Is this the best smelling sunscreen in the world?
I vividly remember one day glancing at my children’s faces at the swimming pool, just as my wife called them over to apply sunscreen. One grimaced, and the other groaned softly. I nodded to them in solidarity at work. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a spray or a lotion, applying sunscreen isn’t usually fun.
Sunscreen is a product that needs an upgrade. Smell? It’s one way to improve it, and that has the potential to influence whether people want to adopt it. Vacation is a new classic sunscreen lotion with that exact aim. It even calls itself “The World’s Best Scented Sunscreen”.
That’s a seriously bold statement. So much so that I enlisted the help of friends and family to serve their noses, in addition to my own. I’m curious: Do we all like the scent of Vacation, and if so, do we agree it’s the best smelling sunscreen we’ve ever come across?
The smell of holiday
Vacation’s tagline generated a great deal of hype in anticipation of its first appearance. When I arrived, I worriedly inhaled what the sunscreen brought. I squeeze a small amount of lotion onto my fingers and lean in. The smell is not particularly strange or even unique. It’s nostalgic, though. The cream immediately conjures up mental images of blue skies, sandy feet and tired days in the sun.
Initially, I interpreted Vacation’s claim of “World’s Best Scented Sunscreen” as the World’s Best Scented Sunscreen. I now take that tagline to mean that it has refined the scent of traditional sunscreen into its best scent possible.
Marty Bell, founder of Poolside FM and creative partner at Vacation by Poolside FM, says this lotion smells like 1986 to him. To bring this product to life, he teamed up with perfumers Carlos Huber and Rodrigo Flores-Roux to develop the scent of the lotion.
“We sampled countless things that surround memories of being by the pool in the summer and kept tweaking the notes until it was just right,” says Bell. “We knew we had to harness the familiar, while bringing it into the 21st century – it’s the sunscreen you loved as a kid, but with a new flair. We started the bottle. The true essence of summer.”
In a sense, Vacation has taken the scent of sunscreen altogether and modernized it. This new effort is clean, minimal, and fresh. Its coconut aroma is quite clear without being overpowering. It has a classic, retro scent that lives in this lotion tube. If you’ve had any affiliation with sunscreen over the years, I think you’ll love the scent of Vacation.
I was curious what other people thought of the smell, so I asked for outside help. I searched for a dozen friends and family to try sunscreen. I didn’t tell them much in advance — I just asked what they thought about the scent.
Most people nod in approval of this scent on the first sniff. No one particularly liked the scent, but no one said they didn’t like it either. Most people commented on its coconut smell, with some saying it was fine, although not really liking the general smell of coconut. Those who have applied it love its texture and overall feel. With odors often being so personal and potentially divisive, it seems like a good sign for the Holidays that I can’t find any haters.
Growing up and living in San Diego, I quickly understood how essential it is to use sunscreen. Whether in lotion or spray form, regular use of sunblock means you can enjoy a sunny climate all year round.
In trying to get Vacation through its paces, I picked one for the team and worked from a community group continuously for a week. I put Vacation sunscreen on part of my arm, another brand next to it and nothing next to it. In this non-scientific, anecdotal test, I am looking at whether there are noticeable differences between these areas after my time in the sun. I’m also interested in whether Vacation feels different in some way on the app or after basking in the spark.
Although I’m not a doctor, Vacation worked with Dr. Elizabeth Hale, a board-certified dermatologist and vice president of the Skin Cancer Foundation, to create the sunscreen. The lotion has a broad spectrum SPF 30 and is water resistant up to 80 minutes. It includes coconut oil, banana extract, aloe, niacinamide and vitamin E. It also claims to apply quickly and leave no marks on all skin tones.
That was true for me when I put it on. It leaves no hint that it has been applied. It’s more like a soft lotion than a thick cream. Its smell really comes to life when you put it on. It’s also not too loud with its scent, it disappears quickly, leaving only lingering signs of its presence after a while.
After many hours in the sun, I didn’t notice much difference between parts of my arm, except that the Non-Vacation branding was still translucent white where I applied it. Later in the day, back home and out in the sun, I can see that the area where the Vacation has been applied is a little darker than the area that hasn’t applied the sunscreen. The holiday has blocked at least some of the sun’s effects. Results are visible to the eye but not clear enough to capture with the camera.
Ultimately, it’s hard for me to say objectively that Vacation works better or worse than any other sunscreen. (Again, I’m not a doctor.) I never burned out the times I used Vacation. It also doesn’t make my skin greasy or streaky.
If Vacation works as well as most other sunscreens, is it still worth enjoying? Ask yourself: Are you someone who can light candles to reinforce emotions or curate a playlist to capture the vibe? I consider Vacation to be an entertainment-enhancing equivalent. If you are that person, then find a place where you can relax, massage and immerse yourself in the moment.
Should you buy sunscreen for the holidays?
Is Vacation the best smelling lotion? Sure is not. Is that the best smelling sunscreen? Ability. There’s a slight difference there, and as long as you don’t get too hung up on it, you won’t be disappointed.
The product as a whole, it delivers on the promise of “enhancing entertainment,” if you’ll allow it. The look, scent and feel are all updated, modern with the image of a sunlit pool or beach from the 80s. Everything here is on point. Indeed, Vacation created a time machine and disguised it as a sunscreen lotion.
Buy at Vacation.Inc.
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