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Philosophy’s Hope in a Jar SPF 20: Dream Cream or Dud in a Tub?

By Amalah

I have an easy question for you and it should have an easy answer and I am pretty sure you would love something easy right now since in my last month of pregnancy all I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and sleep, and I didn’t even have a toddler!! I am very, very broke right now, and I ran out of face moisturizer. I really want to get the Philosophy Hope in a Jar that you always rave about but I was wondering if you have tried the new SPF 20 Hope in a Jar? And if you have what did you think? I don’t want to buy it and then have it suck because like I mentioned, I have no money right now to waste. I went online and looked it up on Amazon and a lot of the reviews made it sound like it sucked compared to the original formula. I know I should really just use a sunscreen and then the moisturizer but I am kinda lazy when it comes to my face and if it is not a one step process I probably will not stick to it, all I do is wash my face and put moisturizer on, I don’t even put make up on 9 days out of 10. Thanks so much for your opinion, I guess sorta knowing the person that the review comes from makes me feel a little bit better (even though I really don’t know you).

hopeinajar%20spf20.jpgHere’s the thing: I have not used the SPF 20 formula for any extended period of time…I’ve poked at the Sephora sample a couple times, smeared a little on my face, tested the texture and consistency on my hands, etc. But that’s it.
Mostly because that was enough to convince me not to buy it. I found it greasy and sunscreen-y and it took much longer to rub in than the original formula. Which…sort of defeats the purpose of the all-in-one moisturizer, right? I could also “feel” the cream on my skin after rubbing it in — I sensed my skin would not like it very much, since it’s already a cream for all skin types and not specifically formulated for combination or oily skin. My skin is VERY particular about SPF…it makes me break out if I’m not careful (which is why I personally prefer keeping it out of my moisturizer so I can only apply it on a strictly as-needed basis).
I can do the original Hope in a Jar in the winter — I use Hope in a Bottle (Philosophy’s oily skin moisturizer) in the summer when I’m more prone to blemishes and am wearing sunscreen every day, no matter what. (I admit to skipping SPF in the winter some days, but only on days when I seriously, literally do not leave the house. Which is sadly, often. My neighbors must think I’m very weird and hermit-like.) I like the original Hope in a Jar because it’s a super SUPER light-feeling cream — like whipped frosting, almost — that keeps my skin soft and moisturized for hours on end without adding shine. I’ve never been too impressed with any of the sunblocks from the Philosophy line (greasy, pore-clogging, runny), so it doesn’t surprise me that the addition of SPF to Hope in a Jar might not necessarily be the home-run slam-dunk you’d hope it would be.
So…this isn’t really a great, comprehensive review, though, since no: I’ve never bought a jar and used it day after day to see if my in-store suspicions were at all correct. The user reviews at Sephora, however, seem to agree with my “oily, greasy, heavy” assessment.
If you are generally a big fan of all-in-one moisturizers (and maybe not already a fan of the original Hope in a Jar, because you WILL notice a distinct difference), maybe the texture and feel of the SPF formula won’t bother you and will be more in line with what you’re used to. If you have very dry skin, you’ll probably do just fine with it.
Readers? Any field experience with the SPF 20 Hope in a Jar? Any great all-in-one alternatives for our budget-conscious questioner?

Related Articles:
Philosophy beauty products discussed by Alpha Mom


About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • Holly

    September 22, 2008 at 9:38 am

    I use the Olay Complete All Day Moisture Lotion. It’s non greasy, has SPF, comes in fragrance free, and I can get it at the drugstore.

  • Courtney

    September 22, 2008 at 9:39 am

    If you want to try either one, Spehora is really good about both returns and samples. I’m sure they’d be willing to give you a generous sample of each one. Personally, I like the Biotherm line (which is only available online sadly), but have never really found an all-in-one I love.

  • Jackie

    September 22, 2008 at 10:01 am

    Wow! I was just looking at this on and thought, “I wonder what Amalah thinks about this” and then ta-da, here it is. Magic! Thanks for saving me from wasting my money!

  • Kathryn

    September 22, 2008 at 10:03 am

    I really love Philosophy’s Tinted Moisturizer with Sunscreen… um… The Supernatural, I think it’s called. I do not like the Shelter or Pigment of Your Imagination stuff. The Supernatural tinted moisturizer is the way to go.
    It’s silicone-based, which makes it super silky to put on, minimal coverage (which is a plus for me) but very smoothing and just fab. I love it, and I have a bottle in my bathroom, my purse, and my boyfriends bathroom. You know, just in case. LOVE IT.

