Review: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF 55

By Voxy  

I mentioned this product in the course of my woe-is-me post about heat exhaustion at graduation, but I realized I never gave it a proper review. Since there’s still quite a bit of summer left, I thought I should remedy that.

You all know that I’ve never been a fan of Neutrogena sunscreens. They’ve either had a greasy texture, or caused breakouts, or looked at me funny, all of which are dealbreakers. But I am also a sucker for a new product, and the idea of a liquid sunblock that was actually imperceptible (or almost) under makeup made me get my Don Quixote on and venture forth with lance in hand to fight yet another windmill. Which is to say, I went to Target and bought some. (The other way is just so much more dramatic.)

Neutrogena makes this in SPF 55 and SPF 70. I bought the SPF 55, figuring that if I did turn out to be sensitive to the sunscreen, then having less of it in the product might reduce irritation or breakouts, and since there isn’t compelling evidence that sunscreen numbers over 50 provide a comparably significant uptick in protection, I decided it wasn’t worth the (possible) risk. The active sunscreen ingredient here is Helioplex, which is Neutrogena’s trademarked name for a combination of oxybenzone and avobenzone. It does provide broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, but these are both chemical sunscreens, so if you’re looking for a physical sunscreen (titanium oxide, zinc oxide), this is not it.

The marketing gimmick of this particular product is that you can wear it over moisturizer and it will be virtually undetectable to either sight or touch under makeup. And it is! I was very impressed. It really is a liquid — and I’m mentioning that only because in spite of the fact that it’s clearly stated on the label, I’m so used to sunscreens in a lotion or cream that I’m still a tiny bit surprised that it’s the consistency and color of whole milk. It goes on extremely smoothly and is, exactly as advertised, almost imperceptible under makeup. Yes, if you’re really paying attention, you can feel a small difference in your skin after application. But it’s tons better than almost any other sunscreen I’ve used, and certainly better than any other Neutrogena sunscreen I’ve used. (I have another sunscreen review coming up that is even smoother than the Neutrogena, but it’s also almost 4x its price.)

I’ve worn this several times since my Extreme Graduation adventure, and it’s always performed excellently. It is not quite sweatproof (no sunscreen really is), but it’s very tenacious and hangs on well in heat and humidity. I didn’t have any irritation, itching, or breakouts. I was careful to wash it off when I was done with outside stuff for the day, though, so I didn’t let it sit on my skin for longer than necessary.


Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF 55: $11.99

Provenance: Purchased.

Price/Value Ratio (drugstore: poor/fair/good/excellent): Excellent. You can get sunscreens for less, but they don’t perform like this one.

Purchase again? Surprisingly, yes. And that’s the first time I’ve said that about a Neutrogena sunscreen.

(Have you used this product? Love it? Hate it? Want it? Give a shout-out in the comments!)

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One Comment

  1. avatar a biologist
    Posted July 16, 2010 at 7:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I wore the 70 version today. I like that it doesn’t have that strong sunblocky smell.


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