Dermalogica's Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Feels Like a Luxurious Moisturizer

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.


Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer

Emily Algar/Design by Cristina Cianci

What We Like
  • Hydrating

  • Lightweight

  • Broad spectrum, high SPF

  • Contains added antioxidants for environmental protection

  • Doubles as a moisturizer for normal to combination skin types

What We Don't Like
  • High price point

  • Not Byrdie Clean due to 7.5% octinoxate

As an Australia-based beauty writer, I have tried a lot of sunscreens in my day. But none have impressed me quite like Dermalogica's Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer. It’s hydrating, lightweight, and offers ample protection from the elements.


Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer

Emily Algar/Design by Cristina Cianci

We put the Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.

In life, three things are certain: death, taxes, and that those who don’t wear sunscreen will have their comeuppance (either by way of accelerated skin damage, or worse, skin cancer). Working in this industry means I’ve heard every excuse under the (literal) sun for not wearing SPF: "I don’t burn," "I’m too sensitive," or "I hate the thick, greasy feeling." All valid, yes, but in 2021, we're thankfully blessed with a stack of intelligent, broad spectrum SPF formulas that both feel and look great on the skin. 

Case in point: Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50. It’s hydrating and creamy, which makes it feel less like sunscreen and more like a moisturizer. Intrigued? You should be. Keep reading for the full review.

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer

Best for: Normal to dry skin types looking for a beautiful, hydrating daily sunscreen. 

Uses: As a daily sunscreen and moisturizer.

Star Rating: 5

Potential allergens: Not likely, unless you are sensitive to chemical blockers.

Active ingredients: Avobenzone, octinoxate, and algae extract. 

Clean? No; contains 7.5% octinoxate, a common sunscreen ingredient with a controversial history.

Price: $77 

About the brand: Dermalogica was founded in 1986 by a skin therapist. The brand focuses on creating custom skincare solutions that have both short- and long-term benefits.

About My Skin: Could use a multi-tasking SPF

I’d say my skin type is normal 80% of the time, but can change depending on the seasons. In winter, I’m prone to dehydration, whereas in the summer months, a little shine will make itself known around my T-zone. I do have some sun damage from my youth, and am also prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Needless to say, I’m hyper vigilant when it comes to daily SPF, especially on my face (of course, I also do this because I’d rather avoid skin cancer at all costs).

The Feel: More like a moisturizer than sunscreen

Daily SPF is a non-negotiable product for all skin types, but this formula is especially great for normal to dry or dehydrated skin types. It’s creamy and light, and feels quite luminous on the skin. It’s definitely not greasy, but I’d categorize it as a dewy finish. I actually recommend this to anyone who doesn’t like the feel of traditional sunscreens, because it’s more or less the same texture as a moisturizer. In other words, it’s all your SPF dreams, realized.

The Ingredients: Powerful sunscreens, among other skincare benefits

Dermalogica's Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 is a chemical or “organic” sunscreen, and the active filters are avobenzone and octinoxate. Outside of this, there’s also hyaluronic acid, squalane, white tea, polyphenols, polypeptides, and glycerin, so it’s really emollient and works to hydrate the skin. It also provides further antioxidant protection to fight free radicals and other environmental damage.

How to Apply: Follow expert guidance

With the essential protection it's providing, SPF application is an important one to nail. Professional advice is to take one teaspoon for the face, neck and ears, and apply as the final step in your skincare routine (don’t mix or dilute it, either). The Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Moisturizer is light and enhances glow, so it doubles as a moisturizer if you like (my no-nonsense summer routine of choice). It’s really quickly absorbed, so no white cast, and it has a dewy but not damp finish. In a word, it’s heaven.

The Results: A protective, hydrated glow

Dermalogica Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50 Results on Emily Algar

Emily Algar/Design by Cristina Cianci

A luminous glow and broad spectrum sun protection—what’s not to love? As I said, I’ve tried a ton of sunscreen formulas throughout my beauty writing days, so you can believe me when I say this is a very good product. It’s light but moisturizing, gives a nice healthy glow to the skin, and sinks in quickly so as to not disturb makeup and the like. It doesn't do much dripping or burning upon application (in my experience), and takes little to no effort to rub in. Oh, and I’ve never experienced sunburn while wearing it.

The Value: You're getting what you paid for

While I don’t subscribe to the ideology that price equals quality, this SPF is one incidence where the price does guarantee a pretty stellar product. Personally, I think it’s worth it, but we’re also living in a time where it’s not too tough to find a lovely chemical sunscreen on a budget. Essentially, if you want to splurge on an amazing sunscreen, this is a great choice. If you don’t, keep reading, as you can still accomplish your SPF goals at a lower price point.

Similar Products: You have options

Paula's Choice Resist Youth-Extending Daily Hydrating Fluid SPF 50: This moisturizing sunscreen from Paula's Choice ($35) is similar to Dermalogica's Dynamic Skin Recovery in that it’s rich in antioxidants and skin hydrators, but this one results in less luminosity. Instead, it’s an oil-free formula with a matte finish, so great if you want to dial back on the dewiness.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Light Fluid Face Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 60: This French pharmacy SPF from La Roche-Posay ($30) is great if you want to marry affordability with a luxurious texture. It’s light and milky, so works well for dry, dull, or mature skin types.

Supergoop Play Everyday Lotion SPF 50: If you want a broad-spectrum SPF that fares well in warmer, humid weather, try this fresh pick from Supergoop ($32). It resists grease and sweat, and feels really soft on the skin. It smells lovely, too.

Final Verdict

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: this is my favorite facial sunscreen. It feels beautiful, offers broad-spectrum protection, and sits wonderfully on the skin. It offers antioxidant protection and is really moisturizing, too. It is definitely on the higher end of price points for SPF products, but if you’ve tried a bunch without much luck, try this on for size.


  • Product Name Dynamic Skin Recovery SPF 50
  • Product Brand Dermalogica
  • Price $77.00
  • Weight 1.7 oz.
  • Full Ingredient List Active ingredients: Avobenzone (3.0%), Octinoxate (7.5%). Other ingredients: Water/Aqua/Eau, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butylene Glycol, Carthamus Tinctorius Oleosomes, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Cyclopentasiloxane, Glycerin, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Dimethicone, Dimethyl Capramide, Palmitoyl Tripeptide-5, Aniba Rosaeodora Wood Oil, Rose Flower Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Eugenia Caryophyllus Leaf/Flower Oil, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Oil, Saccharomyces Cerevisiae Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum Peel Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Lecithin, Glucosamine HCL, Arginine/Lysine Polypeptide, Tocopheryl Acetate, Squalane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Polysilicone-11, Glycine Soja Protein, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Cetearyl Alcohol, Stearic Acid, Ceteareth-20, Sodium Polyacrylate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sodium Acrylates Copolymer, Decyl Glucoside, Polysorbate 80, Urea, Galactoarabinan, Glyceryl Polyacrylate, Polysorbate 60, Aminomethyl Propanol, Disodium EDTA, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Linalool, Eugenol, Limonene, Geraniol, Citronellol, CI 77891.

Related Stories