  • Christina

    September 22, 2008 at 10:08 am

    I bought the Hope in a Jar with SPF a few weeks ago, and I have yet to make a firm decision on it. It IS a little heavier than the original – but, I actually like the texture better. It feels very mousse-like, and it rubs/blends into my skin really, really easily. However, since it’s a bit heavier than the original – I wonder if it wouldn’t be TOO heavy for me in the summer months (I started using it just as the weather turned cooler and drier).I don’t think I’d recommend it for skin that’s on the oilier side of normal. I have been considering returning it and just buying the original Hope in a Jar again… I’m a little squeamish about returning used products though, and have never done it. Does anyone know, if I bought it at Sephora and still have the receipt but not the box, will they give me a hard time about it?

  • katze

    September 22, 2008 at 10:09 am

    I have skin that tends toward combination– more on the oily side in the summer, more on the dry side in the winter. I use Neutrogena Healthy Defense SPF 45 in the summer and usually one of Dove’s moisturizers in the winter. The Body Shop has a seaweed moisturizer with SPF in it that I used to like a lot because it was so light and soaked in immediately. I don’t know if I got a bum batch of it last time, or if they’ve significantly changed the formulation, but I found it gloppy last time.

  • Erin

    September 22, 2008 at 10:17 am

    I don’t know about Philosophy products, but I do know about being broke!
    My new fav is Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Enhancer. Tinted moisturizer, sunscreen, and retinol treatment in one. My skin’s on the oily side, so I follow up with powder, but I’m still in love with it. has lots of user reviews, if you’re into the research thing, and try places like CVS that have generous return policies on makeup.

  • Gretchen

    September 22, 2008 at 10:58 am

    I use a small amount of the original Hope in a Jar underneath my Hope in a Jar with SPF. That is the only way I could tolerate it – the SPF one feels weird. Doing it this way makes it less greasy and easier to soak up for some reason. Works totally well this way.
    I don’t like adding a 2nd step, but I am sucking it up for my (40 something) dry, exceedingly pale skin.
    Of course, not too helpful for you Susan, since you probably don’t want to buy 2 products.
    I have taken one thing back to Sephora, without box, without receipt and without much product left in the bottle even. The woman exchanged it no problem. Wasn’t super nice about it, but I was strong in my conviction that something weird was happening with some cleanser.

  • Jenn

    September 22, 2008 at 11:03 am

    Another vote for the Olay product mentioned in the first comment. I love that stuff and have been using it for ten years.

  • Sarah

    September 22, 2008 at 11:18 am

    I generally use the Aveeno Ultra Calming (redness-reducing) + SPF 15 moisturizer. I’ve tried the one with salicylic acid (no SPF, so it’s good for night-time, but not as an all-in-one) and the one that’s supposedly for “radiance” (which does have SPF), but the redness-reducing one is actually the one that makes my skin look, ahem, radiant. I tried it on a whim (it was my mom’s) and suddenly I was like, woo, my skin looks so much more AWESOME. So now I use sunscreen daily and my dermatologist is less mad at me (not happy, though, since it’s only 15 and not 30). Anyway, I highly recommend it, even if you don’t have rosacea or similar. It’s not smelly, it goes on really smoothly, it’s comparatively cheap, and, like the Olay, you can buy it at the drugstore.

  • Genevieve

    September 22, 2008 at 11:35 am

    For Christina, I’ve had a completely hassle-free return experience at Sephora. I returned three products more than 90 days after purchase, all a bit used, still in bottles but missing boxes, AND they had stopped carrying these items. The only thing in my favor was that I still had the receipt. I figured if they let me return them at all I would have to take store credit, but the very nice girl refunded my credit card, no questions asked.

  • Darcey

    September 22, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    I happen to really like the HiaJ SPF 20. I *loved* the original HiaJ, but was only using it at night, since it didn’t have SPF, and I wasn’t about to use a moisturizer without an SPF and then have to layer another product on top, as my skin would say “hells no” and respond with a bunch of blackheads.
    And my interim all-in-one moisturizer was a Neutrogena sample that I got from my derm, that was just ok – it was too heavy for my combo skin.
    So when I switched to the SPF formula of HiaJ, I fell in love. My skin feels so much better – so much so that I can use my Maybelline foundation (its the really sheer, water-based one) and it looks as if I’m using my expensive one from Sephora. Yes, it takes a little more to skin in, but I put it on straight out of the shower and let it absorb while I brush my teeth and do my hair.

  • Amy

    September 22, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    I have both hope in a jar AND hope in a jar SPF. I love them both. On days that I have to go to work, I use Shiseido tinted moisturizer w/ SPF, but on other days – when I’m just running around town, I will use the Philosophy SPF. It took me a while to get used to it, because it is different than the regular hope in a jar, but I love it. It’s definitely a slightly oily-er feel, but that doesn’t bother me at all.

