11 Best Smelling Sunscreens To Buy, As Per Skincare Specialist Reviews 2024

✔ Research-backed

We are all aware of how crucial sunscreen is to safeguard us from the sun’s harmful UV rays. With the best smelling sunscreen, you don’t have to worry about sunburns or body odor resulting from sweat. Citrusy or fruity-scented sunscreens can keep you smelling fresh and give you much-needed respite from the severe damage that the sun can cause to your skin. That’s a benefit of two in a single product. Dermatologists recommend sunscreens that give you broad-spectrum protection, but the lack of delicious-smelling sunscreens can often discourage people from using them on a regular basis.

If your sunscreen leaves you with a white cast and the unpleasant smell turns you off, we are here to help you. Below is a list of expert-recommended sunscreens that offer longevity and ensure you smell great!

Top Picks

In This Article

11 Best Smelling Sunscreens To Buy In 2024

1. Best Oil-Free:Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen

This transparent zinc oxide SPF 46 facial sunscreen offers broad-spectrum coverage against the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun. It has an incredibly calming and soothing effect on sensitive and acne, pigmented, and rosacea-prone skin. If applied every 2 hours, it gives effective protection against sunburn, redness, discoloration, and unwanted tanning. This sunscreen that smells good contains very high purity 5% niacinamide, is extremely lightweight, and doesn’t leave a white cast or residue. This expert-recommended sunscreen also contains hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, and lactic acid, which boosts the health of the skin. It can be used with or without makeup. Check out this video that has useful information about the sunscreen.\

Number of Items: 1 | Item Weight: 1.58 Ounces | Product Dimensions: 1.63 x 1.63 x 1.5 inches

Pros

  • Oil-free
  • No synthetic fragrance
  • No parabens
  • Won’t clog pores
  • Dermatologist-recommended

Cons

  • Contains octinoxate

Our Tester's Experience

"This sunscreen is perfect for my combination skin as it absorbs well and does not leave a white cast. Unlike other sunscreens, it dosent have an unusual smell and nor does it clog my pores or turn my skin greasy. Hence a definite win for me!"


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The product has garnered more than 32,100 positive reviews on Amazon.

2. Best Hypoallergenic:CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen

Protect your delicate skin with this fantastic 100% mineral sunscreen that contains zinc oxide and titanium dioxide sunscreen filters, leaving you with visible results of a healthy and beautiful glow. You can be sure that you will never have that embarrassing white residue on your face, that so often can happen with mineral or physical sunscreen! This lightweight and easy-to-blend sunscreen effectively protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun that can cause severe damage to the skin. Its unique formula has hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, and three essential ceramides— 1, 3, and 6-11, which lock in moisture, soothe the skin, and restore the natural barrier of the skin. This fragrant sunscreen and tinted moisturizer with SPF 30 has a non-greasy texture and can be used alone or under makeup. Learn more about the skincare product in this review video.

Product Dimensions: 1.13 x 2.7 x 6.14 inches | Weight: 2.57 Ounces

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Paraben-free
  • No synthetic fragrance
  • No chemical filter
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Does not contain oxybenzone
  • Suitable for daily use
  • Dermatologist-recommended

Cons

  • May not be suitable for darker skin tones

Our Tester's Experience

"Most sunscreens irritate my eyes, but luckily, this one did not create such issues. It does have a peculiar smell, but its lightweight texture and ability to provide a subtle coverage make up for it."


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The whopping 36,221 positive reviews on Amazon reflect the superior quality of this product.

3. Best Non-Greasy:Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen

Get superior protection from the harmful UVA/UVB rays of the sun with this broad spectrum SPF 70 daily sunscreen stick. Its lightweight and oil-free formula contains avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone which are extremely effective in keeping your skin safe and healthy. You can look forward to a no-mess, hands-free application with this stick sunscreen that glides on easily. This 1.5-ounce sunscreen stick is specially formulated with Helioplex which ensures the protection of your skin, giving a non-greasy finish. This unique matte finish body sunscreen is also water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, making it one of the perfect sunscreens for swimmers. The aromatic and water-resistant formula feels clean and light, absorbs instantly, and is invisible on your skin. To learn how this sunscreen works, check out this product testing video.

