Not Martha


I have previously declared my love for Anthelios SX sunscreen on this site. However, since it’s expensive and not something I can just pick up at the store* I tried something that both Ugly Green Chair and Mighty Goods recommended, Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-touch Sunblock, SPF 55.

I tried some dry-touch sunblock when Neutrogena started coming out with them, years ago I think. At that time they were scented with orange oil and the sunblock burned on my skin and turned my face a nasty beet red, so I hope it’s understandable that I was hesitant to try it again. Happily, the scent has changed and it doesn’t irritate my skin.

The sunblock does feel sheer on my skin, it isn’t greasy and seems to keep a matte finish. And, thankfully, it does not make me break out. I’m very pleased. It doesn’t hurt that I see it popping up on all sorts of recommendation lists, including InStyle and Real Simple.

* Anthelios SX is only available at CVS drug stores, and we don’t have any in Washington state. I realize that I could, of course, buy Anthelios online but I’ll be honest and say I know I’m too lazy to keep up with it.

· comments [43] · 05-16-2007 · categories:beauty ·

43 responses so far ↓

  • 1 stacey // May 16, 2007 at 8:12 am

    Another option is Kinesis “spray sunscreen” – I got it for convenience to use on my kid, and was pleasantly surprised to find that it was the clear spray, not the cream spray. Oil-free, alcohol-free, fragrance-free. I use it on my face all the time, and no extra breakouts.

  • 2 Jennifer // May 16, 2007 at 8:12 am

    I have pretty sensitive skin, so I’m glad to hear that it doesn’t irritate yours. Sounds like the perfect kind of thing to put on my face when I’m not wearing the SPF 15 foundation that I use when I’m at the beach….

  • 3 Jennifer // May 16, 2007 at 8:23 am

    I haven’t found this product very resistant to sweat, however; and it does sting if any drips get near your eyes.

    And to the other Jennifer…if you do have fair skin, I hope you are wearing more than SPF 15 at the beach!!

  • 4 Katie // May 16, 2007 at 8:48 am

    I really really like the Neutrogena Dry Touch. It does smell like a sunscreen which is a little disconcerting (I have very sensitive skin so usually use unscented products). But – no irritation and my skin has been fine even if I layer foundation over it.

  • 5 Darci // May 16, 2007 at 8:50 am

    In a house of soccer players, this is our sunscreen of choice. My daughter uses it everymorning on her face and has now breakouts. As a 16 yo that is quite a benefit. I like the fact then when I have no access to wash my hands it does not leave a layer of “yuck” on my hands.

  • 6 Donna // May 16, 2007 at 9:00 am

    This is good news since I just picked up a two-pack at Costco yesterday. My oncologist wanted me to use something with an SPF of at least 30, so 55 will be even better. Glad to know I can use on face.

  • 7 maggie // May 16, 2007 at 9:03 am

    You can get that sunscreen at Target.

  • 8 Katie // May 16, 2007 at 9:03 am

    I just got some of this a couple of weeks ago at Bartell’s in the U Village.

  • 9 Sarah // May 16, 2007 at 9:04 am

    -Love your site
    -Costco has the neutrogena in a triple pack
    -I love the slight hint of suncreen sent it gives off at first. makes me feel like summer all the time. :D

  • 10 cristina // May 16, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Oh, I absolutely adore that Neutrogena sunscreen! It leaves my face with a nice matte finish – almost as if I’d used a very fine powder on it. And I find that the longer I use it, the softer my skin feels. Bonus!

    There’s another Neutrogena one that comes in a blue tube. I believe it’s also a Dry Touch one, but the “sport” version. That one’s pretty fantastic too, and it doesn’t turn my face into an acne farm like I feared. I generally use this one for hiking or when I know I’m going to be all sweaty.

  • 11 Jen // May 16, 2007 at 9:08 am

    I’ve used this stuff for years and love it. That said, it should be available at Target as well.

  • 12 Bronwen // May 16, 2007 at 9:17 am

    I despise the Neutrogena Dry-Touch. I think it is secretly cooking oil.

    The Coppertone Ultra Sheer line works very nicely for me. It doesn’t feel as completely unproducty as the Neutrogena, but I also don’t get burned.

