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Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Let the sun be the only thing that shines. This oil-free moisturizer with SPF 30 is a multi-tasker. Controls oil. Improves skin tone.
Item #: 156
  • Acne Breakouts, Anti-Aging, Blackheads, Brown Spots, Enlarged Pores, Wrinkles
  • Combination, Oily Skin
  • Dries to a smooth matte finish
  • Antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients make skin look and act younger
  • Protects skin from signs of aging like brown spots and wrinkles

Expiration Date 2/2016

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Customer Ratings:

80 out of 100
(Based on 177 Reviews)
Page of 8 Next »
  1. Liora H.
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 13, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    New formula? Stings eyes!
    • In the past I raved in video reviews about this product, mentioning that it was the only facial sunscreen that I could find with a high SPF that didn't sting my eyes. However, with the last order I received, something's different. The consistency is thinner (runny) as opposed to white and more creamy. However, the biggest disappointment is that many times I've applied this to my eyes and it stings like everyone else's products do. I just applied this and have no other makeup, and my eyes burn!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, September 15, 2014

    Thanks for your review! You may be referring ot the previous formula, which had SPF 15. Formulary changes were necessary to get the current SPF 30 rating, and further tweaks were made to ensure this daytime moisturizer exceed all current FDA guidelines. Consider switching to one of our mineral-based SPF products, as these are much less likely to sting if they get near or in the eyes.

    —Admin
  2. Genevieve F.
    Reviewed on Sunday, September 07, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Stingy feeling on my face :(
    • Unfortunately, When I applied it's STINGING. I like that it claims to be oil free but it still leaves a shiny appearance on my face. Don't get me wrong it's a good product and it's not greasy when I touch it but it LOOKS shiny. It did not broke me out either. I just don't like that it's stings on me.(my experience). Hydralight sunscreen did not bother me at all. Clear sunscreen broke me out. Don't think I will repurchase skin balancing sunscreen. Luckily, it's a sample I bought.

  3. Kirsten P.
    Reviewed on Friday, September 05, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Chnage of heart!
    • Oh, what a little time will do to change your mind! Initially, I did not find this moisturizing enough because of my daily BP use; however, several weeks of using Skin Balancing products has improved my oily acne-prone skin so much that this has become the perfect moisturizer for me! It moisturizes without leaving me greasy, dries to a soft matte finish, doesn't break my skin out. SO glad I did not return!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, September 05, 2014

    Thanks for your feedback! Your experience beautifully proves that a skin-care routine is only as good as its weakest product. If everything in the routine is great and well suited for your skin type and concerns, the cumulative, synergistic benefits will soon become apparent!

    —Admin
  4. Olufunke
    Reviewed on Thursday, September 04, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    It smells awful, dissappointed
    • Of all the PC products I have, this is the the only one I DO NOT like. It smells awful and it also leaves my dark skin whitist ( I use my powder to solve this). I initially thought the moisturizer was expired, but the date on it shows 2015.

  5. SAM
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 28, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Disappointing
    • Paula's Choice skincare normally works well for my skin, but I've never had any luck with the sunscreens. To be fair, I've never had any luck with ANY sunscreen besides the recently, woefully reformulated Biore Watery Essence. This is frustrating, since I otherwise feel like PC 'gets' my skin, and when the aforementioned Biore reformulation occurred, I came back to give PC one more shot. Unfortunately, this product leaves my face greasy and clogged. Two dealbreakers. Not impressed.

  6. Kirsten P.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 26, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great product for oily skin!
    • This product ultimately did not work for me because, despite my oily acne-prone skin, my nightly use of BP leaves my skin needing a more hydrating SPF lotion. This lotion does hydrate but when it dries it leaves my skin feeling, and looking, tight because of it's matte finish. However, I think it's a great option for those with oily skin who don't need as much moisturization. It's matte finish is quite impressive for a sunscreen!

  7. Emily H.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 21, 2014
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Sunscreen
    • Overall a nice moisturizer. However, it seems like my skin just can't tolerate it. It stings and also my skin looks pretty reddened after applying it. Guess the reason might be one of the suncreen ingredients!? Don't know, what else to try, it's a pity. I already tried the Super-Light Wrinkle Defense, which I loved at first. However, after a few days it was too matte & made me breaktout. Then I tried the Hydralight SPF 30, which is good, but it left my skin ghostly grey-white. Any suggestions?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We have one more option for you to consider, that being the daytime moisturizer with SPF 30 from the CLEAR line. Please contact us if you'd like to sample this. If that option doesn't work, it would be best to experiment with sunscreens we recommend from other brands.

