Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 70
1.4 fl. oz. for $12.49
Category:Skin Care > Sensitive Skin Products > Sun Products > SPF 50 and Higher Sunscreen
Last Updated:12.03.2014
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

Aside from the fact that SPF 70 is borderline overkill for most people (the amount of active ingredients needed to reach SPF 70 increases the chance of a sensitized reaction, plus there just isn’t that much daylight anywhere in the world—remember, the SPF number is a time factor, not a quality factor). This fluid, silky sunscreen is bound to appeal to those with oily skin or anyone who normally shies away from high-SPF sunscreens due to their thick texture or tacky finish.

Beyond the aesthetics, the formula includes stabilized avobenzone for reliable UVA protection and a handful of tried-and-true antioxidants for an additional measure of environmental defense. This deserves a GOOD rating for its texture (it works great under makeup) and broad-spectrum protection, but it could use some repairing ingredients and lose the fragrance, two points that would’ve propelled this to our top rating.

Note: Unlike the previous version of this product, the inactive ingredients are now listed in alphabetical rather than descending order. This is permissible because in the U.S. all SPF-rated products are regulated as over-the-counter drugs.


Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF 70 delivers powerful protection in a breakthrough lightweight liquid for daily protection from the sun. This water-light texture spreads easily over skin, absorbing instantly for an invisible, weightless feel. It also provides an even, non-shiny finish that works beautifully alone or under makeup and moisturizers.


Active: Avobenzone 3%, Homosalate 10%, Octisalate 5%, Octocrylene 7.5%, Oxybenzone 5%. Inactive: Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Ascorbic Acid, BHT, Bisabolol, Butylene Glycol, C12-15 Benzoate, Camellia Oleifera Leaf Extract, Caprylyl Glycol, Cetyl Dimethicone, Chlorphenesin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate, Disodium EDTA, Ethylhexylglycerin, Fragrance, Mannan, Pantothenic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Polyester-7, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Silica, Steareth-100, Steareth-2, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Water, Xantham Gum.

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 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.

Member Comments
Summary of Member Comments
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high SPF and matt !

Really sheer and stays matt, what I'm looking for. Very happy with this product I've found on internet (I don't leave in the States...) and comforted by the "good" rate from beautypedia. Will repurchase.

Reviewed by
Francoise F.
Doesn't sting the most sensitive skin

The only SPF that doesn't sting aside from Paula's mineral - but this won't break me out or feel heavy. Thanks to my redhead sensitive sister for swearing by it - I had sworn off all Neutrogena SPF some years ago when the SPF gave me blackheads. The waterproof SPF 30 is good, only stings for a while and breaks me out a little, but I hate to ever have to use it after this. This is the sunscreen I would have invented if I had the genius to do it.

Reviewed by
Love this sunscreen!

I love this sunscreen! It is a liquid that absorbs quickly and isn't shinny. I can use it with any other day cream to get the of both and... It doesn't melt into the corners of my eyes. I just pray that now that I've found it, they won't discontinue it. Oh yes, and it doesn't cost an arm and a leg either. Happy Dance!!!

Reviewed by
Janie D.

This product has been reformulated for a while now but the review and ingredient list here (and a lot of other sites!) have not been updated to reflect it... If I had to guess I would say the people of Neutrogena read Paula's review and took her seriously as they have done exactly what she wanted! They've added more antioxidants and if you look at the new ingredient list (I couldn't find it online) you'll notice that they're way higher up on the ingredient list--vit.C is now second on the list.

Reviewed by
Beautypedia Team Response

Hi, and thanks for your comments! We'll check out the ingredient list and amend the review as needed. Thanks for putting this on our radar!

—Paula's Choice Research Team
Great sunscreen!

this is a great sunscreen. I do not mind that there are no added antioxidants - I use Paula's products including an antioxidant serum so I am just glad that this sunscreen is available since it goes on so lightly without residue or shine. I have not been able to find a sunscreen with enough protection by paula's choice that isn't too greasy for my skin so I keep using this one. Paired with other Paula products it's PERFECT.

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