Holy Grail Sunblock – Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80

I’m surprised that I haven’t written a review on Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80 although I’ve emptied so many tubes, probably one tube every beach holiday. It is definitely my holy grail sunblock when it comes to activities involving intense sun and water exposure.

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80


I have never ever gotten a burn when I have my green tube of Banana Boat SPF 80. I feel sorry that I’ve left it out of my Super Holy Grail list for years. Sorry, Mr Green Banana. Will add you in my next update.


About Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80

Banana Boat has a wide product line offering sunscreen meant for different purposes, such as the orange family for sports and blue for dry balance. Within each family, the product can come in various forms such as tube, mist spray and stick/balm.

Today’s review is on Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80 that comes from the green family and it focuses on keeping the skin hydrated.

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80
Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80

Here’s what the company says about this product:

“Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion provides photostable, long lasting, high UVA and UVB protection that helps protect skin from sunburn and premature aging. This water-resistant, quick absorbing formula contains Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, so skin stays hydrating while protecting it from the sun.” 

Now, let’s see how it fared based on my personal experience. The keywords I’m focusing on are ‘water-resistant’, ‘quick-absorbing’ and ‘hydration’. Let’s zoom in on what makes Banana Boat Ultra Protect SPF 80 my holy grail sunscreen.


What’s Good about Banana Boat Ultra Protect SPF80?

1. It’s a Reliable Sunscreen!

I have never gotten a burn when using Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80. And I’m talking about intense water activities under the sun, for consecutive days.

Since 2016, I’ve been to numerous beach holidays including Boracay, El Nido, Phuket, Langkawi and Okinawa with each trip lasting at least a week. Banana Boat Ultra Protect SPF80 is the sunscreen I’d used on my body and it did its job extremely well.

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80


2. Long-lasting and Water-resistant

When it comes to water activities, I am not so confident of other sunscreens including the more expensive ones from Japan. They tend to be of a lighter texture and many are gel-form. I tend to think that they may not be as long-lasting as the creamier sunscreen from Banana Boat, especially when we are talking about coming in contact with water, or submerging in it.

But I may be wrong. I will test out the “gel-form waterproof” sunscreen such as Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Gel when I’m brave enough. If you have tried them, let me know if it really can last through water activities.

> RELATED: Is Suncut Waterproof UV Protect Gel really waterproof?

As for Banana Boat Ultra Protect SPF 80, it has definitely been proven to be water-resistant and long lasting. My skin stays protected and I’ve never returned from beach holidays looking like a lobster or a burnt victim. In fact, I’ve never even suffered any skin peeling, which my lazy partner always boosts about on his free ‘chemical peel’ while furiously scratching his itchy sunburnt body.

3. Hydrating, but not Sticky

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80 differentiates itself from her other product lines by offering a hydrating formula that contains Aloe Vera and Vitamin E.

I find the texture similar to a rich day-time moisturizer. It is not as sheer or refreshing as a gel sunscreen, but I’m fine with its lotion-like texture. The slight shiny film it leaves behind gives me assurance that the product is “still there” to protect my skin.

4. A little goes a long way

As compared to gel sunscreen, you need only a small amount of Banana Boat UV lotion to cover the same skin area. As such, a tube can offer more applications, and hence lasts longer than a watery gel. 

5. Optimal Travel Size and Packaging

At 90ml per tube, I find this to be an optimal size – not too much, not too little. Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80 meets the airport security regulation of not more than 100ml for carry-on and provides enough for a trip. I tend to use up 80% of the tube after a beach holiday (lasting about two weeks) – so anything less than that volume wouldn’t be suitable.

I also like the flip-open packaging better than twist-on type. It allows me to apply sunblock easily when on the move.

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80
Nice volume. Convenient flip-open packaging.

6. It’s Affordable!

I always grab a few tubes of Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80 when I see them on sales, and have never paid more than S$15 for one. Considering its efficacy, I think it is very cheap, especially when compared to other drug-store sunscreens like Anessa (which can cost thrice as much). 

Furthermore, Banana Boat, unlike watery sunscreens can give you more usage simply because it is less diluted. Just a small dollop can provide coverage over a larger skin area than the watery ones.


What’s Bad?

Now that we have gone through all the things I like about Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF80, let’s look at its weaknesses.

1. Not as Refreshing as a Gel Sunscreen

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80 comes in a thicker texture than a gel sunscreen and takes more effort to spread over the skin. Those who prefer a bare-skin feel may not love the slightly greasy after-feel and shiny appearance.

That’s the reason why I tend to reserve Banana Boat Sunscreen Lotion for use only when I do sports, water activities or need to be under intense sun exposure.

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80
Creamy texture

The photo below shows the shine that forms after applying Banana Boat Sunscreen SPF 80? Look at the area between the pink strips and compare it to other areas. 

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80
Observe the shine between the pink strips

To be fair, it’s not that much different as compared to a body lotion and the shine will fade after a couple of minutes. But in hot and humid Singapore, some may find it uncomfortable. I rate its comfort level at 7/10 (vs 9/10 for gel sunscreen).

2. Slightly Lower UVA than Gold Standard

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80 comes with PA+++ which is one ‘plus’ short of the gold standard of PA++++ today. PA refers to UVA rays.

What is UVA and how is it different from UVB? In short, UVA reaches deeper layers of skin and can damage skin collagen and cause premature aging while UVB is a shorter wave that leads to sunburn.

How about the difference between three PA pluses vs four? Of course, the more plus a product has, the better it is. It gets a little too technical if I elaborate further. All in all, I can accept having one less + in exchange for assurance that this sunscreen could likely cling on to my skin better and longer.

3. Smells like a Sunscreen

There’s no fanciful smell to Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80. It smells like sunscreen and the smell can be quite strong. I don’t worry about it because I don’t use it as an everyday sunscreen.

4. Stings the Eyes

Being a chemical sunscreen also means that Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80 would sting the eyes if it ever gets in. If we are talking about water activity, then Banana Boat is very likely to get into the eyes if you apply it on the face.

I don’t use Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80 on my face. I tend to think that such sunscreen is meant for body and I’m not confident it is non-comedogenic (clog-free). For my face, I use Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream.

5. Takes Time to Work

Chemical sunscreen takes some time to become effective. So, there’s a 20 minutes waiting time before you can step into the sun after application. This isn’t a problem for me as I tend to apply sunblock before setting off from my base (please remember to apply sunblock even on areas covered by swimsuit) and I reapply again before entering the water.


Ingredients of Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80

For those who are into the science behind every product, here’s the ingredient list. This is how I determined that Banana Boat Ultra Protect is a chemical sunscreen.

Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen SPF 80



Although you see quite a number of points under ‘What’s Bad’, you can also tell that the weaknesses aren’t a big deal when I use Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF 80 solely for sports/water activities.

If you are looking for a sunscreen for a beach holiday or hiking session, I highly recommend Banana Boat Ultra Protect Sunscreen Lotion SPF80 as a body sunscreen. It is very effective! Rating: 5/5

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