The marketing spiel does not mix words: Outside Labs Inc., a startup sunscreen maker in Gardena, Calif., touts its SCAPE product line as “the most advanced sunblock on the planet.”
When the company came onto the market this spring, it intended to make a splash. Outside Labs’ products, including a lotion-like sunscreen, a spray, and a “face stick” that rubs on as a waxy solid, are promoted by Craig Alexander, a two-time Ironman World Champion and a melanoma survivor.
The company’s co-founder, an enthusiast of surfing, snowboarding, mountain biking, and triathlon, is an ex-Johnson & Johnson scientist with a tenure at the Neutrogena brand. He has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge.
Among various attributes, Outside Labs (www.scapelabs.com) notes its sunscreen as achieving five times the waterproofness of competing brands because of a new polymer technology. It applies to the skin “like an ultra-thin Gore-Tex layer,” as per the company’s wording. (Who knew sunscreen could be so cool?)
I jumped to try the SPF50 product, a $14.99 bottle of runny lotion that starts ultra-white but rubs easily in to the skin. At the base of a mountain climb in Iceland, I slathered some SCAPE onto my neck, cheeks and ears. I stood for a second to soak it in and attempt to sense any magic effect.
In addition to high UVA protection, SCAPE is touted as “breathable.” It is noted as non-clogging for skin pores, allowing the epidermis to breathe and, as a result, keeping body temperature even.
It will not rub off and go into your eyes, and the lotion is “loaded” with vitamin E and antioxidants to protect and nourish the skin. That’s what the company says.
In Iceland, trudging up the mountain for several hours on snow, SCAPE did indeed do its job. There’s a slight shine and a tinge of whiteness that accompanies a coat of SCAPE. I applied it once, and then I climbed and hiked for a few hours straight, up through snowfields and onto a glacier where sunbeams ricocheted and bounced.
The next morning, my face was healthy and undamaged. Some other members of the climbing team, with varying sunscreen types, were burnt or red.
SCAPE passed my test. Polymer technologies and Gore-Tex analogies aside, the sunscreen seems set to live up to its hype.
—Stephen Regenold is founder and editor of www.gearjunkie.com.