The Fresh Summer Sunscreen That Feels Barely There

Elizabeth Arden Great 8™ Eight Hour® Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF35

I’m supposed to be concentrating on getting my app launched (The Night Feed, it’s almost finished!) but I couldn’t let a quick review of this new SPF from Elizabeth Arden slip through the net. Because Great 8 Eight Hour Daily Defense Moisturiser SPF35 is absurdly nice. Incredibly light and fresh, quick to absorb, but surprisingly hydrating, I can’t think of anything not to like about it, unless the (very subtle) fragrance isn’t something you could tolerate.

Great 8 Eight Hour Daily Defense Moisturiser SPF35 – or “Great 8”, as it shall henceforth be known, so that I don’t get RSI from typing – is the latest sunscreen to join Elizabeth Arden’s little SPF family. They already have a couple of quite robust moisturisers with broad spectrum protection on the go – the Eight Hour Cream SPF50, for example, which has a rich and luxurious texture – but nothing as beautifully fresh and invisible as their new launch.

Elizabeth Arden Great 8™ Eight Hour® Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF35

Funnily enough, one of my posts that has been sat in the drafts folder for a couple of weeks was a review of Elizabeth Arden’s Prevage City Smart SPF50, a sunscreen that’s so moisturising you can still feel the effects at the very end of the day, but the new Great 8 has impressed me so much that it’s jumped the queue.

The City Smart has a higher SPF (SPF50 in comparison to Great 8’s SPF35) and the sort of long-lasting moisturising effect that dry skins dream of, but the new Great 8 is just so easy. So wearable. I can think of very few sunscreens that would rival this one in terms of feel and finish. It’s a gel but it’s not drying, it’s refreshing but doesn’t leave the skin tight. It just feels as though you have nothing on.

But you do have something on, obviously. You’re wearing broad spectrum sunscreen, a very decent makeup primer and a brilliantly hydrating moisturiser that helps to control excess oil production as well as protect against free radical damage and the effects of blue and infrared light. Multi-tasking at its very best.

(I always feel a bit silly talking about blue light and infrared when I write about sunscreens; it makes it sound as though we’re all standing about in physics labs having various beams of light shot at us. Like we’re partaking in an A-level science experiment. Sorry to be dense – and do comment below with answers – but when are we exposed to infrared light in normal life? Isn’t that what they use in night-vision goggles? Is someone standing over me when I sleep, watching me through their night-vision camera? That would be rather terrifying. UPDATE: apparently we get IR from the sun, too, so there’s me feeling stupid. Thank God I spent all that time doing science exams – fat lot of good that did me!)

Elizabeth Arden Great 8™ Eight Hour® Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF35

Very dry skin will probably still prefer Arden’s City Smart over the new launch, but for everyone else, Great 8 brings a very lovely summer skincare offering to the table. It’s a breath of fresh air after some of the thicker creams I’ve been testing recently; no matter how refined a formulation is, I still often get the sensation on my face that I’ve been coated with a thin layer of liquid chalk. And that I really, really want to scrub at my face with a loofah. (Don’t try that.) With Great 8, I just apply and forget that it’s even on. Which is surely the best result? Now they just need to make it in an SPF50 too…

I should probably give a special shout-out for those who have oilier skin and struggle with sunscreen; if often feel like loofah-ing my face off when I wear certain SPFs then it must be a hell of a lot worse for you. Well, this Great 8 gel might just be your thing; it has a slightly matte finish but none of the dullness, oil control but an extra boost of hydration and that hallowed lightweight texture we (mostly) all crave but without the stickiness or tackiness. Great 8 works hard to keep things balanced yet still manages to feel luxurious and silky-smooth.

In short: those looking for an everyday moisturiser with sunscreen, who want something they can barely feel, who require hydration but hate oiliness, who would quite like a product that sits well beneath makeup, who would rejoice at a fresh, cooling texture that feels soothing on a summer’s day…look no further.

You can find Elizabeth Arden Great 8 Eight Hour Daily Defense Moisturizer SPF35 (have aged three years since starting to type that product name) at FeelUnique here* and Amazon (authorised stockist) here* – it’s £36. The City Smart SPF50 is £55 here*.

More sunscreen recommendations here, but of particular note: Anthelios is great for oilier skin and is really well-priced, Murad make this disturbingly good, completely invisible SPF30* that seems to have no discernible texture and if you’re after a (mostly) organic product, then I really rate the Coola Classic Cucumber SPF30 for face. I used it a lot last year and it’s fresh and light – rather like Great 8! – with a non-greasy finish and a subtle scent. You can find it at Cult Beauty here*, it’s £30.

