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Sun Bum sunscreen review: This may be your new favorite SPF

The popular line of sprays and lotions is effective, affordable and easy to find.

Sun Bum lotion, scalp and hair mist, and spray sunscreen.
Sun Bum sunscreens offer solid protection, and they're widely available in stores. (Amazon)

Before I even opened my first bottle, I knew Sun Bum sunscreen had a lot going for it. The Florida-based company carries a full suite of mineral and non-mineral face, body and hair sunscreens. They feature a wide array of SPF levels with broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays. Sun Bum's skin-protecting lotions, sprays and sticks are all vegan and gluten-free, and they contain zero sulfates or parabens. Given all this — and the brand's low price point, high consumer ratings and omnipresence in many drugstores — I knew Sun Bum had to be on my list of 2024 sunscreen reviews.

Sun Bum Original SPF 70 Sunscreen Spray review

The first Sun Bum I tried was this high-protection body spray. It kept me burn-free during a weeklong vacation in Palm Springs.

  • Strong, even protection
  • Nongreasy
  • Fast-absorbing
  • SPF 70
  • Affordable
  • Some may find the scent overpowering
  • Reef-friendly but not reef-safe
$13 at Amazon
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$13 at Ulta Beauty$18 at Macy's

I first tried Sun Bum's SPF 70 sunscreen spray after picking it up in a grocery store while on vacation in Palm Springs, Calif. This is one of Sun Bum's biggest pros — it's widely available. That week, the temperature was often over 100°F, the sun hot and blazing. The Sun Bum spray protected me from any hint of sunburn for a full seven days, even after several hours in the pool (I reapplied every hour).

The texture is lightweight — it's silky and not at all sticky. The Sun Bum spray nozzle releases a fine mist that covers large swaths of the body with minimal effort — truly the best kind of sunscreen application. It worked so well, in fact, that I was able to cover my back without the aid of another adult.

The spray smells like coconut-banana, but not in a way that was overpowering or unpleasant for me. Still, the scent is some reviewers' major complaint about Sun Bum (I just thought it smelled like sunscreen).

Is Sun Bum a good sunscreen?

Final verdict: Sun Bum Original SPF 70 Sunscreen Spray is a quality, highly protective option for a day at the pool, on the golf course or on any non-ocean vacation (see why below). It's easy to find, reasonably priced and effective. Is it the best sunscreen of all time? No, but it'll work when you need it.

Is Sun Bum reef-safe?

No, not technically. The entire line is reef-friendly, which means its products are made in accordance with a 2018 Hawaii State Legislature bill that bans the chemicals oxybenzone and octinoxate from sunscreens. However, Sun Bum sunscreens are, as of this writing, not in compliance with a 2021 bill that bans two more chemicals, avobenzone and octocrylene. Both are active ingredients of many of Sun Bum's chemical sunscreens, and both have been deemed unsafe for marine life. If you're planning on swimming in the ocean, Sun Bum's chemical sunscreens are not your best choice.

Is Sun Bum sunscreen safe?

Though the word "chemicals" sounds menacing, the active ingredients in chemical sunscreens are FDA-approved and considered safe for human skin. Sun Bum makes both chemical and mineral sunscreens, so if you're looking for a mineral version (and don't mind the white cast these sunscreens can leave) or have sensitive skin, you have multiple options.

Is Sun Bum cruelty-free?

Yes, Sun Bum is cruelty-free, certified by both Leaping Bunny and PETA. The company doesn't test on animals anywhere in the world.

What are the best Sun Bum sunscreens?

Since my vacation, I've tried several sunscreens in the Sun Bum line, but none of them impressed me quite as much as the original SPF 70 spray. For example, while I liked the Sun Bum face protection OK, I think there are better face sunscreens on the market. I also don't like the amount of chemicals in these products, most of which are reef-friendly but not reef-safe. However, Sun Bum's SPF 50 body lotion is a standout, and its Scalp and Hair Mist is among the best sun protection for hair you can buy.

If you prefer a cream over a spray, Sun Bum's Original SPF 50 lotion delivers. It has a smooth, medium-weight texture and manages to soak into skin easily with little residue (except a shine, which I liked). It's also packed with vitamin E, making it extra-moisturizing — a boon for when you're sitting in the hot, dry sun. 

  • Moisturizing
  • Absorbs quickly
  • No white cast
  • Strong sun protection
  • Burns if applied too close to eyes
  • Not (entirely) reef-safe
$13 at Amazon
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$13 at Ulta Beauty$18 at Macy's

When we think of sunscreen, we often forget that our scalps need protection too. Beyond wearing a hat (a solid choice when you're not swimming), there are fewer hair- and scalp-friendly SPF options. There are loads of reasons to like Sun Bum's Scalp and Hair Mist, but the biggest might be its ultra-durable spray nozzle, which works seamlessly, never clogs and holds up under major travel wear and tear.

"The lid stays securely on this one," wrote one happy reviewer. "It doesn't leave any sort of residue and once you pat it in you can't even feel that it's on. I've been wearing it out all day in the sun and my scalp hasn't burned once!" 

  • Lightweight
  • Strong SPF protection for hairline, hair color and scalp
  • Excellent spray nozzle
  • May weigh down thin or thinning hair
  • Not reef-safe
$12 at Amazon
Explore More Buying Options
$12 at Ulta Beauty$17 at Macy's