12.03.2014
3
5
Clear Face Break-Out Free Liquid Lotion Sunscreen SPF 30
Rating
3 fl. oz. for $10.49
Category:Skin Care > Sensitive Skin Products
Last Updated:12.03.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Wouldn’t it be great to find a sunscreen that didn’t cause or worsen breakouts? Although some formulas (those with liquid or very thin textures and liquid foundations with sunscreen) have an edge in this regard, the truth is there’s no way to say with 100% certainty that a sunscreen won’t make breakouts worse. This sunscreen has a lot going for it in terms of its water-light, silky texture and near-weightless finish. Both of these traits make it preferred for breakout-prone skin. It also provides broad-spectrum sun protection that includes stabilized avobenzone for reliable UVA screening. That’s why it’s such a shame to report than the company added two fragrant plant extracts (cinnamon and cedar bark) that are known irritants (Source: www.naturaldatabase.com). Also disappointing is the lack of proven antioxidants and repairing ingredients, both of which are essential for better skin and stronger environmental defense. In essence, this product does some things right but enough is wrong that it’s not worth trying—there are better liquid sunscreens from Neutrogena as well as other brands, including SkinCeuticals and Paula’s Choice.

Claims

Neutrogena® Clear Face Sunscreen is specially designed to provide superior sun protection without causing breakouts on acne-prone skin. Formulated with Helioplex® technology, it provides superior broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection. Perfect for face and body, this liquid-lotion has a water-light texture that leaves a weightless, matte finish so skin can breathe. This product features Helioplex®, a breadth of stabilized sunscreen technologies that delivers superior protection from the sun.

Ingredients

Active: Avobenzone 2.5%, Homosalate 5%, Octisalate 4%, Octocrylene 3%, Oxybenzone 4% Other: Water, Cetyl Dimethicone, Silica, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Steareth-100, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Steareth-2, Dimethicone, Chlorphenesin, Polyester-7, Propylene Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Bisabolol, Neopentyl Glycol Diheptanoate, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Butylene Glycol, Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate, BHT, Xanthan Gum, Mannan, Capryloyl Glycine, Trideceth-6, Sarcosine, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum Bark Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Cedrus Atlantica Bark Extract

Brand Overview

Neutrogena At-A-Glance

Strengths: Inexpensive; several recommended cleansers; retinol options, in stable packaging; vast selection of sunscreens, most of which offer excellent UVA protection; several fragrance-free options; many of the Healthy Skin products are state-of-the-art; the foundations with sunscreen provide sufficient UVA protection; some praiseworthy makeup items.

Weaknesses: An overabundance of overlapping anti-aging products that is perennially confusing for consumers; irritating bar soaps; lackluster to downright bad toners; a handful of bland moisturizers and eye creams; some sunscreens too much alcohol or problematic preservatives; most of the Deep Clean products are terrible; mostly disappointing concealers; the lip balms with sunscreen provide inadequate UVA protection.

Johnson & Johnson–owned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.

Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.

Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).

A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.

It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.

What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.

For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit www.neutrogena.com.

Neutrogena Makeup

Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (We are not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.

There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.

The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.

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.

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07.09.2015
Only one star by paula??

I've tried almost all the other neutrogena sunscreens and they have been a thick greasy mess for my oily acne prone skin. This has been a holy grail product for me, because it's so cheap and easily available. It doesn't irritate my skin or give me breakouts and it dries down fairly matte. The protection seems to be working well too. If you have acne prone skin, I think it's so affordable it's worth a try.

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Mandy M
07.09.2015
Beautypedia Team Response

Hello there!  Thanks for your feedback - we're thrilled that you found a product that you like!  Also, The Paula’s Choice Research Team no longer reviews products for Beautypedia, and while The Beautypedia Team is still a part of Paula’s Choice Skincare, what’s new—and you may not yet have known—is that now we have two teams working independently to bring you the best quality reviews, products, and  research-supported expert advice you know and love. One team is dedicated to Beautypedia and product reviews from other brands; the other is dedicated to Paula’s Choice skincare and its unique combination of expertly formulated products and advice on a wide range of beauty-related topics.

—Admin
09.23.2014
Very irritating

I started using this product recently and didn't have any problems with it at first, but then after a couple times, it started to make my upper lip go pretty numb. Very strange and it happened consistently a few times after that (I was on vacation at the beach and needed to constantly use sunscreen). I have since stopped using it and won't use it again if I can help it.

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Anonymous
07.24.2014
Disagree

I have to disagree with Paula on this one. I've been looking for months for a sunscreen that won't break out my sensitive/rosacea, acne-prone skin. Mineral sunscreens tend to clog my pores, and most chemical sunscreens cause redness and irritation (including all the PC ones I've used). I bought the Neutrogena Clear without reading any reviews, and I'm glad I did. I've been using it on my face for two weeks, and there has been no irritation whatsoever.

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Aimee M.
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