In our series Trial Run, TZR editors and writers put the buzziest new beauty products to the test and share their honest reviews.
U Beauty just launched its Multimodal Defender Broad Spectrum SPF 30, a sunscreen that costs $168. Yes, compared to other formulas on the market, that is a somewhat eye-popping number. But, as with anything costly, there is usually a reason why things in the beauty space are so expensive. The team at U Beauty understands that sun damage is one of the leading causes of hyperpigmentation in the skin. Not only does sun damage *cause* this, but it also exacerbates existing post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that you may experience when dealing with acne.
One of the best ways to protect the skin against discoloration is through the daily use of sunscreen. But, the team at U Beauty wanted to take it a step further with the Multimodal Defender Broad Spectrum SPF 30: this formula promises to protect the skin against UVA, UVB, infrared, and blue light radiation, but also works hard to correct pre-existing hyperpigmentation in the skin (more on how in a minute). In addition, the Multimodal Defender also promises to hydrate the skin and nourish the lipid barrier with moisturizing agents.
As someone who deals with dark spots, á la sun damage, acne scars, and even remnants from allergic reactions, I knew I had to give this formula a whirl for my post-summer skin. Here’s how U Beauty’s Multimodal Defender holds up to its claims.
What’s In The Formula?
The U Beauty sunscreen contains one of the most common physical ingredients — zinc oxide — to protect against UVA, UVB, infrared (IR), and blue light (HEV) exposure. Mineral ingredients like this also have the added benefits of protecting against melasma, so if you struggle with this particular formula of skin discoloration, a physical SPF is always your best bet.
It also contains a proprietary SIREN Capsule Technology, which inhibits adverse melanin synthesis (excess melanin is what can cause dark spots) to reduce pre-existing hyperpigmentation, dark spots, heat-induced freckles, and fine lines.
Along with all of those benefits, this formula is also ultra-soothing and hydrating for the skin. Ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, shea butter, jojoba oil, and almond oil work overtime to nourish the skin's lipid layer while adding a surge of moisture to plump and smooth the skin's texture. These also eliminate the need for another layer of moisturizer underneath your SPF, even if your skin is on the drier side, which mine typically is at this point in the year.
My Skin Post-U Beauty's New Sunscreen
Now, U Beauty put a ton of science behind the Multimodal Defender sunscreen, but has all that hard work led to an earth-shattering formula that delivers on its promises? Well, the proof is in the results.
I’m currently dealing with the pigmented remnants of an allergic reaction I had while testing out a new product. Typically, I would reach for my soothing skin care staples, like a gentle cleanser, a PHA exfoliator, a panthenol serum, and a creamy cica-based moisturizer. But to see the full effects of this new product, I decided to skip it all and only use a gentle cleanser, a hydrating essence, and the Multimodal Defender.
After exiting the shower each morning, I scoop about a dime-sized amount of sunscreen from the jar to apply it to my skin. I find that this sunscreen is quite thick and paste-like, so I like to warm the formula between my fingers before gliding it onto my face, neck, ears, and décolletage.
My immediate reaction was, wow, there goes that white cast again. As someone familiar with the nature of zinc oxide (the ingredient itself is white), I knew that this was inevitable. However, after working the formula into my skin for about a minute and allowing some time for absorption, I notice that the white cast dissipates, leaving me with an even complexion.
The product leaves a dewy finish to the skin while still feeling satin-like, which acted as a perfect primer to my makeup. On days when I rocked a makeup-free look, I reapplied this formula every two hours, as one always should with sunscreen. Unfortunately, however, due to the Multimodal Defender’s rich texture and inevitable white cast, I couldn’t reapply it every two hours on days where I wore makeup. Instead, I used a separate powder sunscreen to protect my skin throughout the day. And I’m pleased to say that this formula was gentle enough for my sensitive skin, leaving me with no reactions from the get-go.
After week two of using this formula, I noticed that my acne scars, from my aforementioned allergic reaction, and general post-summer hyperpigmentation had diminished significantly — not completely, as I’m still sporting a few traces of my deep-set acne scars. But, for the most part, this is the quickest my skin has ever evened out.
As I continue to incorporate this SPF into my routine I still notice how dewy this sunscreen makes my skin look, thanks to the velvety texture and added moisturizing ingredients. This sunscreen was one of the only things I applied to my skin for about three weeks — yet it still left me with a vibrant glow that I usually only have after my extensive skin care routine of moisturizers, oils, and serums.
This formula did to my skin exactly what it promised to do: clear past photo damage and hyperpigmentation and prevent new scars and spots from popping up. However, after a few weeks of using the U Beauty Multimodal Defender, I was left with was clear, bouncy skin that no longer needed as much foundation as I was accustomed to applying.
Does The Multimodal Defender Belong In Your Routine?
Now, let's cut to the chase. Do I think a sunscreen merits a $168 price tag? Usually, I wouldn't, as I am, by nature, a frugal person. But, here's why The U Beauty Multimodal Defender Broad Spectrum SPF 30 has my full endorsement: Most products that target existing hyperpigmentation cost around the same as this sunscreen. Yet, most of those are also serums, meaning that you would have to spend even more of your budget on a solid moisturizer and a sunscreen. The U Beauty Multimodal Defender, however, has all these properties packed into one glass jar. It soothed my damaged lipid barrier, diminished the appearance of my hyperpigmentation, all while protecting my skin from UVA, UVB, IR, and HEV radiation. Not to mention, it significantly downsized my skin care routine, which is always a welcome bonus for someone who has pretty busy mornings like me.
If you're looking for something to help you finally kick hyperpigmentation, whether it be from post-summer sun or acne spots, while protecting and nourishing your skin, look no further than this new formula.