Sun protection doesn’t have to involve sticky sunscreen – cover-ups can work just as well.
Whereas sunscreens can be messy, smelly, and may contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the environment, sun shawls have none of those drawbacks!
Sun shawls can be tossed in a beach bag or packed away in a carry-on duffle for travel without a second thought, taking up minimal space since they’re so lightweight.
Plus, they can be worn in several different ways, allowing for tons of versatility whether you’re covering up your bare shoulders to enter inside a foreign temple on a travel vacation or draping it over your head to protect your face at the beach.
In this article, we’ll dive into how to choose an appropriate sun shawl while highlighting some of the best options.
Things to Consider When Choosing a Sun Shawl
Let’s explore some of the key factors to consider when choosing a great sun protection wrap or shawl:
- Size, Length, & Shape. Many sun shawls come in a single one-fits-all size – these shawls tend to be large, square, blanket-like materials that drape around your body. Other shawls that have built-in sleeves may have a couple more size options to choose from.
- Color. Sun shawls can come in a variety of different colors and patterns. If you are looking for a sun cover that will match all of your clothes, opt for a neutral color. If you want to stand out, brighter colors or fun patterns may be better, depending on your taste in fashion.
- UPF Rating. Since the goal is to protect yourself from the sun, you’ll want a sun shawl that boasts at least a 30 UPF rating or above. Most of the shawls listed below are 50 UPF or higher, so you shouldn’t have to worry!
- Fabric Material. Sun shawls can be made from a variety of sun-blocking materials. Many fabric choices include polyester, spandex, and bamboo – consider which materials will be the most comfortable for you. Many shawls are also imbued with ZnO – a type of fabric that is infused with zinc oxide for even better UV blocking abilities.
- Ways to Wear It. Some sun shawls are specifically designed to be worn in a variety of ways, allowing the shawl to also function as a scarf, wrap, sarong, head cover, or blanket.
Best Sun Protection Shawls & Wraps
1. Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Sanibel Everyday Beach Shawl
- UPF 50+ - blocks 98% of UVA/UVB rays
- FABRIC: ZnO fabric is super soft against the skin, lightweight, cool and comfortable with the highest quality zinc oxide protection
- FEATURES: 72 inches X 29 inches; Multiple ways to wear, great for travel; Machine wash, tumble dry; Imported
Bold and colorful, the Coolibar Sanibel Everyday Beach Shawl has a UPF 50+ rating that blocks 98% of UV radiation with its bamboo/spandex blend material. This shawl boasts ZnO fabric, with zinc oxide-infused material that boosts the UV blocking capabilities while staying lightweight and cool.
Best worn as a shawl or tied around your waist like a skirt, at 72 inches (183 cm) long this shawl can cover a large portion of your body for great sun protection.
Plus, this shawl can be packed down to nothing, making it perfect for on-the-go travel when you might need to cover up quickly when entering restricted religious zones. You could even use this shawl as a small blanket when it gets chilly out.
This shawl offers 10 different color and pattern options and is machine washable for quick and easy cleaning.
2. Coolibar UPF 50+ Women’s Bhakti Sun Shawl
- UPF 50+ - blocks 98% of UVA/UVB rays
- FABRIC: Active Athlon fabric is engineered for cutting-edge performance and comfort, including our exclusive Cooltect™ technology that accelerates...
- FEATURES: Protection infused at the fiber level prevents and eliminates odor; Measures 72 inches x 27 inches; Versatile addition to your casual or...
The Women’s Bhakti Sun Shawl from Coolibar is a multi-purpose polyester/spandex blend garment that can be worn and styled in any number of different ways.
It provides UPF 50+ protection with its “active athlon” fabric that’s designed for exercise and physical activities, allowing the material to wick away moisture and keep the wearer cool, all while remaining lightweight and comfortable.
Measuring in at 72″ x 27″ it can be worn in a variety of ways, doubling as a scarf, head cover, or lap blanket for added protection from the sun. It’s also machine washable and can even be dried in the dryer on low.
Coolibar is one of the best UPF clothing brands out there, so you know you’re in good hands! The shawl comes in 12 colors available to suit any look or mood – we always love having color options!
3. Coolibar Women’s Railay Everyday Beach Sun Wrap
- UPF 50+ - blocks 98% of UVA/UVB rays
- FABRIC: ZnO? fabric is super soft against the skin, lightweight, cool and comfortable with the highest quality zinc oxide protection
- FEATURES: Shawl-like silhouette - no closure, wrap drapes over shoulders; Loose fit, twill tape at back neck for comfort; Body length at back: 28 1/2...
The Railay Everyday Beach Sun Wrap from Coolibar offers a shawl with large, oversized sleeves and beach-friendly colors. The shawl offers 50+ UPF protection along with zinc oxide-infused ZnO fabric that stays cool and feels light against the skin.
This wrap’s design features a loose, flowy silhouette shape that looks great on a variety of body types. The shawl comes in two sizes – S/M and L/XL.
Plus, the shawl is machine washable and can be dried on low heat settings. It also comes in 10 fun colors and patterns!
4. Nozone Women’s UPF Shawl
- LUXURIOUS COMFORT: Rayon (made from organically grown Bamboo), Cotton and Spandex blend is soft, cool and comfortable providing breathable,...
- ALL DAY SUN PROTECTION: The tight weave of the UPF 50+ fabric offers protection from 98% UV rays to protect you from the sun's harmful rays. No zinc...
- Generous 30"x75" sizing allows for versatile wearing options: Cover head, drape over shoulders and arms, protect legs while sitting, or just wrap...
While Coolibar is one of the most well-known sun protection clothing brands, it’s not the only option out there!
The Nozone Women’s UPF Shawl is another sun-safe, affordable shawl made from 66% rayon, 28% cotton, and 6% spandex. Made in Canada, this shawl is UPF 50 rated and is machine washable.
It’s oversized at 30″ x 75″, allowing it to be worn not just as a shawl, but also as a headcover or a neck wrap. It can be draped around the shoulders and arms for additional coverage, or placed on one’s lap to protect bare legs.
This shawl comes in five colors and patterns to choose from.
5. SUN50 Women’s Beach Sarong
- VIP SKIN CANCER SUN PROTECTION: Natural UPF 45+ fabric has received The Skin Cancer Seal of Recommendation100% Made in USA
- PERFECT SIZE: 66 inches long X 44 inches wide (Hawaiian Sarong Wrap Size)
- STYLE AS: cover-up, dress, sarong skirt, shawl, head wrap
This Sun50 Beach Sarong is a more high-end shawl that also functions great as a beach sarong. Made from premium recycled materials like polyester, spandex, and recycled PET, this USA-made shawl boasts a UPF 45+ fabric while staying sustainable. It also has earned the Skin Cancer Seal of Recommendation!
Sized at 66″ long and 44″ wide, its shape allows it to function as a sarong, shawl, skirt, dress, or cover-up.
It comes in two striking designs – navy blue with white accents and red with gold accents.
Sun safety is one of the most important aspects to consider for beach season. While there are a lot of ways to keep your skin safe, from sunscreen and swim shirts to sun scarves and sun protective shirts, sun shawls are arguably one of the most useful and versatile items as they can be worn in so many different ways!
What’s your favorite way to wear a sun shawl? Is there one material you prefer over others? Share your thoughts in the comments below!