Beauty Q&A: What Is a Sunscreen Oil? (And Do You Still Need One While Social Distancing?)

April 22, 2020
By: Alanna Martine Kilkeary | by L'Oréal
sunscreen oil beauty qa

Sunscreen comes in all different textures, like the  lotions, creams and sprays you’re all too familiar with. But there is another type of sunscreen product on the market that you might not have heard about yet that can give you protection and a serious glow: sunscreen oils. This format is handy if you’re out tanning on your apartment’s roof this summer, or want to add a little UV protection (and shimmer!) to your body if you’re out for a walk in the sun. Ahead, we tapped Camila Pierotti, founding partner at Sol de Janeiro, to break down exactly what a sunscreen oil is, how to apply it and why you might want to try one if you’re looking for an alternative to the typical formats.

What Is a Sunscreen or SPF Oil?

According to Pierotti, a sunscreen/SPF oil is just a different kind of product that protects your skin from UVA/UVB rays. Using a sunscreen oil is purely preferential. “It’s important to pick a sunscreen texture that you like — and whatever you choose, it’s so important to wear/use sun protection everyday, even when you’re not tanning or going outside,” she says.

How Are Sunscreen Oils Unique?

“In terms of sun protection, sun protection oils are just as effective as lotion,” Pierotti says. Sunscreen and SPF oils are unique because they glide on to and spread really easily on the skin. Oils also usually contain hydrating ingredients. The Sol de Janeiro Bum Bum Sol Oil SPF 30, for example, contains capuaçu butter, acai and coconut oil to help soothe and maintain silky skin. The Carol’s Daughter Monoi Sunscreen Body Oil is another moisturizing formula, made with monoi and olive oil that’s great for dry skin types.


Most sunscreen oils, like the Bum Bum Sol Oil and the Monoi Oil, come in a spray bottle, which makes application a breeze. Simply spray on the product and massage it into your skin wherever you want coverage. Be sure to apply the oil 15 minutes before you go out into the sun and to continue to reapply it every half hour to forty-five minutes. Luckily, the smell, shimmer and texture of these are addicting, so you’ll be more than happy to keep spritzing it all over during your rooftop tan-time. 

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