America’s Eight Greatest Sunscreen Brands

It’s summer. You go to the beach. There is that SMELL. What smell is it? Coppertone smell? Hawaiian Tropic smell? Bain de Soliel? Got to have a smell.

That got us thinking, just a day after we wrote about Sea & Ski. What are the TOP sunscreen brands of all time? And why? And what are the best and most memorable smells?

  1. Coppertone: A great brand because of longevity and that glorious smell. You know the smell. Some other sunscreens have the smell, including the Publix store brand.
  2. Sea & Ski: This brand is no more, but it was once America’s largest. A succession of owners wasted the equity. We hope it returns; read a history on our site called History of Sea & Ski.
  3. Hawaiian Tropic: This brand took over America in the 1970s; if there ever was a smell that evoked oily sun drenched flesh, this is it. Hope I got the words right: “It’s a beautiful feeling, that comes from being free. No what you really want, and who you want to be. With a tan from Hawaiian Tropic….etc….”
  4. Bain de Soliel: After the Hawaiian Tropic craze, Bain de Soliel took over as the most exclusive brand.
  5. Sun ‘n’ Surf: This was an old brand made by Squibb. It is no longer on the shelves though it could be revived as it is part of the Brandvault portfolio of dead brands that have been re-trademarked.
  6. Banana Boat: This brand was one of the first to have GIANT containers so you could goop it on. They didn’t sell suntan lotion; what they were selling was sunscreen. While both have merged into one category, Banana Boat was definitely launched as sunscreen.
  7. No-Ad: We hate this brand because they don’t advertise, but people still want the brand, so it has become a brand even if they didn’t intend for it to become a brand. I don’t like the brand (way too Naomi Wolfe) but they have made a market for themselves.
  8. Neutrogena: The soap and hand lotion that became a suntan lotion. We trust Neutrogena because it has dermatologist credibility.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

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  1. Hold onto your Beach Hats…. SEA & SKI will live again… Look for it late this summer and next year at your favorite neighborhood stores!

  2. I would like to have the original green bottle sea and ski lotion again. It was the best.

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