Credit Megan Cameron Photography
Note: This product was provided by NEUTROGENA. All thoughts and opinions are my own #GotItForFree
Sunscreen is an inevitable part of summer but finding a sunscreen that feels good on your skin, smells good, applies easily and contains safe ingredients can seem like a daunting task. Over the years, I have had a love-hate relationship with sunscreen. As a kid I can remember running away from my Grandmother as she tried to slather me with the sticky, smelly, white substance in between urging me to wear a hat and stay in the shade.
As a teen who got the idea (probably from my sun-worshiping mother) that tanned skin was beautiful and pale skin was ghastly, I made it my mission to lay in the sun and bake. As I got older I was even crazy enough to try tanning beds and paid actual money to achieve that coveted bronze.
These days I am pretty dutiful with my sunscreen application, I even wear it on my face throughout the winter months. Finding a sunscreen that works for me and my skin has been tedious but I am always on the lookout for new products to try, ever hopeful of finding a winner.
When I first received the new NEUTROGENA Hydro Boost water gel sunscreen, I approached it with caution. Although I know sunscreen is important for prevention of sun damage and premature aging, not all formulas agree with my skin. My skin is not overly sensitive but I have had reactions to sunscreens in the past.
According to the package this Hydro Boost sunscreen “is a dermatologist recommended brand, it is hypoallergenic and water resistant for up to 80 minutes.” This sunscreen “provides effective broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection with a water-light feel. With hyaluronic acid, the formula quenches skin with vital hydration and leaves it looking healthy.” Source: NEUTROGENA It is a water-gel sunscreen with an SPF/FPS of 50, uses Helioplex (a formulation of broad spectrum ultraviolet skin protection containing avobenzone and oxybenzone made by Neutrogena. Source: Wikipedia) which is non-greasy and won’t clog pores.
The Test Phase
Upon receiving this product I started by applying to my hands only, the skin on your hands is typically tougher and more resistant to a reaction compared to the delicate skin on your face. Your hands are also almost constantly exposed to the sun but often we wash the sunscreen off our hands after applying because of the usual greasy formulas. This formula absorbed quickly into my hands and didn’t leave a greasy residue. This sunscreen has a light, smooth texture, it isn’t runny but applies very easily without being messy. The scent of the product is nice for a sunscreen, I would describe it as a light, floral scent which fades after about 20 minutes of wearing. I tend to steer away from scented products but it was so subtle I wasn’t bothered by it at all.
On the second day I applied the sunscreen to my face. I noticed how easily it absorbed into my skin and the finish was somewhat matte in its texture. It felt nice on my skin, not greasy or uncomfortable and didn’t feel overly heavy after subsequent applications. Being that it is a moisturizing formula I would likely skip my daytime moisturizer when using this and make my summer skincare routine quick and easy. The third day I applied to my arms, legs, feet, hands and face without any issues. Reapplications were great and because it’s not sticky or greasy, I didn’t have as many issues with sand sticking to my skin at the park (a major plus for flip flop season!).
Playing It Safe
One of my main concerns when it comes to choosing a sunscreen (and all my skincare) is ingredients. In the past few years I have stuck to mainly mineral-based sunscreens (using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as a physical barrier to the sun) and I typically consult the EWG website to check the safety of the ingredients (especially for my children). Oxybenzone is an ingredient contained in many chemical-barrier sunscreens on the market. It has recently come under scrutiny in the media as Hawaii has passed a bill banning sunscreens containing this ingredient by January 2021, stating that it is partially responsible for bleaching coral reefs when it washes off during swimming. Source: The New Yorker
I have found conflicting articles and reports on oxybenzone and its safety for use on humans. Only time will tell if it continues to be used in sunscreens. We all have our own beliefs and comfort levels with regards to the potential dangers we expose our body to so it is important for each individual to determine which products are right for them and their skin.
That being said, I found this formula to be a pleasure to use. It really does have a water-gel texture, applies easily, dries quickly and my skin felt moisturized without being greasy. There were a few things I didn’t like about it. During nearly every application it got into my eyes (despite my avoidance of that area). As soon as I went outdoors it started to sting and it took some time before they felt better, not favorable if you’re wearing makeup. The other aspect I wasn’t fond of was the ingredients since my personal preference is to use natural products whenever possible. Those points aside, I am happy with the product overall, will continue to use it and definitely recommend giving it a go this summer!