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The 7 Best-Smelling Sunscreens of 2024, Vetted by Editors

Scent *and* protect

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best smelling sunscreens a collage featuring vacation sunscreen, sol de janiero sunscreen and sun bum sunscreen
Dasha Burobina/PureWow

I’m very particular about sunscreen, so I run it through some rather strict criteria. For starters, it has to have a SPF count of 30 or higher and it has to be a non-greasy sunscreen that works with my combo skin. One thing I never considered before was the scent, but while traveling recently, I came across Vacation's Classic Lotion and was blown away by how good it smelled. Prior to this, I wasn’t aware that sunscreens could smell so incredible because most of them tend to have the same distinct (and sometimes overpowering) fragrance. Since then, I've made it my mission to find more options and went to work on compiling this list of the seven best-smelling sunscreens of 2024.

The Best-Smelling Sunscreens at a Glance

1

Best Overall Sunscreen

Vacation Classic Lotion

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2

Best Face Sunscreen

Vacation Classic Whip Sunscreen Mousse

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3

Best Fruity Scent

Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion

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4

Most Hydrating

Sun Bum Sunscreen Lotion

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5

Best Floral Scent

Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen

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How I Chose the Best-Smelling Sunscreens

As a beauty editor (and a fan of protecting my skin), I’ve tried many different sunscreens, so I’m pretty confident in sharing a few of my favorites that I’ve personally tried, tested and loved. I also tapped a few PureWow editors for their product recommendations. From there, I checked the key ingredients, SPF count, and of course, specific scent notes of each sunscreen on this list. Ahead, you’ll find the best-smelling sunscreens in 2024. 

Best Overall Sunscreen

1. Vacation Classic Lotion

What We Like

  • SPF 30
  • nourishing ingredients
  • water-resistant up to 80 minutes

What We Don't Like

  • small tube

Vacation

I took this sunscreen on a cruise a few weeks ago and I was definitely gatekeeping it from the rest of my family because it was just that good. The texture is so lightweight and spreads nicely on my skin without leaving a white cast. It’s formulated with coconut oil, aloe vera, banana extract, niacinamide and vitamin E to help retain moisture, protect my skin and leave a sun-kissed glow. Let me tell you: The Caribbean sun was brutal, but I was confident this sunscreen would protect my skin with its SPF 30—and it did. Formula aside, it’s one of the best-smelling sunscreens out there. With key notes of coconut and banana, it elevated my vacay vibes and I look forward to using it all summer long.

Fast Facts

  • Scent Notes: coconut, banana
  • Key Ingredients: coconut oil, aloe vera, banana extract, niacinamide, vitamin E
  • Promising Review: "I love the OG vacation lotion! It smells like coconut and Miami sunshine." — Stephanie Maida, senior commerce editor at PureWow.

Best Face Sunscreen

2. Vacation Classic Whip Sunscreen Mousse

What We Like

  • SPF 30
  • lightweight formula
  • great for sensitive skin
  • water-resistant up to 80 minutes

What We Don't Like

  • finicky pump

Vacation

Another Vacation favorite that our editors love: The Classic Whip Sunscreen Mousse. Its unique formula promises a “lighter-than-air” feel that’s water-resistant, lightweight and invisible on skin. Enriched with coconut oil, shea oil and banana extract, the formula works to hydrate and smooth the skin, as well as vitamin E and aloe vera to soothe and replenish any sun-exposed areas. It has a similar scent to the OG (so, think a coconut and banana mix), but it stands apart in its adorable packaging that resembles a can of whipped cream.

Fast Facts

  • Scent Notes: coconut, banana
  • Key Ingredients: coconut oil, aloe vera, banana extract, shea oil, vitamin E
  • Promising Review: "This viral whipped cream-esque sunscreen isn’t just fun to apply, but it smells divine too. I’d consider this summer in a can—infused with coconut milk, water, banana, swimsuit lycra, sea salt, bergamot—all of the classic elements of a kick ass summer are bottled in this sunscreen. Classic Whip is one of my go-to lotions for sunny days and you might just want a bite, too." — Delia Curtis, assistant editor at PureWow.

