11.26.2014
19
5586
City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector Broad Spectrum 25 SPF
Rating
1.4 fl. oz. for $22
Category:Skin Care > Moisturizers (Daytime and Nighttime) > Moisturizer with Sunscreen
Last Updated:11.26.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector protects skin from sun damage with its actives of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. The lightweight but still moisturizing base (yes, it really does moisturize so you don't need a separate product unless your skin is very dry) is best for normal to dry or sensitive skin, including those dealing with rosacea. Clinique included a very good blend of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients, so this is highly recommended for those seeking a gentle sunscreen. It is slightly tinted to offset the whitening effect from the amount of mineral sunscreens it contains.

Note: some Clinique consultants insist this product isn't a moisturizer. Don't believe it: this may not be labeled or positioned as a moisturizer per se, but it absolutely contains moisturizing ingredients. Unless you have very dry skin, you will not need to pair this with a separate moisturizer, so save your money!

Claims

Scientists believe 80% of all skin damage before age 60 is sun related. Make new City Block Sheer Oil-Free Daily Face Protector SPF 25 your urban necessity. Sheer, high-level broad-spectrum UVA/UVB daily sun protection. Lightweight formula helps wick away perspiration, absorb excess oil so makeup looks fresher, longer. Perfect alone, or as an invisible under-makeup primer. No chemical sunscreens. Appropriate for eye-area, sensitive skins.

Ingredients

Active: Titanium Dioxide (7.3%), Zinc Oxide (6.9%), Other: Water, Trioctyldodecyl Citrate, Butylene Glycol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Steareth-2, Stearyl Heptanoate, Silica, Lecithin, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Gentiana Lutea (Gentian) Root Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Hordeum Vulgare (Barley) Extract, Betula Alba (Birch) Bark Extract, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Laminaria Saccharina Extract, Saccharomyces Lysate Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seedcake, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sorbitan Tristearate, Linoleic Acid, Polyquaternium-51, Caprylyl Methicone, Sorbitol, Sodium RNA, PEG-40 Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Tocopheryl Acetate, Phytantriol, Stearic Acid, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Cellulose, Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Stearyl Dimethicone, Ascorbyl Tocopheryl Maleate, Nordihydroguaiaretic Acid, Linolenic Acid, Pantethine, Bisabolol, Ceteth-2, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Steareth-20, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Propylene Glycol Dicaprate, Sodium Stearate, Nylon-12, Citric Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Nylon-6, Hexylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Phenoxyethanol, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides

Brand Overview

Clinique At-A-Glance

Strengths: One of the best selections of state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums loaded with ingredients that research has shown are of great benefit to skin; excellent sunscreens; several Redness Solutions products excel; an outstanding benzoyl peroxide product; good selection of self-tanning products; some very good cleansers and eye makeup removers; some unique mattifying products; a large and wholly impressive selection of foundations, many with reliable sun protection (and shades for darker skin tones); good concealers; some remarkable mascaras; much-improved eyeshadows; loose powder; blush products; some brilliant lipsticks and lip gloss; gel eyeliner; priced lower than most competing department-store lines.

Weaknesses: The three-step skincare routine, because of the bar soaps and irritant-laden clarifying lotions; jar packaging downgrades several otherwise top-notch moisturizers; incomplete routines for those prone to acne; skin-lightening products with either unproven or insufficient levels of lightening agents.

Estee Lauder-owned Clinique's tremendous success (the company's products are sold in over 13,000 department stores and in 110 countries) reshaped the way cosmetics lines identified themselves, sending the concept of line loyalty out to pasture. Today, cosmetics companies expand their market either by buying already established companies or by creating new ones, and Lauder has been adept at doing both. Of course, cosmetics companies keep this multiple-personality identity hidden from the consumer. If the general buying public realized that these apparently different companies were so intertwined with each other, how could they flaunt their independence and claim that their unparalleled formulations are secret or the best? It's hard to think Lauder (or any company) would, even if they could, keep secrets from one branch separate from the others. And as evidenced by the formulary similarities between brands, they don't!

