Dr. Dennis Gross Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen SPF 40

Reviewed by TIA Community Member on August 26, 2016

1 Comment

By Jeanine A.

I am always on the lookout for a multitasking product that can whittle my 15 minute morning routine down to three minutes and Dr. Dennis Gross Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen ($42) looked like a good candidate, especially for the summer months. It’s a tinted moisturizer with SPF 40 and a low-hazard ingredient list that promises skin that’s “flawless, incandescent, and hydrated — no additional makeup required.”

I spend a fair amount of time outdoors during peak sun hours, and I often have to get out the door quickly. I have mid-forties combination olive skin with large pores and fine lines, and I struggle with hyperpigmentation and redness. I am diligent about sunscreen, but I seldom have 15 minutes to devote to a serum, then a moisturizer, then sunscreen, then makeup before getting out of the house. Plus, I’m picky about ingredients — not a purist, but the more natural, the better.

DDG Instant Radiance Sun Defense excludes chemical blockers and instead uses minerals zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. It also has vitamin C and additional antioxidants for an extra boost of protection. In fact, the only ingredients I can see a purist taking issue with are the preservatives BHT and phenoxyethanol

The sunscreen applies easily and doesn’t require much rubbing to absorb. The color was darker than I expected, but with zero white cast — not even a hint of white hidden by tint — something I have never experienced with a zinc- and titanium dioxide- based sunscreen. The product boasts something called color-correcting technology, which promises to blend perfectly into most skin tones, so it is only offered in two shades, Light/Medium and Medium/Deep, which theoretically work with most skin tones. I was using Medium/Deep and during the summer I’m usually okay with a slightly darker shade. While the color did adjust somewhat as it absorbed, it was still too pinkish to match the yellow undertones of my olive skin. It had the effect of applying bronzer to my entire face.

The radiance, in the form of pinkish iridescent sheen, may have been part of the color issue. Unfortunately, that sheen also settles into fine lines and large pores, highlighting my skin issues rather than perfecting them. I found I could not wear the product alone. It worked best applied over a moisturizer, as it wasn’t hydrating at all on its own and the moisturizer also helped to thin out the pinkish sheen. It showed through my sheer foundation just enough to provide the promised glow.

Although it works well with other products, Dr. Dennis Gross Instant Radiance Sun Defense is not the one stop shop I had hoped for. On a positive note, I have been wearing this sunscreen daily throughout July and August and it kept my hyper pigmentation at bay. While camping and at the pool, I topped off with an additional sunscreen because I could not bring myself to reapply the Instant Radiance. The color became too bronze the more you apply (although the box says to reapply for fuller coverage and at least every two hours), which is unfortunate because I felt like it was one of the few natural sunscreens that did its job without leaving a ghostly cast.

If you like the look of bronzed makeup and are looking for one with SPF, give this a try. I may throw it in my makeup bag on my next vacation, but for everyday use, I'll stick with my old routine.