Great Balls of Sunscreen: The Inventor Interview and Giveaway

Summer is coming, not that it isn’t already sunny enough where I live, and I’m currently testing over a dozen different sunscreens. (Not kidding.) You could say sun damage has been on my mind. But no matter how much I like any of the sunscreens I’m trying, none of them solve one of the most basic problems skincare and anti-aging fanatics face with their UV protection:


Thing is, the labeled SPF on sunscreen packaging is based on the protection the product provides when applied at 2 mg/cm2, which works out to approximately 1/4 tsp for face alone. (This varies depending on the size of your face, but I don’t see many of us running out to get the exact surface areas of our faces measured and then commissioning custom measuring spoons to provide perfect dosage. Honestly, I think 1/4 tsp is just fine as a guideline.)

1/4 teaspoon of Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence with quarter for scale
Like dis.

Below that 1/4 tsp, however, protection drops dramatically.

Whether or not most of us truly need the full labeled SPF of a product on an everyday basis is up for debate, but I think most of us would like to feel we’re getting the protection we paid for. And like I said, that can be hard to judge in the mornings when you’re just trying to slap on your products and get out the door.

That’s why I was so excited to learn that my friend Angela, one of the two hilarious and beautiful bloggers behind Beauty and the Cat, had come up with an idea for a moisturizer/sunscreen combo that would come pre-dosed in single-use pearls–balls, for the uncouth among us–measured out to deliver the protection promised on the label. Ingenious! Not only had Angela envisioned these great balls of SPF, she’d also submitted it to Volition Beauty, a beauty company that sources product ideas from user submissions and public voting.

Angela’s balls need your votes to progress to the prototype stage. So to help spread the word and build some support for her balls, I sat her down (virtually, over email) to discuss how the idea came about and what she hopes will happen next.

Fair warning: Much juvenile humor incoming. Mostly about balls.

FIDDY: Can you tell me more about your balls? How and when did they start growing (from an idea into a project) and when do you expect them to drop?

Angela:  The growth of my balls has been explosive and unexpectedly fun.  The idea began as a modest challenge to myself when I learned about Volition’s unique business model: turning ideas for beauty solutions from ordinary people into actual, marketable products.

If you’ve read my blog, then you know I’m obsessed with sunscreen.  So naturally my mind drifted toward the daily chore of applying sunscreen.  Have I applied enough to get the full SPF?  Did I pack enough to last for my whole vacation?  And then it dawned on me: sunscreen should come pre-measured in the right amount.  Because I’m also obsessed with Kbeauty, I pretty quickly thought of portioning sunscreen in capsules similar to what J.One, The Face Shop, and Besolbo have done for creams and sleeping packs.
I submitted my idea for sunscreen capsules to Volition in February and by the beginning of March, a voting campaign was up and running on!  The campaign runs through mid-June, but the sooner we reach the vote goal, the sooner my balls will be in your hands.
Image source: Volition Beauty

You can see my vision represented in the product photo and description on the campaign page, but my balls are yet to be fully formed.  Only once we reach the vote goal does Volition proceed with formulating prototypes and samples for me to test.  I truly hope my balls will be ready to drop soon after.

FIDDY: I know Volition hasn’t started making prototypes yet, but have you had any conversations about the contents of your balls? That is, the filters and finishes you’re considering?

Angela:  Those aspects of my balls haven’t been shaped yet, but I’m eager to get into more detailed discussions with Volition once the campaign ends.

I worry sometimes that my idea is a skincare unicorn.  (To its credit, Volition doesn’t think so.)
What I’d like is an all-in-one timesaver that moisturizes, provides strong UVA and UVB protection, and has a soft, smooth, non-shiny finish that’s wearable on its own or under foundation.  The finish is very important to me because I’m used to super shiny formulas that require powdering or foundation, so I’d love to render that step optional.

FIDDY: Volition’s business model means you can’t keep your balls under wraps during development. People end up seeing your balls at an early stage. Do you worry that a big cosmetics company may spot your balls and decide to make and drop their own balls before you can?

Angela: At this point, thousands of people have seen my balls–or at least a mockup of them.  Now that my balls have been exposed, copying is certainly a possibility.  While I hope that doesn’t happen, I don’t know what the legal options would be. As a practical matter, I would hope that we work towards completion as fast as we can and create the better product.

Do you think Angela’s balls are worth supporting? Are you as excited as I am to put these balls on your face? If so, please vote for them here. As an added bonus, when you vote, you’ll be automatically entered in a giveaway to win over $200 worth of Volition products!

Looking for a good sunscreen to tide you over until Angela’s sunscreen balls are a reality? Check out my Sunscreens category and check out my Instagram, where I’ll be posting periodic updates on my dozen-plus sunscreen adventures!


18 thoughts on “Great Balls of Sunscreen: The Inventor Interview and Giveaway

  1. Rather than balls I would love to see tube packaging that dispenses the correct amount. For example a pump that dispenses the 1/4 tsp with one pump. Or a tube with one squeeze.


  2. Rather than balls, I’d like to see sunscreen in pumps or tubes that dispenses the right amount. In my head it seems easier to develop some sort of airless pump packaging that dispenses the correct amount with one pump, no? Or even two or three pumps as long as the directions clearly stated that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a great idea and sounds doable, but it hasn’t happened yet. A Ducray sunscreen that I tried made a noble attempt by instructing 5 pumps for the face, but the formula was so pasty and white that even 1 pump left white clumps all over. And the pump didn’t work well. The pump also didn’t solve the problem of knowing exactly how much you have when you travel. Sigh. Sunscreen’s very tricky! I do hope that by working with Volition’s cosmetic chemists, I can fix the issues of cosmetic inelegance, shininess, imprecise dosage, etc. -Angela

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I voted the minute I saw it pop up on Beauty and the Cat. I can already feel those balls on my forehead (and everywhere else, of course).

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I sat back and thought about this idea before posting an opinion. I do not have any wish to squash the dreams of a budding cosmetologist and entrepreneur, but at the same time, I am looking for products that suit my needs. Sadly, I don’t think this product is something I would buy. Pre-measured doses of sunscreen is a very worthy idea to pursue. Does a spherically encapsulated dose deliver? In theory, yep, it sure does. However, there is no description of exactly what the encapsulation material is made of. I imagined trying to pop a ball and was rewarded with a mental mess, sunscreen splattering all over, instead of a neat dollop in my hand. So…I’d want to see someone in a video opening a pearl. The packaging appeals to the feminine in me, very pretty, and recalls a 70’s bath oil product in pretty colored gelatin balls sold every Christmas in the drug stores.
    I remember buying gelatin squeeze pods of sunscreen in Hawaii, and the design was even worse – not only did I get splatter, about 1/3 of the product was wasted, because I couldn’t get it out of the pod without using scissors to cut it open. The neck was narrow, and the pod shape didn’t give enough force behind the squeeze. I’ve taken sample size packets, but again, bad package design made it hard to tear open, and at times, I got less product than what the packaging stated.
    So…..I hope that the critique will be taken with good intent, I truly would love a product that gives me a properly measured single use, in well designed packaging that doesn’t splatter, and travels well. Keep thinking of great ideas!


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