Avène Hydrance Optimale UV (Legere/Light)

Generally, I'm the opposite of a brand snob. I love trying anything and everything and the more variety the better. The sole exception to that mentality is Avène, because everything I've tried from this French skincare brand has been outstanding. Simple, effective products with a touch of luxury, designed for sensitive skin . . . yes, this would definitely be my desert-island skincare range.

My introduction to the brand was the Hydrance Optimale UV, a daytime moisturizer with added sun protection. I was truly blown away by how good it was. It's discouraging, but in a way I don't ever expect products to do what they claim - I'm always reading reviews and researching beauty purchases online before I buy. But I've come to truly trust Avène, and that's not something I say lightly.

In fact, I've put off writing this review for a while because I knew it would take a long time and I wanted to do the product justice. There are just so many good things to say about it! Finally I just decided to pound out a list.

1. Even using the full recommended amount (1/4 tsp for the face alone), it dries to a satin finish. No stickiness and no shininess. You won't even need to set with powder unless you're very oily, but it's not so matte that applying makeup on top becomes a problem. For those with extremely dry skin, it also comes in Riche.
2. With an SPF of 20 and PPD of around 8, this is good enough for everyday incidental sun exposure.
3. So many "sunscreen/moisturizer-type" products lean too far to one side. Hydrance Optimale is a perfect balance between protection and hydration.
4. I've slept in this while camping (don't judge me, running water was 15 minutes away!) and had no breakouts or irritation the following day.
5. Avène sunscreens are some of the only ones that don't sting when I apply them around the eye area, or even when they get in the eyes accidentally.
6. The smell is pleasant but light, and causes no problems for my sensitive skin. Possibly due to the soothing effects of the famous Avène thermal water, my face actually feels calmer after application.
7. I quite like the packaging, and a tube usually lasts at least three to four months with liberal daily use.

The only downside is that it is a bit pricy. In the U.S. it's around $25 here but in Germany it works out to around $20. The expense is worth it though, and I'm going to repurchase before I go back home. Considering that the drugstore Neutrogena sunscreens that practically burn my face off are $12, I'd rather shell out the extra eight bucks and get a seriously superior cream. The best sunscreen, after all, is the one you like enough to use every day.

A note to anyone interested in purchasing: I bought mine in Europe, where the full product name is Hydrance Optimale UV. In the US, it's called Hydrance Optimale SPF 25. It's important to note the "UV" or "SPF" in the name when you're buying, because Avene also makes sunscreen-free versions both the Legere and Riche, and it's easy to order the wrong product by mistake!


  1. Well, you won me over. It takes me forever to finish a face cream and I have three in rotation right now, but #3 makes it sound like a total winner for the summer. I'll have to cave to this eventually!

    1. This is seriously the product I recommend to everyone...I just can't praise it highly enough!


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