“You need sunscreen. Kids with sunburn are 50 percent more likely to have melanoma as adults,” Madsen says.
Sunshine & Glitter exploded onto the sunscreen scene in early April, when it was featured on the website Refinery29 and in the magazines Seventeen, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and Allure within a span of two days. Beauty editors were especially interested in the Magic City bling the company puts in its product — yes, this is glitter sunscreen.
The company's SeaStar Sparkle sunscreen, which is broad-spectrum SPF 50+, is made to coax kids into proper skin care through its candy-like scent and youthful bottle. “Adults want their kids to wear sunscreen, so we put glitter in it. It smells like Jolly Ranchers," Madsen explains. "It’s superfun. You don’t need to ask the kids to put it on. They’ll tell you if you missed a spot, and they’ll beg you to reapply."
SeaStar Sparkle is water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. As with most sunscreens, you need to reapply immediately after swimming, sweating, or toweling, or at least every two hours if you’re just out and about. A four-ounce bottle costs $18.95.
Sunshine & Glitter's Gypsy Collection, which includes Beach Gypsy sunscreen and Day Is Done after-sun lotion, is the company's product line for grownups, serving "the loyal legion of everyone from ages 23 to 63, including the Boca ladies who like to sparkle,” says Madsen, who lives in Boca Raton and commutes to the 70,000-square-foot Sunshine & Sparkle factory in Doral daily.
Beach Gypsy contains gold glitter particles and is broad-spectrum SPF 30+. Day Is Done also sparkles gold and contains ingredients to soothe a sunburn, such as aloe and 1.5 percent lidocaine. A four-ounce bottle costs $24.95.
While the Beach Gypsy collection is made with aluminum-based biodegradable glitter, SeaStar Sparkle is made with cosmetic-grade plastic glitter, for which environmentalists have criticized the company. Madsen says the company is working to convert the entire line to biodegradable glitter. The company also sells SPF 50+ glitter lipgloss, glitter sunscreen with insect repellant, glitter hair detangler, and other glitter lotions without sun protection.
Madsen attributes the popularity of her “extra” glitter sunscreen and sun products in part to the current state of society. “There’s a demand from people [for] this sort of intensity of fun and joy and fantasy maybe because things are dark. There’s a resurgence of the past, like Lisa Frank craziness and everything over-the-top [because] it’s a backlash to what’s going on,” Madsen says.
“I love unicorns, ice cream, doughnuts, cupcakes, and all that because everything [else right now] is the worst. They call it 'extra,' but everything is extra," she adds. "I have a sense of serious whimsy, [and] I just enjoy making things that are fun.”