Number of Items: 1 | Item Weight: 0.18 Pounds | Product Dimensions: 1 x 2.1 x 4.28 inches

Pros

  • PABA-free
  • Non-comedogenic
  • Non-shiny finish
  • Dermatologist-recommended

Cons

  • May not be suitable for extremely sensitive skin

Our Tester's Experience

"Neutrogena sunscreen stick has been perfect for the whole family. Although it does feel slightly greasy initially, the sheen vanishes as you rub it in and leaves the skin hydrated."


Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen
Best Oil-Free
CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen
Best Hypoallergenic
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen
Best Non-Greasy
Number of Items 1- 1
Weight 1.58 Ounces- 0.18 Pounds
Dimensions 1.63 x 1.63 x 1.5 inches 1.13 x 2.7 x 6.14 inches 1 x 2.1 x 4.28 inches
Weight- 2.57 Ounces-
Rating
Reviews32,10036,22113,588
Price$39.0$13.99$11.85

4. Best Reef-Friendly:Banana Boat Sport Ultra Sunscreen Lotion – Sport Lotion SPF 50

There’s nothing stopping you now from your active lifestyle with the powerful protection of this expert-recommended and sports-strength sunscreen. This non-greasy, breathable lotion is designed specifically for outdoorsy people and sports enthusiasts who need that extra broad-spectrum protection from the harmful UV rays of the sun, and also don’t want it running into their eyes when they sweat. This perfumed and sports strength sunscreen is water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is safe for you and the environment as it contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate.

Item Weight: 0.82 Pounds

Pros

  • Reef-friendly
  • Lightweight
  • Absorbs quickly
  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation

Cons

  • May cause staining on clothes

Our Tester's Experience

"This sunscreen protects the skin for many hours and has become an everyday essential. The scent is pleasant, and it absorbs quickly without leaving traces. Its dispenser is slightly tricky but it prevenets spills. Overall, it's a solid choice for quality sun protection."


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

The 11,269 positive reviews on Amazon are proof that this product meets customers' expectations.

5. Best Ultra-Conditioning Formula:Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Lotion Sunscreen

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4.7
Hawaiian Tropic Sheer Touch Lotion Sunscreen Image: Hawaiian Tropic

The tropical fragrance and luxurious feel of this expert-recommended sunscreen lotion will transport you to an exotic world of fantasy while its broad spectrum protects your skin from the harsh UV rays of the sun. Its island inspired scent with a hint of mango is sure to be a delight to the senses as it protects you from sunburn and hyperpigmentation with its SPF 30 formula. Its non-greasy, oil-free formula contains mango fruit extract, vitamins C and E, and shea butter which feels light on the skin and softens it so that your skin looks radiant. This sunscreen with a fruity fragrance has the added advantage of being water-resistant for up to 80 minutes, so it’s perfect for swimming.

Product Dimensions: 2.75 x 1.4 x 6.55 inches | Weight: 8 Ounces

Pros

  • Reef-friendly
  • Ultra conditioning formula
  • No animal testing
  • Dermatologist-tested
  • Free of oxybenzone or octinoxate
  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation

Cons

  • Some feel it has some sparkle in it.

My Personal Experience

"The easy to apply sunscreen has a pleasant smell and made my skin radiant during vacation. It's not greasy or sticky, and as a bonus, it does wonderfully around water. It has become an essential part of my morning routine!"


worth-buy-icon

Why We Think It's Worth Buying

Do not miss out on this product that has earned 10,463 positive reviews on Amazon.

6. Best Paraben-Free:Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen Spray – Nourishing Coconut (SPF 50)

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.4

This nourishing SPF 50 lightweight sunscreen comes in a 6-ounce bottle and is an amalgamation of silky smooth oils that are instantly absorbed by the skin for a perfect non-greasy and light finish. This natural sunscreen with a pleasant scent contains botanical emollients such as coconut extract, avocado oil, aloe vera, shea butter, and apricot fruit extract and is suitable for all skin types. These not only moisturize your skin but also offer effective, broad-spectrum protection from harmful UV rays. It’s also water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes. It is a pleasant coconut-scented sunscreen that’s a delight to the senses.

