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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:

81 out of 100
(Based on 171 Reviews)
« Prev Page of 7 Next »
  1. Vanessa
    Reviewed on Sunday, October 20, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    great for combo/acne prone skin
    • i am so happy i gave this sunscreen a try.I have been searching for a daily spf product that will not break me out and i have found it! I actually love the liquid lotion consistency. It is super light and allows me the option of applying a light serum underneath without feeling like i have too much layered on my face.

  2. TRENA S.
    Reviewed on Saturday, October 19, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Didn't work for me
    • I had high hopes for this sunscreen, but unfortunately it is not a good one for me. The stinging is the worst! I thought I could use it on my body instead but it tends to pill. I have switched to the Resist sunscreen, which is much better.

  3. Lindsay G.
    Reviewed on Friday, October 11, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    perfect for oily skin/acne prone skin
    • I always had oily skin and needed to use an oil blotter at least once per day or more. Since I have been using this product I never need to blot away any oil and my skin looks matte ALL day! This is AMAZING!! I also used to break out constantly on my forehead and I NEVER breakout anymore. Thank you so much Paula!!

  4. Emy N.
    Reviewed on Thursday, October 03, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Love the liquid consistency
    • Unlike some of the other reviews, I actually love the liquid consistency. For years, I had been using Neutrogena ultra sheer liquid SPF 70 on top my moisturizer. Switching to this really benefits my skin with anti-blemish and anti-aging properties, and the best part: all in one simple step.

  5. Melissa K.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, October 02, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    New Formula
    • I have been using the spf 15 version of this product for awhile now, I was so happy when I saw it was reformulated to be spf 30. I've never had an issue with break outs before with the pervious version but this new formula has broken me out so bad since I started using it. Also to formula is very watery compared to old formula which was nice and creamy.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, October 03, 2013

    Thanks for your review! The new formula is slightly thinner than the previous version with SPF 15, which was a thin lotion. Perhaps one of our other SPF-rated products will be a better match for your skin. For some, finding the perfect sunscreen can be a challenge, which is why we offer several options, including those we recommend from other brands.

    —Admin
  6. Anon
    Reviewed on Monday, September 30, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Good stuff
    • I like the liquid consistency. Doesn't burn my sensitive skin. Feels pretty good as far as sunscreen goes ; ) Also, easy to remove. I'll keep buying.

  7. Green V
    Reviewed on Saturday, September 28, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great matte finish, does not dry out
    • I used the RESIST Super-Light Daily Defense SPF 30, it was giving undesirable lines on my face espeically when it dried out. I was not sure about the tint neither as it feels like make up rather than moisturiser. So I decided to try the skin balancing SPF 30. it is amazing! it leaves my skin very smooth. the texture was good. it does not give my face the "colour". It's moisturising enough, does not dry out.

  8. Xiang L.
    Reviewed on Thursday, September 26, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Best
    • This is the best product for oily skin like me!

  9. Jordan
    Reviewed on Thursday, September 26, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Was wary at first but....
    • I was wary of this at first but it has turned out just fine on my skin and I am glad for the extra SPF. (It's the best thing to prevent wrinkles, remember....). It also has an added silicone but it is low on the ingredient list so I did not break out. I don't care what any research says, I am positive that I am sensitive to some type of silicone, if not all, but I am not sure which one. Anyways, the texture is weird going on but dries fine, I love the antioxidants and lightweight moisture.

  10. Katie
    Reviewed on Thursday, September 26, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Wonderful!
    • Wonderful lotion! This lotion is no longer gritty and has a better texture than the old Skin Balancing SPF 15. The ingredients are so repairing and state of the art. I had ordered a tube in April but the new tube from two days ago is great! Best SPF out there with a chemical sunscreen for oily skin!!!!

