Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 15
4 fl. oz. for $16.99
Last Updated:03.12.2015
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer SPF 15 is recommended for its in-part avobenzone sunscreen, though we wouldn’t call that or the other active ingredients in this moisturizer “ultra-calming.” Many people tolerate the sunscreen agents in this product well, but a product positioned as “calming” would be better with just titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide for sun protection. These mineral sunscreens have almost zero risk of causing irritation, which is what someone dealing with facial redness or rosacea should be considering.

Because this sunscreen’s base formula is listed in alphabetical order (which is within FDA regulations because it is an over-the-counter drug, not a cosmetic), the relative amounts of the different ingredients are not as clear as when ingredients are listed in descending order. However, it does contain fragrance—another faux pas for an “ultra-calming” product—and lacks antioxidants. If calming isn’t your expectation, this sunscreen is an option, just not an exciting one or slam-dunk for sensitive, reddened skin.


This light, fast-absorbing lotion moisturized skin all day long to help actively manage sensitive skin. Clinically proven to visibly reduce redness and calm and soothe irritation, so skin is naturally smooth and healthy.


Active: Avobenzone (3%), Octinoxate (7.5%,), Octisalate (2%), Other: Arachidyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Behenyl Alcohol, Benzyl Alcohol, Butylparaben, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, C12-16 Alkyl Hydroxyethyl Ethylcellulose, C13-14 Isoparaffin, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Chrysanthemum Parthenium (Feverfew) Extract, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Ethylene/Acrylic Acid Copolymer, Ethylparaben, Fragrance, Glycerin, Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, Isobutylparaben, Laureth-7, Magnesium Aspartate, Methylparaben, Panthenol, Phenoxyethanol, Phenyl Trimethicone, Polyacrylamide, Potassium Aspartate, Propylparaben, Sarcosine, Sodium Cocoyl Amino Acids, Steareth-2, Steareth-21, Tetradibutyl Pentaerithrityl Hydroxyhydrocinnamate, Water

Brand Overview

Aveeno At-A-Glance

Strengths: A few good cleansers and sunscreen products; fantastic Skin Relief Healing Ointment and soothing bath wash products; a handful of well-formulated baby-care products.

Weaknesses: Well-intentioned but ineffective anti-acne products; reliance on a single showcased ingredient (typically soy) that makes their anti-aging products less enticing than the competition; ineffective products to address hyperpigmentation; formulas packaged in a jar won’t remain stable.

Beginning with its first product in 1945, Soothing Bath Treatment, still sold today as part of the company's Baby line of products, Aveeno has prided itself on using natural ingredients. In some ways, they were a pioneer in the field, though for years the only natural ingredient of note in their products was oatmeal. Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson purchased the brand in 1999, and wasted almost no time expanding it. A handful of bar cleansers and bath products were spun off into complete collections of facial-care products and an ever-growing number of body lotions and washes, not to mention shaving gels (Aveeno is one of the few companies whose shaving gels are truly fragrance-free).

Not surprisingly, many of the facial-care products from Aveeno are similar to those from Johnson & Johnsonowned Neutrogena. The differences typically lie in the natural ingredients each brand promotes. A cornerstone ingredient for Aveeno is soy, while Neutrogena has experimented (with varying degrees of success) with copper, retinol, salicylic acid, and melibiose. Overall, Neutrogena has a much larger and more comprehensive selection of products, though their formulas are also more problematic. Aveeno would do well to diversify a bit, or at least acknowledge that it takes more than a single star ingredient to provide superior skin-care products. As is, most of their anti-wrinkle products don't compete favorably with the more well-rounded options, not just from Neutrogena but also from Olay, Dove, and, in some respects, L'Oreal.

Getting back to the issue of soy, you'll see from the reviews it is indeed a helpful ingredient for skin—just not in the same multifaceted, does-everything manner Aveeno touts on each soy-containing product's package. A big proponent for Aveeno's use of soy is dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf. She is quoted on Aveeno's web site, stating that "It is now clear that the ability of natural soy to deliver multiple benefits to skin plays a lead role in high performance skin care." That sounds great but it doesn't explain why Aveeno ignores research on countless other antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients, all elements Dr. Graf uses in her separate, namesake product line. Interestingly, with Graf's own products relying on a blend of efficacious ingredients, including soy, it's a good question why she decided to endorse Aveeno's one-note soy products.

The bottom line is that when it comes to shopping for skin-care products at the drugstore, Aveeno, for all its talk of being a leader in "Active Naturals," doesn't have the all-inclusive product assortment needed to take the best possible care of your skin. However, paying attention to their top offerings is time (and money) well-spent!

For more information about Aveeno, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (866) 428-3366 or visit www.aveeno.com.

About the Experts

The new Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment to help you find the best products possible for your skin. We do this by relentlessly pursuing and relying on published scientific research so you will have unbiased information on what works and what doesn't-and the sneaky ways you could be making your skin worse, not better!

The Beautypedia Team reviews all products using the same research, criteria, and objectivity, whether the product being reviewed is from Paula's Choice or another brand.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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Not safe for sensitive faces

I have super sensitive skin with redness/rosacea, which is why I purchased this product, which claims to be calming. It surprisingly contained a very strong fragrance, which is a big no for me to begin with. On top of that, it caused an allergic reaction, which I suspect is due to the chamomile since I'm allergic to ragweed (a super common allergy). I returned this product after just one day of use.

Reviewed by
Maddie T
Feverfew Sensitive due to Ragweed allergy

I used this moisturizer for years. I have sensitive, acne prone skin and detest fragrances in skincare products, so that was one of the main reasons why I stopped using it. I do have very rosy skin, which I like to minimize because paired with red hair, it's just a bit much. I never felt like this improved my redness. Recently, I found out that an allergy to ragweed may cause sensitivity to feverfew & camomile! Not only was the fragrance irritating, but so was the main "calming" ingredient.

Reviewed by
Jennifer V
irritated my eyes horribly....

For some reason,this lotion irritated my eyes, but not my skin. To the point where I couldn't keep my eyes open, even while driving. I never put it on my eyelids or too close around my eyes either.

Reviewed by
Rebecca S.
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