When you have to wait four weeks to test out a new brand of sunscreen, you know summer could be going better. I’d recently relocated to Southern California from the East Coast, and when a new sweat and saltwater-friendly sunscreen arrived at our office, my colleagues thought I’d be the perfect test subject. One of them even called me “fair skinned”—something I’d never been called before moving to California.
SCAPE arrived in bright yellow packaging on a gray day in July. Labeled “from the lab of Dr. Nic Martens,” it looked like some serious stuff. I was anxious to put it to the test, so planned a weekend brick workout and crossed my fingers.
The ride-and-run I’d looked forward to all week turned out to be an occasion to test arm warmers, not sunscreen. To make it even worse, the bottle of 50+ lotion, lip protector, and face stick then proceeded to become fixtures on my bathroom shelf while I waited for the perfect weather everyone had promised to arrive. I’d lived through three gloomy Northeastern winters, and was itching to get to know the SoCal sun that was apparently going through some kind of identity crisis.
I may not be logging the miles like Crowie, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be as serious about sun care
And then, unannounced, it came. I clipped in for my third substantial ride since moving, trying to keep my chin up despite the cloud cover still hanging over the coast. I packed all three of my SCAPE products in my seat bag again (good thing they’re small!) and headed out with hope.
Developed by the aforementioned doctor, SCAPE boasts that its lab is outside. That Saturday, mine was too: The newly confident sun shot otherwise mild temperatures into “feels like” temperatures in the high 80’s. I climbed hills that seemed never-ending, the resident cactuses smiling with me, under peak sun. I looked down periodically at my SCAPE’d shoulders and arms glistening with sweat, trusting that they’d be protected.
Two hours later I arrived home and set out along the coast, which was much cooler. The ocean breeze dried off the sweat from the bike, but after my third tired mile, I’d worked up a new layer altogether. When I arrived home, I washed off the SCAPE (rather easily, I must add) and the salt, poured a cup of coffee, and waited for the burn that only shows up indoors to rear its pink head.
An hour later, nothing. Two hours later, my skin looked sun-kissed at best. By the evening, my arms, neck, and face were a half-shade of brown darker. SCAPE had worked its magic (and helped with the whitey-East Coaster stigma to boot).
It turned out that SCAPE was as serious about protecting my skin as I’d been about a sunny Saturday brick. Dr. Nic’s passion for a life spent outdoors (he’s a triathlete, surfer, and snowboarder) is manifested in this product, tested in conditions much more taxing than mine: Martens, who put his Ph.D. in biochemistry to work for 13 years at Neutrogena, partnered with two-time Ironman World Champion Craig Alexander to promote this new line of sun care. Their website is full of more testimonials from surfers, pro triathletes, and beach volleyball players who tout its non-greasy, barely-noticeable by powerful qualities.
I may not be logging the miles like Crowie, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t be as serious about sun care: I want something that lasts through swimming, biking, and running under a sun that’s more damaging than ever, regardless of whether it a 30- or 30-miler. I want something that smells nice, and feels soft on my skin—not like I’ve doused myself in baby oil. I want something that gives me the confidence to bare a little skin now and then. If I can find that in a product that provides the highest level of UVA protection according to two international ratings (Boots in Europe and JCIA in Japan), I know I’ve hit the jackpot.
On the beach I might still pick a hat, a cute cover-up, and a cheaper drugstore sunscreen that smells like pina coladas. But when it’s time for the burn, I’ll go with SCAPE to make sure it’s the kind I feel in my muscles, not on my skin.
All products have an SPF rating of 50+
Sunblock Lotion ($14.99) : This stuff is water and sweat proof, and won’t run into your eyes. It’s noncomedogenic, so it lets the skin breathe naturally, helping to regulate the body’s core temperature. It also includes vitamin E and antioxidants.
Face stick ($11.99): This is a small, easily portable stick that can be applied to wet skin on the go.
Lip balm ($3.50) : This blam is a protectant and moisturizer that smells great. Its broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection also contains vitamin E, aloe, and antioxidants.
Sunblock Spray ($14.99, not tested): This version of the lotion is more easily applied through a spray mechanism
Clean Foam ($6.99, not tested): The non-porous foam applicator allows for a hands-free approach to sunblock.