Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30

Paula's Choice Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30
Skin Balancing Ultra-Sheer Daily Defense SPF 30


29 reviews

48% would repurchase

Package Quality: 3.5

Price: $$$

Package Quality: 3.5

Price: $$$

Not tested on animals


Active Ingredients: Oxybenzone 4; Avobenzone 3; Homosalate 7; and Octocrylene 2; (sunscreen agents).Other Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol (slip agent), Silica (absorbent), Cetyl Dimethicone (silicone-based emollient), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate (absorbent/thickener), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder (water-binding agent), Ascorbyl Palmitate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Phospholipids (cell-communicating ingredient), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant enzyme), Adenosine (cell-communicating ingredient), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Bisabolol (anti-irritant), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidant/anti-irritant plant extract), Colloidal Oatmeal (plant-based anti-irritant), Panthenol (skin-conditioning agent), Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract (anti-irritant), Acrylate/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (film-forming agent), Titanium Dioxide (opacifying agent), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Steareth-21, Steareth-2, Polysorbate 20 (emulsifiers), Disodium EDTA (chelating agent), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Sorbic Acid (preservative).

Start your review

Age: 19-24

Skin: Combination, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brown, Other, Other

Eyes: Green

Good option for combination to oily skin. But you have to blend quick or you will have white streaks. Other con is that its not hydrating at all. So i recommend putting a serum under it.

on 5/9/2017 6:43:00 PM

Age: 30-35

Skin: Oily, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Hazel

Best sunscreen I've used so far. Sinks right in and becomes a part of you. Sheer, matte, perfecting.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 8/13/2016 10:44:00 PM

Age: 36-43

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Blond, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Green

This is my favorite warm month summer sunscreen when my skin is oily in the t-zone. It is very runny and you need to shake it before opening, IMO. It soaks into the skin quickly, dries with no cast or shine, and works very well under makeup. This is in a tube but I would prefer a pump since it is so runny.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 8/5/2016 3:06:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Olive, Cool

Hair: Black, Straight, Fine

Eyes: Black

******** Edited September 9th 2016:
I don't use this product anymore. It was just too drying and irritating. This doesn't change the fact that this is still an OK sunscreen that I would recommend for some skin type.

I have been using this sunscreen for years. It's not my favorite sunscreen but I still use it because it is not very drying and didn't make me breakout. Sometimes sunscreen for combination-oily skin are really matte = drier on skin but this one is 'okay' - could be a little bit more moisturizing though. It can feel dry-tight after applying it. It's drier during the winter. I always apply a light serum/moisturizer before.

I do like the runny texture of this sunscreen, it applies easily. Feels lightweight on the skin and not tacky or heavy. It leaves a slight white cast, but it's not that noticeable. It's more like a brighter skin tone. This wash off easily (non water-resistant) which I like. It's fragrance-free and I didn't notice any bothersome smell from this sunscreen.

It doesn't dry matte but it's not overly greasy either (compared to other chemical sunscreen). You can see a layer of shine after applying it. I usually use blotting sheets to remove the excess oil. It does get greasy throughout the day too but I don't have to blot a lot.

This is a chemical sunscreen so it did stings my eyes but not often. Usually I don't feel any stinging around my eyes. Sometimes it burns or turns my skin red but that's when I over-exfoliate or irritated my skin beforehand. It is minimal for me though. If you have very sensitive skin, this sunscreen might not be a good fit for you. However I have sensitive skin and I can tolerate this chemical sunscreen. So it will depend on the individual.

It's hard to find a good sunscreen with good ingredients. If I can find a better sunscreen I would switch, but so far I didn't find a better one, be it physical or another chemical one. I always come back to this sunscreen. I have a love-hate relationship with this sunscreen!

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Fair, Neutral

Hair: Brunette, Curly, Other

Eyes: Green

I should have read the reviews before buying this. The texture is thin, but doesn't sink in quickly. It stings my face, smells like sunscreen, and is overall unpleasant to use.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

on 4/2/2016 11:38:00 AM

Age: 44-55

Skin: Combination, Olive, Neutral

Hair: Brown, Curly, Medium

Eyes: Brown


Effective Protection
Not Greasy
Rubs In Well
UVA/UVB Protection


Stings eyes

Best Uses

Daily Use

I've been on a quest for facial sunscreen, and have been going through samples of PC products because I haven't had good luck with other brands. I am olive complected with "extreme" combination normal to oily skin and some sensitivity. I tried Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50, Skin Balancing spf 30, and Hydralight spf 30. I felt a little like Goldilocks and the three bears...

All three sunscreens were great for daily use: lightweight, absorbed quickly, left no white cast, non-greasy, just a touch of moisture for skin tending toward oilyness, didn't add to facial oil production throughout the day. All three are somewhat liquid in texture, but not too thin. This means they are easy to apply and don't feel mask-like as other sunscreens might.

