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Aveeno

Ultra-Calming Moisturizer SPF 30 Fragrance Free

2.30 fl. oz. for $ 14.99
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Aveeno's Ultra-Calming Moisturizer SPF 30 Fragrance Free boldly claims its scent-free status, yet this daytime moisturizer with mineral-based broad-spectrum sun protection absolutely contains fragrance. How disingenuous!

Housed in a convenient opaque pump bottle, this lightweight cream for normal to combination skin readily smooths over skin. A white cast is barely visible, and this doesn't take a lot of effort to blend, a nice change of pace for mineral sunscreen.

Although this initially feels creamy and hydrating, once set, the finish becomes drier and feels a bit occlusive and film-like, which isn't an ideal sensation. Given the relatively low percentage of mineral active ingredients, we're surprised the aesthetics weren't better, but there you have it.

Back to the fragrance: Although the ingredient list doesn't explicitly state "fragrance", this daytime moisturizer has a discernible floral-like scent, stemming from the synthetic fragrance ingredient methyldihydrojasmonate. Its inclusion keeps Ultra-Calming Moisturizer SPF 30 Fragrance Free from being a wise choice if you have sensitive, redness-prone skin.

More bad news if you were hoping for some redness relief: The touted soothing feverfew and oat ingredients are present in such tiny amounts we suspect most people struggling with facial redness won't see much, if any, relief. See our list of Best Moisturizers with Sunscreen for our current selection of top-rated facial moisturizers with sunscreen.

Pros:
  • Provides broad spectrum, mineral-based protection.
  • Brightens and leaves a barely-there white cast.
Cons:
  • Contains fragrance, so it's not suitable for sensitive skin.
  • Feels a bit occlusive and film-like on skin.
  • Low concentration of soothing plant extracts.
Jar Packaging: No
Tested on animals: Yes

Help rebalance your skin with AVEENO ULTRA-CALMING Daily Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 30 with 100% mineral sunscreen. With exclusive CALMING FEVERFEW and Nourishing Oat, two of natures most effective ingredients for sensitive skin, this formula is clinically proven to visibly reduce the appearance of redness and irritated, dry skin in as little as 1 week. Its gentle enough to use every day, even on sensitive skin.

Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 4.3 %, Zinc Oxide 3%. Inactive Ingredients: Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Isopropyl Myristate, Cetyl Dimethicone, Octyldodecyl Neopentanoate, Glyceryl Behenate, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Xanthan Gum, Citric Acid, Methyldihydrojasmonate, Alumina, Benzyl Alcohol, Squalane, Arachidyl Glucoside, Dimethicone, Chlorphenesin, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Dipropylene Glycol Dibenzoate, Chrysanthemum Parthenium Flower/Leaf/Stem Juice (Feverfew), PPG-15 Stearyl Ether Benzoate, Acrylates/Dimethicone Copolymer, Sodium Citrate, Polysorbate 60, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone and Methyl Ionones, Ceramide NP, Avena Sativa Kernel Extract (Oat), Aluminum Stearate, Arachidyl Alcohol.

Aveeno At-A-Glance

Strengths: A few good cleansers and sunscreen products; fantastic Skin Relief Healing Ointment and soothing bath wash products; a handful of well-formulated baby-care products.

Weaknesses: Well-intentioned but ineffective anti-acne products; reliance on a single showcased ingredient (typically soy) that makes their anti-aging products less enticing than the competition; ineffective products to address hyperpigmentation; formulas packaged in a jar wont remain stable.

Beginning with its first product in 1945, Soothing Bath Treatment, still sold today as part of the company's Baby line of products, Aveeno has prided itself on using natural ingredients. In some ways, they were a pioneer in the field, though for years the only natural ingredient of note in their products was oatmeal. Consumer products giant Johnson & Johnson purchased the brand in 1999, and wasted almost no time expanding it. A handful of bar cleansers and bath products were spun off into complete collections of facial-care products and an ever-growing number of body lotions and washes, not to mention shaving gels (Aveeno is one of the few companies whose shaving gels are truly fragrance-free).

Not surprisingly, many of the facial-care products from Aveeno are similar to those from Johnson & Johnsonowned Neutrogena. The differences typically lie in the natural ingredients each brand promotes. A cornerstone ingredient for Aveeno is soy, while Neutrogena has experimented (with varying degrees of success) with copper, retinol, salicylic acid, and melibiose. Overall, Neutrogena has a much larger and more comprehensive selection of products, though their formulas are also more problematic. Aveeno would do well to diversify a bit, or at least acknowledge that it takes more than a single star ingredient to provide superior skin-care products. As is, most of their anti-wrinkle products don't compete favorably with the more well-rounded options, not just from Neutrogena but also from Olay, Dove, and, in some respects, L'Oreal.

Getting back to the issue of soy, you'll see from the reviews it is indeed a helpful ingredient for skinjust not in the same multifaceted, does-everything manner Aveeno touts on each soy-containing product's package. A big proponent for Aveeno's use of soy is dermatologist Dr. Jeannette Graf. She is quoted on Aveeno's web site, stating that "It is now clear that the ability of natural soy to deliver multiple benefits to skin plays a lead role in high performance skin care." That sounds great but it doesn't explain why Aveeno ignores research on countless other antioxidants, skin-identical ingredients, or cell-communicating ingredients, all elements Dr. Graf uses in her separate, namesake product line. Interestingly, with Graf's own products relying on a blend of efficacious ingredients, including soy, it's a good question why she decided to endorse Aveeno's one-note soy products.

The bottom line is that when it comes to shopping for skin-care products at the drugstore, Aveeno, for all its talk of being a leader in "Active Naturals," doesn't have the all-inclusive product assortment needed to take the best possible care of your skin. However, paying attention to their top offerings is time (and money) well-spent!

For more information about Aveeno, owned by Johnson & Johnson, call (866) 428-3366 or visit www.aveeno.com.

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.