There are some important things to like about Aveeno's Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30, but it has enough issues that it simply can't compete with those daytime moisturizers that earn our highest ratings. Still, this isn't a terrible option and may be worth a look if you have normal to slightly dry or combination skin.
Packaged in an opaque, capped pump bottle that's easy to use, this has a lightweight cream texture that feels rich at first, but once spread over skin and set it becomes much lighter. It's capable of hydrating skin somewhat, but doesn't provide enough moisture to satisfy the needs of those with very dry skin—though it's worthwhile for those struggling with acne and dry skin, as it's not overly emollient.
In terms of positives, this daytime moisturizer provides broad spectrum sun protection that includes stabilized avobenzone for critical UVA screening. Although the formula also contains fragrance that lingers, our in-house testing among those sensitive to fragrance in sunscreens revealed it didn't provoke a stinging sensation (though that certainly doesn't rule out the possibility of this occurring for others even if sensitive skin isn't an issue).
Aveeno labels this product "hypoallergenic", but this seemingly reassuring claim isn't one consumers can rely on, as we explain in the More Info section.
Today's best SPF products don't just provide reliable sun protection; they also contain a mix of antioxidants to further skin's environmental defenses against skin-aging free radicals. Given this is positioned as an anti-aging moisturizer as well, we (and you) should expect it to contain a better-than-average mix of such ingredients. Aveeno added some plant-based antioxidants as well as a form of vitamin C (ascorbyl glucoside) but most of these are present in low amounts that appear after the fragrance—meaning scent was given priority. For the details on how daytime moisturizers with sunscreen are judged, see the More Info section.
What about Aveeno's claims that their Absolutely Ageless product can improve skin's elasticity and firmness after just one week? We're skeptical of that short timeframe, but in truth the act of protecting your skin every day with a broad spectrum sunscreen can absolutely help skin begin to look and act younger—and that can include increased firmness! It's just that there are better daytime moisturizers with sunscreen products to do that with, which include beneficial antioxidants and cell-communicating agents in their formulas, as seen on our list of Best Moisturizers with Sunscreen.
Aveeno Absolutely Ageless Daily Moisturizer with Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 30 doesn't break any new ground, but it covers the basics for broad spectrum sun protection from a moisturizer whose texture and finish should be an agreeable match for normal to slightly dry or combination skin (including the breakout-prone). However, it doesn't contain the types of ingredients needed to make good on its anti-aging moisturizer claims, so it's by no means a daytime SPF to choose without trying those we've rated higher, but if you're struggling to find a facial SPF product that works with your skin, this may be worth a test run.
Note: It did not happen consistently, but we did notice this product would occasionally ball up and roll if massaged into skin too long or when makeup was applied over it. Not a deal-breaker and the effect was minor, but we wanted to point it out.
Hypoallergenic Claims: The term "hypoallergenic" is meant to imply that a product is unlikely or less likely to cause allergic reactions and, therefore, is better for allergy-prone or sensitive skin types, but it isn't true. There are no accepted testing methods, ingredient restrictions, regulations, guidelines, rules, or procedures of any kind, anywhere in the world, for determining whether or not a product qualifies as being hypoallergenic (Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, 2004 & Dermatologic Therapy, 2001).
We have reviewed hundreds of products labeled "hypoallergenic" or "safe for sensitive skin" that contain seriously problematic ingredients that can trigger allergic breakouts or sensitive skin reactions. And many of us have used products labeled hypoallergenic that have caused a reaction of some sort.
If sensitive or allergy-prone skin is one of your concerns, then the #1 thing to look for is products that are free of irritants. The major irritants that show up, and in an astounding number of products, especially in products labeled organic or natural, are fragrance (both synthetic and natural fragrance are equally bad for all skin types), alcohol (isopropyl, SD, or denatured alcohol), and harsh cleansing agents like sodium lauryl sulfate (not sodium laureth sulfate, which is a perfectly mild cleansing agent).
How We Rate Daytime Moisturizers with SPF: "Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen" are differentiated from ordinary sunscreens as formulas that make direct anti-aging or other cosmetic claims by the brand, such as "deep moisture" or "redness-relieving." Claims like "combats free radical damage," "protects and firms," "improves skin texture" or others that insinuate benefits beyond what a standard sunscreen formula provides.
Daytime Moisturizers with SPF are judged based upon whether they provide broad-spectrum sun protection, their SPF rating, potential for irritation, packaging and aesthetics. They must also meet the same standards as an anti-aging moisturizer—the inclusion of beneficial antioxidants or other ingredients to back up the claims of improvements in signs of aging on skin beyond what sun protection alone provides. For more detail on how we rate this category of products, see the Best Daytime Moisturizers with Sunscreen section of Beautypedia.
Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 2%, Homosalate 4%, Octisalate 4%, Octocrylene 2%. Inactive Ingredients: Water, Propylene Glycol, Glycerin, Isononyl Isononanoate, Dimethicone, Steareth-2, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Butyrospermum Parkii Butter, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Hexylresorcinol, Steareth-21, Behenyl Alcohol, Phenoxyethanol, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Fragrance, Sclerotium Gum, Chlorphenesin, Disodium EDTA, Tocopheryl Acetate, Maltodextrin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Peucedanum Graveolens Extract, Rubus Fruticosus Leaf Extract, Xanthan Gum
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 won’t 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 & Johnson–owned 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 skin—just 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.
The Beautypedia and Paula’s Choice Research teams have one mission: To help you find the best products for your skin, whether they’re from Paula’s Choice or another brand. By combining efforts, we’re able to share scientific research and remain committed to the highest standards based on our decades of experience objectively reviewing thousands upon thousands of skincare and makeup formularies in all price ranges.
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