  • Daisy

    September 22, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    For an all-in-one Clinique’s Superdefense (SpF 25 I think?) is great and it comes in three formulas depending on how dry/oily your skin is. It doesn’t smell like sunscreen & has a ‘face cream’ consistency -not a sunscreen consistency -and it smells nice. The price point isn’t horrible, around $40. The tub lasts awhile 🙂

  • chandra

    September 22, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    I LOVE the Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer SPF 30, Untinted. I use it every day, and have never had any problem with it. I just put on the moisturizer and then powder and skip foundation completely. It also comes in SPF 45, and is pretty cheap- around $9 a tube.

  • Jae

    September 22, 2008 at 1:32 pm

    I like Ambi’s SPF 30 moisturizer. It’s about $11 at the drugstore and not greasy at all. It hasn’t gotten rave reviews on but I’ve been happy with it.

  • Megan

    September 22, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    I use the Hope in a Jar with SPF and have been using it all summer, so I got plenty of experience with the hot, sticky, greasy-face months. And I love it. It is ten times better than the separate moisturizer and sunscreen I used before. I was even using good sunscreen, too (Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch), but it always made me break out. The Hope in a Jar with SPF? No more breakouts. I love Amy’s advice, but I have to disagree with her on this one. Skincare is so personal and every face is so different, that I think you just have to try out the products for yourself. Good luck!

  • Cassie

    September 22, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    I also use the Olay Complete All Day UV Moisterizer (
    They have one for dry skin, and I think one for oily. Olay is the only moisterizer with SPF that feels like moisterizer, to me, and not all greasy and pore-clogging. Except for a sample I got after a facial once, but that stuff was about $80 an ounce.

  • Trista Evans

    September 22, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    I use Mary Kay’s Timewise age fighting moisturizer with sunscreen. It always feels great and doesn’t make my face feel oily at all. It’s about 20 dollars for 3 oz.
    I know what you are thinking…eeeewwwww, May Kay is for old people. But seriously, I have been using it all my life.
    Also..have you seen pictures of Mary Kay before she died….her skin was beautiful.

  • Julia

    September 22, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    I switched from Hope in a Jar to the Hope in a Jar with SPF back in June when the product was released. I used it all summer and was very pleased with it. The texture is different and it takes a bit longer to rub in, but I never had breakouts as a result of it. I can’t put on a separate SPF, moisturizer, and foundation every day, it’s just too much, so a combo is the only way to go for me and I’m happy with this one! Kept me from getting sunburned MANY times this summer!

  • Stephanie

    September 22, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    During the day, I’m a big fan of Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer. It has SPF (20 I think). It’s nice and silky and just a little color to even out skin tone — moisturizer, SPF and very light makeup all in one! At night, I either use Clinique’s basic yellow moisturizer or Philosophy Hope in a Jar.

  • Amy

    September 22, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I’ve mentioned this in the comments before, but I love Olay’s Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer. I just went to Olay’s website, and apparently this is different from Olay’s Complete All Day Moisture Lotion. Way to be confusing Olay! Complete Defense (must have the Defense in there) is SPF 30. I’m very fair skinned and I wear it every day under my makeup. I use the sensitive skin version; it doesn’t have avobenzone, which makes my face sting. Avobenzone is in just about every sunscreen/moisturizer w/SPF in it, so if sunscreen makes your skin burn/sting, take a look and see if it has avobenzone in it (Neutrogena’s helioplex does). The Olay Complete Defense sensitive skin uses zinc oxide, so it’s a physical barrier rather than a chemical one. It’s more expensive than Complete All Day Moisture Lotion, but I think worth every penny, and certainly less expensive that philosophy (Olay Complete Defense: $6/oz; philosophy hope in a jar spf 20: $22.50/oz).

  • Lindsey

    September 22, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    Clinique’s Super Defense. Just try it. I love it.
    Also, if you make your purchase at Nordstrom they should take the return if you dont like it after a week! (Or they may give you a sample of the lotion so you can use it for a while to decide! Also a good idea!!)

  • Suzy Q

    September 22, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I second what the other Amy said about Olay Complete Defense Daily UV SPF 30 Moisturizer. I’ve been using it for years, and I live in a very tropical locale and have super-pale skin. Great consistency, no suncreeny smell, and at about $12/bottle that lasts a good long time? Can’t beat it!

