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We Actually Really Like Whipped Cream Sunscreen Mousse

May 30, 2023

Updated July 31, 2023

The first major deal we've seen so far, the Vacation Classic Whip SPF 30 is down to a new low price of $14 from Ulta with store pickup (from $22).

Caira Blackwell

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We were tempted to side-eye the viral “whipped cream” sunscreen, which contains the same active ingredients found in chemical sunscreens that cost significantly less. After comparing dozens of formulas over the past half-dozen years, we’re not easily swayed by novelty. We didn’t think a mousse-like formula or fancy packaging would justify paying more than necessary for effective sun protection.

But it turns out that Vacation Classic Whip SPF 30 is exceptionally easy to apply—it does in fact spread like an airy dessert topping—and it feels noticeably light and comfortable on. Yes, it’s ridiculous. But if the experience of using this sunscreen appeals to you, so much so that it encourages you to wear and reapply more often, you may find it well worth the additional spend.

Sure, it’s gimmicky, but this airy chemical sunscreen foam is fun and easy to apply, plus it looks and feels great on. It’s pricier than our picks, though.

With store pickup

SPF: 30Type of protection: chemicalActive ingredients: homosalate (7.5%), octisalate (5%), octocrylene (5%), avobenzone (3%)Water resistant: yes, up to 80 minutesPrice per ounce (at the time of publication): $5.50

Classic Whip is not the first sunscreen of its kind: sunscreen foams and mousses have existed for decades. And compared with similar formulas, including from other “luxe” brands, it’s pricey. Supergoop’s Play Body Mousse SPF 50, for example—a variant of one of our long-time picks—typically costs $34 for 6.5 ounces, or $5.20 per ounce. The Classic Whip is regularly $22 for 4 ounces, or $5.50 per ounce—not cheap for a product you have to lather all over your body, ideally every two hours.

Between the two, we prefer the Classic Whip, which has a lighter texture, spreads more evenly, dries down with a smooth, more moisturizing finish, and has a delightful banana-coconut scent. (Our budget pick, a chemical sunscreen lotion, is far more economical, regularly costing about 40¢ per ounce.)

Classic Whip comes packaged in an almost too convincing “whipped cream”–like can, with a decorator’s tip and all. The mousse dispenses in a billow of swirling ribbons, its texture light and airy and nearly indistinguishable from a dollop of edible cream. It is genuinely fun to use. The slightest push of the nozzle administers a generous amount, which helps ensure that you apply enough. You can use Classic Whip on both the face and body.

Foam sunscreens saturate the skin quickly, according to Dr. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology, making it easier to apply the recommended amount needed to reach the SPF designated on the bottle. And mousse or whipped sunscreens tend to be lighter weight, creamier, and softer than lotion, gel, or hybrid formulations. They can therefore be ideal for people who wear makeup and want something ultra airy as a protective base, said dermatologist Cula Svidzinski of Mount Sinai.

The main challenge, said Dr. Svidzinski, is that it can be hard to know how much of a whipped or mousse sunscreen to use. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends applying about an ounce of liquid sunscreen for the near-naked body—equivalent to a shot glass full. Vacation, the company that makes Classic Whip, suggests applying a ping-pong-ball–size amount per limb, or a tennis-ball–size amount for your entire body. But the AAD has yet to issue an official recommendation on foam sunscreen dosing.

Dr. Nikhil Dhingra of Spring Street Dermatology said he likes mousse sunscreens, which to him feel hydrating without being too sticky or greasy—“critical when you’re trying to find something you enjoy the feel of during hot summer months.”

The mousse dispenses in a billow of swirling ribbons, its texture light and airy and nearly indistinguishable from a dollop of edible cream.

I recruited four people to apply both the Classic Whip and the Play Body Mousse—one foam formula per arm. After rubbing both in and assessing ease of application, look, feel, and scent, the consensus was that the Classic Whip took the cake. But both whipped formulas will be pleasant to reapply on the beach or by the pool because of their easy administration and fast absorption.

Beyond protection from the beating sun, Vacation’s Classic Whip effectively delivers a dose of nostalgia. Don’t be surprised if you reach for it with the same enthusiasm you would a can of chilled whipped cream straight from the fridge. But, please—don’t eat it.

This article was edited by Tracy Vence and Kalee Thompson.

1. Nikhil Dhingra, MD, dermatologist at Spring Street Dermatology, email interview, July 11, 2023

2. Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, dermatologist and founder of Entière Dermatology, email interview, July 14, 2023

3. Cula Svidzinski, MD, PhD, dermatologist at Mount Sinai, email interview, July 15, 2023

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SPF:Type of protection:Active ingredients:Water resistant:Price per ounce (at the time of publication):