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The Raw Truth About Sunscreen - An Interview With Raw Elements Owner Brian Guadagno

5 min read

The Raw Truth About Sunscreen - An Interview With Raw Elements Owner Brian Guadagno

It's not often you find a product that you not only love, but will literally save your life. I was 16 when my dermatologist bluntly told me, you won't make it to 30 if you don't apply sunscreen every time you go in the sun.

A little harsh you might say, but I am 8 years past my sell by date and I apply sunscreen every time I go in the sun .... religiously, and I'm still here! Something I am pretty stoked about I might add. You see I was gifted the unfortunate genes of a Scottish highlander and if you have ever been to The Scottish Highlands you will know there is not much sun up there, so growing up in Africa was not ideal for a fair head.

Needless to say, through the years I became somewhat of a sunscreen connoisseur. Once I learned that the chemicals in the very thing I was using on my skin to protect myself was actually almost as harmful to me as the suns rays, I spent an absorbent amount of my time trying to find anything that would screen the rays, and not infuse my skin with any number of unpronounceable chemicals. 

That's how I came across Brian and Raw Elements.

You see, this  is a big deal to me, and it should be for you too and anyone you love. Its quiet literally is, the difference between live and death  I don't leave the house without a can of Raw Elements.    

We sat down with Raw Elements Owner and Founder Brian Guadagno to Find out a little more about Raw elements the company and what drives him to create the best possible sunscreen.  

Thanks for creating such an amazing product Brian, Tell us a bit about yourself?

I've been an ocean lifeguard of for over 20 years during the summers in Narragansett, RI.  I currently live in Miami Beach most of the year, which I love.  I graduated from Fordham University in NYC.  Im currently in training for my 200 hour yoga teacher certification.. hopefully the first of many.  I have the greatest family and group of friends anyone could ever ask for.

Tell us a bit more about Raw elements when you started, what you guys stand for etc?

We started with a very small pilot run in summer 2011.  Our full roll out year was 2012  Our mission is pretty simple ;) - be the safest, most effective sunscreen on the planet.

What made you decide to Start Raw Element?

It all started  through my lifeguarding  experiences.  Once i discovered how nasty many of the chemicals in sunscreen were for us and our environment i tried to find a natural alternative to switch to..  After trying every natural sunscreens imaginable it became pretty clear to me they fell short.  There was a need for a brand and a product that could effectively crossover and resonate with both the natural and the active consumer alike.  So it really started with me turning my kitchen into a lab, digging in and learning how to formulate. 

Biggest accomplishment for Raw Elements? 

Well we’ve gathered some pretty cool ones like our EWG # 1 ratings, NPA certified natural, Non GMO Project verification, Leaping Bunny Approval and 2015 Best Sunscreen in the Natural Industry.  But I think the all of the pretty amazing people who we’ve met, joined our team, partnered with us, wave the flag and support our mission continues to be our greatest accomplishment.  That’s been really amazing to experience and I’m super grateful to everyone.  

Tell us about your Biggest set back while running Raw Elements?

Id say the biggest setbacks are the challenges that come with being a small, very lean company.  It’s not always easy to accomplish the things you would like to with limited resources.  That said, I also feel that it’s a double edged sword in a way, being small and lean also allows us the ability to be nimble and resourceful.

Tell us a bit on what it means to you to be an entrepreneur?

I think it’s more or less a mind set people tend to have or not - just as anything else in life.  From my experience it seems that most entrepreneurs I know tend to be ‘serial’ entrepreneurs in the sense that it is just how they live their life. I know the traditional definition of the word is a risk taker- which is true.  

But beyond that, id say for me, it is the people who’s minds tend to work tirelessly.  They run on an ongoing basis - creating, recycling, envisioning what is possible and how to make it real.

How important is it to have a natural sunscreen?

If you and your loved ones spend time in the sun - it is a necessity.  The truth is out about sunscreen.  Whenever i see a cloud of spray being detonated over a child at the beach, I can’t help but think that we also used to smoke cigarettes in hospital rooms.

Tell us a bit about the actual product line and what makes it so much better than the rest?

To me what truly sets us apart is our products are literally the cleanest natural formulas on the market yet meet the demands of the extreme athlete.  That leaves room for quite a few people to have access.  

When I’m working on developing products - my goal is to always strive for function and innovation.

raw elements sunscreen 

What is your Ultimate dream for the company ?

My goal is to impact people’s way of thinking through education and giving them the opportunity for the best options - hopefully that combination will convert them to a healthier practice when it comes to sun care.  

Where do you see Raw Elements going in the next year? In the next five years? The next ten years?

If we keep focused on our mission and goal, I truly believe the possibilities of having positive impact are endless.  As far as company growth or trajectory, the most honest answer i can give is this:  I am the most competitive person I know and this is a challenge I have an endless appetite for.  

What changes have you seen to the industry since you started ?

I think it’s great to see many companies, large and small trying to offer better products, better ingredients. The consumers seeking better products and better ingredients are growing leaps and bounds.  That’s a very inspiring combination.  

You are from Rhode Island. What do you love about living there? 

I’ve spent my whole life on Narragansett Beach.  I’ve been a lifeguard there for since i was 16, over 20 years.  My friends, my family, my teammates are all there.. there’s really nothing I can love more than that. 

When you are not at work what do you get up to?

I love living on and around the ocean, spending quality time with friends, family & my dog Doc.  Yoga, photography, music, SUP, being creative and healthy living are my fun.  

raw elements

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