Deep Moisture Day Cream with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20
Neutrogena's Deep Moisture Day Cream with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20 earns its broad-spectrum label from its combination of stabilized avobenzone (for critical UVA screening) along with other proven sunscreen actives.
Unfortunately, its SPF rating is on the lower side—most dermatologists around the world are now advising people to use SPF products rated 30 or greater. (See More Info for additional details.) The rest of this daytime moisturizer's formula is good, but not good enough for those with normal to dry skin looking for a mix of UV protection, anti-aging ingredients, and lasting moisture, benefits Neutrogena claims this formula provides.
The silicone- and glycerin-rich formula has a lightweight yet hydrating texture that moisturizes without feeling greasy, though it's worth noting that the formula does leave a sheen on skin—one reason it's not recommended for those with oily skin.
Although Neutrogena included vitamin-based antioxidants and shea butter (which is a natural source of antioxidants), these beneficial ingredients will become less effective as soon as you take the lid off the jar package Neutrogena chose. See More Info to learn why this type of packaging isn't what to pick if you want to get the most from your daytime moisturizer.
We like the inclusion of mineral pigment mica for the soft, radiant glow it adds to skin, but on balance, the formula lacks an impressive mix of anti-aging ingredients that would make it worth considering over several other daytime moisturizers.
As for the vitamin D3 mentioned in the claims (and listed by its technical name of cholecalcifoerol), there's no research proving it can increase skin's ability to hold on to moisture, as claimed. Vitamin D is making health headlines, but its benefits when taken internally don't translate to a cure-all for dry skin when a tiny amount is added to a facial moisturizer.
One other point worth mentioning is that because this SPF-rated moisturizer contains fragrance, you're at an increased risk of experiencing a sensitized reaction from the combination of the fragrance and the active sunscreen ingredients. Not a deal-breaker per se, but something to consider, especially if you have extra-sensitive skin.
In the end, Neutrogena's Deep Moisture Day Cream with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 20 has more weaknesses than strengths. The somewhat lacking formula combined with a lower SPF rating and jar packaging doesn't add up to a daytime moisturizer worth getting excited about. The formula hydrates well, feels good, and leaves a radiant glow, but you can find many other daytime moisturizers that offer these benefits and adds what this product is missing. See our list of Best Moisturizers with Sunscreen for today's top picks!
- Provides broad spectrum sun protection.
- Lightweight cream texture provides good hydration.
- Contains antioxidant-rich shea butter + vitamin-based antioxidants.
- Mica adds a soft, radiant glow to skin.
- Jar packaging won't help keep the light- and air-sensitive ingredients stable once opened.
- The mix of fragrance plus sunscreen actives is more likely to be sensitizing.
- SPF 20 is below the minimum recommended standard most dermatologists advise using.
Sunscreens Rated SPF 20 or Lower: A growing body of current research has demonstrated that it's better to use a sunscreen rated SPF 20 or greater to ensure adequate defense against the sun's aging UV rays. SPF 20 or lower is an option—and certainly better than no sunscreen at all—but only if you're willing to apply liberally and your skin will be seeing five hours of daylight or less.
While this sunscreen will provide the SPF number on the label and has UVA-protecting ingredients, no sunscreen with an SPF lower than 20 will rate higher than two stars in Beautypedia. For more information on our criteria for rating sunscreens, please visit the Best Sunscreens section of the site.
Applying an SPF 15-rated sunscreen under a foundation, tinted moisturizer, or BB cream that offers broad-spectrum SPF 25+ will take far better care of your skin. This layering approach ensures your skin gets sufficient sun protection even if you're not applying liberally.
Jar Packaging: The fact that this day cream is packaged in a jar means the beneficial ingredients won't remain stable once it is opened. All plant extracts, almost all vitamins, antioxidants, and other state-of-the-art ingredients break down in the presence of air. Therefore, once a jar is opened and lets the air in, these important ingredients begin to deteriorate. Jars also are unsanitary because you're dipping your fingers into them with each use, adding bacteria that further deteriorate the beneficial ingredients.
The vast majority of ingredients that are most beneficial for your skin are not stable in the presence of light and air, which is exactly what happens when you take the lid off a jar (Pharmacology Review, 2013 & Journal of Biophotonics, 2010).
One of the critical factors in any anti-aging or skin-healing formula is the amount and variety of antioxidants, cell-communicating ingredients, and skin-repairing ingredients, and the more the better. These function in a variety of ways to reduce the effects of the constant environmental stresses your skin experiences (Dermatology Research and Practice, 2012 & The Journal of Pathology, 2007).
Once you open that jar you bought, you immediately compromise the stability of the anti-aging superstars it contains. (You can visualize their benefits disappearing like puffs of air each time you open up that lid!)
Strengths: Inexpensive; several recommended cleansers; retinol options, in stable packaging; vast selection of sunscreens, most of which offer excellent UVA protection; several fragrance-free options; many of the Healthy Skin products are state-of-the-art; the foundations with sunscreen provide sufficient UVA protection; some praiseworthy makeup items.