Best Fruity Scent

3. Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Sunscreen Lotion

What We Like

  • SPF 70
  • non-greasy formula
  • water-resistant up to 80 minutes

What We Don't Like

  • not great for oily skin

Hawaiian Tropic

If you want to enhance your sun-kissed glow, this sunscreen lotion should be on your radar. Thanks to the mango fruit extract and shea butter in the formula, it conditions and softens your skin, while leaving behind a radiant finish. It’s also praised for being non-greasy and protects against both UVA and UVB rays with broad-spectrum SPF 70. Plus, the light tropical scent is not too overpowering. 

Fast Facts

  • Scent Notes: mango
  • Key Ingredients: mango fruit extract, shea butter
  • Promising Review: "Sweet plumeria and fresh coconut are the ingredients behind Hawaiian Tropic’s signature scent that we all know and love. It's creamy and delicious that I'm transported to a remote island full of sun and sand. It leaves my skin glowy and dewy and it's the perfect way to stay smooth under the hot summer rays." — Delia Curtis, assistant editor at PureWow.

Most Hydrating

4. Sun Bum Sunscreen Lotion

What We Like

  • SPF 50
  • non-greasy formula
  • no white cast

What We Don't Like

  • doesn't rub in easily

Sun Bum

Our editors say this Sun Bum lotion smells like vacay in a bottle, with familiar scent notes of coconut and banana. For Associate Sales and Deals Editor Destinee Scott, the scent was enough for her to change her entire skincare routine, stating, “Sun Bum is so good! The banana smell is seriously addictive... Two summers ago, I was so obsessed that I switched all my skincare to Sun Bum just to have something to look forward to every morning (uh, the smell that takes me back to vacation life!).” Aside from its delightful fragrance, the sunscreen also delivers on moisturizing and protecting the skin. It has a SPF 50 and is loaded with vitamin E, which is known for evening out skin and reducing the appearance of fine lines. 

Fast Facts

  • Scent Notes: coconut, banana
  • Key Ingredients: vitamin E
  • Promising Review: "Sun Bum is my standby—it smells like a combination of coconut and banana that instantly reminds me of vacation. It doesn't hurt that the lotion is non-greasy and feels hydrating on summer skin. I think I went through two tubes of the SPF 50 when I was in Hawaii. (They also make it in a roller ball format I love for touchups)" — Katherine Gillen, senior food editor at PureWow.

Best Floral Scent

5. Glossier Invisible Shield Daily Sunscreen

What We Like

  • SPF 35
  • non-greasy formula
  • great for sensitive skin

What We Don't Like

  • small bottle

Glossier

Senior Food Editor Katherine Gillen recommends this chemical sunscreen, which has the texture of a serum minus any greasiness or white cast. The water-based formula uses encapsulated chemical blockers like avobenzone, homosalate and octisalate to protect against UVA/UVB rays and make it more absorbent upon application. It also contains antioxidants (like vitamin E, vitamin P and aloe leaf extract) to neutralize free radicals. Due to the transparent color, it’s also a great option to layer on with or without makeup. The light floral and citrus scent is just another reason why it’s Gillen’s favorite. 

Fast Facts

  • Scent Notes: sweet orange
  • Key Ingredients: active microcapsules, H2O, antioxidants
  • Promising Review: "I’ve been a fan of Glossier for years now but haven’t gotten around to trying out their sunscreen. I picked this up recently and I have to say, I’m a big fan. It absorbs really well into the skin after cleansing and gave me a flawless base. I noticed my skin was super dewy and I was shocked that it was from the sunscreen! It did not leave a cast and I did not experience any pilling on the skin after application. I don’t mind the scent too much, in fact it brings back such nostalgic memories of being at the pool or beach!" — Sephora Reviewer

Best Radiant Glow

6. Kopari Rose Gold Sun Shield Body Glow

What We Like

  • SPF 45
  • lightweight gel texture
  • absorbs easily into skin

What We Don't Like

  • expensive

Kopari

This best-smelling sunscreen is a go-to for Associate Fashion Commerce Editor Stephanie Meraz with fruity flavors of guava, mango and coconut rolled into one. It features a blend of macadamia and hibiscus oils to minimize UV irritation and repair dry skin, while protecting it with SPF 45. The formula also has vitamin E for added protection against environmental stressors along with avocado and coconut oil for a boost of hydration. The rose gold mica shimmer is the cherry on top, giving your skin an instant beautiful glow.

