Higher-Performing Mineral Sunscreen Sprays

Customers have become more concerned about the chemicals in synthetic sunscreens. As a result, sunscreens that contain natural mineral titanium dioxide (TiO2)- or zinc oxide (ZNO)-based UV filters have experienced strong growth. The popularity of spray-ons has also risen. With spray-type products, customers can more efficiently and conveniently apply sunscreen during sunbathing or outdoor physical activities. TiO2 and ZNO are regarded as having low to no skin irritation or sensitivity issues, and they can support natural product claims. A national pharmacy chain—the second largest in the U.S.—sought to develop a private-label version of a popular branded organic mineral sunscreen spray to compete in this growing segment.

Challenges

Sunscreen formulation is well known for its technical complexity and difficulty, and the company’s formulator had struggled with spray clogging and other issues. ZNO and TiO2 particles tend to clog continuous spray packaging, rendering the product either useless or less than convenient as advertised. This is partially due to the chemistry of the material and particle size of the metaloxides, which can vary from nano (<100nm) to non-nano (>/_100nm). Because the company’s formulator was trying to develop a store brand version of a niche brand already on the shelf—formulation needed to occur as soon as possible.

Solutions

Hallstar collaborated closely with the company’s partner to develop a custom, formulated solution. Hallstar has decades of sunscreen experience and was able to draw from recent, innovative chemistry it developed for natural mineral sunscreens: the TiO2 dispersion (Hallstar brands HallBrite® EZ-FLO TDX and HallBrite® TDX Plus), both of which contain a patented coating system produced in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)-certified process. This process protects the TiO2 efficiently and keeps particle size within an exceptionally tight standard deviation.

Results

The formulation partner will be able to meet the customer’s need for its own mineral-based sunscreen spray comparable to—and even higher performing than—the current branded product. Collaboration and expertise came together to resolve the clogging problem, and the qualities of Hallstar’s innovative dispersions surpassed the benchmark brand for stability, color, aesthetics and performance. The Hallstar lab provided two versions of the custom formulation (SPF 30 and SPF 50) as well as turnkey formulation sheets and accompanying gallon-size sample within two weeks, effectively meeting the aggressive timing of the products development.