    —Admin
  8. Anna Mary W.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 20, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great with thin application
    • This product does what is says: protection + light application = great for combo skin. It is similar to a thin sunscreen and is very liquidy. Goes on easily and rubs in great without leaving a white haze. However, I prefer something a bit thicker and plan to switch back to the hydralight mositurizer with my next order. They are both excellent in my book, but one is thin and one is thick. I prefer thicker so I gave this product a 4 out of 5, but if you're looking for a thin option it's a 5.

  9. Van D.
    Reviewed on Sunday, August 17, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Very good texture, but UVB?
    • I love the texture of this sunscreen. It is super light, almost like liquid and absorb immediately. Does not make my face darker at the end of the day like other sunscreen. But after 1/3 tube, I found out my face much darker than my neck. Makes me wonder about UVB protection. That's OK, MAC BB cream and powder solve it. I will finish the tube and think about Resist sunscreen w/zinc oxide 13% for the next one.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, August 21, 2014

    Thanks for your review! This sunscreen, like all of those from Paula's Choice, has passed the most current, rigorous testing to earn broad spectrum (UVA + UVB) status. What may have happened is you were exposed to daylight too long without reapplying, or you may not have applied enough of this product to get the stated level of protection. As the face is more exposed than the neck, it's easy to see how the face could get more color when this happens.

    —Admin
  10. Lisa M.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 15, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Awesome sunscreen for combination skin!
    • In the past, I have tried sunscreen after sunscreen and have usually been disappointed for one reason or another. Then I learned about PC products and decided to sample most of their sunscreens (knowing how picky I can be in this way). I have to say that I was actually shocked at how many of them I really liked! The skin balancing one & hydralight one are excellent for my combination skin and for under makeup. Also, the added ingredients are excellent. PC, where have you been all my life?? lol

  11. Jessica C.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 07, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    It really is mattifying
    • Oily skin hates sunscreen and an Acne prone oily face hates it even more. I didn't use a moisturizer for years with SPF because I always broke out. No matter what. I exposed my skin to harmful rays because I couldn't stand the breakouts. I tried a sample of this and I never broke out, then bought the full size and it still performs beautifully. Best of all my face is less shiny at the end of the day. Of course I do use the cleanser and toner from this line so that also helps. Life changing.

  12. CAROLINE H.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 06, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Favorite sunscreen ever!
    • I've been using this sunscreen for a while, and all I can say is it is the best one I've ever used, hands down. It leaves my skin feeling moisturized without being too heavy or shiny, and doesn't make my skin break out. Even better, I notice that when I wear this my skin looks much smoother. Places where I have fines lines, like on the bridge of my nose, disappear with this SPF. The lines on my forehead are also less prominent. Never stop making this!

  13. De Kun L.
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 05, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Not for me, unfortunately
    • I love how quickly this product absorb and sets to a matte finish, but it was too irritating to my skin. I suspect after a long time of using mineral sunscreen (chiefly RESIST SUPER-LIGHT WRINKLE DEFENSE SPF 30, which I love), my skin can no longer handle chemical sunscreen.

  14. G.S.
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 31, 2014
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Too Mattifying?
    • I feel this moisturizer just dries out my oily skin and leaves it very dull-looking instead of "nice and glowy" as I would have hoped. I feel it looks lifeless instead of healthy and glowing. Any other recommendations from the line?

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, July 31, 2014

    Hi there! You sound like the ideal candidate for our new CLEAR daytime moisturizer with SPF 30 or even our Moisture Boost SPF 30 formula. Please contact us as we'd be happy to send samples of these so you can compare.

    —Admin
  15. Christine D
    Reviewed on Wednesday, July 30, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Not for me
    • My face itch every time i used it. I used it for a week still get itchy maybe the weather, it's hot and sweating a lot. I will keep it and try to use it during winter time.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Hi there! Itching is not an expected reaction from this product, so we'd encourage you not to keep it and instead contact us to discuss an exchange or refund. It's possible that the combination of this product plus another skincare product you apply (especially if it contains fragrance) may be causing the itching, but it may also be the SPF itself.

    —Admin
  16. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 29, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Maybe I'm doing it wrong
    • I really want to like this but by mid afternoon I have an oil slick across my face. I have the entire clear balancing line. I do like everything else but the moisturizer just doesn't seem to work for me. I guess if your skin looking like it's been dipped in oil means it looks young then this works but it just doesn't seem to work for me.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, July 30, 2014

    Depending on your skin type and how it responds to these products, you may need to apply fewer of them in the morning in an effort to reduce the potential for oily shine. Try applying ONLY the Skin Balancing SPF 30, no other skincare products, after you cleanse and tone. You can add back the other products (exfoliant, serum) at night.

