This SPF Cleanser Could Change Everything You Know About Sun Protection

SPF cleanser. Did you hear that?

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(Image credit: Getty, design by Jen Baumgardner)

If Helena Rubenstein were alive and on social media today, I would consider starting a Chillary/Jeb-style Twitter beef with her over that one time she said "There are no ugly women, only lazy ones." (I mostly just want to make a meme slideshow, okay?)

Over the course of several cutting tweets leading up to the Drake-ian pièce de résistance, I would argue that a) there are more important things in life than looking pretty, b) like sleeping, and c) maybe she's born with it. But then I would remember another thing she said: that "sunburn is beauty suicide."

Helena might not have approved of 2015's preoccupation with elimination—not brushing your hair, not washing itnot wearing makeup—but she would have at least been intrigued by this breakthrough launch, which lumps sun protection in with a skincare step hardly anybody skips, even in the age of no-poo. Behold...the future. 

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(Image credit: Courtesy of Dr. Russo)

As the first FDA-approved SPF product of its type, Dr. Russo Sun Protective Day Cleanser promises to defend against UVA/UVB exposure with "wash-on technology," which leaves a layer of sunscreen on your skin after you've rinsed away the "soufflé balm." Sounds like a dream, right, minus the $75 price tag and fact that it's sold out on Space NK? Mmm, not so fast, says board-certified dermatologist Dr. Rachel Nazarian at Schweiger Dermatology Group.

"My concern is that you're not actually leaving an appropriate volume on the skin to achieve the SPF 30 and thus patients are falsely confident about their sun-protective state," she says. " The product is also applied in the shower, then needs to be patted dry. The process of patting dry removes even more product, lowering your effective SPF even more."

Dr. Nazarian also says she has reservations about the active ingredients—all chemical sunscreens—elevating the risk for skin allergy, especially when applied to wet skin.

So what's a moderately slothful girl who still cares about not getting wrinkles or cancer to do? Simple—keep smoothing on your regular 1/4–1/2 teaspoon of regular old sunscreen every morning (upward strokes!), even if you've already used some newfangled face wash in the shower. It might take more effort, but your skin is the one place where you don't want to slack off.

Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.