Product Dimensions: 2.13 x 2.13 x 7.5 inches | Weight: 0.8 Ounces

Pros

  • 100% vegetarian
  • Biodegradable
  • Cruelty-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Sulfate-free
  • Phthalate-free
  • No artificial colors
  • No synthetic fragrances
  • Contains no oxybenzone or octinoxate
  • Recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation

Cons

  • Contains avobenzone

protip_icon Caution
Do a patch test before using sunscreens with avobenzone, as it can cause a stinging sensation if you have sensitive skin (1).

7. Best Vegan:Sun Bum Premium Moisturizing Sunscreen Spray

This six-ounce bottle of sunscreen spray moisturizes and protects your skin from harmful UV rays with its broad spectrum SPF 30. Infused with vitamin E, this sunscreen for summer smells like a pleasant, warm beach day, and is especially appealing to those who like to spend their time outdoors. This non-comedogenic sunscreen does not block your pores and is great for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin. This oil-free sunscreen is water and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes and is great for those who love swimming.

Product Dimensions: 4 x 6 x 2 inches | Weight: 7.05 Ounces

Pros

  • Vegan
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Cruelty-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Oxybenzone-free
  • Octinoxate-free
  • Retinyl palmitate-free
  • Dermatologist-tested

Cons

  • Not reef-safe

Our Tester's Experience

"It's a hit with both teens and adults in my house. Its non-pasty texture appeals to my daughter, who enjoys it's great smell and smooth consistency. I used it on my vacation to Hawaii and it bhelped me achive an amazing tan without the uncomfortable burning sesation."


protip_icon Quick tip
You should wait for at least fifteen minutes for your sunscreen to set in before stepping out into the sun (2).

8. Best Cruelty-Free:Australian Gold Continuous Spray Sunscreen – Bronzer

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4.6

This unique broad-spectrum and scented SPF product not only protects you from the harmful UV rays of the sun, but also has an instant bronzer that dries fast and gives an immediate radiant glow to your skin. Packed in a 6-ounce bottle, this sunscreen spray is water-resistant, so you can enjoy your swim for about 80 minutes before you reapply it. Its oil-free formula contains native Australian acacia extract and kakadu plum that offers potent antioxidant benefits. It has the signature Australian Gold fragrance called cocoa dreams. Extremely convenient and easy to apply, you don’t have to restrict any of your outdoor activities any more.

Product Dimensions: 2 x 2 x 7.3 inches | Weight: 7.52 Ounces

Pros

  • Cruelty-free
  • PABA-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Gluten-free

Cons

  • Some feel the spray nozzle could be improved.

Our Tester's Experience

"I found this sunscreen to be perfect for both poolside lounging and sandy beachfront strolls, thanks to its water-resistant properties. Moreover, its oil-free formula formula feels super lightweight on my skin."


9. Best Oxybenzone-Free:Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen

This fabulous unseen sunscreen is truly invisible with no annoying residue and also doubles as a makeup primer. This scented sun protection product is lightweight and oil-free and has SPF 40. Packed with potent antioxidants, this feel-good sunscreen protects your skin against UVA, UVB, IRA rays and blue light emitted from your computer, phone, and tablet. Its unique non-greasy formula glides smoothly onto your skin without leaving a shiny finish, and leaves your skin with a satiny makeup-gripping finish. This sunscreen that smells good contains clean, soothing, and powerful ingredients such as frankincense, red algae, and meadowfoam seed that hydrate, nourish, and protect your skin. Its clear texture enables you to use it alone or under makeup.

Product Dimensions: 1.85 x 1.2 x 5.15 inches | Weight: 1.7 Ounces

Pros

  • Light texture
  • Blends well into the skin
  • Reef-safe
  • Beard-friendly
  • Non-toxic ingredients
  • Oxybenzone and octinoxate-free
  • Suitable for all skin types and skin tones

Cons

  • Chemical sunscreen which may not be suitable for super sensitive skin

My Personal Experience

"I'm thrilled by this product's transparent texutre and the natural glow it offers. Its gel-like consistency makes it easy to squeeze out the required amount without the fear of it gushing out. And the best part is that it is super lightweight and doubles as primer."


