Shade sunscreen logo


Who is ShadeTM suitable for?

All skin types, of all ages.

Many people with sensitive skin have reported that Shade™ is the only sunscreen they have been able to use, and many of our customers like to use Shade™ daily to prevent sun and wind damage in winter, and do so without finding it dries their skin or makes it oilier.

You should not use topical products containing zinc oxide if you are allergic to zinc, dimethicone, lanolin, cod liver oil, petroleum jelly, parabens, mineral oil, or wax. Source.

How should I apply it?

If it’s cold and quite firm, rub it vigorously with warm fingertips to make it softer, or scoop some out of the tin and warm it between your hands, then apply generously and then reapply regularly, particularly after exposure to water or after sweating.

What constitutes 'Apply Generously'?

'Applying generously' is the general guideline for sunscreens, however, ShadeTM is no normal sunscreen. Compared to bottled high street lotions, it is thick and balmy, and unlike chemical sunscreens its mode of action is to sit on the skin and reflect the rays, rather than absorb into the skin like chemical formuals. The thickness of ShadeTM means you will probably apply less in volume than you would regular sunscreens, but just be aware that it forms a barrier on your skin and will need topping up regularly. You want to be able to clearly see a thin sheen of zinc oxide on your skin, to be sure you are adequately protected on each application.

Be aware that putting an inadaquate amount of sunscreen on effectively square-roots the SPF, so an SPF50 is rendered an SPF7, SPF25 is rendered an SPF5!!

How does Sun Protection Factor (SPF) actually work?

The '25' in SPF25 means that you are protected for approximately 25 times the length of time it would normally take you to burn, under the same environmental conditions, without any protection whatsoever.

To work out percentage of efficacy, see how many times 25 goes into 100, then take that number away from 100 and you have a percentage of efficacy at protecting from UVB rays. In the case of SPF25, it means that 96/100 photons are prevented from reaching the skin (provided an adequate amount of sunscreen has been applied) - meaning that 4 photons are still reaching the skin. SPF50 only enables 2 photons in every 100 to reach the skin.

Whatever sunscreen you use, if you feel you are beginning to burn, it's your body's warning that you have been exposed for too long, and the sensible approach is to cover up by wearing clothing or move out of the sun altogether. Applying more sunscreen only ensures you are still covered for the initial 25x timeframe - it does not extend the amount of time you can stay in the sun - those 4 photons reaching your skin are still doing their damage. It's important that you listen to your body and its signals.

This is a very effective graphic demonstration of how SPF works...

Does ShadeTM protect against UVA as well as UVB?

Yes, Shade™ offers broad spectrum protection, the SPF25 covers the UVB and the UVA emblem on the bottom label refers to the UVA protection.


The UVA Star rating system can no longer be used by sunscreen manufacturers such as ourselves because it is trademarked by Boots the Chemists and is only allowed to be used by certain brands Boots sell and Boots' own brands, therefore we cannot apply a star rating based on this testing system. However, the UVAPF Mean in the SO24443:2012 test conducted on Shade™ came in at 24.77, giving it a PA++++ UVA grading, and if we were to be able to use the star system it would come out at 4/5 stars.

Does ShadeTM leave a white cast on the skin?

Shade™ can leave a white cast on the skin, this is the mineral non-nano zinc oxide sitting on the skin, and it's the active ingredient that protects you from the UVA & UVB rays. When you see a white cast on your skin don't dismay, be pleased! You can see that not only are you physically helping to protect yourself from the dangerous rays, you can rest assured we are only using non-nano particles of zinc oxide, which is why they sit on the skin as a physical barrier and don't absorb into the skin and the bloodstream - the very safest form of active ingredient for sunscreens. When it comes to doing something recognised as dangerous, such as exposing yourself to strong sun, we believe it's important to put safety above vanity...

Why do you only make an SPF25?

We set out to make a sunscreen with as few natural ingredients as possible to provide an option to those who cannot use regular formulas due to skin allergies etc., and were able to make ShadeTM with only four. A very high SPF using only four ingredients is not easy to achieve without having a very thick, impractical, chalky white formula, which many people would be tempted to apply more thinly, thus dangerously reducing the claimed SPF, this would be counter productive, and we'd need to look at adding other actives to achieve something more practical whilst retaining the efficacy. There are many brands which have achieved a higher SPF with more ingredients than four, so we don't feel we need to reinvent the wheel as these options are already out there.


