Capital Soleil SPF 30 Soft Sheer Sunscreen Lotion
5 fl. oz. for $28.50
Last Updated:04.19.2013
Jar Packaging:No
Tested on animals:Yes
Review Overview

This is a very light (sheer) sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection with stabilized avobenzone for reliable UVA (think anti-aging) screening. The problem arises with the ingredient that helps make this sunscreen feel so light: alcohol. The amount is potentially irritating, while the amount of played-up antioxidants is paltry and certainly not what you would expect from a sunscreen in this price range.

Although alcohol creates a light feel, there are other ingredients capable of doing the same thing without presenting the risks to skin that alcohol does (see More Info for details). From the neck down, this isn't a terrible option, but there really is no reason to choose this lightweight sunscreen over better, less expensive options, such as those from Neutrogena or Coppertone, that don't contain alcohol.

  • Provides broad-spectrum sun protection.
  • Feels very light.
  • Amount of alcohol puts skin at risk of irritation.
  • Contains only a paltry amount of antioxidants, which are important for the face and chest area.
  • On the pricey side for a basic formula if you're going to be using it all over your body.
More Info:

Alcohol in skin-care products causes dryness and free-radical damage, and impairs the skin's ability to heal. The irritation it causes damages healthy collagen production and can stimulate oil production at the base of the pore, making oily skin worse (Sources: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, May 2012, pages 1410–1419; Alcoholism, Clinical and Experimental Research, January 2011, pages 83–90; "Skin Care—From the Inside Out and Outside In," Tufts Daily, April 1, 2002; eMedicine Journal, May 8, 2002, volume 3, number 5, www.emedicine.com; Cutis, February 2001, pages 25–27; Contact Dermatitis, January 1996, pages 12–16; and http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-4/277-284.htm).


Capital Soleil SPF 30 Soft Sheer Sunscreen Lotion provides broad-spectrum UVA + UVB protection and fights skin-aging free radicals. It contains a unique combination of effective UV filters and powerful antioxidants (Vitamin E and White Grape Polyphenol) to help protect your skin at the cellular level to keep it looking healthy and beautiful.


Active: Avobenzone (3%), Homosalate (5%), Octisalate (5%), Octocrylene (7%), Oxybenzone (6%). Inactive: Water, Glycerin, Propanediol, Alcohol Denat., Dimethicone, Isodecyl Neopentanoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Arachidyl Alcohol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, VP/Eicosene Copolymer, Silica Behenyl Alcohol, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Arachidyl Glucoside, Polyacrylamide, Xanthan Gum, C13-14 Isoparaffin, P-Anisic Acid, Disodium EDTA, Laureth-7, Tocopherol, Vitis Vinifera (Grape) Fruit Extract.

Brand Overview

Vichy At-A-Glance

Strengths: Some fragrance-free products; all the sunscreens but one contain either avobenzone or titanium dioxide for sufficient UVA protection; some commendable moisturizers with sunscreen; some good, inexpensive cleansers, and scrub for dry skin.

Weaknesses: Repetitive moisturizer formulas that rarely rise above the median for excellence; jar packaging is pervasive; the at-home peel/scrub kit is mostly disappointing; a couple of irritating moisturizers; no products for those with skin discolorations; limited options for oily skin.

Health is vital. That's the opening line on Vichy's catalog, followed by "Start with your skin." Perusing the opening pages of this catalog, it's easy to see how someone could get wrapped up in this L'Oreal-owned company's belief in listening to the signals skin sends us and then choosing products to address whatever problem skin is signaling you to correct. That might include acne, blackheads, eczema, discolorations, broken capillaries, and even excess oiliness. No surprises there, and it is sound advice to adapt your skin-care routine as your skin's needs (and signals) change. The problem is that Vichy's products, though well intentioned, are incapable of addressing several common problems, including most of those listed above. About all you can expect from most Vichy moisturizers is relief from dryness. That's it. Every product's claims "talk the talk," but they cannot possibly walk the walk because what's in them is, for the most part, standard, and without any research behind it to show that it makes a difference.

A big-deal ingredient for Vichy is their Thermal Spa Water. It is said to reduce irritation, strengthen skin's natural defenses, and provide free radical–quelling activity thanks to its trace minerals and salt. There is no substantiated proof to support these claims, save for a somewhat primitive chart Vichy provides to show this water helps reduce cutaneous signs of irritation (what it was compared to, if anything, is unknown). Two other L'Oreal-owned brands, Biotherm and La Roche-Posay, have similar special waters, each claiming to be mineral-rich. Yet if these are so unique and wonderfully beneficial for everyone's skin, why don't all L'Oreal-owned lines such as Lancome, L'Oreal, Kiehl’s, SkinCeuticals, and The Body Shop, use them, too?

As expected, there are some bona fide winners among Vichy's products, but using Vichy exclusively with the expectation that their products have the answer to whatever your skin needs to have fixed is like thinking green tea is the only food your body needs.

Note: Vichy is categorized as a brand that tests on animals because its products are sold in China. Although Vichy does not conduct animal testing for its 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 brands 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 Paula’s Choice Research Team.

For more information about Vichy, owned by L'Oreal, call (877) 378-4249 or visit www.vichy.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.

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