Weaknesses: An overabundance of overlapping anti-aging products that is perennially confusing for consumers; irritating bar soaps; lackluster to downright bad toners; a handful of bland moisturizers and eye creams; some sunscreens too much alcohol or problematic preservatives; most of the Deep Clean products are terrible; mostly disappointing concealers; the lip balms with sunscreen provide inadequate UVA protection.
Johnson & Johnsonowned Neutrogena has been around for over 50 years, and they've come a long way since they launched their first transparent, bronze, detergent-based bar soap (it also contains tallow). The bars are still sold, and while we still don't recommend them (they are too drying for all skin types), the good news is that Neutrogena has come a very long way from where they started. In fact, several of their products represent truly state-of-the-art options.
Strolling the skin-care aisles of any drugstore or mass-market store reveals that Neutrogena vies for shelf space and prominence with only one other brand, Procter & Gamble's Olay. For the most part, both companies offer a similar assortment of products, with Olay being slightly more focused on anti-aging products and Neutrogena going for broader appeal, offering a nearly equal amount of antiwrinkle and anti-acne products. Regrettably the latter category presents few viable options.
Where Neutrogena really excels (and has for years) is with water-soluble cleansers, AHAs, retinol, and sunscreen products. Their Healthy Skin lineup offers some beautifully formulated moisturizers with glycolic acid, and the sunscreens offer something for everyone, including some ingenious options for those with oily skin (or anyone who finds the texture of high-SPF products as unappealing as slathering your skin with Crisco).
A recent self-proclaimed advance in sun protection came with Neutrogena's Helioplex complex. It is not the superior breakthrough Neutrogena makes it out to be. It's a good system to keep avobenzone stable for longer, but Helioplex isn't the only way to get the most out of this important UVA sunscreen. If it were, why didn't Neutrogena scrap all of their other sunscreens that don't use Helioplex technology? And why do they still offer a handful of SPF-rated products that leave skin vulnerable to UVA damage? Although they offer a proportionately greater number of sunscreens that provide excellent UVA protection, it's hard to unequivocally deem them a sun-care leader when they still sell inadequate sunscreens.
It's common to see commercials and magazine ads for Neutrogena's plethora of products designed to combat breakouts and blackheads. It's nothing short of amazing that, after all these years, the majority of these products, while well intentioned, still don't get it right. Far too many of them contain irritating ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, and menthol, none of which are the least bit helpful for someone struggling with breakouts. If your dermatologist recommends these products for acne without reservation, definitely consider a second opinion! Even Neutrogena's on-the-spot benzoyl peroxide product contains some potentially problematic thickening agents. Despite this, if you choose carefully, there are some great products (including a BHA lotion) that can make a positive difference.
What's most frustrating and, frankly, surprising, is that Neutrogena's enormous assortment of products represents both the best and the worst the cosmetics industry has to offer. Given their worldwide distribution and research capabilities, they really should be offering a consistent range of effective, irritant-free products to address a variety of skin types and conditions. As things stand now, healthy, protected skin is only assured if you know which Neutrogena products to look for and which ones to never put in your shopping cart.
For more information about Neutrogena, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (800) 582-4048 or visit www.neutrogena.com.
Neutrogena's "beautiful and beneficial" pronouncement is a great tag line, but most of their makeup doesn't live up to that assertion. This line was lacking in several key areas when it first hit store shelves in 1999, and although some things have improved, the number of problematic products is a bit startling. (We are not aware of any cosmetic line that uses menthol or its derivatives as often as Neutrogena.) Each product carries on about the vitamins it contains, yet compared to the leading roles played by cosmetic staples like silicones and thickening agents, the vitamins have mere cameo roles, and as such have little to no impact.
There are a few key items to seek out, especially if you're looking for makeup with excellent sun protection. We also found their lip gloss to be one of the best at any price, and a few of their foundations successfully bridge the gap between skin care and makeup.
The most frustrating aspect of this line is that almost all of it is packaged so you cannot see the color. Even worse, the color swatch on the box is a poor representation, not only of how the color looks in the compact, but also how it looks on your skin. What would truly be beneficial is for Neutrogena to offer more revealing packaging or provide testers or offer trial sizes. Their overall collection and in-store displays aren't nearly as tempting as most other drugstore makeup lines, so in most cases they're relying on their constant magazine and television ads to drive shoppers to explore the world of Neutrogena makeup, or they're relying solely on those who don't mind guessing what color they are really buying. It's obviously working, because despite the problematic elements, this is a line that has survived and is very well distributed.
About the Experts
The Beautypedia team consists of skin care and makeup experts personally trained by the original Cosmetics Cop and best-selling beauty author, Paula Begoun. We’re fascinated by skin care and makeup products and thrilled when they meet or exceed our expectations, but we’re also disappointed when they fail to perform as claimed, are wildly overpriced, or contain ingredients scientific research has proven can hurt skin.
Our mission has always been to help you find the best products for your skin, no matter your budget or preferences. Beautypedia’s thorough and insightful reviews cut through the hype and provide reliable recommendations for all ages, skin types, and skin tones.