We are inclined to agree with the Environmental Working Group about the pitfalls of high SPF products. You can read them here.

In some situations however, SPF25 is simply not strong enough, such as at high altitude where the atmosphere is thinner allowing more UV rays to reach you, and in snowy conditions where there is a much higher level of reflection (up to 80% more). In these situations, cover up as much as possible and lay your Shade™ on thick, almost like war paint (!) or find an alternative high SPF if you cannot keep adequately covered.

How can I trust that it's a really effective sunscreen?

Test results confirm that ShadeTM is a broad spectrum sunscreen which helps protect against UVA radiation which can penetrate deep into the skin and cause ageing. It has a mean SPF of 24.8, which blocks up to 95.97% of the UVB rays which cause burning. SPF25 prevents 96/100 photons from reaching the skin,. By comparison SPF50  prevents 98/100 photons reaching the skin and SPF100 prevents 99/100 photons reaching the skin. 

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) means that provided you have applied adequate sunscreen, you can remain exposed to sun for up to the stated number of times more than it would normally take you to burn in the same environmental conditions if you were not to apply any sunscreen. For example, SPF10 means you can stay ten times longer in the sun than you would be able to before buring if you had no protection; SPF50 means you coud spend fifty times more time in the sun without burning. SPF should ONLY be considered a guide though, as the actual SPF provided will depend largely on the person applying the sunscreen, skin type ad environmental factors involved, and all sunscreens should be used as just one method of sun protection amongst a number of approaches.


Of all the sunscreen 'actives' available to manufacturers, we have opted for the most effective one, non-nano Zinc Oxide.  Non-nano zinc oxide is widely recognised to protect against both UVA and UVB ultraviolet light and is a physical UV blocker being capable of scattering solar radiation and is excellent for those who are sensitive to regular sunscreens.

But...don't just take our word for it or rely on lab-based test results - read the reviews of our many happy customers! "The proof in the pudding is in the eating", as they say...

What tests has it undergone?

Stability testing, microbiology testing, broad spectrum sunscreen testing of effectiveness against UVA & UVB rays, and SPF validation tests. All tests conducted to EU standards by Alba Science of Edinburgh.


  • ISO24443 In vitro Broad Spectrum Protection.
  • ISO 24444 In vivo with 13 live subjects. A Cosmetic Study to Determine the In-Vivo Sun Protection Factor of a Sunscreen Formulation.
  • Cosmetic Product Safety Data Analysis, conducted by Luciano Molinaro BSc Forensic Science & Investigative Analysis (Hons) (Kingston University), Forensic Chemistry and Trace Analysis, Analytical Methods in Forensic Science (Kingston University).
  • Accelerated Stability Test


ShadeTM is registered with the Office for Product Safety and Standards.

Is ShadeTM water resistant?

ShadeTM has not been tested for water resistance. Why? Because we weren't convinced the lab tests replicated real-life situations adequately. We didn’t want to apply a claim to our product that could make the user more complacent and risk them not applying it often enough.


We were vindicated when Which? released their report on sunscreen waterproof claims. We don’t claim ShadeTM is waterproof, yet the high level of oil and wax (88%) does go some way to keeping the product on the skin. Despite this we always recommend reapplying after exposure to water, sweat or towel drying. We have a number of surfing and diving outfits in the UK and abroad which use and retail our product because they believe it is excellent for their purposes. It also does not degrade neoprene etc., keeping wetsuits in good condition when in contact with the product.

Check out some reviews from people who have used ShadeTM in water and think it's great!...

Is Shade™ tested on animals?

No way! Absolutely not! Only human volunteers have taken part in Shade™ testing, unless you consider our founder and family to be guinea pigs...! As an anti-vivisectionist, animal lover and a pragmatic vegan, our founder would never allow it, and besides it's illegal to test cosmetics on animals in the UK. We're proud to display the 'not tested on animals' icon on our labels.

So, we hear you ask, if she's vegan, why has she allowed beeswax in the formula? The answer is that she only became vegan 7 years ago, a few years after Shade™ was originally formulated. Since then we have been working on the development of a vegan formula, but beeswax is a hard wax to mimic with very few ingredients. We are getting closer though, so please watch this space, and read our blog post 'To Bee or Not to Bee? Wax is the Question' which documents our findings in our search for a vegan alternative wax.

So what's so bad about commercial, chemical-based, sunscreens?