Fast Facts

  • Scent Notes: guava mango, coconut
  • Key Ingredients: macadamia oil, vitamin E, avocado oil, coconut oil
  • Promising Review: "This sunscreen is a coconut dream! The coconut scent is light and bright (not at all overpowering), which I can only assume is because of its blend of grounding macadamia and floral hibiscus oil. It makes me wish I was sipping a piña colada on the sandy beaches in Mexico (le sigh). My favorite part is that I’m left with the most gorgeous, shimmery and moisturized skin. Seriously…the gold pearlescent minerals will make your skin glow like no other without leaving you in a greasy mess." — Stephanie Meraz, associate fashion commerce editor at PureWow.

Best Sunscreen Spray

7. Sol de Janeiro Rio Radiance Body Spray Sunscreen

What We Like

  • SPF 50
  • lightweight formula
  • offers a natural sheen

What We Don't Like

  • expensive

Sol de Janeiro

I already love Sol de Janeiro staples like their Brazilian Bum Bum Body Cream and Body Fragrance Mist, so I was hyped to try their sunscreen. The spray version provides just the right amount of protection with SPF 50 and it leaves behind a natural sheen on your skin. It has coconut water to quench my skin, niacinamide to brighten and even my complexion and pongamia seed extract, which is loaded with antioxidants that help protect and prevent UV damage. It’s also one of the best-smelling sunscreens I’ve ever come across, based on the brand’s signature Cheirosa scent with notes of coconut, vanilla, amber and ylang-ylang.

Fast Facts

  • Scent Notes: coconut, ylang ylang, vanilla, amber
  • Key Ingredients: macadamia oil, vitamin E, avocado oil, coconut oil
  • Promising Review: "This sunscreen is a coconut dream! The coconut scent is light and bright (not at all overpowering), which I can only assume is because of its blend of grounding macadamia and floral hibiscus oil. It makes me wish I was sipping a piña colada on the sandy beaches in Mexico (le sigh). My favorite part is that I’m left with the most gorgeous, shimmery and moisturized skin. Seriously…the gold pearlescent minerals will make your skin glow like no other without leaving you in a greasy mess." — Stephanie Meraz, associate fashion commerce editor at PureWow.

What to Consider When Shopping for Sunscreen

  • Mineral vs. Chemical: Chemical sunscreens absorb into your skin, whereas mineral or physical sunscreens sit on top of it. They both have different ingredients (chemical formulas tend to use oxybenzone and mineral uses zinc oxide). When it comes to deciding between physical vs. chemical sunscreen, it all comes down to your personal preference and skin type. I previously chatted with a few dermatologists, who suggested that some chemical sunscreens can be irritating for acne-prone, sensitive and oily skin. However, those with darker complexions might consider it due to its lightweight formula and non-chalky finish.
  • SPF: As previously reported, SPF should be at least 30 for daily use and SPF 50 if you’re planning on being outside all day. 
  • Types: Sunscreen comes in many different forms: spray, lotions, gels, etc. Take time finding a formula that works for you. For example, if you prefer a lightweight formula (like Sol de Janeiro above) than you should consider a spray. If you’re looking for a more moisturizing formula, a lotion or gel might be up your alley. And if you’re traveling or want to find a better way to reapply SPF with makeup on, opt for a sunscreen powder or sunscreen stick instead.
  • Ingredients: Most sunscreens contain additional skincare ingredients in them that can moisturize, protect and improve your skin. Common ingredients include shea butter, niacinamide, vitamin E and aloe vera. Spend some extra time looking through the product labels to scope out ingredients that address your specific concerns. 
  • Scents: This boils down to personal preference. We all have different scents we gravitate towards, so start by identifying the kinds of notes you tend to like to help narrow down your search.

The 18 Best Mineral Sunscreens, Vetted By Editors and Experts



about face matte fluid eye paint review chelsea candelario

Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...

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