Here is where the three differed:

Resist spf 50 (chemical sunscreen)--soothing, did not sting eyes, but left a sheen ie, was not mattifying on my skin

Skin Balancing spf 30 (chemical sunscreen)--ok on face but burned around my eyes, mattifying

Hydralight spf 30 (physical sunscreen)--soothing, did not sting eyes, and mattifying, a bit thicker than the others but easy to work into skin

In my case Hydralight was the "just right" solution to quell my sensitive eye area and provide some mattification. I also really loved the super light weight of Resist spf 50 and Skin Balancing. I think if the Resist product didn't leave a sheen, that would be my HG sunscreen since it provides a bit more protection, is non-irritating and has great anti-aging ingredients. Skin Balancing was also great as a lightweight handcream, leaving my hands feeling silky and smooth with no shine. For now, I'm going to stick with Hydralight as my full purchase, but all three are worthy of sampling.

Also note that Hydralight is being "discontinued". The same formula is being repackaged in the Calm line of products for Normal to Oily skin.

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Age: 44-55

Skin: Sensitive, Fair, Warm

Hair: Blond, Curly, Fine

Eyes: Brown

I begrudgingly write this rave review, as I have grown to loathe Paula Begoun (not her products). This was an impulse buy when I was at Pharmaca (one of my favorite little shops in my neighborhood where I love to browse while I wait for a prescription). As soon as I tried this on the back of my hand, I knew I wanted to buy the full size tube. I love it. I am probably not the ideal candidate for this formula because I have very dry (scaly) rosacean, acne-prone, reactive, super-pale skin that burns really easily. The label says this is meant for normal/oily/combination skin and it does feel a bit astringent when I first apply it. I am obsessed with skincare and with sunscreen in particular. I've kissed a lot of sunscreen frogs on the journey to finding the three that I adore. I am adding this one to my collection. Here's why I love it:
- runny texture: this spreads easily with no chalky residue - makes it really easy to use the standard 1/4 teaspoon
- no ghostface: this is a chemical sunscreen so no mineral white cast
- not drying: label says it "hydrates without adding shine" and that is true -- it does offer a bit of non-greasy moisturizing
- the finish: lovely, natural finish - not matte, not shiny
- no acne: I swear my skin is better since starting to use this stuff -- it contains antioxidants so maybe it has something to do with that....

What I don't love about it:
- Tiny tube (2 oz) is not cheap ($28 US). If I use the recommended standard of 1/4 teaspoon daily, I will need to buy a new tube every 50 days. That's expensive, and exactly the kind of thing Paula has been so outspoken about for many years in her criticism of other cosmetics companies. Paula, you've gone to the dark side!
- In the summer my HG moisturizer is Neocutis Biogel Hydrogel (a gorgeous product worth every penny of its outrageous price). I wait 10 minutes for it to absorb before I apply this on top of it. Unfortunately that combination leads to awful pilling. Little white balls of product form and I have to brush them off my face. Yuck + looks like I have dandruff balls falling off my scalp onto my face. This doesn't happen with any other moisturizers I use under this product but just know that it can happen depending on the formula of your moisturizer.

Overall, I LOVE this ss and highly recommend it!

9 of 9 people found this helpful.

on 3/22/2016 5:43:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Acne-prone, Medium Brown, Warm

Hair: Black, Wavy, Medium

Eyes: Brown

This has become my HG chemical sunscreen. I have oily, acne prone skin, and this doesn't exacerbate oiliness, or alter the matte finish of my foundations. In fact I think this has some oil control. Not a lot though. I use it on top of Paula's Choice Calm serum.

It goes on white and then blends in to a transparent tacky then matte finish. I like to put primer after this and before foundation because I prefer the softness the primer leaves.

This sunscreen smells more strongly to chemical sunscreen than the Paulas Choice CLear Spf 30 and it's analog spf 50 in the Resist line. Its also less shiny, and whatever sheen it has doesn't show through makeup. It can be a little more irritating than the PC clear one because it has more chemical filters. I have no problem with that because I make sure I don't use too many actives or exfoliate too much.

I also appreciate that it has antioxidants and anti irritants.

I have and will keep repurchasing for now.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

on 11/5/2015 8:45:00 PM

Age: 25-29

Skin: Combination, Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Brunette, Other, Other

Eyes: Brown

Why I will not repurchase,
-Stings my eyes if I accidentally get a trace of it, not to mention it will sting my under-eye area
-very liquid-ey/runny
-other options for similar cost, not to mention Canadian exchange rate right now is terrible.

Potential Pros
-Absorbs fairly quickly (i usually top it with a BB cream with spf as well)
-Works fine under makeup
-Does not become gritty after exercise/sweating
-Does not break me out/clog pores

2 of 2 people found this helpful.

Age: 36-43

Skin: Other, Fair-Medium, Not Sure

Hair: Red, Other, Other

Eyes: Blue

I've been using this sunscreen every day for the last year (or more). I highly recommend it to anyone with oily or normal skin. Here are a few things to keep in mind though.

Light texture
Non-greasy (not necessarily mattifying, but does not add to shine)
Well formulated
No scent

Oxidizes around the opening, so you need to keep wiping it (just for aesthetics)
Takes time to get used to if you have sensitive skin (if you are using exfoliators or other medicated creams, or your skin is dry, this sunscreen will sting in the beginning, but I found that after consistent use, and taking care not to over-exfoliate the skin, the sting disappears)

I find that the prices of PC products have increased lately, and I continue to reduce my spending on cosmetics in general, but this particular sunscreen I will always reorder. I have not found a comparable item in that price range yet.

3 of 3 people found this helpful.

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