Paula’s Choice offers wide selection of sunscreens and I’ve tried most that (remotely) fit my skin type, but there are three sunscreens that I bought more than once.
There are some similarities between these three – they all provide broad-spectrum coverage and SPF 30 or higher (I believe that can be sad about all Paula’s Choice sunscreens). All three are labeled “for normal, oily, combination skin”. Also, all three of these are not water-resistant, so they are not ideal for day at the pool or other activities involving water or intense sweating. Despite these similarities all three sunscreens are very different.
Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – it’s been my “go-to” sunscreen since last spring. It’s very light. It takes a minute to adsorb, but after that it provides matte finish. This sunscreen works great under makeup. It’s not greasy, smelly or comedogenic, which are my main sunscreen peeves. It’s gentle enough to be used under eyes. It’s my favorite one of these three and one of all time favorites. It’s almost perfect. My only complain is that it burns when I accidently get it into my eyes, which I do more often than I care to admit. Yes, I know I’m not supposed to do that, but my eyes get itchy due to combination of allergies and contact lenses… and I rub them… then I remember multiple reasons why I shouldn’t… Anyway, this would probably happen with any chemical sunscreen and rinsing my eyes solves the issue.
Hydralight Shine-Free Daily Mineral Complex Broad Spectrum SPF 30 – the only physical sunscreen in this selection. It feels incredibly light and pleasant, almost soothing when I apply it to my skin. Also, it’s the only one that doesn’t make my eyes burn. However, it comes with all the downsides of mineral sunscreen, like white cast and potential for greasy shine. Combine it with oily skin and the result can be not pretty. Dusting some powder on top of it makes things better and I usually can get away with some concealer underneath, but, in general, it’s not sunscreen that plays well with makeup. I’m wondering why it’s marketed for “normal to oily” skin and what “normal to dry” version is like. This sunscreen is not for the days when you want to impress. It’s sunscreen for lazy weekends, running errands, etc. It is also the sunscreen I go for if my skin is irritated and chemical sunscreens feel uncomfortable. So I would imagine it’s a good option for sensitive skin. It’s worth noting that it lacks typical sunscreen smell (or any smell really) and I appreciate that.
Note: Paula’s Choice announced that Hydralight line is being replaced by the new Calm line and some products are reformulated. However, the sunscreen formula is not changing. So Calm SPF 30 Moisturizer for Normal to Oily skin is supposed to be identical to Hydralight sunscreen.
Resist Youth-Extending Daily Mattifying Fluid Broad Spectrum SPF 50 – the highest SPF of these three. It is a bit heavier than Skin Balancing SPF 30, but still impressively light for it’s hefty SPF rating. It can be worn under makeup. A few month ago I got suspicion that it caused a bunch of tiny breakouts on my forehead (mentioned that in September Empties post), but after going through half of the second tube I don’t think so anymore. I think my hair products were responsible for that. However, I do think that it has some comedogenic potential and increases number of blackheads I get. Using facial sponge on daily basis helps to manage that unpleasant side effect. I would imagine chemical exfoliation would help as well. This is the sunscreen I use when I plan to spend a lot of time outside. Since Resist Youth-Extending sunscreen is not water-resistant, I add a layer of CoTZ Natural Skin Tone on top of it, if I plan on being in the water.
Bottom Line: Hydralight Shine-Free Daily Mineral Complex is slowly falling out of my favor, mostly due to the fact that that is totally not “shine-free” and it feels like the issue has gotten worse lately. Maybe the fact that I moved to warmer and more humid area has something to do with it. However, Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense and Resist Youth-Extending Daily Mattifying Fluid are going strong. I’m going to continue using them and keep fingers crossed they get discontinued.
Paula’s Choice makes some great sunscreens. If you would like to try them (or any other products) feel free to use my referral link to get $10 off your first order of $15 or more (I will get $10 of store credit)