Q&A With Suntribe's Karl Roos


Organic Swedish sunscreen and skincare brand Suntribe has just arrived on The Clean Beauty Edit. We love Suntribe's range of nourishing sunscreens for their carefully selected organic ingredients, their dreamy formulas and their dedication to transparency and efficacy. 

A heart-centred, independent brand who have a genuine love of the sun, the Earth and outdoor living, they have dug deep into the effects of chemical sunscreens and all the studies surrounding the potential negative effects of these, and come up with products that provide worry-free solutions for those who want to get outside and enjoy long days in the sun, using products that feel good on the skin.

This week Karl Roos, one of the founders of Suntribe, sat down to answer a few of our questions as we launch Suntribe on TCBE.


Hello Karl! We're delighted to have you on TCBE. Tell us a little bit about how Suntribe came to be and your journey so far.

I founded Suntribe together with my university classmates Julia and Hampus after returning from Portugal where I had worked as a surf teacher and offered the first versions of natural zinc sunscreen to my friends and students. We founded Suntribe because there was a clear need for mineral sunscreens that were free from synthetic chemicals. We weren’t able to find any sunscreen for ourselves without questionable ingredients, so we decided to make our own. We quickly realised that not only surfers were looking for safe alternatives, but also regular beach-goers. Therefore we now offer a wide range of natural sunscreens and organic skincare. These days we sell to weekend adventurers as well as professional athletes, to conscious parents as well as urban explorers. As of now we sell to more than 24 countries in Europe and worldwide, and are steadily expanding our distribution network.

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You take great care in sourcing the very best in organic and natural ingredients for your sunscreen, and favour natural ingredients such as Zinc, Coconut Oil, Shea Butter, Jojoba, Beeswax etc. The products truly feel so silky, natural and nourishing on the skin! This is quite a hard feat when it comes to mineral sunscreens, which can often feel heavy or leave a white residue. Could you tell us how you optimise your formulas for seamless, easy everyday use?

Of course we can’t give away our secrets, but I can give you some hints. We have put a lot of effort into balancing out our sunscreen formulas so that the ingredients play well together and we achieve the consistency and tint that our customers love. We have also consistently improved our production methods to ensure that the formulas are silky-smooth. In the end we do our best to let the ingredients themselves shine - since we don’t use any synthetic chemicals or cheap fillers the ingredients we use all contribute to the user experience by providing UV protection, water resistance, hydration and a great feeling on the skin.

 Suntribe organic mineral natural sunscreens

While people are very quickly awakening to the dangers of modern consumerism now, and how so many of the products we are sold – whether in our cosmetics, sunscreens, food, clothing, tech etc – can legally contain things that are harmful to human health. In your experience, what are some of the biggest reasons to avoid chemical sunscreens and toxic cosmetics in general? 

The biggest, most obvious reason is that chemical sunscreens and toxic cosmetics contain ingredients that are known hormone disruptors, meaning that they affect our bodies the same way as hormones like estrogen do, affecting male fertility and embryo development among other things. Would anybody consciously want to treat their bodies with hormones without any need to do so? Since the regulations are not strict enough, we always recommend using independent apps such as INCI Beauty, Yuka or Think Dirty to make sure that your cosmetics are free from toxins.


At Suntribe you are also outspoken about how our own health is deeply connected to the health of the Earth around us, and you therefore create every product to be as Earth-kind as it is human-kind. Can you tell us a little bit about the environmental side of your products and business? 

Same as humans are affected by chemical sunscreen ingredients, so are fish and marine wildlife such as corals. The chemical UV-filter Oxybenzone for example - which has now already been banned in a few coral-regions such as Hawaii - has been linked to coral bleaching. Choosing a reef-safe, natural sunscreen is an easy step to help preserve our natural environment. We also choose eco-friendly packaging such as cardboard sticks and sugarcane tubes to further reduce the impact of our products on the planet.

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What are your thoughts on the benefits of spending time in the sun, and what we can do to maximise those benefits while negating any risk?

I love spending time in the sun! Depending on where I live I love to surf every day, go hiking or running. Since I know so much about sun-induced skin damage I follow the Australian advice to “Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen and slap on a hat”. I also avoid the sun during the hottest times of the day when the UV index reaches its peak. From midday till the afternoon I’ll seek shade to then head out again for a sunset surf session in the best case scenario.


What about your own regular self-care routine? Do you have any daily rituals to optimise your own health & wellbeing?

For my own health I mostly use surfing since it’s a great form to exercise while also calming your mind. I also enjoy cooking healthy food. My skin is not dry, therefore using the Suntribe sunscreen is already enough to hydrate it. After a long day in the sun I love to apply some Suntribe After Sun Balm to soothe my skin and enjoy the calming scent of Peppermint.


Do you have any book, documentary or podcast recommendations that have been game-changing for you when it comes to your own health perspective?

A movie that summarises very well why I advocate for clean cosmetics is the documentary “Toxic Beauty”. It addresses how we can unknowingly be exposed to carcinogenic and hormone-disrupting substances when using cosmetics even from some of the largest, most well-known beauty companies in the world. The documentary features for example several women that sued Johnson & Johnson after it turned out that their baby powder might have caused cancer because of traces of asbestos in the product. Watching this documentary made me realise the gravity of the problem in the skincare industry even more. It’s a very unregulated industry, where consumers need to make sure they educate themselves and choose safe products since companies can use even ingredients known to be toxic.

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What are 3 easy things that everyone can do to start optimising their health today?

My number one advice is to exercise daily and if possible outside. Even a short walk or skate or stretching session makes a big difference for my mood at least. The second advice I can give is of course to check the ingredients in your skincare products, and opt for natural cosmetics with a clean ingredient list. For me personally the third advice would be to spend time with friends and family - for example cooking together. It’s a great way to relax and unwind after a long day, and the food tastes so much better.


What else would you like us to know about Suntribe?

Many people wonder where we are based, and while we travel a lot I can say that we are mainly based in Sweden, and we manufacture our worry-free cosmetics in Portugal. Another cool thing to know is that we can be found on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/suntribesunscreen/