  11. PATRICK M.
    Reviewed on Monday, September 16, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Burns and Stings
    • I used the SPF 15 predecessor of this product with no issues and really liked it. The first tube of this product, now an SPF 30 (at last!) agreed with my skin very well, the finish was nice and the SPF protection was reliable. However, upon using the second tube of this my skin became highly reactive to it. Extreme stinging around the eye area and my cheeks. Washed my face, tried again a few more times in case it was something else, same bad reaction, a real shame.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Friday, October 18, 2013
    Thank you for sharing your experience, and we're sorry this wasn't a fit for you! Synthetic sunscreens at higher levels (SPF 25 and above) can be sensitizing to some. We would recommend exploring mineral SPF formulas as an alternative (our Hydralight SPF 30 or RESIST Super-Light SPF 30 are excellent options). Be sure to contact our Customer Care with help on refunds or exchanges.
    —Admin
  12. Mark C
    Reviewed on Thursday, September 12, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    OMG I finally found THE ONE !
    • After two decades of looking I found THE BEST sunscreen for my oily super sensitive skin! I worked as an assistant to a Dermatologist in Beverly Hills for almost 10 years and I had access to EVERYTHING but NOTHING has ever come close to how great this is. Paula made an unbelievably light sunscreen that protected my skin and also kept it shine free! Only compliant I have is that the product is a little fluid for the packaging so when I pulled the foil off the top I lost about 1/4 of product :-(

  13. KRISTIN
    Reviewed on Friday, September 06, 2013
    20 out of 100
    • Rating
      Worst / 4
    Wanted to love this
    • Unlike the SPF 15 version, this irritated my face when I used it after my CLEAR Exfoliant. And unfortunately if I don't use a BHA my skin breaks out. If you don't use BHA in the morning or get sunscreen irritation, this would be a great daytime moisturizer. I've been ordering from Paula's Choice for years and this is the first return I've had to make. By far the easiest return I've ever made in my life! Their customer service was outstanding. Just another reason to love Paula's Choice!

  14. Sarah
    Reviewed on Friday, September 06, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    tacky, but not greasy
    • I can definitely feel it "sitting" on my skin throughout the day, which really bothers me. Instead of being the old-school sunscreen texture of greasy, this is slightly tacky. Not sticky tacky, just an annoying and very slightly odd feeling. My absolute favorite texture of any sunscreen that I have found is the Neutrogena clear face liquid lotion sunblock in spf 30, alas, it contains irritating ingredients. If I could have that silky texture with a Paula formulation I would be so happy!

  15. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Monday, September 02, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great, but runs
    • I use this when I don't want to use Moisture Boost, which is my favorite spf. I reviewed this recently, but now I bought the full tube. I wanted to add that it i runny, so don't squeeze hard or leave uncapped though some will get sucked back into the tube, not all will. I had said it's not moisturizing, but it is a little bit, yet still super lightweight. There is some shine, but minimal for spf. Dries so fast it's hard to tell where you put it on. Great choice if you can't use mineral spf.

  16. CHERYL B.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 30, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Great non-greasy sunscreen.
    • Update: When I was slightly disgruntled over the old SPF 15 version being discontinued, I gave this a good review, but want to clarify. This is a VERY good, non-greasy product. I use it on my arms and neck/chest and it leaves no white cast and no tacky or greasy film. RESIST Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 is my new fave for facial use, but this is second best. It does seem to combine with oil on my T-zone and feels a bit heavier there than I'd like, but is far better than most sunscreens.

  17. MARIANNA H.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 30, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Just ok
    • I liked how this didn't make my skin look or feel really greasy and never made me break out, but it stings my face a lot, especially around my nose and eye area. If it didn't sting I would definitely continue to use this, but I think I will exchange it for the resist spf 30 which I sampled and really liked!

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Thursday, September 26, 2013
    Hi there! Thank you for your review. We're sorry this wasn't a fit for you, but glad you found the Paula's Choice alternative that did! Regarding your experience, synthetic sunscreens at higher levels (SPF 25 and above) can be sensitizing to some. In those instances, it's certainly worth exploring mineral SPF formulas as an alternative (like our Hydralight SPF 30 or RESIST Super-Light SPF 30). Be sure to contact our Customer Care with help on refunds or exchanges.
    —Admin
  18. Vicki
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 29, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Love it
    • I loved this product as soon as I tried it. I was a bit surprised by how runny it is, but as soon as it went on, it dried to a matte, non-greasy finish, and it works beautifully under makeup.

