Super lightweight formula is great for oily, acne-prone skin
Contains anti-aging, antioxidant ingredients
Doesn't leave your face shiny
Light formula might not be hydrating enough for drier skin types, so you may need to apply over your regular moisturizer
Those with dry skin may find the finish to be "powdery"
Not Byrdie Clean
Paula's Choice PC4Men Daytime Protect SPF 30 Moisturizer with Antioxidants
We put the Paula's Choice PC4Men Daytime Protect SPF 30 Moisturizer to the test after receiving a complimentary sample from the brand. Keep reading for our full product review.
While I’m not exactly behind the idea of gendered skincare, the chance to review any product by Paula’s Choice is something I can get behind wholeheartedly. Every Paula’s Choice product I’ve tried so far has exceeded my expectations, so when I got to try PC4Men Daytime Protect, a lightweight moisturizer with SPF 30 and a bunch of skin-soothing, anti-aging, antioxidant, and breakout-preventing ingredients, I was jumping at the chance to pop it open and get to work.
Let me be real up front: I hate SPF. I know how vital it is and I still manage to wear it at least five out of seven days a week, but I have yet to find one that doesn’t leave my skin looking tarnished by 3 p.m. When I say tarnished, I mean shiny, with a tight, irregular texture that either means my skincare underneath isn’t sufficiently hydrating (which it is) or that the SPF just doesn’t work with my skin chemistry. So you can imagine how surprised (not to mention happy) I was when 3 p.m. rolled around the first day I tried PC4Men Daytime Protect and my skin looked as fresh as it did six hours earlier when I first applied it. PC4Men, you can add another devotee to your list.
Keep reading for my full thoughts.
BEST FOR: All skin types, and safe for oily, breakout-prone skin.
USES: Daily, broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection.
ACTIVE INGREDIENTS: Boerhavia diffusa root extract, avobenzone, vitamin C.
CLEAN: No; contains oxybenzone.
PRICE: $29 for 2 oz.
ABOUT THE BRAND: Paula's Choice is a no-nonsense, ingredients-driven brand created by cosmetics expert Paula Begoun, whose mission to educate people on the science behind skincare has led to her eponymous line of high-quality, high-performance products.
About My Skin: Oily, sensitive, moody, and SPF-averse
I technically have normal to dry skin, but somehow there's still plenty of surface oiliness that doubles up on its production in the warmer months. I tend to keep my skincare routine minimal but impactful, opting for serum-based products and only one active at a time (usually vitamin C) with a light moisturizer if I need it. I’ve found a routine that works for me most of the time, but like I said—I hate how most SPF wears on my skin, so I’m always on the hunt for “the one.”
My problem with SPF lies in how it looks on my skin over time. When I first apply it, all is normal, but after a few hours, my skin gets shiny and irritated, leaving an irregular, angry-looking texture that’s just plain unflattering. I’m also bearded, which means I’m prone to that unsightly SPF buildup that can occur where beard meets skin if the formula is chalky.
The Feel: Super lightweight
Paula's Choice PC4Men Daytime Protect has the consistency of a watery lotion, white in color and spreading easily over skin. It’s marketed as a total daytime treatment for the skin, but has the texture and consistency of a super light SPF, which was right up my alley. It goes on clear, without any residue or chalkiness, and when it came to my beard line, I couldn’t see a thing.
The Ingredients: Strong sunscreens get a boost from potent skin-soothers
If you’re looking into PC4Men Daytime Protect for its sun protection abilities, you won’t be disappointed as it’s stacked with four of the most efficient chemical sunscreens known to science: avobenzone, homosalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone. Also high up on the ingredients list and adding even more protection to the mix is a buffet of antioxidants including green tea leaf extract, Vitamin C, and gingko biloba. Finally, PC4Men Daytime Protect features a cocktail of skin-soothers and hydrators perfect for post-shave care, like aloe vera, colloidal oatmeal, and panthenol.
The Results: Ticked all the boxes for me... as an SPF
As an SPF, Paula's Choice PC4Men Daytime Protect was love at first application. However, as a moisturizer, it definitely could use some help if you need more hydration. I used it around 8:30 a.m. on the first day I tried it, applying it after my usual daytime serum and forgoing my usual moisturizer. By 10 a.m., my face felt a little tight, but the surface texture was bright and dewy. By 3 p.m., I could definitely feel the lack of moisturizer, but to my surprise yet again, my face looked great, with no irritation or shiny finish. The next day, I applied PC4Men Daytime Protect after my usual skincare routine—this time including moisturizer—and all went according to plan. My skin looked and felt fresh, hydrated, and—above all—protected. On the third day, I really put PC4Men Daytime Protect to the test when I went for a hike in the sun. After at least four straight hours in the blazing mid-winter sun, there wasn’t so much as a hint of redness or irritation.
The Value: Totally worth it
Long story short, I finally found my ideal daily SPF. It lived up to every test I put it through, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. Considering the bevy of beneficial ingredients inside, I think it warrants its $29 price tag. And with only a dime-sized amount required for every day, those two ounces of product should last you ages.
Similar Products: You've got options
Neutrogena Men Triple Protect Face Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 20: This lightweight lotion from Neutrogena ($6) protects against the sun with SPF 20, all while the rest of the formula soothes razor burn and fights overall damage.
Nivea Men Maximum Hydration Protective Lotion SPF 15: While this Nivea Men face lotion's ($10) SPF number is only half that of PC4Men, the aloe-laced formula goes heavy on the hydration for soothed, smooth skin.
Cardon Daily SPF + Moisturizer: Fans of Korean skincare should check out this water-based moisturizer from Cardon ($20), which pumps skin full of hydration while protecting with SPF 30.
One thing I love overall about the Paula's Choice PC4Men Daytime Protect moisturizer is how all-inclusive it is in terms of protection. It’s got four sunscreens covering all the bases of broad-spectrum sun protection, as well as a stacked list of antioxidants that act like added insurance against pollution and free radical damage. As the newest member of my daily routine, this SPF stands out from the pack and I can’t recommend it enough.
- Product Name Daytime Protect SPF 30 Moisturizer with Antioxidants
- Product Brand Paula's Choice PC4Men
- Price $29
- Weight 2 oz.
- Full Ingredient List Active Ingredients: Avobenzone 3%; Homosalate 7%; and Octocrylene 2%; Oxybenzone 4%. Other Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Butylene Glycol (hydration/texture-enhancing), Silica (absorbent), Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate (absorbent/emollient/texture-enhancing), Cetyl Dimethicone (emollient), Camellia Sinensis (Green Tea) Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice Powder (hydration), Ascorbyl Palmitate (vitamin C/antioxidant), Phospholipids (skin-restoring), Superoxide Dismutase (antioxidant enzyme), Adenosine (skin-restoring), Tocopherol (vitamin E/antioxidant), Bisabolol (skin-soothing), Boerhavia Diffusa Root Extract (antioxidant/skin-soothing plant extract), Colloidal Oatmeal (plant-based skin-soothing), Panthenol (skin replenishing), Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract (antioxidant), Salix Alba (Willow) Bark Extract (skin-soothing), Acrylate/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer (texture-enhancing), Titanium Dioxide (texture-enhancing), Sodium Hydroxide (pH adjuster), Steareth-21, Steareth-2, Polysorbate 20 (texture-enhancings), Disodium EDTA (stabilizer), Phenoxyethanol (preservative), Sorbic Acid (preservative).