Growing up in Florida I had tan skin year ‘round. I wasn’t a huge sunbather, but just going about my regular scheduled activities in 90-degree weather was enough to keep me with a dark brown complexion that I always assumed was natural. I can remember my mother constantly nagging at my sisters and me to "remember to use sunscreen," but of course by the time we reached the pool or beach her pleas were forgotten. Instead, we would opt for tanning lotion with SPF 4 or even worse—sometimes baby oil. Yes, part of it was that we felt a little rebellious shrugging off our mother's concerns, but the other—maybe the most important thing to note—is that the sunscreens available to us at the time were mediocre at best. I'm sure your mind has now conjured up an image of an orange Banana Boat bottle or perhaps a pale pink tube with a blond baby on it. Whatever brand you may have used, as a child in the United States it really doesn't matter because the differences end at the packaging. The formula was always much too thick to go onto the face without clogging pores, and always seemed to leave behind an unpleasant white cast and strong smell.
It wasn’t until my early twenties when I moved from the sunshine state to the heart of the Midwest and experienced my first winter that I realized I was not naturally tan. Even after I shed my Florida skin, I still had no interest in sunscreen. It does get pretty sunny here in Chicago during the summer months, but with my limited exposure to the sun, I figured my skin was fine because my foundation always had at least SPF 15 (I know, I was a fool.)
I didn’t become a self-professed sunscreen addict until after a long day outdoors at a music festival. When I came home and looked at myself in the mirror, I was completely shocked at my reflection. My forehead and cheeks were a shade of red that I never knew possible. The next day, when the pain set in, I made it a mission to protect my skin. I went to CVS and was initially very impressed with all the new sunscreen products on the market. I purchased a spray can for my body, and then on a recommendation from my mom, I picked up the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen that boasted a broad spectrum of SPF 70.
With my new sunscreens in tow, I made it a point never to leave the house without my face and body being significantly coated. I even started to nag my boyfriend about the importance of wearing sunscreen daily. Thus, proving we are all destined to become our mothers. After a couple of months of incorporating my new finds into my daily routine, I began to realize that even though these sunblock’s had new packaging and cool delivery, they weren’t very different in formula than the sunscreens from my childhood. The spray can formula went on easily and dried fast, but after an hour of wear, it began to ball up and peel off the skin. Which, as you can imagine, was very embarrassing. I stopped using it opting instead for a more traditional SPF lotion on my body.
I kept the Ultra Sheer in my routine, but after some time of regular use, my face began to break out. I also found that it never seemed to play well with my foundation. Another reason I knew I had to ditch it was because even though it was a very sheer and seemingly fluid consistency, it did not go onto the skin easily. I had to tug to apply it, and once I did cover my face, I noticed that it left behind the universally unflattering white cast.
Even though the Ultra Sheer didn’t cut it for facial wear, I still loved its SPF70 claims, so I now solely use Ultra Sheer as protection for my hands. It might seem silly, but we all have to remember that it's very important to protect our hands and necks from the sun because they are one of the first parts of our bodies to show aging.
With my first sunscreen picks leaving much to be desired, I knew that I had to use something. I refused to let the sun steal my youth. So I made it my mission to find the best sunscreens on the market focusing mainly on facial use. I hope you all will keep returning to see how I score my new sunscreen finds.
I would also love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below to share your holy grail sunscreens. Im also looking to add to my collection!
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Sunscreen Verdict:
- Broad spectrum SPF 70
- UVB protection
- Fluid consistency
- Strong sunscreen scent
- Hard to blend
- White cast
- Clogs pores
This rating is based on facial use. The Ultra Sheer breaks two of the cardinal rules of sunscreen use by clogging pores and leaving behind a white cast. There are several better sun protection alternatives on the Asian and European markets.