Banana Boat, La Roche-Posay and Nivea Sunscreen Reviews

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I need to get this off my chest – I HAAAATE Australian sunscreen labelling regulations. We have some of the best active sunscreen ingredients available to us (yay for skin cancer awareness!), but we have ZERO info on the inactive ingredients, which makes buying a sunscreen without testing really hard, and places that sell body sunscreens tend not to have testers. I find it easier to buy international sunscreens for that reason. Get your act together, Aussie brands!

Anyway, I’ve been neglecting my body sunscreen-wise. It’s probably because I’m less vain about my body than my face and my feeble human mind is not a scared of cancer as it should be, so I’ve actually only roadtested a handful on my body…whereas I’ve tried 10 or so on my face. Here are 3 that I quite like:

For oily skin: Banana Boat EveryDay SPF 50+

I made a couple of slightly pasty dudes try this with me while on a canyoning expedition (including a 45 metre abseil down this magnificent waterfall), and we all agreed that it didn’t quite smell or feel “sunscreeny”. It’s light in texture and scent, which makes it quicker and easier to apply the right amount of sunscreen. It’s also 4 hours water resistant, which helped while getting waterfall to the face.

Active ingredients: Homosalate 10.00%, Octocrylene 8.00%, Octyl Salicylate 5.00%, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone) 4.00%, Oxybenzone 2.00%

Unfortunately, this sunscreen line only seems to exist in Australia at the moment, so it suffers from the Australian incomplete sunscreen labelling curse – if you have sensitive skin, it’s going to be hard for you to guess if you’ll react to the inactive ingredients without actually trying it. Boo.


For sensitive skin: La Roche-Posay Anthelios Smooth Lotion SPF 50+

This sunscreen isn’t available in Australia, but you can get it in many other countries and online shops which ship to Australia. Mine is from France, and therefore actually has a full ingredients list, hurray!

Aqua / Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Dimethicone, Alcohol Denat., Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone), Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (Bemotrizinol/Tinosorb S), Pentylene Glycol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Propylene Glycol, Synthetic Wax, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Caprylyl Glycol, Dimethiconol, Disodium EDTA, Drometrizole Trisiloxane (Mexoryl XL), Glyceryl Stearate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose, Isopropyl Lauroyl Sarcosinate, Palmitic Acid, PEG-100 Stearate, PEG-8 Laurate, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Stearic Acid, Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid (Mexoryl SX), Tocopherol, Triethanolamine

The texture is not too heavy, not too light – the full ingredients list is very handy for people with sensitive skin, who can check if it contains any irritants. It also has high UVA protection (PPD XX), which is higher than usual and will prevent sun damage. It does get this high protection from avobenzone though, which is a relatively common irritant, so it won’t be suitable for people who react to it.

For dry skin: Nivea Sun Moisturising Suncreen Lotion SPF 50+

Nivea is a German brand, so there are ingredient lists for similar international products, which doesn’t seem to be the same as the Australian version but should be similar.

Australian version’s active ingredients: Octocrylene 9.0%, Titanium Dioxide 6.0%, Oxybenzone 5.0%, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone) 4.5%, Octyl Salicylate 4.5%, Homosalate 4.5%, Bemotrizinol (Tinosorb S) 1.5%

Nivea Moisturising Sun Lotion (European Version): Aqua, Homosalate, Octocrylene, Glycerin, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane (Avobenzone), Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Alcohol Denat., Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (Bemotrizinol/Tinosorb S), Titanium Dioxide (nano), Sodium Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Myristyl Myristate, Glyceryl Glucoside, Tocopheryl Acetate, VP/Hexadecene Copolymer, C18-38 Alkyl Hydroxystearoyl Stearate, Sodium Cetearyl Sulfate, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Trimethoxycaprylylsilane, Trisodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Linalool, Benzyl Alcohol, Limonene, Benzyl Benzoate, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Hexyl Cinnamal, Benzyl Salicylate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Eugenol, Citronellol, Coumarin, Parfum

This sunscreen is a fair bit heavier than the other two, and takes a bit of effort to rub in, but once it’s rubbed in it’s really moisturising. This is particularly nice if you’re rubbing it into skin that’s slightly burnt – it softens any crinkly damaged skin and makes it feel so much less tight and uncomfortable.


These products were provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. For more information, see Disclosure Policy.

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10 thoughts on “Banana Boat, La Roche-Posay and Nivea Sunscreen Reviews”

    • It’s super annoying! I think it’s something to do with how it’s classified as a drug and not a cosmetic. It’s pretty annoying when it comes to other topical drugs too (benzoyl peroxide products, for instance).

    • I meant the “EveryDay” line in particular – I couldn’t find it anywhere online other than Australian retailers. I suspect that it does exist overseas but under a different name…

  1. I’m always looking for good sunscreen, most of them leave a white sheen or film on my brown skin or they break me out, I have super sensitive skin. Its ridiculous.

    But i do buy La Roche-Posay Anthelios Smooth Lotion SPF 50+ from Priceline, here in Sydney.
    It’s pretty darn good, but fairly pricey. Damn you “price”line.

    Anyways Loved the post 🙂 Thank you!

    • I’m glad to hear you found one that works for you! If you know anyone who’s going on a trip to France, get them to bring you back some La Roche-Posay – it’s a fair bit cheaper there 🙂

  2. Hi, I really hope you don’t mind me asking you something on a slightly older entry, I’ve just found your blog and I’ve been reading through it the last few days, I really love it!

    I’m using French sunscreens at the moment, Bioderma and Avene, and while I like them a lot for not having alcohol in it and for having pretty lovely PPD-ratings, they both leave me quite shiny if I apply the sufficient amount. So I’ve been wondering… is it okay if I carefully blot my face after I put on the sunscreens (I usually wait for a few minutes before I blot) or will that remove too much of the product? I’ve tried to look it up online but there seem to be different opinions. The sunscreens I’m using are mostly chemical, the active ingredients are Tinosorb M, Tinosorb S and Avobenzone. I don’t know if you can help me with this question but I really hope it’s okay that I ask!

    • It depends on so many things that it’s hard to say for sure! You won’t remove all of the protection, but to make sure you leave as much as possible, make sure you blot lightly and use a higher protection than you need 🙂 You can also use a translucent powder on top to help the shine too.


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