Where to start? How about digging around in the back of your bathroom cabinet, and pulling out last year's 1/3 full tube with the crusty, gunky lid that won't close anymore, and taking a look at the ingredients?


The first question you need to ask yourself is do you even pronounce that? Exactly. These manmade chemicals are not something we as humans have evolved with, like 'nut' or 'oil'. They are incredibly new to us on the evolutionary scale, and if you take the time to type some of those ingredients into your search bar on your browser and add 'health risks' then you will discover for yourself why many people are beginning to question why they're relying on this stuff to try and prevent skin cancer. The Environmental Working Group's Sunscreen Guide is a great place to start to learn more about the ingredients in sunscreens.


All that's without mentioning the plastic packaging which the vast majority of chemical sunscreens are sold in, which is choking our beautiful oceans and killing our marine life...

Is ShadeTM reef safe/marine friendly?

Shade™ does not contain any of the ingredients in the HEL list, which are:

  • Any form of microplastic sphere or beads;
  • Any nanoparticles like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide;
  • Oxybenzone;
  • Octinoxate;
  • 4-methylbenzylidene camphor;
  • Octocrylene;
  • Para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA);
  • Methyl Paraben;
  • Ethyl Paraben;
  • Propyl Paraben;
  • Butyl Paraben;
  • Benzyl Paraben;
  • Triclosan.

Although we haven't yet sought Protect Land + Sea certification from the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory, we have not yet been able to find any research that claims the uncoated non-nano zinc oxide in Shade™  that we use is damaging to coral or marine life - all the studies point to nanoparticles as a threat. So although we as the manufacturer don't as yet make a 'reef safe' claim specifically, many people who advocate its use in the sea believe it is safe.

What is Shade’s shelf life?

Once opened use within 12 months, otherwise it has a 3-year shelf life.

Why is it packed in a tin and not a bottle or a tube like other sunscreens?

Firstly, it's not plastic, and we hate plastic. So much plastic waste is found discarded on our shorelines it's shameful. Secondly, it can be reused for anything you want it to be reused for, thirdly, you can use up every last bit of its contents because you can easily get at it - even if it's not sunny, if the expiration date is looming, and there's no sun in sight, just use up the cream for its wonderful moisturising properties. It's great if you have itchy skin or patches, insect bites or stings etc., and even as a fantastic lip salve in winter, it's also an excellent aftersun. Lastly, if you can't find any further use for the tin you can recycle it...and don't worry, unless you let it get to over 64 degrees centigrade, it won't melt, it'll just soften, so it won't leak from the tin!

Oh...and it looks kinda cool. :o)

Can I buy ShadeTM in shops yet?

Yes, we have over 340 independent retailers selling Shade™ around the UK in their shops with more coming on board each week, which you can find on our store locator map here, also in Norway and Iceland. We also have an ever growing list of zero-waste and pastic-free online retailers selling Shade™ if you'd like to support them.

Help! My sunscreen's gone grainy...why? And what can I do about it?

As you are probably aware Shade and RoKai contain a high percentage of shea butter (36%). Shea butter is made up of many fatty acids, which each melt and solidify at their own pace. Unfortunately when manufacturing it is not always possible to quickly cool the batches in the same way as could be achieved when making the formula in small batches by hand, and when packed and then stacked, the cooling process can take a while, increasing the risk of the shea forming 'grains'. This is an interesting article which explains this phenomenon in more depth.

If this has happened to your Shade™ (or RoKai™), don't despair! It's easy to remedy using the following quick trick:

1. Put a plate over a pan of simmering water on your stove.
2. Place your open tin of Shade™ on the plate and leave to warm.
3. After a few minutes, use a kebab stick or chopstick to gently start stirring the sunscreen.
4. Keep stirring gently (you don't want to knock it off the plate or spill it over the side like clever clogs here!) until it's all melted and beautifully smoothe again.
5. Don't leave unattended or it could get too hot and the wax will separate from the rest of the formula.
6. Turn off the heat and remove the whole plate from the pan.
7. Leave to one side to cool.
8. Replace the lid.

9. Ta da! Your Shade™ is good as new!! 😎

This can be repeated as many times as necessary and as Shade™ is a mineral sunscreen this won't affect its efficacy but will make it nice and easy to apply again!

Enjoy the sun safely everyone!

I have another question that isn't answered here ...

Then please contact us and we'll do our utmost to answer it.

Interested in buying ShadeTM?