Banana Boat Kids Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50 vs. Equate Kids Sunscreen


With summer about half-way in the books, you may be running low on sunscreen and looking to reload with the prime vacation month of August on the horizon. With that in mind, we decided to check out Banana Boat Kids SPF 50 Sunscreen Lotion, and compare it to the Equate Kids Sunscreen Lotion version we found on the shelf next to it at Walmart. We recommend a lot of excellent store brands, and for good reason; the formulations are often nearly identical, and sometimes are even the exact same product with different labels. However, that’s not always the case, and there are some store brand products that are nothing like the name brand. This is one of those cases.


From the jump, the first thing we noticed was the packaging. While the retailer usually chooses to package their products as similarly as possible to the name brand in order to suggest the comparison to the consumer. In this case, the packages were nothing alike. The Banana Boat was packaged in a soft plastic tube, while the equate was packaged in a hard plastic bottle.


Turning the package over, and taking a look at the ingredient panel made it immediately clear that this was not an accurate copy.  Banana Boat’s sun protection component (the active ingredients) were a physical sunblock component of 3.1% Titanium Dioxide and 4.0% Zinc Oxide. Equate, on the other hand, contained a formulation that was a mix of physical and chemical components: 2.4% Titanium Dioxide, but also 15.0% Homosalate, 7.5% Octinoxate, and 5.0% Octisalate. The inactive ingredients were also miles apart.


If you’re wondering how a product that’s attempting to copy another product can be so far off the mark, the answer may be surprising: your favorite products can be changed by the manufacturer but still labeled under the same brand and name. While the ingredient panel must be updated per FDA labelling requirements, the front of the product (i.e. the part that you, the consumer, actually look at) can remain exactly the same.


A little digging on our part showed that this was in fact a case of a changed product formulation by Banana Boat. The previous version of the Banana Boat product contained an identical physical/chemical active ingredient mix as the current version of Equate. However, Banana Boat overhauled their formulation, and Equate hasn’t followed suit (yet). Our Brandefy app will keep you informed when the manufacturers do update their products.


Overall: Not the Same.  We aren’t going to do a buy/don’t buy recommendation here because these products simply aren’t comparable, despite Equate’s comparison suggestion on the label. If you had been using the old Banana Boat formulation previously and were happy with it, then you can purchase a very similar version by going with equate. But if you have the current physical only Banana Boat, the Equate version simply isn’t the same.