My Sunshine suncare founder Sarah Studd. Image supplied.
Sunscreen is a must in New Zealand with our harsh sun, but not all sunscreens are good for you and the planet, which is what inspired Sarah Studd to create her own suncare brand – My Sunshine. Sarah has always used a lot of sunscreen being a fair red head herself, and growing up in NZ has meant lots of sun exposure so she’s well aware of the risks.
Before creating her own brand, Sarah had tested many different sunscreens but couldn’t find a natural, safe sunscreen for her young family that was kind on the environment – especially sea life, and was nourishing and effective. After lots of development and testing she launched My Sunshine suncare in 2016, which delivers high sun protection that complies to the Australian/New Zealand Sunscreen Standard 2604:2012. The sunscreen is also made in New Zealand to the highest standards, resulting in a premium formulation that is easy to apply and kind on skin.
My Sunshine offers a multi-functional mineral Zinc based sunscreen that is skincare and suncare fused together as one. It’s enriched with nature’s natural sunscreens Red Raspberry Seed Oil and Sea Buckthorn Oil. along with nourishing Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter and Chamomile. It also contains antioxidants from Green Tea, Vitamin E and Olive Oil that help fight free radicals and repair the skin while aiding in the prevention of premature skin ageing and sunspots. Sarah wanted to create the most kind sunscreen possible so the total ingredients are 97% from natural origin and 30% organic so it is suitable for most sensitive skin types, including babies as young as six months old.
We caught up with Sarah to find out more about how she developed My Sunshine, the process of creating it in New Zealand and what her top tips are for being sun safe?
Where did the idea for My Sunshine come from and what’s the inspiration for the name?
As a person with fair skin I have always been mindful of the damage the sun could do to my skin. My summers were spent at the beach and sailing the waters around New Zealand. It was a great way to grow up however I was being exposed to the most damaging sun in the world, just like every other Kiwi kid.
Many years later, a challenging fertility experience lead me to living a more natural and healthier lifestyle. I began seeing a nutritionist, naturopath and acupuncturist and was encouraged to look at both what was going into AND on my body. I started looking at a lot of products that I was using every day and one thing that really stood out to me was the lack of a quality natural sunscreen. I tested every brand of sunscreen I could get my hands on and as I looked into this more I soon realised that many were ridden with nasty chemicals and made with cheap ingredients.
At the same time as this I was working with children and realised that I wasn’t the only one looking for a more healthy balanced lifestyle for myself and my family. I was dealing with distressed parents on a daily basis whose children suffered from skin allergies. Like me they were concerned about what was being absorbed into their bodies by their sensitive skin. Surely there was a better option out there?
As for the name – the inspiration was quite a natural progression when I was in the planning stages of brand development. It’s cute and memorable, and relates to the outdoors and the sun. We often say ‘you are my sunshine’ – for example to your husband, cat, children – meaning they are your happiness (your sunshine). So you can wear My Sunshine with your sunshine I guess!
Can you tell us about the process of creating your suncare and why you decided to make it in New Zealand?
Oh it was a very long process. Who knew that creating a sunscreen would be so difficult? My goal with My Sunshine was to create a natural sunscreen that not only kept you safe from the sun but also included actives to help nourish your skin and repair the damage caused by the sun.
The other key goals for me were that My Sunshine met the Australia/New Zealand regulations for sunscreen and to ensure all ingredients used in it are safe. As I did more research I also started to learn about the damage the sunscreens we were using were causing to the environment in particular our oceans. The water has always been an important part of my life and for me it was essential that My Sunshine play its part in keeping the ocean and reefs safe.
After extensive international research and local development, My Sunshine suncare was born. I want people to know that when they are using My Sunshine they are using a sunscreen that has been made and developed right here in New Zealand for our harsh conditions. So for me it is very important that My Sunshine is made in NZ.
How would you describe the My Sunshine customer and what do you think they’re looking for when they shop with your brand?
I believe the My Sunshine consumer is looking for a sunscreen that assists them in living a healthier and more conscious lifestyle. That means they want My Sunshine to be kind on the environment, especially our sea life, it also has to feel lovely to wear every single day and finally, they want the packaging to look great too so that they can feel proud. Most importantly the My Sunshine customer is looking for a brand which does what it claims to do for UVA/UVB protection.
We are incredibly proud that My Sunshine’s premium formulation delivers the ultimate in high sun protection that complies to the Australian/New Zealand Sunscreen Standard 2604:2012. We were in fact 1 of only 8 sunscreens to pass Consumer NZ’s secret testing for SPF and Broad spectrum claims.
How do you balance the creative and business demands of your role in your brand?
I’m aware of my strengths and creativity isn’t one of them so I get help. Since day one I have engaged with an incredible designer who has helped steer the creative side for me. She has her finger on the pulse and having her on board has meant that I can spend more time focusing on the business side of My Sunshine.
How do you personally define success and what does it mean to you?
Success is important to me and I define it across all aspects of my life. From being an engaged Mum and spending quality time with each of my three children every day to launching My Sunshine and making a difference in the world through this brand.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve been lucky enough to have a wide-ranging career. Fresh out of University I started in banking. I then turned to marketing where I worked within many multinational FMCG companies. From there I went on to create and run two early childhood centres. But I must say that my highlight is definitely creating My Sunshine. Formulating a product and a brand that I can truly be passionate about has always been a dream of mine.
What do you think we should all be doing as individuals to consume skincare products more responsibly?
If I could sum it up in one word it would be “awareness.” We need to be aware of the ingredients, the packaging and the impact on our health and environment. From there we can make the right choices for our body and the environment. My Sunshine’s ethos is centred around caring about the world we live in. With no nasty chemicals, its natural ingredients are selected with absolute care to be as ethical as possible and are cruelty-free, vegan, ocean and reef safe.
What are your top tips for being sun safe?
The best protection from the sun is to seek shade and cover up with clothes and a hat, but when you are directly exposed to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun, you and your family should also use sunscreen. Ensure that you love your sunscreen and definitely use it every day. Of course ensure that your sunscreen is broad spectrum and that it meets the latest sunscreen regulations. At My Sunshine we are dedicated to sun protection, following all of the latest sunscreen research and we are convinced that our sunscreen is the safest for you and for the environment.