Sunscreen is one of my favorite beauty products to test as a Reviewed beauty editor. If you cringe at the thought of slathering your face and body in a slippery, white paste, that’s exactly why it’s a product I jump on testing — I want to find one that won’t twist anyone’s face.

Every sunscreen launch grabs my attention, but when it comes from a supermodel with smooth, glowy skin, there’s an extra layer of intrigue. This is the case with Winnie Harlow’s Cay Skin, which launched in 2022 with sun protection products for the face and body.

What is Cay Skin?

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Supermodel Winnie Harlow developed Cay Skin after being badly sunburned during a photo shoot.

Mannequin Winnie Harlow rose to fame after participating in the 21st season of America’s Next Top Model. Her inspiration for Cay Skin came from her experience with sunburn and sun damage during an outdoor photo shoot in 2018. The model entrepreneur has vitiligo, a “disease that causes patches of skin color,” according to the Mayo Clinic. Cay Skin’s site states that Harlow experienced a permanent change in her vitiligo after receiving the sunscreen, leading her to want to create “better for your skincare and sun protection.” The brand strives for its products to “keep all skin tones glowing and protected all year round.”

The line consists of the Isle Glow Face Lotion SPF 45 ($32), Isle Glow Body Lotion SPF 45 ($38), Isle Body Oil SPF 30 ($32), and Isle Lip Balm SPF 30 ($14). To test them, I used each product on its own or, in the case of the face lotion, layered with makeup on some days. Warning: This rating will get worse before it gets better.

Isle Glow Face Lotion SPF 45

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Cay Skin Isle Glow Face Lotion SPF 45 gives a pearly finish to the skin.

What it claims: First and foremost, the 1.5-ounce SPF facial lotion uses chemical sunscreen ingredients avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene to protect skin from UVA and UVB rays. It also contains niacinamide, nectar, and sea moss to hydrate the skin. The lotion claims to have a pearlescent finish that gives the skin a natural-looking glow and can be worn alone or under makeup. The product description does not state any fragrance information or label it as fragrance-free, and the ingredients list does not contain perfume.

What it’s like to use it: I felt agitated when I put two or three pumps of this in my hand and saw the brown, glowing formula, but it also looked separated – an oily substance running under a mousse-like texture. I ignored this and rubbed the solution between my fingers to combine the ingredients. When I applied it tto my face, I loved the pearly finish it gave me, and I was relieved that the color blended well with my pale skin.

The problem started when I massaged this into my skin and felt the formula pilling under my fingertips. I noticed this feeling whether I applied it over skincare, such as the Skinceuticals CE Ferulic serum, or on bare skin. To give it a full wear test under makeup, I tried to blend it in, rolling all the “crumbs” that formed along my neck and wiping them off with a towel. I applied several foundations during testing and did not notice any issues with my makeup, which only added to my confusion. I also wondered: if the sunscreen rubbed at least part of my face, how protected was my skin from the sun? I can’t answer that, and I wouldn’t want to know.

Buy the Isle Glow Face Lotion SPF 45 from Sephora for $32

Isle Glow Body Lotion SPF 45

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Cay Skin Isle Glow Face Lotion SPF 45 gives a pearly finish to the skin.

What it claims: This fragrance-free 3.4-ounce body lotion protects against the sun with the help of avobenzone, octisalate, and octocrylene. In addition to the same sea moss and “moisturizing nectar” present in the face lotion, the body contains sunflower oil to soothe and hydrate, as well as cocoa butter to improve texture and protect skin’s moisture. It also has an iridescent brown shade which is supposed to give the skin a glow.

What it’s like to use it: I’m happy to report that it doesn’t puff up on my skin like the face lotion. (Although I can’t explain why.) It applies much more smoothly and spreads easily on the body.

Unfortunately, I am not complaint-free for this one either: the “instant island glow without the glitter or white cast” only fulfills that second promise. Noting that I was testing a new sunscreen for work, my friend pointed out how shiny my arm looked in the sunlight. Although the glittering speckles are small and gold rather than large, iridescent sparkles, I couldn’t help but feel like I’d just stepped out of the Twilight series and could match Edward Cullen’s sparkly vampire skin.

