Review: Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Anti-Sun Damage Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30


I’m not one of those bloggers who always gets companies sending them free stuff, but I do keep myself active on a few different product promotion websites, and occasionally one of them will send me a little something in the mail to try out, review, and hopefully promote via social media and my blog. It’s just one of those things companies do to get their products out there in sea of similar products. With the cosmetics industry being the behemoth it is, you really do have to shine to be able to succeed, and this is one way they get folks talking about that thing they’re making and would really like for you to buy.

Considering how much more effective it is to have customers try out and talk about their products rather than to simply see them, it’s no wonder why sample subscription boxes and sites like Influenster are so darn popular with the brands.

Crowdtap is one such site, and this was one of those products they sent me. Specifically, they sent me this along with an eye roller (which I hated) and an overnight peel (which I’ve yet to test extensively enough to be comfortable reviewing)– all full size. Also worth noting, I don’t always get full size products. This was just one of those cases where I did.

One of my beefs regarding these sites, though, is regarding skincare and how little time you have to actually USE the product (and in some cases how much you have to work with) before you are expected to gauge the results and help promote it in one way or another. Skincare takes a good 2-4 weeks to determine whether or not it’s working, should be introduced one at a time so that you know what effects to contribute to that product, and effects are typically noticed over the course of months, not weeks. That’s why when I see a dinky skincare foil sample I have a tendency to roll my eyes. (I’m side-eyeing you so hard right now, Clarins.)

So Garnier definitely gets a few brownie points for sending full size samples and not foil packets. I’ve spent a full six weeks with this product now, and I think based on that I can give a much better judgement than I would have been able to after just a few days. My final verdict… It’s okay. I’ll use it up, but I’m not in love, and I won’t be repurchasing it.

First, the good.

I like a good moisturizer/SPF combo. I feel like I do better with them than I do with a separate moisturizer and susnscreen. With the amount of sunscreen you have to use to get full coverage, I often find myself skipping one or the other during the day (usually moisturizer, because sunscreen is not optional for me, folks) to avoid an oil slick, particularly during the summer months. Now, I know what you’re going to say here, but I can assure you that I do use a good 1/4 teaspoon on my face. I’m not using that itty bitty pea-sized dollop that some people use.

This also has a pleasant, clean and somewhat citrusy scent. I’m not a huge fan of fragrance in my skincare, but it’s not a dealbreaker for me unless the fragrance is causing problems. There’s a nice, creamy texture to the product itself, and while it did leave a slight sheen on my skin, it wasn’t greasy. That’s saying a lot considering the amount I use on my face.

Speaking to packaging for a minute… This isn’t anything fancy, and quite frankly I don’t care one way or the other, though cuteness is always appreciated. Skincare is much like a good man in that it’s what’s on the inside that counts. You do want to be able to get to the product, though, and that’s why I’ll mention the packaging. The pump is… okay. I’ve had rougher times with cheap pump packaging. Sometimes you get one that doesn’t work. (I’m side-eyeing you guys now, Urban Decay and e.l.f.) This one is fine, but I could easily see how there might be some defective ones floating around out there. It’s also no secret that I prefer a tube or jar for cream products so that I can get to all the goodness without having to use an old cosmetics brush to dig it out when the product is down to it’s last little bit. This takes about 3-4 pumps to get exactly the amount I need (the aforementioned 1/4 teaspoon), but it will do.

Now, the bad.

While this ranks as good enough to use up, I’m not a fan. Even though I’m not using two separate products, this is still incredibly heavy during the day and might be better for someone with drier skin. I’ll admit that it’s wonderfully moisturizing.

The thing that bugged me, though, is what’s on the label:

The thing that immediately jumps out at me is dimethicone, which is a silicone and can be an acne trigger. It’s not an acne trigger for me, and I don’t always have issues with silicone-based products. In fact, sometimes I love silicones. It’s great to have in an occlusive product to seal in all that lovely, lovely hydration your skin needs. I do however hate how temperamental silicone can be in some products.

Some products, you see, don’t play very nice with others. Oil, water, and silicone will occasionally get along and enjoy sharing the same space, particularly if given the right set of conditions. At other times you might find yourself square in the middle of a cosmetic Trump rally on your face. Silicone is already good and riled up, an oil product decides it’s going to start a protest. Meanwhile, everyone hates those bloodsucking water products sitting in their designated area, but the fact that they’re simply THERE is going to cause problems, and the next thing you know there are angry and disgusting little silicone pills all over your face.

It’s good to have products that are balanced so that they work well with others. Like I said, I’ve used several products that contain silicones and work just fine with no special treatment needed. Ditto for water-based and oil-based products. This moisturizer, however, seems to require some special treatment. Depending on the day of the week, that special treatment might or might not work short of sacrificing a goat. I’ve patted it in super duper gently. I’ve let it and everything else sit for several minutes and absorb. I’ve been careful with what products I use with it. Some days it’s fine. Other days it pills, and there doesn’t seem to be a determining factor in what will or will not make it pill. With my sunscreen product, I really don’t want to worry about whether it’s going to stay on my face or flake off in gross little balls of silicone snot.

So there’s my biggest issue here and why, while I’ll use it up because I don’t like being wasteful, I won’t be repurchasing. But since I’m on the subject of ingredients, it’s worth pointing out other noteworthy inclusions. Here’s the full CosDNA analysis.

As you can see, there are quite a few possible irritants and acne triggers. I have fairly acne prone and sensitive skin that loves to find itself all clogged up, but I haven’t noticed those issues with this, so I should emphasize that. However, if any of these are ingredients that’s given you trouble in the past, then it’s worth keeping that in mind if you try this out.

Where can I get this?

This is pretty easily found, which is a plus, and it’s pretty darn affordable, which is also a plus. The MSRP is $14.99, but the price is going to vary depending on where you buy: Ulta for $14.99, Walmart for $11.65, Amazon for $10.99, and CVS for $15.99.

2 thoughts on “Review: Garnier SkinActive Clearly Brighter Anti-Sun Damage Daily Moisturizer with SPF 30

  1. Its cool that you got full size stuff. I completely agree with you that I hate when they don’t give you enough time to properly test it. (Mainly skincare, polish or shadow or something a week or two is fine) or when it is such a small sample that you get one or two uses out of it. Ummmm I need it for weeks not once or twice thanks! It sucks that this is too heavy for day.

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