The niche Clinique built launched the concept of cosmetics being "allergy-tested," "hypoallergenic," "100% fragrance-free," and "dermatologist tested." Of those marketing claims the only one with significance is "100% fragrance-free," which, for the most part, Clinique maintains (although it does add some fragrant extracts to a few products). Regarding allergy testing, unless you can see the results, what difference does it make if a product makes that claim? What if the test showed 20% of the women who used it had a sensitizing reaction, dryness, or irritation? Would Clinique highlight this, or is it just easier to default to the generic allergy-tested claim and leave such details out, figuring consumers won't ask for more? 

Moreover, "hypoallergenic" is a term not regulated by the FDA, so any product can use the word without having to substantiate the claim. "Dermatologist tested" is also bogus, because without published test results the term can easily mean nothing more than that a dermatologist picked up the product, looked at the container, and said "This looks good." And what about the dermatologists on Clinique's payroll? How do we know they're not the ones involved in testing, rather than sending the products out for independent, impartial evaluation (though how impartial can any study be that's paid for by the company making the product)?

Clinique declined any participation for this site, which included refusing to send us copies of the allergy studies they maintain have been performed for every product they sell. We find their unwillingness to help odd because, for the most part, we genuinely like most of their products. In fact, more than any other department-store line except Estee Lauder, Clinique is leading the way with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art moisturizers and serums, plus some formidable makeup. They also have their act together for sunscreens and have expanded their decades-old three-step skin-care routine to include water-soluble cleansers instead of bar soap. They also now have a second "Dramatically Different" moisturizer that's well-suited for those with normal to oily skin and FINALLY reformulated their longstanding water-and-wax yellow lotion.

The Clinique consultants, dressed in medical-looking white lab coats (Clinique's image in that sense was ahead of the times given today's plethora of doctor-designed skin-care lines), do their best to speak intelligently about skin-care routines, but for the most part they're trained to sell the products rather than to provide information about what substantiated research has shown about the skin's needs to look and feel its best.

The good news for you is that the chemists behind Clinique's arsenal of products have been keeping up on this exciting information, and formulating superior products in response. We wouldn't blindly and solely bank on Clinique as your skin-care solution, but more than ever what they offer is, despite some far-out claims and problematic products, what epitomizes advanced skin care for all ages. Shop carefully and you'll leave confident that you are purchasing products with solid science, not just marketing hype, behind them.

Turning to makeup, Clinique continues to offer a vast palette of colors and textures, especially in their huge and imposing selection of foundations, many of which feature effective sunscreens. In fact, this category has become the most compelling reason to shop Clinique's makeup collection. Without a doubt the numerous formulas offer something for every skin type and almost every skin color. The shade selection has improved considerably, with more neutrals and a broader range than ever before. You still need to use caution and watch out for peach-toned duds, but for the most part finding a natural-looking match shouldn't be a frustrating experience, and the counter personnel are happy to provide samples.

Although the foundation and powder shades take darker skin tones into account, the blush, eye pencil, and most of the lipstick shades do not. Perhaps that will change in the future, as Clinique beautifully updated their eyeshadow collection with ultra-smooth textures and deeper colors that show up on darker skin.

Compliments are also due for Clinique's updated makeup tester units. They are well-organized, labeled with product name and price, and easily accessible without a salesperson's help. And speaking of salespeople, most of the Clinique consultants we encounter go above and beyond to provide assistance and to answer any questions we had (even if we didn't always agree with their responses). Those white lab coats don't mean medical expertise, but we'll take outstanding customer service over pseudoscience any day!

The bottom line is that, despite a few shortcomings, Clinique is one of the most comprehensive (and comparably affordable) department-store makeup lines, and it is completely understandable why they enjoy such broad appeal.

Note: Clinique is categorized as one that tests on animals because their products are sold in China. Although Clinique does not conduct animal testing for their products sold elsewhere, the Chinese government requires imported cosmetics be tested on animals, so foreign companies retailing there must comply. This requirement is why some brand’s state that they don’t test on animals “unless required by law”. Animal rights organizations consider cosmetic companies retailed in China to be brands that test on animals, and so does the Beautypedia Team.

For more information about Clinique, call (800) 419-4041 or visit www.clinique.com

About the Experts

The Beautypedia Team proudly and unequivocally maintains the commitment that Paula Begoun, founder of Beautypedia and Paula's Choice Skincare made over 30 years ago-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.

