Neutrogena Pure & Free Liquid Daily Sunblock, SPF 50


50 reviews

56% would repurchase

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$

Package Quality: 4.0

Price: $$


Active Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide 5%, Zinc Oxide 3% Inactive Ingredients: Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Trisiloxane, Dimethicone, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Silica, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, PPG-12/SMDI Copolymer, Bisabolol, Magnesium Sulfate, Caprylyl Glycol, DMDM Hydantoin, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, BHT

on 9/12/2015 3:39:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Oily, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Coarse

Eyes: Other

I have very oily, sensitive, acne prone skin and have used this in the past and thought it was making me break out (wrong) so I quit using it. I have started using it again, and I am really impressed. This sunscreen is AMAZING for sensitive skin. This is the only sunscreen I have ever tried that has not made my eyelids or skin sting or burn or become very red. This is a liquid, so it is very light-feeling compared to most sunscreens. It can leave a bit of a white cast, so make sure you rub this in really well. This sunscreen isn't perfect; it is still a little greasy, because pretty much all sunscreens are, but it is one of the best ones I have tried so far.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Normal, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brown, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Blue

After trying numerous sunscreens over the years, Iíve settled on Neutrogenaís Pure and Free for everyday use. This is a physical sunscreen, which Iíve learned through trial and error is the style that makes the most sense for my routine as it involves layering on a fair number of skincare products.

Chemical sunscreens need to go on as the first layer onto clean, bare skin in order to be absorbed properly (other products can interfere with their absorption) and become active. The process takes about 20-30 minutes and until enough time has passed, you will not be protected. I am not a fan of this approach.

Physical sunscreens on the other hand are best applied as the *last* step before foundation and other makeup. Thatís a better fit for my routine. I also like the fact that as soon as you put it on, youíre protected.

I wear some kind of serum every day, usually Peter Thomas Rothís PM retinol serum (I know, I know! It even has PM in the name). Conventional wisdom is that retinol-based products shouldnít be worn during the day (and is probably the case with prescription-strength stuff); however, thereís enough countervailing information out there regarding daytime use of OTC retinol products that I feel comfortable with this practice.

The PTR serum contains both vitamin C and E, which theoretically should offer additional protection. I prefer this to be the first layer on my skin rather than a sunscreen. Moisturizer goes on right after. Sometimes more than one if I feel like I need it.

So, a physical sunscreen just makes more sense for my routine. Iíve tried the chemical route before but I was always worried that my other skincare stuff wouldnít be as effective since thatís a lot of product for my skin to absorb. I also think that a physical sunscreen does a better job of protecting any sun-sensitive ingredients that might be on my skin from the earlier layers. Basically just trying to get a good balance of skincare and sun-protection!

The tradeoff is that physical sunscreens tend to be less cosmetically elegant. I havenít found one that doesnít have a white cast (at least initially) and frankly, I donít think I would trust one that doesnít. I've actually come to appreciate the white cast as it's a good visual indicator of whether or not I've achieved full-coverage. No white cast? Whoops, missed a spot; lemme go over that area again.

Pure and Free is the best drugstore-priced physical sunscreen Iíve tried. Itís not perfect (itís a bit shiny and has chewed through certain foundations), but Iíve been happy enough with it that Iíve repurchased it probably a dozen times. Itís probably not the most elegant physical SPF out there, but itís readily available at many drugstores near me, gets the job done and is also moderately priced, though not quite cheap.

Texturally, itís a milky liquid that layers pretty well under makeup. Although itís sheer, I always apply it liberally ó just because itís sheer doesnít mean itís okay to apply the least amount you can get away with! It does have an initial white cast, but thatís par for the course.

Let it sink in for about five minutes while you brush your teeth or something, and then rub it in to get it to absorb more fully. As this is designed to be worn under makeup anyway, any remaining white case issues are usually dealt with via foundation. I generally apply a primer with 30 SPF on top of this for extra protection, and then foundation.

FYI, I have very fair skin that burns easily, live in one of the sunniest neighborhoods in San Francisco, and am frequently outside for hours at a time (though seek shade whenever possible). Have not been burned once with this stuff. I trust it.

That said, while I love Pure and Free, I donít love it *so* very much that Iím not open to other options (would love a a physical SPF that is basically the same as this in the same price range but with a more matte finish!). But, if asked for a recommendation for a physical SPF, this would be the first thing that comes to mind.

I'm giving it five lippies, but it's really a 4.5 for me.

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

on 7/4/2015 7:54:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Blond, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

This is a liquid type, physical only sunscreen that is silky in texture. There is a very slight white cast but actually works well to even skintone. This is great as primer or mixed in with foundation. The only this is that I have doubts that this could be SPF50 with only 3% Zinc Oxide. I'm using to other that are around the 10% mark and also SPF50 so I don't this this provides that high a SPF protection. This also has 5% titanium dioxide but that doesn't provide much UVA so there is almost sole reliance upon the Zinc component. Anyhow, that aside, i like this a lot and is so light for layering. The best textured physical sunscreen is Dermaquest at 17% Zinc Oxide, which i use when i'm getting some major rays. This is good for when you need a little protection which gets along well with all other stuff you put on your face.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 12/8/2014 4:12:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Very Oily, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Wavy, Fine

Eyes: Green

Background on my skin: Very oily, acne prone, rosacea.

I bought this to see how it compared to my favorite sunscreen of all time, Biore UV Perfect Face Milk PA++++. I have a review in my profile if you are curious about that. I really can't see myself ever giving up the Biore, but it doesn't hurt to look for a dupe that I can buy locally (vs having to order online).

The consistency of Neutrogena Pure & Free liquid is much like Biore's, very liquid-y. The thinner the formula, the better, as it looks lighter on my skin & is less likely to grease up.

