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Neutrogena summer sunscreen roundup & mini reviews

Neutrogena sunscreen roundup 2014

Let’s talk sunscreen. It’s not something I do often, but it is something that’s really important to pay attention to — especially in this day and age.

I have a couple silicone-free sunscreen reviews coming up this summer, but for now, here are a few drugstore sunscreen options from Neutrogena. Drugstore sunscreens aren’t always the most elegant option, but I’ve always favoured them over high-end ones: with their low price tag, it’s easier to use the full amount needed with each application. (That’s about a quarter-sized dollop for the face, and a shot-glass-sized portion for the body!)

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer ($12.99 CAD & up)

The Ultra Sheer line was, I kid you not, the very first sunscreen range I fell in love with. Their sweat-proof, matte-finish Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch sunscreen feels noticeable but matte on the skin — not shiny and greasy, the way the sunscreens of our youth were. You can now get the Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen in SPF 45, 30, 60, and 110, or the Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen in SPF 30, 45, and 60 ($16.99 CAD).

Neutrogena sunscreen

Neutrogena Clear Face ($12.49 CAD & up)

Available in SPF 30 and 60, Clear Face is designed not to cause breakouts. It’s oil-free and fragrance-free, and while it’s heavy on the ‘cones, it happens to be formulated without parabens. I had M test this out for me for a couple of days (it has ‘cones in the formula), and he thought it was considerably better than the Dry Touch formula — in comparison, he said, the Ultra Sheer Dry Touch felt greasy!

Neutrogena Beach Defence ($13.49 CAD & up)

Available in SPF 30 and SPF 60 (go for the 60!), Beach Defence is made to be water and sweat-resistant, with a “light, summery fragrance.” (It kind of reminds me of L’Oreal Kids’ shampoo — you know, no more tears?)

The Beach Defence line is available in both lotion and ‘cone-free spray form (make sure to spray a lot if you go with the spray — I find you always need more than you think  you do!), but note that the adult & child versions are the exact same product, just with a different label.

Neutrogena Water Light, Beach Defence

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Water-Light ($16.99 CAD)

New this season, the SPF 60 Water-Light sunscreen is designed to be a lightweight liquid lotion for the face. Depending on where you are (and what’s already sold out), you might see a few similar-but-different sunscreens from Neutrogena on shelves as well: the mineral Pure & Free Liquid SPF 50 sunscreen (Eye Heart It has a great mini-review of this), Ultra Sheer Liquid SPF 70, or Ultra Sheer Waterlight tinted sunscreens (Asia-only).

I also had M test this one out for us, and this was his favourite of the three he tried. He described it as being really comfortable and lightweight for a sunscreen (though it couldn’t pass for a moisturizer), but noted its strong, “hospitally” scent and extremely liquid texture — drippier and easier to spill than the Clear Face formula, but also easier to spread out.

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  • scoo06

    Neutrogena Ultra Sheer has to be my favorite fail proof sunscreen of all times! It was my first and I still wear it. Although i don't find it very sweat proof, for that I like the La Roche Posay Anthelios XL cream-gel. I favore drugstore over high-end too..
    My recent post A Beauty Chat with Mum | Her Favorites in Makeup and Skincare

    • I never really classed La Roche Posay as drugstore, to be honest! While it does sell in our drugstores, it's at a much higher price point (at least, in Canada). A cream-gel does sound awesome, though :D

  • Their Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen was basically my first love! It dries matte and lightweight, which I love, but it's been a while since I'd had it and I'm not too sure how it would perform on my face. The water-light version sounds like a promising sunscreen though, but really? SPF 60? Is that even a real thing?

    • Er… yes? (Can I ask why it wouldn't be?) SPF ratings over 100 are slowly being banned due to consumer confusion, though, which is interesting to note!

  • howdoesdeedoit

    Nice post Rae. I;m with Divya on the La Roche Posay sunscreen. Adore the whole line but their mineral sunscreen which is like a thin milk is amazing in the summer. My current favourite however is the IDC Integrale. Absolutely loving this – just bought a backup recently and also gave my sis & mom one each ( they also love it!)
    My recent post Blast From The Past: NARS Multiple Tint – Cadaques

    • Okay, I'm going to have to check this one out. Fingers crossed it's 'cone-free!

      I don't think we get IDC here — what is their Integrale sunscreen like?

      • howdoesdeedoit

        I think this is one of the things I would miss most if I was to leave Canada lol. http://www.idcdermo.com/eng/en_ca/skincare/spf-50… has some specifictions there. It's feels just like a really nice moisturizer would Rae. It just melts into your skin, is non-greasy and …it's so great in my opinion. I'm allergic to cones and ive never ever had issues with this one. My sister is too and she hasn't had any reactions to this either. I'll be reviewing it shortly when I do my summer essentials post, but in one words it's – amazing!
        My recent post Blast From The Past: NARS Multiple Tint – Cadaques

        • Thanks for the link! That sounds amazing — I'll definitely try to hunt it down in stores. (I'm over in Alberta, but I don't think I've ever seen the brand!)

  • jann

    Thanks for the review so I'm always on the look out for a sunscreen that isn't greasy. I tried the Ultra Sheer but my skin had a reaction to it. I might try the other ones that you mentioned. Can't wait for your review on non-silicone sunscreens since I have the same problem in that I break out really badly from the silicone.

    • I'll try to speed it up, Jann! Can I ask what kind of reaction you had to the Ultra Sheer formula? (Breakout vs allergy?) If you're sensitive to chemical sunscreens, something like the Marie Veronique Everyday Coverage SPF 30 might be perfect for you :)

      • jann

        The Ultra Sheer dry touch just gave me a red rash and made my skin itchy. I don't think I reacted to the chemical sunscreen since I'm fine with that ingredient. I suspect it's one of the other ingredients but I can't pinpoint which one. I'm actually using the Neutrogena Healthy Defense on my face until I find something better. I have very reactive skin; and I've broken out from titanium dioxide and zinc oxide can be iffy. *sigh* It's a struggle to find a good sunscreen which won't break me out or have my skin freak out. I appreciate all of the sunscreen reviews so I can see what's out there to try.

        • Yikes! I would have though their "helioplex" blend would have been the most likely candidate, but if you can wear their other sunscreens… :/

          So sorry to hear your sunscreen struggles, Jann. I hope you find something great that works for you soon!

  • Liz

    M is such a good tester! The Water-Light has been my favourite for the past few years. :) I'm curious about the Clear Face version but as eager as I was a few months ago. Thanks for the round-up — super helpful!
    My recent post BB Cream Options from VICHY, Clarins and The Body Shop

    • He really is! :D The most prompt and detailed tester anyone could hope for.

      He liked the Clear Face just as much as the Water Light, I think — just described it as much thicker! (So, less drippy, but also harder to spread around.)

  • Thanks for the shoutout, Rae. We like Neutrogena sunscreens, as well. They always come out with some good stuff and the budget-friendly price does make them easy to apply generously!
    My recent post Beauty Blogger Happiness

  • peachesandcorals

    I am a Neutrogena loyalist!! I love their sunscreen they are the best ones and budget friendly tpp
    My recent post Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette

    • Whoo! Glad to hear it — they do some really great sunscreens :)