Product Review: Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion

For those of you faithful ReadHead readers (thank you!) you have read about my past abuse to my skin a la the sun.  I went from worshiper to demonizer in as fast as you can say UV.  Thanks to this trusty sunscreen – Neutrogena’s Beach Defense Sunscreen Lotion – I can go back to feeling safe but not like I have to wear a head-to-toe shield from sun Armageddon whilst taking a brisk walk on the sand.

This sunscreen is readily available in drugstores and online, and frequently has sales.  I have become sort of a hoarder of this lotion for that reason and will impose my will of “you NEED to use THIS” to all my friends.

First things are first.  I am not an ingredient purist when it comes to sunscreen.  There are others, like the Honest Company and other organic/vegan/crunchy companies that probably make things a little (or a lot) less chemical-laden than this one.  If that is important to you, understandable.  What’s important to me is that it’s no hassle and WORKS.

That out of the way, this is the BEST sunscreen I have used hands down and is a Certified ReadHead Best.  Read on for more deets:

What it is

Here’s the description from Ulta’s website: The first line of sunscreen by Neutrogena clinically proven to provide multi skin defense from sun + water damage; a full body suncare and outdoor skin protection for the active family.

Ingredients: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene, Oxybenzone, Water, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Dimethicone, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Benzyl Alcohol, Silica, Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Trisiloxane, Cetyl Dimethicone, Beeswax, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Polyacrylate, Xanthan Gum, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Acrylates/C12-22 Alkyl Methacrylate Copolymer, Behenyl Alcohol, Trideceth-6, Disodium EDTA, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance.

This is a chemical sunscreen (vs. physical). There are a few ingredients in here that are of concern for the EWG – namely oxybenzone.  However, these ingredients are common in effective sunscreens.  To my earlier point above, you will need to weigh your options and decide for yourself on what you deem more harmful; the occasional sunscreen slathering or the sun’s rays.  I happen to be OK with some chemicals that will help prevent skin cancer and premature aging. Chicken or the egg, perhaps.

Options: There are both aerosol spray and lotion options in 30 and 70 SPF.  I prefer lotions because there is less waste and the coverage is better, but I utilize both.

Application: The spray option is just like any other.  It’s a constant stream of spray, doesn’t clog and goes on clear .  I happen to use the 70 SPF lotion.  Unlike others I’ve used in the past, this stuff goes on like a dream.  It spreads easily and is more of a lotion texture vs. the sticky glue-like consistency of others. Immediately after there may be a slight white cast, but after letting this dry down, you can’t tell you have it on.  It even gives you a slightly dewey look without being greasy.  It does have a slightly different fragrance than a typical sunscreen which I happen to really enjoy but it’s not faint.  Those who are sensitive to fragrance should do a sniff test first.

Performance: For a sunscreen to work as it should, you need to make sure you’re using the proper amount with good coverage, and let it soak in for 30 + min before you go outside.  I use the lotion for this purpose and then bring the spray with me for easier application with sand, etc.  If you use the product in its intended way and use other proper protection methods, the lasting performance of this will exceed expectation.  I spent a week in Jamaica and Costa Rica with 0 base tan (I was as white as I was out of the womb) and did not burn once.  This was while playing volleyball for hours on the sand and ziplining right near the equator. I even (gasp!!!) used this on my face because I didn’t think my 55 zero oil for acne prone weenies would work given my propensity for retinol and peels and did not break out. PERFECTO.  Pale friends rejoice!

Price: For around $12 a bottle, it’s not outrageously priced given it’s performance.  This is also why I like the lotion better to eliminate waste.

Overall:  This is my 100% go-to for sunscreen.  It smells great, spreads easily, is easy for me to get, leaves little-to-no white cast, still allows me to get some color and keeps me from burning.  I really can’t ask for anything more from a sunscreen.  Thanks, Neutrogena!

Overall Rating: 5/5

*Certified ReadHead Best

Price: $$$$$

Packaging: 5/5

Have you used this sunscreen or have one you love? Drop us a line in the comments.

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