DISCLOSURE POLICY. Posts published after 24th January 2019: if the post contains gifted items or affiliate links then it is indicated clearly beneath the title. Posts published prior to this will have a disclosure within the body of the post and then an asterisk * marking all affiliate links. If the content is a paid-for AD then it is marked as an AD in the title. For more information on disclosure please read here. 



  1. Hilary
    January 14, 2021 / 1:45 pm

    Hi Ruth!

    Do you happen to know what has become of the Great 8 SPF? I bought it after your recommendation in summer last year and LOVE it – have tried to repurchase but can’t find it online anywhere – has it been discontinued?

    Take care

    • January 19, 2021 / 12:25 pm

      Apparently there are production issues! I will be distraught if anything happens to it!

      • Sam
        January 29, 2021 / 11:58 am

        This. THIS! Considering buying from eBay.

      • Millie
        February 25, 2021 / 1:27 pm

        I emailed EA last week and they said they have discontinued it ☹.

        But they have it in stock in Debenhams at the mo – and on sale!

  2. September 14, 2020 / 8:57 am

    Nice Product.

  3. November 17, 2019 / 6:55 am

    Great 8 stings my skin and I’m a little disappointed. I bought it in Australia, was told it had SPF35 but that was nowhere to be seen on the tube (as your photos shows) nor in the printed material.. I prefer as a moisturiser the Eight Hour Cream which only has an SPF15, it is cheaper and is 50ml as opposed to only 45ml with the Great 8.

  4. August 10, 2019 / 11:35 am

    Hi Ruth, lovely blog! I’d definitely love to check out this Elizabeth Arden sunscreen. I’ve tried a few others and had mild burns. My skin is somewhat oily.

  5. August 6, 2019 / 10:07 am

    This is one of my favorite cream was Elizabeth Arden This is one of the best sunscreen I’ve ever tried. When I apply it, it dissolves right on to the skin with a slight sheen. It’s non-greasy but does have a fresh scent to it. I wish it was SPF50 but it does protect from both UVA and UVB. Seems like there’s a lot more benefits than a regular sunscreen which surprised me. On the packaging, it said we can use this as a primer too. Great for on the go!

    Amazing blog
    Lots and lots of Hugs and Have a great day ❤️

  6. Frederike
    July 27, 2019 / 7:35 am

    Infrared (IR) light is not directly dangerous in the way that UV definitely is. IR is a broad part of the sun’s radiation and not visible to the human eye. It‘s mainly what you would commonly call „warmth“ or „heat radiation“ and you feel it on your skin. And that‘s why it‘s used in those saunas too. Which are not dangerous for you, to be clear again. (Not comparable to tanning studios with UV, which is highly dangerous.)
    Why the cream has an IR filter, I don‘t really understand. Either it‘s pure marketing or it‘s because of some parts of the IR spectrum being potentially harmful at very high dosage. But I only heard about that concerning eyes.
    Best wishes, I love your blog, Ruth!

  7. July 26, 2019 / 1:29 am

    Always on the lookout for a good, matte sunscreen, especially one with a gel finish for us with oily skin!

  8. Olivia
    July 23, 2019 / 9:29 pm

    There is an infrared sauna near where I live. I went there once and didn’t like it but I remember they were advertising the health benefits of infrared saunas. I didn’t know infrared was dangerous. Probably a good thing I never went back there then

  9. July 22, 2019 / 3:01 pm

    Great 8 sounds perfect for me when I’m in sweltering heat! I get slightly oily but when temperatures soar I become a greasy, sweaty oil slick. Sounds like I need this ASAP and City Smart when things cool off.

    Angela at Blush & Pearls

  10. Alice H
    July 22, 2019 / 1:26 pm

    About half of the energy from the sun is from infrared light, and generally speaking if you can feel the heat coming off something then it’s due to infrared.
    To put this into perspective – you are much more likely to get skin damage through ultraviolet (UVA, UVB) from sunlight than you are from infrared so you should be wearing SPF anyway, and unless you work at a blast furnace, for most other sources of infrared you are very unlikely to get enough infrared to do any significant damage and it will feel uncomfortably hot before it starts to burn!

  11. Kay
    July 22, 2019 / 10:58 am

    I could have done with this last week! We had a few days in Suffolk and I turned to a crisp one day having forgotten to bring sunscreen in my packing (although I had several at home), so I bought a well known one from a local chemist and it went on thick and white. I do love Elizabeth Arden skincare so I may be treating myself. x

  12. Katy
    July 22, 2019 / 8:21 am

    Such useful information. Thanks Ruth xx

  13. Angela
    July 22, 2019 / 5:08 am

    Dear Ruth, the sun radiates quite a lot of infrared light. So we get our fair share daily without needing a lab environment.

    • July 22, 2019 / 8:08 pm

      Oh OK NOW I feel ridiculous!! I thought it was just UV from the sun that we had to worry about!

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