  19. anon
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 28, 2013
    60 out of 100
    • Rating
      Neutral / 4
    Not Perfect, but about as light as SPF gets
    • This has been reformulated with smaller beads and is not gritty. Can't feel the beads. Goes on light like a thin watery lotion and dries fast. There is some shine, but it's sheer. Stings a little on raw skin. I use under a tinted moisturizer and on breakout and KP zones. It's not hydrating, so dry areas may need a boost, but it won't clog oily areas. Dried texture is similar to Neutrogena's Sheer Touch. Good for people who break out from minerals. Not love, but glad it's there.

  20. Anonymous
    Reviewed on Friday, August 23, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Great for oily skin
    • My first reaction was that it was runny. Then I realized how easy it is to spread and how my skin doesn't look oily after I apply it. No white cast either. I never before liked the way my skin looked after applying a sunscreen. A bonus is that there is no sunscreen smell. Keep it, please!

  21. NANCY B.
    Reviewed on Thursday, August 22, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    Very Happy With New Formula
    • Thank you for changing the formula back to creamy! I was very disappointed when the formula changed to gritty and watery. I told a CS rep that there was nothing gratifying about putting it on. I tried a few other products but wasn't sold on any of them. Just when I was about to have to have "settle", I received word that the formula had changed due to customer feedback and I immediately ordered it, and I love it! Thank you for caring and taking quick action! Kudos!

  22. Miss Hiss
    Reviewed on Tuesday, August 20, 2013
    80 out of 100
    • Rating
      Good / 4
    Nothing short of a miracle for me
    • With rosacea and menopause to deal with simultaneously, I thought I couldn't use a chemical sunscreen ever again until this one came along! In two and a half months of daily usage, I've had NO negative reactions to this formula! NO milia, and NO white streaks on my black clothing! Only 4 stars because the texture seems "scratchy" when first applied- but NOT a big deal considering the other benefits! Many, many thanks to Paula and her research team!

  23. LAWRENCE G.
    Reviewed on Monday, August 19, 2013
    100 out of 100
    • Rating
      Best / 4
    I have the perfect solution.....
    • I am currently using Ultra Sheer Daily Defense, and while it is still just a tiny bit shiny after application, I found the perfect solution. I smooth a bit of Shine Stopper on top over my t-zone and it is a miracle. It controls oil for the entire day! It is amazing! All of you that are having shine issues should consider trying this, It truly creates a perfect matte finish that lasts.

  24. JOANNE C.
    Reviewed on Friday, August 16, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Disappointed
    • Well, I gave this a few weeks to see if I would like it any better...but unfortunately, I don't. I don't mind that it is runny, since I've been using Asian sunscreens that are fluid-like. The slight grittiness doesn't bother me, either. My makeup applies beautifully over this sunscreen. What's the deal breaker is that it leaves my face slick and greasy after a couple of hours. Not ideal for a product marketed for oily skin or at this price point!

  25. LISA B.
    Reviewed on Wednesday, August 14, 2013
    40 out of 100
    • Rating
      Poor / 4
    Disappointed
    • I have been using Paula's products for years and normally they have all been good or great for my skin but this one for some reason caused breakouts. It was the only new thing that I used. I should have returned it when I had the opportunity but I did not use it right away. It was just recently that I used it several days in a row and then all the breakouts occurred. I will not repurchase sorry.

    Customer Service Response
    Replied on: Wednesday, August 14, 2013
    Thank you for your review! We are so sorry to hear this product didn't work out for you. This product does not contain any commonly problematic ingredients but we understand that everyone's skin responds differently. Most often, breakouts experienced after using any product is pure coincidence. The breakouts also may coincide with hormonal fluctuations. That being said we want you to be 100% satisfied with your purchase so please feel free to contact our Customer Care Team for assistance with a return or exchange. They are always happy to help!
    —Admin
« Prev Page of 7 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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