  • 13 Anne // May 16, 2007 at 9:27 am

    I loved the Neutrogena and used it all last spring and summer. This year I used it once and it gave me a rash. I was devastated.

    I am now on the hunt for a new “perfect” sunscreen.

  • 14 Monique in Bellingham // May 16, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Hello from up the road in B-ham. After having some skin cancer issues earlier this year, I became queen of screen. My Doc gave a list and two items on the list were the new Aveeno sunscreen and the Neutrogena you are speaking of. I buy both of them at Target here in Bellingham. I imagine the Targets in Seattle must also carry them.

  • 15 christina // May 16, 2007 at 9:44 am

    These are my 2 faves, too. I prefer Anthelios for the extra UVA protection, but I have the same issue with accessibility. Also, Neutrogena Dry Sheer is like 1/2 the price.

  • 16 megan // May 16, 2007 at 10:22 am

    Anne – I’ve noticed that the Dry Touch SPF 30 contains Avobenzone, while the Dry Touch SPF 55 contains Helioplex. Is it possible that you are allergic to one of those and can use the other?

    Bronwen – Please explain when you call the Neutrogena sunblock cooking oil, I’m afraid I don’t get your meaning.

  • 17 Kathie // May 16, 2007 at 10:22 am

    If you think you may have a sensitivity to any skin product, try a blob on your inner arm before using it on your face. Check in 24 hours.

  • 18 Lindsay // May 16, 2007 at 10:28 am

    it comes in SPF 70 now also. they also have one now called “age shield” but its not non-comodogenic. i like the dry touch after i put it on but i dont find it holds up to sweat very well. i also feel like it makes any facial oil “bead up” on top of it.

  • 19 Rachel // May 16, 2007 at 11:11 am

    I too love the neutrogena sunblock…but I like the Age Shield even better than the dry touch. I have sensitive, acne prone skin but have had no problems with the age shield. The Age Shield is non-greasy and super smooth and dry. Happy Sun blocking! Thank you for your great website.

  • 20 Rachel // May 16, 2007 at 11:13 am

    PS about the stinging eyes…my mom had that problem with Dry Touch but not with the age shield.

  • 21 Mariko // May 16, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Neutrogena Dry Touch has been my favorite for years now. I LOVE that it isn’t greasy at all. I got some of the Anethelios Lait that is supposed to be the non-oily formula, but it feels super sticky and greasy to me. Anyway, I have run marathons with the Dry Touch stuff and never had a problem!

  • 22 samantha // May 16, 2007 at 11:30 am

    I found some at the Bartell’s downtown, in spfs 45 and 55.

  • 23 Elizabeth // May 16, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    This is the ONLY sunblock that has ever kept my uberpale, burns-in-the-shade skin from burning. And it doesn’t feel gross and greasy, either!

  • 24 Kelsey // May 16, 2007 at 1:08 pm

    My dermatologist recommends this stuff which is why I bought it without even trying it first. Glad to hear you like it!

  • 25 marielle // May 16, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    Megan, I think you’re right about the possibility that one could be allergic to one and not the other.

    I love the Dry Touch SPF 45 with Avobenzone, but the the Dry Touch SPF 55 with Helioplex irritates my skin and eyes. The scent is different, too – the non-Helioplex one is a lot more subtle.

    Have you tried Ombrelle, or seen it in stores, by any chance? I’ve been on the lookout but no luck so far – we’re supposed to be getting it in the states soon though.

  • 26 Campbell // May 16, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    I can’t say enough good things about Neutrogena’s Dry Touch! I apply SPF 55 to my face every morning before makeup and it keeps my (very fair) skin well protected without clogging me up. On days when I’m in the sun a lot, I’ll lather up in the morning and dab some extra on my nose and ears periodically to stay burn-free.

  • 27 Gwen // May 16, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    I just saw this trial sunscreen kit at Sephora, which seems helpful for those people still looking for their perfect match:

    I personally prefer the Age Shield to the Dry Touch. My skin is on the dry side, and it feels like the Age Shield sinks in better instead of just sitting on top of my skin. Lately I’ve been using Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer SPF 15 (highly recommended) on my face and Anthelios on any exposed arms and legs, unless I’m going to be out in the sun a lot, in which case, it’s Anthelios all over.

