phenoxyethanol. After reviewing Supergoop!’s current products, this claim checks out.
Supergoop! claims to create products that adhere to the European Union’s stringent guidelines about cosmetic safety. It releases third-party testing about the efficacy of its formulations. One report from 2018 shows the detailed results of a study on Unseen Sunscreen’s efficacy and water resistance.
Most of Supergoop!’s products present little to no hazard for consumers. However, we found a few ingredients we recommend avoiding.
Supergoop!’s sunscreens have the following active chemical ingredients: homosalate, octisalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene. We do not recommend chemical sunscreens for several reasons. However, Supergoop! offers some mineral sunscreen options with safer active ingredients, like zinc oxide.
- Polyethylene Glycols (PEGs) are used in cosmetics as emulsifiers, solvents, humectants, and viscosity modifiers. However, PEGs can sometimes be contaminated with carcinogenic substances, such as 1,4-dioxane and ethylene oxide. PEGs are present in some of Supergoop!’s products, but the company is looking to phase them out of formulations.
- Some ingredients like lecithin, chlorphensin, amyl cinnamal, geranium flower oil, ylang ylang flower oil, peppermint leaf, jasmine, rosa canina seed oil can cause allergic reactions. We recommend testing products on a small patch of skin if you are prone to allergies.
- We found an undisclosed flavor listed as an ingredient. Flavor refers to a combination of substances to create or mask a flavor.
- C13 15 Alkane is a possibly carcinogenic ingredient found in Supergoop!’s ingredient list.
- Cyclomethicone was found in two products. This is a silicon-based substance that can cause bioaccumulation in humans and the environment. It also has the potential to cause reproductive and developmental toxicity. This was an ingredient on “The No List” that Supergoop! is working on eliminating.
- Mica is a natural mineral dust found in some products. A 2018 report uncovered child labor and exploitation in mica mining in Madagascar and India. Supergoop! has not yet made a public statement about how its mica is sourced.
Only use Supergoop!’s mineral sunscreens…
If you are a fan of Supergoop!, we recommend only using their lineup of mineral sunscreens. Several products in their lineup contain chemical sunscreen actives which are shown to readily absorb into the bloodstream, having unknown effects.
Look for those containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and avoid those with homosalate, octisalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene.
Sustainability (Rating: Good)
Supergoop! is transparent about its approach to sustainability. The company works with a recycling program called TerraCycle®. Customers can request a free shipping label and ship empty product containers back. Supergoop! lists 32 current products that are eligible for the recycling program. The brand acknowledges several products are not eligible for recycling yet.
Besides Supergoop!’s recycling program, the brand commits to creating safe products for coral reefs. The brand is transparent that one product, Healthy Glow Sunless Tan, is not reef-safe yet.
The company consistently looks for ways to expand sustainability initiatives. On Supergoop!’s website, Thaggard confirms that secondary packaging is made with materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and is recyclable. It swapped bubble wrap for post-consumer waste paper. Thus, all shipping materials are 100% recyclable.
Animal Welfare (Rating: Good)
Supergoop! states on its website that it is a cruelty-free company. As part of “The No List,” Supergoop! confirms it does not test ingredients on animals.
Cruelty-Free Kitty confirms Supergoop! is a cruelty-free brand. Supergoop! and its suppliers do not test ingredients or products on animals at any stage of the formulation process. While it sells products in areas where animal testing is allowed, the products are not tested on animals.
Supergoop! is not 100% vegan, reports Cruelty-Free Kitty. Some ingredients derive from animals. The company confirms on its website that beeswax, a non-vegan ingredient, is present in some products. Its website has some vegan choices available. Many products contain vegan-friendly ingredients.
Final Brand Ratings
Our rating scale ranges from “Best” (for having the best practices) to “Avoid” (for having unacceptable practices). We rated Supergoop! as follows.
|Ingredients||Iffy||Supergoop! shows transparency by revealing a full list of ingredients for each product. Many formulations have safe ingredients. “The No List” has over 100 hazardous ingredients that Supergoop! does not use in formulations. Some sunscreens have potentially harmful chemical ingredients like homosalate, octisalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene. However, Supergoop! has safer mineral sunscreen options, formulated with zinc oxide. We also found some hazardous ingredients like polyethylene glycol (PEGs), undisclosed flavor, C13 15 alkane, and cyclomethicone. Supergoop! states on its website that the company is working on phasing out PEGs and cyclomethicone.|
|Sustainability||Good||Supergoop! is clear about its sustainability approaches. Customers can recycled most products through the TerraCycle program by shipping empty containers back to Supergoop!. There are a few products that customers cannot recycle. Most products are reef-safe, although there is on that isn’t. Shipping materials are 100% recyclable.|
|Animal Welfare||Good||Supergoop! is a cruelty-free brand that does not test products on animals at any part of the formulation or distribution process. Its third-party suppliers adhere to cruelty-free practices. The brand is not 100% vegan. It is transparent about its non-vegan ingredients, and has some vegan options available.|
Overall Rating: Good
Supergoop! positions itself as a clean sunscreen brand that is good for the planet. The company is transparent about its ingredients. “The No List” has over 100 harmful ingredients not used in Supergoop’s products. However, we found a few ingredients that should be avoided, like cyclomethicone and PEGs. Sunscreens have some potentially hazardous chemical ingredients like homosalate, octisalate, avobenzone, and octocrylene. The brand also offers some mineral sunscreen options without these active ingredients.
From a sustainability standpoint, Supergoop! has good procedures in place. The company sees its sustainability work as ongoing and looks for new ways to improve. It uses its TerraCycle® program to collect empty containers from customers; most products are reef-safe. However, the company acknowledges a few products that are not eligible for recycling and one that is not reef-safe. This transparency allows consumers to filter products and shop with awareness.
The brand is cruelty-free. While Supergoop! is not 100% vegan, it is transparent about its ingredients, so customers can find vegan options.
For these reasons, Supergoop! receives a rating of Good.