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05.02.2015
Wonderfully moisturizing formula

This is the ultimate in gentle, moisturizing, yet functional sunscreens. I wear it under my Clinique Super Moisturizing foundation and together they make my skin feel both calm and moisturized. I will never need another sunscreen for my face.

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Reviewed by
El
11.06.2014
Clogged my pores

I didn't mind the finish or the sun protection this provided for day I wasn't spending too much time in the sun. However, months after discontinuing use I am still trying to clear up the closed comedones it caused. (Haven't developed any new ones since discontinuing this.) Although it never caused true acne, I wouldn't recommend for anyone who struggles with clogged pores.

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Reviewed by
Anonymous
08.29.2014
Greasy feel

I purchased a sample size of this product from eBay and was also disturbed that there is no way of determining how old the product is. I doubt whether I'll purchase this again. I too found it greasy on the skin. Did not sink into the skin. I suppose I could get used to the tint, but the greasy feel is the deal-breaker. Will probably use this on my neck, as one other reviewer does.

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Reviewed by
Jill Z.
08.09.2014
Not On My Face

It looks and feels greasy, has an unpleasant smell, but worst, my eyes become watery and my eyelids feel heavy as long as I’m wearing it. But while I can’t put it on my face, I have no problems using it on my neck and chest but that's not enough to buy it again. (By the way, there is no expiration date on the tube. I called Clinique because I thought sunscreen products must have an expiration date on the product itself but the Customer Service representative didn’t know what to tell me.)

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Reviewed by
Maria F
08.08.2014
Would recommend

I've been using this product for years now. I find it is the ultimate BB or CC cream, although it's not labelled as such. Only thing I would perhaps change is to make the colour a bit lighter, or offer it in more shades. As this tends to go on a bit dark on me, I have to blend very diligently to avoid getting something similar to a foundation line. At least the SPF is a 25, so as to minimize compromising the benefits of the sunscreen with all the blending.

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Reviewed by
SABINA T.
06.08.2014
Best for sensitive skin

With other sunscreens that are not mineral my eyes sting and water even if I don't put it near my eyes. I must have a sunscreen like this one that has only mineral sun blocks. I find the light tint and light coverage of this sunscreen just right for me. I use concealer on my age spots (I'm 69) but I don't wear any foundation. Try this if what you want is a natural look. I notice other's comments about it making you look pasty but I'm pretty fair so it works fine for me.

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Reviewed by
KERRY k.
04.24.2014
Made my look pasty

Bought this as it was so highly recommended on this site & in Paula's book. However, I was very disappointed in the product & returned it to the department store where I bought it. The slight tint did not disappear when I put it on my face, but instead made my face look pasty/pale. Not what I had in mind! I bought this to use on days when I wasn't putting on make-up but wanted a sunscreen - for example, when I go out for a run. I don't know how well it works but I hated how it made me look.

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Reviewed by
LouiseF
04.05.2014
love it..but it's too pink for my yellow skin

i love evrything abt this product except for its tint which doesn't match my skincolor.my honey skin has yellow undertone..and it is a bit drying for me because of my dry skin..hope they can make it a bit more moisturizing and introduce a shade or tint more compatible to honey skin complexioned like me with yellow undertone.

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Reviewed by
elai
03.14.2014
Long time favorite!

I have been using this product for at least 20 years. It's protected my fair skin in the Caribbean and at home equally well. I currently have normal to dry skin. Despite what Paula claims about the moisturizing properties of this product, she is wrong. I don't need any extra moisturizer in the summer, but in the winter City Block alone leaves my skin uncomfortable, and I don't have dry, flaky skin. That said, City Block is outstanding and I'm able to go w/out foundation thanks the slight tint.

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Reviewed by
SusanG
01.25.2014
love this stuff

This is a fabulous product. It doesn't feel heavy or greasy on my skin and there's no distracting fragrance or weird minerally odour, either. It provides just enough tint to conceal slight redness. I use it all summer long, when I switch up to the higher sunscreen value from Clinique's Even Better Makeup SPF 15. I'm 54, and people tell me I look 10 years younger-- I credit good genes & the regular use of this product.