That said, I don’t hate this. It blends out easily and gives my skin a brightening finish, for better or worse, and I don’t think it would bother me to shine in the sun on a day at the beach or for a walk. But if I go for lunch or an afternoon shopping, it’s a bit much.

Buy the Isle Glow Body Lotion SPF 45 from Sephora for $38

Isle Body Oil SPF 30

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Cay Skin Isle Body Oil SPF 30 does not leave the skin feeling greasy.

What it claims: The Isle Body Oil contains avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene as its sun protection ingredients. In addition, it uses a blend of oils, such as squalane, argan, grapeseed, coconut, and meadowfoam seed, to hydrate the skin. Unlike the previous two products, it has a “warm vanilla and amber scent”.

What it’s like to use it: Although this oil contains SPF, I chose to apply this at night instead of a body lotion because that’s how I’ve used body oils in the past. I described the formula to a friend as feeling like a “dry-touch oil” because it doesn’t feel greasy or thick like others I’ve tried, such as Bio-Oil. It also gives a glow to the skin without looking overly shiny – I don’t want to go to bed or look like an oil slick in public. I felt comfortable snuggling under the covers within an hour of application and didn’t feel like my legs were rubbing against each other or sticking to my sheets, which I appreciated.

As for wearing it outside, I’d give it a try, but I’d probably like to put a thin layer of sunscreen, at least underneath, as the oil is runny and clear, making it hard to tell if I want my skin. This product gets my approval, but with the caveat that you should apply it thoroughly before exposure to the sun.

Buy the Isle Body Oil SPF 30 from Sephora for $32

Isle Lip Balm SPF 30

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

The Cay Skin Isle Lip Balm SPF 30 protects the lips from UV rays.

What it Claims: The lip balm claims to have “kissable SPF to protect your pout.” It contains avobenzone, homosalate, and octisalate for sun protection and moisturizing aloe, sea moss, and vitamin E. It claims to have a non-sticky finish that leaves a bright shine on the lips. Vanilla brown sugar is the “flavor” attributed to this product.

What it’s like to use it: Of the products I’ve tried from Cay Skin, this is the one I’d see myself using the most. The balm feels thick and sticky when applied but comfortable when I rub my lips together to massage it in. I like the slight sheen it gives my lips, and I think it would be easier to put on top of lipstick if you want some color, although I haven’t tried this.

If you’re a real stickler for stickiness, you should know that it doesn’t pass my hair test, i.e., my hair sucks at the balm. I’d rather it didn’t, but the SPF it offers is a good trade-off for me. Despite being right under my nose, the smell isn’t bothersome at all – it’s slightly sweet and fades when I wear it.

Buy the Isle Lip Balm SPF 30 from Sephora for $32

Is Cay Skin worth it?

Credit: Reviewed / Betsey Goldwasser

Cay Skin was not a total miss, but I would proceed cautiously.

It’s a hesitant “maybe” from me.

My thoughts on Cay Skin ebbed and flowed for the few weeks I tested the line. I loved the finish of the face lotion, so I wanted to love it, but the pilling is enough of a red flag that I wouldn’t recommend spending $32 on it. Instead, I’d recommend trying the Supergoop Glowscreen Sunscreen, which comes in two pearlescent shades, “Sunrise” (champagne) and “Golden Hour” (bronze), to match your skin tone.

The body lotion presents its issue with the ultra-glossy finish, but I like how easy it is to rub in and feels comfortable once applied. But again, you don’t have to spend $38 for a relaxing body sunscreen. Since you need a lot of sunscreens to coat your entire body, I recommend going for a more affordable option like the Banana Boat Ultra Sport Sunscreen Lotion.

The two products that I think are worth trying are body oil and lip balm, as their pros outweigh the cons. I don’t think you need to spend $32 and $14 for those two types of products, respectively.

Buy Cay Skin on Sephora

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Prices were correct when this article was published but may change over time.


I have been blogging since August 2011. I have had over 10,000 visitors to my blog! My goal is to help people, and I have the knowledge and the passion to do this. I love to travel, dance, and play volleyball. I also enjoy hanging out with my friends and family. I started writing my blogs when I lived in California. I would wake up in the middle of the night and write something while listening to music and looking at the ocean. When I moved to Texas, I found a new place to write. I would sit in my backyard while everyone else was at work, and I could write all day.