    —Admin
  17. Andrew L.
    Reviewed on Saturday, July 26, 2014
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Good, but irritating
    • This has a great lightweight texture and good ingredients, however I had to stop using it on my face because it stings. I'm finishing the bottle using it on my neck, ears, arms etc because it is still excellent everywhere else. I suspect it is the Octocrylene in this product that gives me the stinging and redness I feel, since every chemical suncreen blend I've tried without Octocrylene does not irritate me at all. Its earned a 4/5 from me. Please consider other chemical sunscreens to use :)

  18. Vivita
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Excellent moisturizer but...
    • I started using this product when it contained SPF of 15. The consistency allowed for easier application. I'm all for the extra protection and do continue to use this wonderful moisturizer, but I usually have to dampen my face before applying to allow for easier, more even application. I advise to use less rather than too much since the consistency of this new formula is thicker than the former. In spite of this I give this moisturizer an A+

  19. DEBORAH
    Reviewed on Tuesday, July 22, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Just enough!
    • Texture makes application quick & easy: liquid covers all areas, non-greasy, moisturizes just enough for extreme combo. skin, stays matte, perfect under makeup & great alone. I use PC's Hydralight Shine-Free mineral around eyes to avoid future sensitization, but this works well for that area, too. If skin's dry, PC Moisture Balancing Gel underneath takes care of flakes. Before PC's Extreme Combo. Skin article, couldn't quite get my 50yo patchy yet oily skin figured out. Love tips/products!

  20. Susanna in Seattle
    Reviewed on Sunday, July 13, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great chemical sunscreen
    • This is a great, lightweight chemical sunscreen! I'm glad Paula increased the SPF from 15 to 30. Any chance of another increase to SPF 50? There are sunscreens similar to this one from Peter Thomas Roth and Skinceuticals that are both SPF 50 so it can be done, and done well.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, July 14, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We're always working on new products, so a higher SPF facial moisturizer is a distinct possibility!

    —Admin
  21. T.C.
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 10, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    love it
    • At 45, i've finally realized not protecting my face from the sun has been a big mistake. I really love this moisturizer because while at first it seems too runny, it goes on beautifully and my skin still feels natural. I see people have complained about shine but for me i'm glad this product isn't too mattifying, it allows your natural 'glow' to come through throughout the day. Add SPF & ingredients to nourish the skin - and of course no testing on animals - and you have a winner. Big thumbs up!

  22. Anon
    Reviewed on Friday, July 04, 2014
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Stings!
    • Having had great success with other products in the Skin Balancing line, as well as the Hydralight SPF moisturizer, I tried a sample of this with high hopes. Its application was okay, but it stung my face pretty noticeably on both occasions that I applied it. My skin is not sensitive or prone to that kind of reaction, so I was surprised. I'll be sticking to Resist Superlight and Hydralight sunscreens for now.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Monday, July 14, 2014

    Thanks for your review! We're sorry your skin wasn't able to tolerate this sunscreen. Sometimes, the so-called "chemical" sunscreen combinations can cause a stinging sensation, which is why we also offer mineral (titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide) formulas. Please contact us for a refund or exchange.

    —Admin
  23. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Thursday, July 03, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great SPF 30
    • I live in Los Angeles, so a daily moisturizer with SPF 30 is key for me. I'm thrilled that the Skin Balancing Kit bumped up the sun protection from SPF 15 to SPF 30, and I've had great results with this product! It doesn't cause my combination skin to break out, but it gives me the sun protection I need. I use it every day and feel safe knowing that my skin isn't being damaged by the L.A. sun.

  24. Robin T.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, June 25, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Cleaning up last years sun splotches
    • I live in Texas & walk my dogs regularly which gives me lots of time in the sun. In Paula's Beauty Bible, she says sun exposure increases if not causes wrinkles and skin aging. She recommends using enough protective clothing & sunscreen so one's skin color does not change color. Wow, that really hit home to me. I wasn't protecting my skin nearly enough. Now the summer is heating up & I'm getting paler. Some scars are fading too. This is less oily than a prior brand I thought was the least oily.

  25. Cecilia S.
    Reviewed on Saturday, June 21, 2014
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    no matte finish, but
    • No matte finish but it feels soooo good on my face. My face is left soft , smooth and moisturized. Can't wait to try more of Paula's products.