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Reviewed by
alix v.
01.21.2014
Awesome sunscreen!

I am super finicky about feeling anything on my face, that's why I haven't use sunscreen on my face (although I know I should). If I feel product on my face or if it goes on thick or feels slightly oily or sticky, I will not use that product. I tried City Block and was blown away! It feels smooth going on your face, like a super light foundation. It blends in beautifully, leaves no residue and dries super quickly. Face glows and feels smooth. I LOVE this product, I wear it everyday!!!

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Reviewed by
CT
10.19.2013
Still The Best

I started using this in the 80s when Clinique introduced it. I always go back to it. It's a bit pink for my very yellow skin and some days I am too flaky to use it (I use Tazorac). Thank you, Clinique, for this great product. I started using sunscreen regularly in my 20s, but we all know that most of the sunscreen sold in the US lacks UVA protection. Thanks to City Block, I'm one of the lucky ones who got broad spectrum protection for all those years.

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Reviewed by
Lynne C.
09.09.2013
The Best

I use this product everyday! It also makes my skin smooth as a primer would. It doesn't make my skin oily and dries quickly.

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Reviewed by
Chris
05.27.2013
Excellent!

This is an excellent sunscreen. I've been using it for years, but have also tried others as well. This one still remains a favorite. It is not heavy or greasy feeling and isn't sticky. I like to wear foundation, but, honestly, this product makes your skin look lovely all on its own. I don't need foundation with this sunscreen. All I do is powder over top, and my skin looks great for the day. I would highly recommend it if you're having trouble finding a sunscreen you like.

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Reviewed by
Michelle K
05.23.2013
Clinique City Block Sheer SPF 25

When I first started using this product, I loved that it serves as an SPF, has a light tint, and even acts somewhat as a primer. I noticed, however, it does make my face a bit shiny. I prefer a matte finish with all my products. Also, I am combination oily skin so I don't know if this was the best recommendation for me by the Clinique consultant. The product is reasonably priced and is a physical sunblock vs. a chemical one so I would still recommend it.

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Reviewed by
Sue W
04.30.2013
Good Stuff

One of the best facial moisturizers I have found so far for my normal-dry skin! I use this on top of my SR toner and Resist AOX serum. It's slightly tinted so it does give a little bit of colour to your face, but it doesn't cover much. This dries to give a natural satin finish and I don't feel like I have a tacky film on my face once it dries. I don't find this to be quite hydrating enough during the winter so I may try the Skin Recovery SPF for then.

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Reviewed by
K.N.
02.17.2013
Breakout

Since using I have broken out in acne. Backing off product and tryng again in a week to rule out if it is this or the other Cinique suncream "Repairwear Uplifting Firming Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 15, Very Dry to Dry Skin" (an unnecessary mouthful) I have been swapping depending on sun. I tried the repairwear because it came in a bonus set. Overall not too happy with Clinique as it seems to be making my skin very reactive since using it.

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Reviewed by
Melissa
01.24.2013
Fabulous!

This is the best sunscreen for my face I have found. It is definitely moisturizing, so I don't need anything additional under it in the summer. In the winter I use it with Skin Recovery moisturizing toner. It includes a high percentage of mineral sunscreen which makes the sun protection stellar, but since it is slightly tinted there is no white cast on the skin. It even gives the skin a slight, natural-looking glow. Surprisingly, it offers a light coverage as well, so most days I just wear it with some powder on top, but it can be worn under foundation as well. The Clinique sales person told me it could be used as a foundation primer and it really works great that way! I hope Clinique won't discontinue this product!!!

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Reviewed by
ANETA
12.10.2012
good stuff

This stuff makes my skin look great... most of the time. Sometimes (depending on the weather) it can be a bit flaky looking (also may be due to the mineral sunscreen). But it never irritates my skin and really does leave a nice finish. I love that it's tinted too. Hides some minor imperfections while protecting against sun damage - which is a major plus for me since I rarely wear makeup. Because my cheeks tend to be slightly tight and dry, I started using Paula's Choice Skin Recovery hydrating toner underneath this and the combo works pretty well. Just the right amount of moisture.

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