Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock

I have a long, well known love affair with all things Neutrogena. The company has great technology, great products that are very easily available and at a very affordable price. When on vacation I frequently rely on a Neutrogena sunscreen to protect my skin from the sun.

So, I was particularly excited to try out the new UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock. It’s already won an Editor’s Choice Award from Allure, so it has a lot to live up to!

A quick review of the active ingredients below will show you that this sunscreen has great broad spectrum coverage. (Refer to Sunscreen Ingredients Post)

As well, Neutrogena makes a big deal about Helioplex™ in the formula. That is the combination of Avobenzone and Oxybenzone together, decreasing the breakdown of Avobenzone and therefore improving AVA protection.

Overall, you would be very hard pressed to find better protection. The sunscreen is available in both SPF 55 and SPF 70 (my choice).

Active Ingredients:
• Avobenzone (3.0%)- AKA- Parsol 1789, Long Wave UVA
• Homosalate (15.0%)- UVB
• Octisalate (5.0%)- AKA Octyl Salicylate, UVB
• Octocrylene (2.8%)- UVB
• Oxybenzone (6.0%)-Short Wave UVA

Inactive Ingredients:
Water, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Diethylhexyl 2, 6 – Napthalate, Beeswax, Caprylyl Methicone, Cetyl Dimethicone, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, BHT, Dimethicone, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG – 100 Stearate, Sodium Polyacrylate, Acrylates/C12 – 22 Alkylmethacrylate Copolymer, Ethylhexyl Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Trideceth – 6, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Disodium EDTA, Polyaminopropyl Biguanide, Methylisothiazolinone, Fragrance.

The Promises
Neutrogena states that this formula is:
• Fast Absorbing
• Leaves skin soft and smooth
• Waterproof, Sweatproof
• Non-Comedogenic
• Oil free and PABA free

The Sunscreen Experience
I have to say that I don’t agree with the name “UltraSheer Dry-Touch” for this sunscreen. It is a thick white lotion, that can at times be difficult to rub in. Once on your skin, it has an odd powdery feeling, like you added baby powder to it. It’s somehow powdery and greasy at once. This coating does feel rather thick on the skin, and this problem is really only compounded when you reapply.

In addition, I find the smell to be a strange chemical, light sunscreen and powder smell. It’s not horrible, but is a bit bothersome anyways.

Neutrogena is easily found at nearly every mass market store, from Target to CVS and even the mini-mart in my Shell Gas Station. I love that you can buy a Multi-Pack from, making you more likely to actually apply that 1 ounce!

The Verdict
These factors make me feel strongly that this in not a good choice for everyday sunscreen. I’d gladly wear it by the pool in Hawaii, but I can not imagine wearing this sunscreen for a more active activity like tennis or golf. The hunt for a high SPF everyday sunscreen continues!

Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock



  1. March 30, 2008 / 9:44 pm

    Thanks – good review! I was looking at it in the drugstore … glad I didn’t buy it!

  2. March 31, 2008 / 3:52 am

    Great review! I’m curious about Mac Prep & Prime SPF 50. Will you be looking into it?

  3. March 31, 2008 / 4:18 am

    I hadn’t been planning on checking out that MAC product, but I’m adding it to my list now!

  4. March 31, 2008 / 5:23 am

    I use this sunscreen everyday (and I live in Singapore, we’re right smack on the equator) and I personally feel it’s really good. It gives my skin a velvety feel and with just a little loose powder the shine is taken care of. =)

  5. March 31, 2008 / 9:56 am

    Thanks, Christine! I have somewhat high hopes for that as a daily use high spf. But if you can find a more affordable one, I will love you forever!

  6. Anonymous
    April 1, 2008 / 3:28 am

    I have a suggestion… I have been using this same Neutrogena sunscreen for a couple years (it’s not brand new), and I have tried the different levels of SPF – I used the SPF 30 for a long time and also the SPF 45. Last year they came out with the SPF 55 so I thought I’d try it out – and I hated it. It was a lot thicker and sticky in formula and less wearable for everyday than the 30 and 45. So… my theory is that it has something to do with the higher SPF. I found that the 45 if even slightly thicker than the 30. I went back to the 30 because it IS very sheer and makeup goes on great over it. Once it’s dry, I can barely tell I have it on. I think for every day, SPF 30 is high enough. I use the 55 if I go to the beach. I think if you tried the 30, you’d like it much, much better.

