woman made:


How the founder of Supergoop! is innovating sunscreen with surprising formats you’d never know were blended with SPF.

Written By JAYME CYK

VIOLET GREY profiles female beauty entrepreneurs who are considered industry game changers because of their individual approach to business. Each one entered the conversation in her own manner and maintained a steady, if not unparalleled, trajectory with her indomitable spirit. 

Holly Thaggard dreams about SPF, which we believe is an obvious scenario for an entrepreneur who’s built her business around slipping sunscreen into your favorite skin care and beauty essentials.

The San Antonio-based sunscreen aficionado decided to navigate the space when her close friend was diagnosed with skin cancer at age 29. Thaggard did her due diligence and learned that skin cancer was the most common type of cancer in the U.S., and that it was largely preventable if you did just one thing: Wear sunscreen daily. But the unappealing texture, scent, and finish of most broad-spectrum protection prohibited people from wearing it consistently. So she embarked on a mission to change the way the world thought about SPF. “It’s no longer about the icky mess you put up with at the beach. Our formulas are clean, feel-good skin care that make wearing sunscreen easy, fun, and something you’ll actually want to do every single day,” she says. Here, Thaggard reveals how she made that happen, her hidden talent, and the beauty rules she lives by.

First thing you do when you wake up?

I get out of bed and splash my face with cold water.

Hours of sleep on the regular?


Time spent on beauty on the regular?

I’d say no less than 10 minutes. It doesn’t take me long, because I have to get myself and my two kiddos out the door!

Typical skincare regimen?

It all centers around an SPF wardrobe––you’ll always find me wearing at least three or more Supergoop! products at a time, with a few other favorites mixed in. Right now, I’m loving the Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40, followed by 100% Mineral Matte Screen SPF 40, and Shimmershade SPF 30.

Hair situation in the a.m.?

I wash my hair every morning with Olaplex No. 4 Shampoo and No. 5 Conditioner. My hair wouldn’t be this healthy without either one! Then I dry it with my Dyson hair dryer; my most relied upon hairstyling tool, hands down.

Your signature beauty look?

A natural, no-makeup makeup look with SPF in the mix.

Favorite workout?

SoulCycle when I’m traveling to Los Angeles, New York City, or San Francisco for work; my private Pilates sessions when I’m home in San Antonio.

Go-to breakfast and a.m. beverage?

Celery juice, scrambled egg whites, sliced tomatoes, avocado, and fresh made pico de gallo. On the weekends, I’ll add a slice of extra-crispy multigrain toast with cream cheese.

Foolproof self-care move?

A nightly bath.

Signature scent?

Melrose Place by Heretic Parfum. A very uncomplicated and super fresh blend of lime, bergamot, and orange

An expensive-but-worth-it product or treatment?

Vintner’s Daughter’s Active Botanical Serum, or at night, the Caudalie Detox Oil smells wonderful. My kids love the scent when I’m tucking them in for bed.

A cheap-but-chic product or treatment?

My Aquis Rapid Dry Hair Turban. You only have to purchase it once and it cuts down on drying time by like half!

Bedside beauty essentials?

A Yeti tumbler filled with crushed ice and water. SPF and H2O are my beauty secrets!

Last thing you do before bed?
I turn on my sound machine with beach waves.
Beauty icon?
Estée Lauder said, “I didn’t get here by dreaming about it. I got here by doing it.” She is an incredible role model when it comes to success via extraordinary ambition, perseverance, and hard work.

Business icon?

Danny Meyer. I have tremendous respect for his relentless focus on the customer experience.
Best job?
The one I have right now.
Worst job?
The one that you aren’t passionate about.
How the idea of your current company came to you?
I had an Aha moment when I realized that SPF, something that could prevent skin cancer, wasn’t appealing to people because it was a sticky, smelly, tacky mess. That inspired me to create Supergoop!—clean, innovative, feel-good formulas that would change the way people thought about SPF for good.
Best career advice you’ve ever received?
My mom always taught me that taking action is always better than waiting for perfection.
Highest point as an entrepreneur?
This happened pretty early on. When I first started formulating SPF, I heard from every chemist in the country that it was impossible to create a chemical sunscreen without oxybenzone [a synthetic ingredient that absorbs, rather than blocks, UV rays]. Two years later, we launched the first chemical sunscreen in the U.S. with broad spectrum SPF claims and without oxybenzone. I realized at that moment how important it is to trust your gut.
Lowest point as an entrepreneur?
When I first started Supergoop! in 2007, I wanted to teach kids the importance of wearing SPF every day by putting it in schools across the country. But I quickly found out that the FDA regulated it as an over-the-counter drug and wouldn’t allow it in public schools without a doctor’s or parent’s note. So I had to move on to plan B: reaching kids and adults alike by launching Supergoop! through retail partners. Ironically, in the end, we came full circle thanks to our giving program Ounce by Ounce®, which now makes it easy to put SPF in classrooms across America, for free.
Scariest thing you've ever done?
Before getting married and having two children, I went bungee jumping over the Aegean Sea in Ios, Greece. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Best hidden talent?
I was a professional harpist for ten years before creating Supergoop!.
Backup career?
I’ve always had a knack for creating things. If I hadn’t started Supergoop!, I’m sure I would have come up with another radical idea for something else along the way.