This new baby oil SPF will change the way you think about tanning

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By Webdesk

I’m not afraid to admit it: I love tanning. While I’d do just about anything to maintain a glow that’s just walked off the beach year-round, I don’t like the possibility of skin cancer, wrinkles, tattoo fading, and dark spots. So with that in mind, whenever I’m out in the sun (which is pretty much every day since I’ve been living in Los Angeles), I slather a bunch of broad-spectrum sunscreen on my face and body.

For a sunscreen to get into my daily rotation, it has to meet a few key criteria. First, it has to be physical rather than chemical – meaning it sits on the skin to block UV rays rather than being absorbed by the skin. Second, I have chronically dry skin prone to rashes, so the formula must be hydrating and suitable for sensitive skin. Third, it shouldn’t leave any plaster or sticky residue on my face or body. Finally – and most importantly – it has to prevent me from getting a sunburn.

I have been a huge fan of the Vacation sun care brand since its launch. Not only is the nostalgic branding oh so on point and the scent immediately reminiscent of, well, a vacation, the formulas also meet all my above criteria, even on the sunniest summer days. Its latest launch, the Vacation SPF 30 Baby Oil ($22), taps into that same nostalgia, this time by turning the practice of “tanning with baby oil” popularized (unfortunately) by Boomers on its head.

Keep reading for my full review of the Vacation SPF 30 Baby Oil and how I use it in my routine.

About the Vacation SPF 30 Baby Oil

  • Instead of using mineral oil, which is typically the main ingredient in baby oil, the Vacation product contains naturally derived oils such as soothing bisabolol oil, soothing and moisturizing calendula and chamomile oil, supplemental vitamin E oil, smoothing and softening jojoba oil (which also shines), and aromatic rose and jasmine oil.
  • The formula was created with the help of dermatologist Elizabeth Hale, MD, who is also the brand’s chief medical advisor and SVP of the Skin Cancer Foundation.
  • The light scent, called Baby Oil Accord, was developed by Carlos Huber of Arquiste Parfumeur and is an elevated take on the classic baby oil scent.
  • The formula was created to mimic the look, feel, shine and shimmer of classic baby oil.

What I like about the holiday SPF 30 baby oil

What I like most about this product is the hydration it provides, and the fact that even after sweating it did not make my legs break out into a rash or itch in general. My second favorite aspect might go against the brand’s intent with this product – yes, it left me with a slight sheen, but it actually absorbed into my skin quite quickly and didn’t leave me feeling too greasy or slippery. It left a nice shine, but it wasn’t that high-shine effect that traditional baby oils leave behind, and I’m happy about that.

I also have to say that every time I used it, my tan came out very even and without any blemishes. I also had none of the telltale redness around the edges of my bikini, which I think spreads nicely on the skin to give enough coverage. Honestly, I was a little concerned that it might not be strong enough to be happy with the California sun, but luckily I was proven wrong.

And yes, if you were wondering, the Vacation SPF 30 Baby Oil do basically smells like baby oil, just not that overpowering. It has a hint of that familiar powdery scent, with a hint of orange peel, but it’s quite low-key. This means you won’t feel like you smell like your grandma while trying to spot the cuties on the next blanket.

How to use the holiday SPF 30 baby oil

As with any SPF, it’s important to remember to apply it 15 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply at least every two hours. This particular sunscreen is not water and sweat resistant, so be sure to reapply it properly. The brand recommends not using the baby oil on broken skin. Since it’s (obviously) greasier than cream-based sunscreens, I recommend skipping it on days when you’re dressing in nice clothes or sitting on nice furniture, as it can leave some residue.

What to consider before trying the holiday SPF 30 baby oil

For me, the most important thing to note is that while it does not contain oxybenzone (the main controversial ingredient in chemical SPF), the formula do use avobenzone, homosalate, octisalate and octocrylene for the SPF actives. These ingredients are not considered reef safe and can harm ocean ecosystems, so if you’re planning to take a dip in the ocean, you should probably stick to a zinc-based formula. These ingredients are also easily absorbed through the skin and some claim they can be endocrine disruptors in certain amounts, though studies are still being conducted on the long-term effects.

That said, the benefits of applying sunscreen far outweigh the risks of not applying it (at least given current research), so it would be smart to still reach for the Vacation Baby Oil when you head out.


Image source: POPSUGAR Photography / Aviel Kanter

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