Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunblock Gel

After my trial of Neutrogena's UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock, I was hopeful that the Sunblock Gel would offer the same great coverage (the active ingredients are nearly the same) but with a much lighter feel that I would be able to tolerate for everyday, more active activities. I'd like to point out that I normally love Neutrogena's sunscreens, but these new formulations.... um.... yeah.

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 30 and SPF 45 (my choice). Note that these are the same ingredients but with only very slightly different percentages than Neutrogena's UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock.

Active Ingredients:
• Avobenzone (3%)- AKA- Parsol 1789, Long Wave UVA
• Homosalate (15%)- UVB
• Octisalate (5%)- AKA Octyl Salicylate, UVB
• Octocrylene (4%)- UVB
• Oxybenzone (6%)-Short Wave UVA

Inactive Ingredients: SD Alcohol 40B, Silica, Diethylhexyl 2,6-Naphthalate, CyclopentaSiloxane, Hydroxypropyl Cellulose, Polyquaternium 37, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Menthol, Fragrance

The Promises
• Cools and revives skin on contact
• Non-greasy, lightweight formula absorbs quickly
• Oil-free, non-comedogenic
• Waterproof, sweatproof, resists rub-off

The Sunscreen Experience
I was very hopeful for this to be my all-time favorite sunscreen after reviewing the ingredients. Such great UVA/UVB protection in a gel? Just thinking about a gel makes me imagine something light that sinks fully into my skin without residue. That's not the case here.

First, this gel smells absolutely horrible at first. Truly, it smells like a bug repellant. When first squeezed out of the tube this smell is very overwhelming, and it can take up to an hour to fade away fully after application. Which gives you a full 60 minutes to enjoy the fact that the smell is gone before it is time to reapply.

It truly is a gel, but there is an art to applying this sunscreen correctly. You spread it into a thin layer on your skin. Avoid any urge to fully rub it in as you would a lotion, doing so causes the gel to clump together. It looks like you're rubbing off dead skin. Once this starts, you can not stop it from rubbing off in this manner, all further applications will just rub off in this manner as well. The gel feels light on the skin if it is applied properly, though the skin is greasy to the touch.

As with all Neutrogena products, this sunscreen is easy to find and buy. I love that you can get it in Multi-packs from

The Verdict
Despite the great UV coverage, I'm not sure that this is a product I would use again. It would be good for an active activity such as tennis, when you want great coverage, a light feel (until you touch your skin) in a sweat-proof formula.

However, given the strange peeling issues and the greasy feel, this is most definitely not an everyday sunscreen. It's also not one that I would use for just sitting around the pool.

Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunblock Gel


  1. I've tried gel sunscreens before too and they are always so greasy! What's up with that? I agree with you that the word "gel" on the label conjures up images of it sinking cleanly into the skin. In my opinion, sunscreen like this should be labeled "fresh cooling sunblock Slime"!

  2. Thanks for the super helpful review! This is a product I'm going to avoid for sure. I can't tolerate strong scents and 'peelies,' especially for an every day product.


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