Moving forward, the ingredients looked pretty promising for my pizzaface. However I think this sunscreen is more suited for "normal" or "combination" skin as it is quite moisturizing. Unlike other moisturizing sunscreens, this one does not leave a tacky film on my face. It does eventually dry to a matte finish. Unfortunately the matte finish only lasted about 4 hours, whereas Biore can last up to 8. One pro Neutrogena has over Biore, is that this sunscreen does not contain a ton of drying alcohol (*potentially* drying/irritant). Additionally, Neutrogena has a more skin-like finish vs. Biore's slightly powdery look.

This sunscreen offers very good UVA ray protection. It is a physical sunblock (3% zinc, 5% titanium dioxide) so I would recommend using cleansing oil before your regular (soap) cleanser to remove it. The good thing about that is physical SS doesn't need to be reapplied as often as chemical SS.

Last but least - there is one more "con" to take into consideration. This sunscreen leaves a major white cast. I personally do not mind this too much, as it lightens my foundation shade (I'm NC10...). But that might be a major problem for others. The trick to getting rid of the white cast is to consistently buff/blend the liquid into your skin.

The bottom line: Neutrogena Pure & Free liquid will not be replacing my beloved Biore. However I do plan on using it here & there during the winter, along with any time I can not get my hands on a bottle of UV Perfect Face Milk PA++++. I would repurchase, especially given the fact there are very few proper sunscreens on the market.

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

on 6/3/2014 2:07:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Blue

I used this product product for a few days and it caused a rash and made me break out. My cheeks turned very pink, dry and bumpy. Initially, I thought it was from the Zinc Oxide...but I've since used sunscreens with ZO in them and have had no problems.

And so much search for the HG sunscreen continues

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Age: 19-24

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Medium

Eyes: Brown

I have this in Pure & Free Sensitive SPF 50.
This is one of the only sunscreens I have tried that haven't broken me out, burned me, or were full of oil and other horrible things that gave me awful skin. It was $12.99 I think, here in Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Now that spring and summer are approaching, I'll be incorporating this into my everyday makeup routine.
Will repurchase. Would recommend.

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Cool

Hair: Brunette, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Blue

Good lightweight high SPF sunscreen for people who prefer physical/mineral sunscreen formulas to chemical ones. Zinc and titanium dioxide are generally considered to be good for sensitive skin types, so this is a great product to try if other sunscreens have irritated your skin or eyes. This sunscreen is so gentle that I can put it on eyelids (which you should! The eye area is often overlooked and a common place for skin cancer to pop up) without experiencing any discomfort. Physical sunscreens are also great as they are offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays, and don't have the photo stability issues many chemical sunscreen ingredients do.

The texture of this product is very thin and runny. Some physical sunscreen formulas can feel a little paste-y in their texture, but this doesn't at all. It spreads across the face and is rubbed in pretty easily so long as you're fairly quick about it. If you're sloppy (as I sometimes can be when I'm in a hurry) and leave a patch without rubbing it in before it dries, it'll look chalky and can be difficult to rub that bit off/in. Physical sunscreens are notorious for adding a white cast to the skin, but at least on my NW20 complexion, I don't notice any so long as I take care to rub it in completely. This is something to keep in mind if you have deeper skin though, as I'd imagine it could make dark skin look ashy.

Immediately after application, my face looks a little shiny/greasy but after a minute or two my skin soaks it up and the final finish actually looks more matte than it did before. Doesn't feel heavy, tacky or sticky at all. I should note here that while this product doesn't break me out at all, it's not unheard of for people with particularly acne prone skin to find products containing Titanium dioxide problematic. That's not true of everyone with acne, but if you have a history of foundations, powders and sunscreens breaking you out, you might go back and check to see if they all had this ingredient in common.

This wears very well under my makeup. Doesn't pill up under my makeup and my foundation applies smoothly over it even without a primer in between. I still use a primer though as I have larger pores on my nose and cheeks, and my foundation can sink into my pores without one.

My big complaint about this product is that it smells AWFUL. I don't think it's because of any intentionally added fragrance, but I've never tried a physical sunscreen that smells this bad. It reminds me of sulfur. I've tried other Neutrogena sunscreens (just used up a bottle of the original Neutrogena liquid sunblock in fact!) and I can't recall any of them smelling like this, or if they did, smell so strongly. The smell does fade away, but it takes at least 5 minutes for it to do so, and those 5 minutes are a little miserable.

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

on 11/18/2013 11:48:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Other, Other, Not Sure

Hair: Other, Other, Other

Eyes: Other

I have oily skin and this made my skin very SHINY and GREASY looking. It has no oil absorbing properties at all, so if you have normal to dry skin this product may work for you. Also, it has a very strong sunscreen smell which is annoying. It definitely has a white look to it, so if you don't have super light skin it probably wont work for you. After the end of the first day of wear I had raised red bumps on my face.

on 9/20/2013 8:01:00 AM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Combination, Tan, Not Sure

Hair: Black, Other, Medium

Eyes: Brown

love this ...i only trust purely physical blocking sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide ..the texture is nice ...i do tan easily in the sun and this really protected my skin ..will buy again

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

on 8/21/2013 4:08:00 PM

Age: 19-24

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

I have incredibly sensitive skin and this is the only sunscreen that doesn't bother my skin! I'm allergic to chemical sunscreens, which means I can't use most brands. I've been using it on my face and it has not broken me out or made me oily. It lasts all day long. Makeup also goes on well over this if you give it a few minutes to dry. The only downside to this product is that it can leave a whitish coloring on your skin if you don't rub it in well enough, which is why I gave it a 4 instead of 5. Overall its the best sunscreen I've bought

4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Back to Top