Remember being a teenager, and laying out on the beach covered in suntan oil? I sure do; not to date myself too much here, but there were a few weekends on the Jersey shore, Bon Jovi or Springsteen blasting from my boombox, that ended up with me literally having second-degree burns across my cheekbones.
Times have changed, and not just for this former Jersey girl. Most conscientious parents don’t take their kids our for a day at the beach or on a desert trip without packing a tube of sunblock. A minimum SPF of 30 is recommended, and beyond that, until recently I hadn’t put much thought into particular brands and types of sunblock for skin care. Lately, though, I’ve gotten fed up with that always-shiny look that slathered-on sunblock provides. Is it just me and my tempermental skin? In any case, I decided to go upscale and buy what can only be called three “luxury brands” of sunblock, and rate them.
The first high end sunblock I tried was Neutrogena’s UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, SPF 30. It also comes with an SPF of up to 70 – useful, I suppose, if you tend to forget to reapply your sunblock. Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-touch promised to be fast absorbing, with a clean, weightless feel. On the back of the tube, Neutrogena claims that this sunblock provides a non-shiny finish. Perfect! Yes, it was significantly less oily feeling than other sunblocks I’ve used, and well, SPF 30 is about what I need for daily life out and about in Los Angeles. It’s also waterproof, but I don’t think I saw any brands of sunblock that didn’t claim to be waterproof.
The second one I got was Biotherm Antirides Solaire Visage, or sunscreen for the face, SPF 15. The sunscreen also claims to be a waterproof, non-greasy formula, and has antioxidants for skin care. Okay, first of all, I could only find this sunscreen with SPFs of 8 and 15, which are both less than what dermatologists recommend for direct sunlight exposure. Second, what’s with the French? I’m just browsing in my local drug store here, I’m not in Paris. It seems a little pretentious, even for, well, me. Biotherm didn’t protect me from those harmful rays to the same degree as Neutrogena, and my face got as shiny from this as it does with so-called lesser brands of sunblock.
The last luxury brand of sunblock that I tried is made by Azur. Marketed as tearless solar protection (fancy way of saying sunblock), Azur comes in SPFs of 30 and 40. It’s also scentless and safe to apply right around the eyes. This is the most water-resistant sunblock I tried. In fact, at night, it took some extra soap on the washcloth to get the slick residue completely off. This is great for active adults and children; in fact, there is a formula just for kids with an SPF of 40. I liked that Azur came in travel friendly sizes of 1.7 ounce tubes – no need to see luxury products get confiscated by overeager TSA employees. I didn’t like that the 1.7 ounce tubes cost $24 (for SPF 30) and $27 (for SPF 40). At that price point, I’d expect my sunblock to also be able to give me an oceanside massage, or at least babysit my kids while I relax in the sand with a paperback.
The winner? Out of these three luxury brands of sunblock, I most liked the Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch. It had the right amount of protection from the ultraviolet rays, it was around $12 or $13 (a decent price for a high-end brand), and my face didn’t get as shiny as it did with the others. The Neutrogena brand is the top-rated sunblock of the three tested by this Vacation Gal!