10. Best Biodegradable:Reef Repair Sunscreen – SPF 50

Packed with the benefits of coconut oil, avocado oil, red raspberry seed oil, vanilla essential oil and many more ingredients, this SPF 50 broad spectrum sunscreen gives your delicate skin the much-needed protection from harmful UV rays. This all-natural, eco-friendly four-ounce bottle of mineral-based refreshing sunscreen is highly moisturizing and water-resistant for up to 80 minutes. This sunscreen significantly lowers the chances of skin damage from sunburn, aging, wrinkles, and UV exposure. This zinc oxide-based sunscreen with a clean scent is completely chemical-free and provides skin safety to you and your family. It’s non-sticky, non-oily, water-based, and comes on transparent with minimal rubbing, spreading evenly over the skin. Plus, this water-resistant sunscreen doesn’t leave a white cast or residue.

Product Dimensions: 1.46 x 2.4 x 6.46 inches | Weight: 4 Ounces

Pros

  • Reef-safe
  • Biodegradable
  • Oxybenzone-free
  • Octinoxate-free
  • Paraben-free
  • Silicone-free
  • Titanium dioxide-free
  • Suitable for sensitive skin

Cons

  • Some may find it difficult to spread.

Our Tester's Experience

"Living in Florida, I am naturally passionate about coral reef safety and conservation. That's what made me choose this product. It not only meets my needs effectively but is also reef-safe. Hence, the apt choice for a nature lover like me."


protip_icon Quick tip
You should reapply sunscreen at two-hour intervals to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays (2).

11. Best Silicone-Free:Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen

star-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-ratingstar-rating
4.2
Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense Sunscreen Image: Drunk Elephant

This expert-recommended daily sunscreen is a powerhouse of potent antioxidants which, apart from protecting your skin from harmful UV rays with its broad spectrum SPF 30 UVA/UVB protection, gives it the required moisture. This helps in drastically reducing fine lines and wrinkles, leaving your skin looking healthy, rejuvenated, and youthful. With 20% zinc oxide and several natural ingredients like aloe vera, sunflower sprout extract, grape juice extract, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, and many more, this sunscreen keeps your skin safe in every way. This tropical-scented sunscreen has a subtle, refreshing scent with hints of marula oil, thermal mud, fruit enzymes, and vitamins.

Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.4 x 1.8 inches | Weight: 3 Ounces

Pros

  • No chemical screens
  • No silicone
  • No artificial fragrance
  • Alcohol-free
  • Suitable for all skin tones and types

Cons

  • Some may find its texture a bit greasy.

Our Tester's Experience

"Although slightly skeptical about the sunscreen's thick consistency, once rubbed in, the cream absorbed well and left no white spots. What I like the most is that it has no chemical odor, and so far, I haven't experienced any allergic reaction on my sun-sensitive skin."


*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

How To Choose The Right Smelling Sunscreens?

Here are a few tips on what to look for when choosing one for your delicate skin so that it’s always protected and fragrant.

  1. Broad-spectrum protection: This is an extremely important factor as it protects your skin from the harmful effects of both UVA and UVB rays. Repeated and prolonged exposure to these rays can lead to bad sunburn, dark spots, poor collagen production, early skin aging, and in extreme cases, skin cancer. Your broad-spectrum sunscreen should contain a sun protection factor of 30 or greater.
  2. Active ingredients: Sunscreens with chemical formulas absorb the UV rays and convert them into heat, which is then released by the body, and prevents the skin from burning. They are very good while swimming as they are water-resistant, easy to apply, and don’t leave a white cast. On the other hand, they have to be applied more frequently than mineral sunscreen.
    Mineral sunscreens, on the other hand, form a barrier on your skin that reflects the UVA and UVB rays. Their formulas contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide formulas which may not spread very evenly on your skin, and leave behind a white residue. But their effect is usually more long-lasting than chemical sunscreens.
  3. Water resistance: Getting a water-resistant sunscreen is especially important if you are prone to sweating or if you are fond of spending time in the pool and swimming. No sunscreen is sweat or waterproof. What it can offer you is water resistance for 40 or 80 minutes. So it’s very important that you remember to reapply sunscreen when sweating, swimming, or toweling yourself dry.
  4. Formula type: Many people prefer creams and lotions rather than sprays as they last on the skin longer. They also give a more uniform protective covering to your skin than sprays. A cream sunscreen works better on a dry skin, while a spray works better on kids as it’s easier to apply, but it may need to be reapplied frequently.
  5. Skin type: If you have oily skin, look for ingredients like isododecane or silica in a lightweight sunscreen. Ingredients like aloe, glycerine, dimethicone, and oils are perfect in a sunscreen if you happen to have dry skin. With dry skin, it’s also advisable to avoid gel or spray sunscreens with alcohol.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What type of sunscreen has a sunscreen-like smell?