  7. April 1, 2008 / 4:36 am

    Anon- While I do like the idea of trying another sunscreen that I might like better, this formulation is only available (and has only ever been available in) SPF 55 and 70. This sunscreen has only been out for about 12 months, so I think you may be referring to an older Neutrogena formula that came in a similar bottle but was not labeled Ultra-Sheer with Helioplex.

    Personally, I wear SPF 15 on my face everyday, I wear SPF 30 or 45 on days that I spend more time than usual outside (eg- outside at a kid’s birthday party), and I wear 50-70 when at the pool/beach. Any less than that with that sort of exposure (usually this is only in Hawaii) and I turn a freckled mess!

  8. Anonymous
    April 1, 2008 / 6:34 am

    Ah, I see – I see what you’re saying – I looked at the Neutrogena website and see that the SPF 30 and 45 Ultra-Sheer do not contain the Helioplex. I’m wondering if that helioplex formulation is what thickens up the lotion?? If you’re not bent on having one with that complex in it, the 30 might work. I originally started using it because I was trying to find something less expensive and similar in texture to DDF Matte Finish Photo-Age (also a good one) for daily use over moisturizer.

    On a somewhat related note… I don’t know if you’re into trying eye creams w/ SPF but I’d love to hear your thoughts on a product by Khiels – Ultra Moisturizing Eye Stick SPF 30. Love your blog! 🙂

  9. April 1, 2008 / 9:21 am

    There’s a stick??? That sounds great. I’ll have to add that to my list of products to check out!

  10. April 3, 2008 / 1:51 pm

    Oh, I’m so sad to hear that you had a bad experience with the Neutrogena sunblocks. I’ve been SUCH a huge fan of these when they came out last year. I love that the lotion dries to a dry powdery finish unlike most lotions. Now I don’t stick to everything.

  11. April 3, 2008 / 1:55 pm

    You’re right, my 45 is just the Ultra-sheer without Helioplex. At any rate, this version that I’m currently using is fantastic all over.

  12. Anonymous
    April 3, 2008 / 7:41 pm

    I’d love to see you do a review of Sofina Pefect UV Lucent SPF 50+ PA+++ (formerly named UV Cut Milk Extra Block)

    which so many seem to rave about.

  13. catherine
    April 5, 2008 / 6:14 pm

    it’s interesting how you mentioned that helioplex is the avobenzone and oxybenzone…i have the old SPF 45 that doesn’t say helioplex on it, and it still has avobenzone and oxybenzone in it. i’m still in love with it. it doesn’t sound anything like you described, though.

  14. April 6, 2008 / 10:17 pm

    This is the sunscreen (well the 45 spf version) I wore once when I spent a few hours at the pool, and I came home with dark, freckled skin. I applied it once an hour, and I felt like my body and face were on fire! I have concluded that Avobenzene does not work at all on my skin – well it keeps me from burning, but not tanning. My favorite every day sunscreen is Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55. But it’s expensive, so I only use it on my face.

  15. Anonymous
    April 7, 2008 / 2:15 am

    I use the SPF 45 Dry Touch one and find it very light and easy to apply. I was gonna try the higher spf one, but I guess I should just stick to what works….Thansk!

  16. Anonymous
    May 7, 2008 / 2:40 am

    Just love the dry touch sunscreens from Neutrogena and have abandoned all moisturizers for several years now in favor of this. I now use SPF55 with helioplex and really like feeling greaseless while wearing sunscreen to protect my face and other parts of me that are exposed to the sun when I am out in the sun between 10 AM to 4 PM. I am a redhead, so protecting my skin after my childhood with no sunscreen availability is very important to me. I visit the dermatologist once per year and appreciate that my skin care routine is keeping me in the clear for skin cancer, not to mention that I do look younger as a result. Way to go, Neutrogena!

  17. Anonymous
    December 27, 2012 / 10:13 pm

    I have only just started using the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer with the helioplex and it has actually help the dry skin on my face as well as keeping the sun out. I am wondering as the doctor has advised me that it is somthing I should do as soon as I get out of bed every day, how it will feel long term.

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