    Also, I’m pretty sure Ombrelle is the same thing as Anthelios, just sold under a different sub-label of L’Oreal.

  • 28 laura dot // May 16, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    I like the Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Sunblock spray. It has a slight citrus scent and it very fast to put on – which means I am more likely to use it.

  • 29 Patti // May 16, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    I’m going to have to try that. I break out horribly with sunscreens. I have a little sample of some Juice product that I got at Sephora, but I’m afraid to try it. I use Skinceuticals if we’re going on a geology dig or something, and just resign myself to breaking out. I might try the Age Shield since I am getting old.

  • 30 maryse // May 16, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    hey thanks for the info.

  • 31 Jen // May 17, 2007 at 6:18 am

    Nope, nope, nope…I just bought some 2 weeks ago at a Target!

  • 32 mfm // May 17, 2007 at 7:27 am

    I’ve switched from Anthelios to Dry Touch, too. I had problems with it sort of balling up at first. Now I apply my moisturizer (cetaphil), wait 5-20 minutes, and then apply Dry-Touch. I’m really happy with it.

  • 33 hmonkey // May 17, 2007 at 8:43 am

    both my dermotologist and plastic surgeon recommended the dry touch, at least spf 55. it’s the heloplex that makes a difference.

    i used it for a week in honduras; it was excellent.

  • 34 tina // May 17, 2007 at 12:47 pm

    It’s not just available at CVS drugstores — at least in northern California, you can also get it at Long’s. It’s the only sunscreen I’ve ever seen that comes in SPF 70! Hooray!

  • 35 megan // May 17, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Oh dear, I’m afraid I made the entry a little confusing. It’s the Anthelios SX that is only available at CVS stores in the US. The Neutrogena sunblock is available pretty much everywhere. I’ve updated the entry to reflect my meaning.

  • 36 Suzi // May 17, 2007 at 2:59 pm

    I use the Aveno Baby 45/55 on both me and my kids. Why buy an extra tube?It’s nice and doesn’t have the old fashioned sunscreen smell

  • 37 Emily S. // May 17, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    I like the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer too. It just comes in such a tiny package!

  • 38 Kim // May 18, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    I used this product on my child all last year and loved it. Dries fast, no eye stinging, smell is okay, doesn’t stay sticky to catch sand, dirt, etc.
    That said, I put it on him for the first time this spring and he got a horrible rash on his face. I did some checking and it does have something in it that can cause you to have a reaction after repeated use. is a very very slow website, but tells you what is in a lot of products and the benefits/problems.
    So, beware, it may work great now and cause a reaction later.

  • 39 Heather // May 20, 2007 at 12:37 pm

    I have a mission for you all….I love this site and find it totally useful. Here it is: I am planning a bachelorette party for my girl and I am looking for a place online (on in-store i guess) that I can customize paper for. Like the bordered paper you can buy to make your own invitations? Anyone know if you can create your own somehow?

  • 40 Emily // May 21, 2007 at 7:31 am

    I got a free sample at school of this stuff, and I love it! I’ve always needed a stronger sunscreen for my face, so this stuff is great.

  • 41 Kern // Jun 4, 2007 at 8:52 am

    Thanks for posting again about the Anthelios sunscreen. I have rosacea and eczema and am currently pregnant and can’t use any of my normal skin meds. I’ve never been happy with a sunscreen (bright red face) so this weekend I tried the Anthelios. This stuff is just amazing. Not only did it not irritate my skin but my eczema cleared up on my face. My rosacea is better too. La Roche-Posay should pay you advertising fees! I’m so glad you mentioned it again on your blog.

  • 42 megan // Jun 4, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Kern – I’m glad you found something that works for you, the La Roche-Posay stuff is expensive but it can be well worth it.

  • 43 ky // Jul 9, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    I used this for a few days and developed a nasty, itchy rash. Not on my face, but on my neck and inner forearm (I put it on my tattoo). I also noticed it burned on my eyelids. I was disappointed because I liked how it was very light.

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