Broadly, there are two types of sunscreens – mineral-based and chemical-based. It’s the latter ones that smell like a typical sunscreen.

2. Why does sunscreen smell so good?

The pleasant smell of sunscreens is usually a combination of the ingredients used, along with the added fragrances. However, natural fragrance-based sunscreens are safer for the skin.

3. Can fragrance be added to sunscreen?

If your skin isn’t highly sensitive, using a sunscreen that’s infused with natural fragrances can be a good option, when used in moderation. Otherwise, a fragrance-free sunscreen is more pH-balanced.

4. Can I spray perfume on top of sunscreen?

Keeping in mind that most perfumes, when sprayed directly on the skin, can cause irritation or interfere with the skin’s pH levels, it’s better to spray it on the clothes. It is best to let the fragrance soak in and penetrate the skin after being filtered by the clothes.

5. Why is sunscreen so hard to wash off?

Most sunscreens are formulated to withstand sweat and water while swimming, hence making them waterproof and a tad bit difficult to wash off. Using any skin-friendly cleanser or surfactant can make the removal process easier and more effective. For mineral-based sunscreens, double-cleansing, first with an oil-based cleanser and then with a regular one, could be useful.

6. Is it okay to sleep with sunscreen on?

Not removing sunscreen before you head for the bed could lead to sebum mingling with the sunscreen, which can clog the pores and result in breakouts or skin irritation.

7. At what time of day do I no longer need sunscreen?

Although it depends on the geographical location and the time of the year, as a rule of thumb, if the UV index is below three early in the mornings or evenings, sunscreen could be skipped if you wish.

Why Trust MomJunction?

Poulami Nag writes product reviews on skincare, haircare, beauty, and fashion. Her passion for trying out makeup and personal care products ensures you get all the required information about the latest products. This article includes a list of the best smelling sunscreens that protect your skin from harsh UV rays. They are made of mild, skin-safe ingredients and are chosen based on multiple user reviews. She has also included detailed information and a buying guide to help you choose the right skincare product for your skin type.

The Bottom Line

Stepping out of your home during the hot summers may be daunting due to the scorching heat and the high chance of sweating profusely. However, the best-smelling sunscreens may have you covered. Whether it is keeping yourself smelling fresh, reducing the odor, or safeguarding your skin from harmful UV rays, they always deliver. Consider sunscreens that have a high SPF and are free of artificial ingredients. For sensitive skin, the Elta MD UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 46 Facial Sunscreen is suitable with zinc oxide and niacinamide. It won’t clog pores or leave a white cast. Additionally, the lightweight and moisturizing CeraVe Hydrating Mineral Sunscreen offers 100% mineral protection. We also like the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face & Body Stick Sunscreen, which is dermatologist-recommended and oil-free.

Infographic: How To Apply Sunscreen Correctly?

Sunscreen can keep you protected from the sun’s UV rays. It keeps your skin from burning, tanning, and developing rashes. Be it a tinted sunscreen or a mineral one, you should apply it correctly to reap the benefits. The infographic can help you with that.

Steps To Apply Sunscreen Correctly (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team


References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Sunscreen and Your Morning Routine
    https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/sunscreen-and-your-morning-routine#
  2. How To Apply Sunscreen
    https://www.aad.org/public/everyday-care/sun-protection/shade-clothing-sunscreen/how-to-apply-sunscreen
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Ann Van de Langerijt

Ann Van de LangerijtSkincare blogger

Ann Van de Langerijt is a Belgium-based Instagram influencer with thousands of followers. Ann visualizes makeup and skincare products in a creative, different, and colorful manner. She reviews the products and features only those that “are special and have great results on the skin”. Ann is also a member of 15 Instagram groups on skincare and makeup.read full bio