NeoStrata Sheer Physical Protection

NeoStrata Sheer Physical Protection Review.jpg


Protection? Broad Spectrum SPF 50, PA++++

Filters? Titanium Dioxide (7%), Zinc Oxide (6%)

Country of Origin? United States

Water resistant? No.

Who is it for?

Skin types? I think it’s okay for all skins, but best suited for oily/combo.

Works for all skin tones? It’s okay, not great. There is a tint, and that tint has a lot of pigment.

What is it like?

Texture? A lightweight, dry-touch fluid. Like the La Roche-Posay Ultra light fluid Line, but without stickiness and with some silicone roll.

Filmy, sticky, or heavy? It mattifies as it quickly dries, so it isn’t sticky. It’s a light texture, and doesn’t feel heavy. It is filmy in a mineral sunscreen sort of way: you can feel the sunscreen has set up on your face.

Flashback / White cast? There is flashback. Like many high end, tinted mineral screens, this product hits the skin with a weird, opaque-tan color.

Greasy? It’s not greasy, no.

Finish? Matte, but not dead.

Positive opinions?

I think this sunscreen is pretty good and pretty inoffensive. I’d be quick to recommend it to someone who is concerned with skin oiliness, who wants a lightweight tinted mineral sunscreen.

Something worth noting is that it contains Gluconolactone and Lactobionic Acid, which are polyhydroxy acids. Many Neostrata products have these ingredients: they brought them to market. I think a lot of people might be confused as to why a brand would but a chemical exfoliant in a sunscreen, as chemical exfoliants can make one more sun sensitive. Worth making clear: PHAs need to be at a low, acidic pH to exfoliate. Mineral sunscreens generally aren’t acidic, as acidic formulas can cause the zinc to ionize and interact with the emulsifiers, which would destabilize the formula. So, here, the PHAs function as humectants. I wouldn’t worry about this product promoting sun damage.

Actually, I’ll advance the claim that if a sunscreen is sold as a broad spectrum SPF, the ingredients that could be potentially photosensitizing aren’t in the sunscreen’s formula. If the PHAs were peel-promoting, this sunscreen wouldn’t be PA++++.

Any bad news?

I can’t imagine the very dry skinned loving this sunscreen. Once dry, it really feels matte. It gives me the mineral flakes. I can work around it with thoughtful preparation (ie, playing it cool with actives and layering a good occlusive moisturizer underneath). I've acquired this sunscreen since the dog days of winter, but I can’t imagine loving this when the ambient humidity is low. This is to say: if one is worried about peeling / sore / dry skin, it’s not ideal. It isn’t the worst offender in this regard, but it isn’t like, a dry skin’s dream.

I also find this sunscreen a bit challenging to apply well. The pigment is a pretty saturated, and needs to be blended out to look reasonable. If I've applied sunscreen to a patch of skin, and go back over to blend the pigment of another patch, it rolls on itself a little bit. I'll emphasize "a little bit": it isn't severe, but it is annoying. As such, I imagine makeup won't wear terrifically over this, but I don't know for sure.

This product is pretty expensive. I still think it is good, though, and would recommend it to those for whom it is suited.


$37 / 50 ml | $0.74 / ml

Arbitrary personal ranking out of 10?

My love for this sunscreen is tangible (8/10).

Similar products?

The Skinceuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense is more fluid and more emollient. It dries to a dewier finish. I find it less drying and a little more greasy. They are both pretty good options for mineral sunscreens from Med Spa brands.

The Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield is a bit richer, and less drying on my face. It’s more a fluid lotion texture, whereas the Neostrata is more of a straight up fluid. I prefer the Colorescience, for me.

It can be purchased here.