Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: Coppertone Clearly Sheer Sunscreens (SPF 30 lotion and SPF 50 spray)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.
I know what I like when it comes to sunscreen for my face, and I'm pretty devoted to the one I use. It's pretty pricy, though, so I prefer to use more affordable options on other parts of my body, so that I don't find myself skimping. I'm much less picky about what sunscreen goes below my neck, so long as it works, but there are definitely better and worse options out there.

When the most recent BzzAgent campaign I got into was for sunscreen, and I got a couple of bottles to test for free, I was pretty happy to try them. I'd been using this junk that I bought last year, just to get rid of it, and it's so terrible that even light friction from bra straps or other parts of my clothing are enough to rub it completely off and cause me to burn in certain areas. Ugh. Since I burn really easily, and I pretty much don't tan, I just slather on the sunscreen whenever I'm going to spend any time outside. There's no point hoping to get any color - and that's not important to me anyway. Besides, my freckles will pop out even with sunscreen, and isn't that really what matters?

BzzAgent sent me two new Coppertone sunscreens. One is the SPF 30 Clearly Sheer For Sunny Days lotion, and the other is the SPF 50 Clearly Sheer For Beach & Pool aerosol spray. Both contain a combination of avobenzone and other chemical sunscreen ingredients, so if you're sensitive to those, these won't be right for you - but I personally prefer them. They have the advantage of not creating a white tint on your skin or reflecting in flash photography, and they also don't clog my pores like mineral/physical sunscreens do (though I know the latter problem is a rare one). These sunscreens are quite affordable, in the $8-10 range, depending on where you find them.

I tried the SPF 30 lotion first. Even though I prefer a liquid on my face, I was curious how this would work as an everyday facial sunscreen. They sell another option that is labeled for use on the face (in a smaller bottle), but the marketing copy on the BzzAgent website says that the one they sent is "face friendly," "won't clog pores," and that its "matte finish is perfect under makeup." Sounds good.

Another selling point for this stuff is, apparently, the fragrance. The website has a lot to say about how the different varieties have different fragrances that were specially chosen after testing a bunch of options, etc. Personally, for skincare products that I'm using on my face, I prefer no scent at all. The SPF 30 pretty much smells like a typical sunscreen with a light floral scent, which is rather strong when it's used on the face (you know, up close to your nose). I don't think that is a benefit of this sunscreen, but a drawback. It's not terrible - it's just not a plus.

The SPF 30 lotion spreads smoothly on the skin, is easy to apply in an even layer, and it feels moisturizing. It is kind of filmy like sunscreen lotions tend to be. The biggest downside to using this on your face is that it balls up fairly easily as you rub it in. I ended up with a lot of white chunks/flakes on my face, especially in my eyebrows. Ick. On the positive side, it doesn't really feel greasy, and it has a matte finish. It does slightly burn on the skin around the eyes, but not as bad as some other SPF 30s I've tried. It's less burny than the similar Neutrogena sunscreens, which I find sting all over my face for the first minute or two. This Coppertone version is also more moisturizing than Neutrogena, but still with a matte finish, which makes it a good option if you like to use a combination sunscreen-moisturizer on your face. It worked perfectly fine under makeup (once I carefully brushed away all the white balls). I'd say it's no better or worse than your typical facial moisturizer with fragrance and SPF.

The fragrance and texture makes it a less than ideal choice in light of my picky, picky princess demands for a facial sunscreen, though, so I also tested it out on my body. That is what I was hoping to use it for anyway. It worked great. I sat in the sun for a few hours with this stuff all over my arms and neck and chest, and my very pale skin didn't burn or even tan at all. I'd still prefer no fragrance, though, since it lingers on the skin. I didn't notice any balling up elsewhere on my body, so it's possible that some other product I use on my face in combination with the sunscreen caused that effect, but I'm not about to go changing my whole routine just to fit this in. Still, it's worth mentioning that that is not a problem that everyone will necessarily experience.

I also tested out the SPF 50 in the aerosol can, though just on my body. While I do like a liquid/spray sunscreen for my face, I think those work better from a regular spray bottle, since you have to spray it in your hand and then apply it. An aerosol can makes too much of a mess to use indoors, in my opinion. One thing to keep in mind when using any spray sunscreen is how much product you actually have to apply to get close to the labeled SPF rating. Most people just spritz it around, and most of it blows away in the wind, and so they're not really protected. You need to spray on a heavy layer AND spread it evenly over your skin with your hands.

This spray has a typical beachy sunscreen scent. I'm not sure how to describe it, but I'm sure you've smelled it before. Maybe a little coconut? The fragrance in this one is really, really strong. I ended up washing all of it off as soon as I got back home, because I found it so cloying. I'm not a fan. Again, I don't think the scent is a positive feature. The SPF 50 feels greasier on the skin than the SPF 30, but that's just the way it works when it comes to sunscreen. It's hard to make a light feeling formula with a high SPF. The spray from the can is very smooth and even. I also like the the spray cap turns to lock. That way it's safe in your bag and you don't have to worry about losing a lid, which is something that I always, always do. This sunscreen also did its job and prevented my skin from burning or tanning.

Overall, I think these are decent, affordable sunscreen options for the body. They're not my ideal facial products, but you could definitely do worse than this SPF 30 lotion for the purpose. Out of the two, I'd recommend that one over the SPF 50 spray, because the scent is more pleasant, and even with the lower SPF, you are likely to get better coverage and protection from a lotion (I'd also suggest avoiding the SPF 50 lotion from this line, judging from its Amazon reviews). I'm happy enough with using them to keep my lily white limbs lily white for the summer.

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