How One Brand Went From Selling Beverages to Selling Sunscreen

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We hear it all the time: Drinking water and wearing sunscreen are the cornerstones of any good beauty regimen.

Kara Goldin, founder and CEO of Hint Inc., has heard it too.

More than 10 years ago, she was on a mission to stop drinking diet soda and drink more water, but, like many people, she couldn’t get into “just plain” water. “Instead of adding sweeteners, artificial or not, I found a way to add taste with fruits and vegetables and no calories.”


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Her discovery led to Hint Water—a now $90-million beverage company that’s since released Hint Fizz and Hint Kick (with caffeine). Next up, something even more personal to Goldin: The launch of a natural sunscreen.

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“Growing up in Arizona, my skin saw a lot more sun than it should have so I’ve become religious about applying sunscreen and visiting the dermatologist. After treating a suspicious dry patch on my nose, she reminded me to avoid products that have oxybenzone and parabens. When I noticed that everything I was using had these ingredients, I turned to natural alternatives, but I didn’t like the way they felt or smelled.”

Goldin says her goal wasn’t just to “make a sunscreen,” but to “create a new sunscreen experience, a healthy one that not only works but feels and smells amazing too.”

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“Sunscreen was a natural evolution for our healthy lifestyle brand, whose mission is to make it easy and more enjoyable to lead a healthier life. It would have been easier to create a moisturizer or a lipstick; the regulatory elements alone make sunscreen a challenge. But we thought this was the natural way to launch into the beauty and wellness category for us.”

One thing Goldin learned along the way: The beauty industry isn’t so simple. “It is easy to create many products, you can slap a label on already formulated concoctions and, short of sunscreen, you don’t need any FDA-approval. I was surprised to find out how difficult it is to formulate a sunscreen without questionable ingredients that also had a great consistency and smell. It seemed to be one or the other.”

And there was another pleasant surprise: There is still a place in the market for new products. “Originality is still possible in what seemed to me to be an endless sea of brands.”

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