This $11 Sunscreen Feels Like Water and Absorbs In 10 Seconds
Nothing feels like more of a chore than putting on sunscreen. Blame it on the horrible memories of our moms slathering us all with thick, slimy, distinctly gross-smelling white lotion. But sunscreen has come a long way from where it started, and if you’re still avoiding putting on sunscreen every morning, you’re missing out on an honest-to-God delightful experience. For I have found the sunscreen that feels like water and smells like happiness. It absorbs in 10 seconds (I timed it), it protects you from the ball of fire in the sky, and it costs $11. Neutrogena’s Hydro Boost gel sunscreen is the SPF for nonbelievers.
Now, let me be clear: I have a skyscraper-high bar for sunscreen, requirements tailored to get as far as possible from the sucky lotions of yore. It can’t be thick, and it has to absorb quickly enough that it doesn’t hold up my morning routine. It has to be moisturizing, because A.M. Rachel has no time for two layers to sink in, and it has to have an SPF over 20 because my skin’s the color of printer paper. Also essential: It has to be cheap so I don’t feel bad using as much as you’re supposed to, which is about one shot glass–full for your whole body (although truth be told, I usually only do my face, neck, chest and hands. One only has so much time).
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As far as fragrance goes, unless I’m physically standing on a beach, I’m not a fan of lotions that smell like sunscreen. Some people love it and/or prefer unscented options, but I’ve realized that if it smells like sunscreen, I’m not going to use it everyday (to me it’s a vacation smell, not an everyday smell). I need something that I actually like the smell of, and the Hydro Boost fits the bill. I couldn’t place the scent until our senior editor Lindsay hit it square on the head. It smells wildly similar to Bath & Body Works’ Cucumber Melon—in the best possible way. It’s not overpowering or super perfume-y, just a nice, light scent that disappears a few minutes after you rub it in.
And that’s the best part: I’ve timed it multiple times, and a quarter-sized blob of the Hydro Boost absorbs in about 10 seconds, and disappears on pale, medium, and deep skin tones. I went around the office and tested it on people’s hands, which they didn’t mind, because again, it’s a delight. Ashiness-wise, Blake, our tester with a medium-deep skin tone, noticed there was a very slight purple tint, but it gradually absorbed. Neutrogena describes the texture as a “water gel lotion,” which follows suit with K-beauty sunscreens like the Bioré Sarasara. It’s so light that it sinks in like water, but better, because it leaves your skin soft, moisturized, and slightly matte. For $11, I’m looking every sunscreen-hater I know straight in the eye and telling them they’ll like it. Get to a drugstore and start living life with a sunscreen you don’t hate. Nay, a sunscreen you enjoy. It exists.
Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel Moisturizing Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50, $11, walmart.com
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