Page of 8 Next »

What makes this product unique?
Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 is a sheer, very fluid daytime moisturizer that offers multiple anti-aging benefits for combination to oily skin. The silky, thin formula provides broad-spectrum sun protection to prevent and reduce wrinkles and brown spots. It’s loaded with potent antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients proven to help your skin look and act younger while minimizing oil and smoothing dryness. Your skin will feel soft and have a fresh matte finish. With daily use, your complexion becomes younger-looking and healthier, and you’ll see discolorations fade. Perfect as the last step in your skincare routine before makeup!

This product contains no added dyes, is 100% fragrance-free, and is clinically proven to be non-irritating.

Who is this product for?
Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense is a specially formulated anti-aging daytime moisturizer for normal to oily or combination skin. Excellent for those prone to breakouts.

Sources to support the claims made for Skin Balancing Daily Defense SPF 30

Archives of Dermatological Research, March 2010, pages 71–83; Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, September 2009, pages 299–304; Skin Research and Technology, August 2009, pages 338–345; Dermatologic Surgery, July 2009, pages 1,057–1,065; Experimental Dermatology, June 2009, pages 522–526; Clinics in Dermatology, November-December 2008, pages 614–626; Skin Therapy Letter, September 2008, pages 5–9; Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, July 2008, pages S7–S12; Food and Chemical Toxicology, April 2008, pages 1,298–1,307; Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Volume 72, pages 796–806; Future Oncology, December 2008, pages 841–856; Journal of Pathology, January 2007, 241–251; International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology, July-September 2005, pages 497-502; Journal of Investigative Dermatology, January 2002, pages 117–125; Clinical Experimental Dermatology, October 2001, pages 573–577; and Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, September 1999, pages 661–665.

Key Ingredients: octocrylene, phospholipid, adenosine , Boerhavia diffusa root extract, silica, Salix alba extract, avobenzone, superoxide dismutase, ascorbyl palmitate, bisabolol, homosalate, Camellia sinensis, Ginkgo biloba leaf extract, tocopherol, colloidal oatmeal, oxybenzone

Product Ingredients:

Active Ingredients: Oxybenzone 4%; Avobenzone 3%; Homosalate 7%; and Octocrylene 2%; (sunscreen agents).
Other Ingredients: Water, Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Silica (absorbent), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder (water-binding agent), Ascorbyl Palmitate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Phospholipids (cell-communicating ingredient), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant enzyme), Adenosine (cell-communicating ingredient), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidant/anti-irritant plant extract), Colloidal Oatmeal (plant-based anti-irritant), Panthenol (skin-conditioning agent), Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract (anti-irritant), Cetyl Dimethicone (silicone-based emollient), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate (absorbent/thickener), Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (film-forming agent), Titanium Dioxide (opacifying agent), Sorbic Acid (preservative), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Steareth-21, Steareth-2, Polysorbate-20 (emulsifiers), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative).

DIRECTIONS: Apply liberally before sun exposure as the last step in your morning skincare routine. Allow a moment to dry before applying makeup. For extra sun protection and to create a flawless finish, follow with a Paula’s Choice foundation and pressed powder with sunscreen.

Detailed instructions on how/when to apply your Paula's Choice products can be found in our How to Put Together Your Own Skincare Routine article.

Should I reapply Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense during the day?

As with any SPF-rated product, you'll need to reapply every 2 hours if you've been perspiring or have engaged in activities that may cause the sunscreen to become diluted or wear off, such as going for a swim. For casual, limited sun exposure on a daily basis when you're not perspiring, reapplication isn't necessary. For long days outdoors, most experts recommend reapplying at regular intervals, as well as seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and limiting your time in direct sunlight during peak hours (typically between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.).

How does Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 differ from your former Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15?

The major difference is the significant increase in SPF ratings. Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense also contains a higher amount of avobenzone and no longer contains octinoxate as an active ingredient, as some people find that sensitizing when used around the eyes, and we wanted to avoid that potential issue.

One other difference is that Skin Balancing Daily Mattifying Lotion SPF 15 contained the cell-communicating ingredient niacinamide, whereas the updated Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 does not. Instead, the current formula contains a different mix of cell-communicating ingredients. Also, the latest version contains a broader range of antioxidants, including stabilized vitamin C and pure vitamin E—both known to boost skin's environmental defenses and help prevent collagen breakdown.

Is Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30 suitable for breakout-prone skin?

Yes. Its lightweight, fluid texture and soft matte finish are ideal for breakout-prone skin. This daytime moisturizer with sunscreen also works beautifully under makeup or applied over any Paula's Choice serum.

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