Dr. Dennis Gross Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen SPF 40

Reviewed by TIA Community Member on September 2, 2016


By Sue R. 

I was given a chance over the summer to review the Dr. Dennis Gross Instant Radiance Sun Defense with SPF 40 ($42) in the Light Medium shade. Before I give my review details, here is some info about my skin type and makeup background:  Since I am in my 60s, I have been a foundation user for decades. In earlier adult years, I had oily, acne-prone skin so I would opt for oil-free foundations. As I got older, my oily skin became combination with just an oily T-zone.

I never liked the heavy feel of foundation and really disliked adding another layer of setting powder, so I tried the mineral foundation route. As forgiving as they are supposed to be, I found finding the right shade a frustrating chore. Plus, they were often chalky and drying even without talc. Next, I was on to BB and CC creams. While the shades were more forgiving, in listening to advertisements claiming these were for all skin tones and skin types, I found these products to be too heavy and I could hardly wait to wash them off my face. I realized the culprits for the most part were the silicones (or any “cones"), one of their main ingredients.

Alas, in recent years while reading about these creams, I discovered I have a sisterhood of consumers who do not like silicones either. They tend to make the skin feel smothered and often cause breakouts. In joining the Truth In Aging website, I found an exception in Amarte Natural Finish BB Cream ($57) and have been quite pleased for the past two years while still sampling other foundation products. But then I was chosen to try Instant Radiance Sun Defense by Dr. Dennis Gross.  

I like that the product comes in a squeezable tube and that there are only two shades said to adapt to all tones. I was sent the lighter of the two, light medium. When I used the recommended five-dot application method, I initially thought it would be too yellow. However, as I blended it, the shade was more forgiving and evened out my skin tone nicely. This cream is listed as a color corrector and hydrator with coverage, which I think that is an accurate description. It is lightweight and covers the skin without seeming too oily or too dry. The best part is that it is does not contain silicone — or parabens, sulfates or phthalates.

The first week, I noticed the radiance part of the description was quite literal, as I saw a definite sheen looking back at me in the mirror, especially in the T-zone. I live in northern California and we were having a hot summer (over 100 degrees many days), so this finish was not what I wanted. I went against my preference of not using setting powder and with a flat topped brush, just dabbed some talc-free powder on my forehead and nose. However, I noticed if I let the product dry down some, the sheen was not as pronounced and I have not put anything on top the last couple of weeks.  I actually think I will enjoy this glow more during the winter months when my skin is a little dull.

Also, after much research on sunscreens, I decided several years ago to only use physical sunscreens. I am pleased to report this product uses titanium dioxide and zinc for its blocking UV rays. I read on another website that a reviewer noticed a gray cast to this product, and while I have experienced that with many other physical sunscreen products, I can assure you that I have not noticed that with this one.

I should note that one potentially objectionable ingredient is BHT, which I have read has mixed reviews but is generally considered safe topically if it is a small percentage of the product.

To conclude, Dr Dennis Gross Instant Radiance Sun Defense SPF 40 is a lightweight color corrector that gives the skin some moisturize and a nice glow. It utilizes a physical sunscreen and does not contain silicones (hooray), parabens, sulfates or phthalates. I would recommend it and plan on buying it when I run out of my sample.

Read another review of Dr. Dennis Gross Instant Radiance Sun Defense Sunscreen SPF 40 here