  • TasterSpoon

    September 22, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    I have 35 year old, fair, pimple-prone skin. Thanks to a friend who works at Johnson & Johnson, I have worked my way through a number of drugstore options. (They make Neutrogena, Aveeno, RoC, Clean & Clear, Purpose.)
    The routine that keeps me happy is:
    RoC’s Age Diminishing Daily Moisturizer SPF 15. It feels light, it never makes me break out, and it comes in a ($14) pump bottle, so I always use the same amount, I don’t have to fiddle with caps, and a pump just seems more sanitary than anything in a jar, sorry.
    RoC Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Night Cream – in a ($18) tiny tube by my bed, just on the wrinkles. A tube lasts a year. Seems more substantial (heavier) than the Actif Pur version with the AHAs. Also has more outrageous promises! Which I choose to believe.
    I don’t know if I look younger, or if I just FEEL younger because of all the wrinkly people on the box.

  • Lauren

    September 22, 2008 at 9:22 pm

    Hope in a Jar was the best thing to ever happen to my skin and most other moisturizers and sunscreens make me break out like crazy now…. but I found Garnier anti-sun damage daily moisturizer with spf 28. It’s amazing. I use it for day and Hope in a Jar at night, and my skin looks even better. It’s also like $13 for a bottle that lasts at least a month or two (and I seem to go through moisturizer quickly).

  • ali

    September 23, 2008 at 10:25 am

    I actually really like the Hope in a Jar with spf. I got it this summer instead of buying yet another bottle of Neutrogena spf moisturizer, and not only do I still have most of it (you barely have to use any), it’s great for someone (me) with skin that’s just oily enough to get that “sheen” almost right away. I’ve barely seen that all summer, as opposed to with other spf moisturizers. I love it!

  • Liz

    September 23, 2008 at 10:25 am

    just jumping on the Olay bandwagon, and if you want to save even more money, I like the CVS store generic just as well.

  • Stefanie

    September 23, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    I absolutely love Clinique’s Super Defense in SPF 25. It is light, goes a long way, and does not cause me to break out like over the counter face lotions do. I use Philosophy for Congested Skin for all my other skincare needs (Thanks, Amy!) and when Sephora was out of the Clinique I tried the When Hope is Not Enough in SPF 20. Not quite as light as the Clinique, but doesn’t cause me to break out either.

  • Katie

    September 23, 2008 at 2:03 pm

    Okay, I tried Philosophy’s products because, well, I want to be just like Amy. And, per her advice, it was time for me to graduate to the big-girl products.
    So, I bought the Purity Made Simple cleanser and the When Hope Is Not Enough moisturizer with SPF. You didn’t ask about either of these products, but I’m very good at unsolicited advice, and, plus, I want to keep you from wasting your money on an “eh” product. The cleanser I love. The moisturizer, not so much.
    It’s VERY heavy, and you can feel it on your face all day long. And I appreciate that it’s sticking around all day to do its job, but it should definitely take a lunch and two fifteens. It’s made my skin look nice and smooth, but, again, the HEAVY.
    I used to suck it up and do a separate sunblock and lotion because I wanted to use the right amounts of each. Olay moisturizers have always been nice to my sensitive skin, as have Neutrogena. Except for the Helioplex nightmare of sting. Ouchie.
    So, in short, stay away from When Hope Is Not Enough if you don’t like an overprotective moisturizer with control issues. Judging from others’ comments, Philosophy should do a Come to Jesus with their SPF guys.

  • Lindsey

    September 24, 2008 at 11:51 am

    I really love the Vitamin E w/SPF 15 cream from the Body Shop, it’s very light and my tempermental skin loves it.

  • pseudostoops

    September 24, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    After trying a LOT of products, really wanting one that was light and not greasy and had an spf of at least 30 (REALLY cancer-prone skin here) I have finally found one I really love- Eucerin Extra Protective Moisture Lotion in SPF 30- I get it at the drug store, it’s less than $9 a bottle, and it lasts a long time. It also has a pump which I like because, as someone else above mentioned, it controls how much comes out and you don’t end up wasting it.

  • AE

    September 24, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Add another vote for Olay- it is also oil-free!

  • heels

    September 25, 2008 at 11:49 am

    I used to use the Clinque SuperDefense spf 25 and I HATED it. I recently switched to Hope in a Jar Original with a little bit of Shelter on top, and so far I LOVE it. The Clinique was waaaay too heavy and greasy feeling. I hardly notice the Philosophy products at all, which is exactly what I’m going for.

  • Kirstin

    October 2, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    I haven’t tried the Hope in a Jar w/SPF, but I do use Philosophy’s When Hope Is Not Enough, which has SPF 15, I think. I like it, and it doesn’t feel greasy on my skin at all — and this is coming from a gal with an oily t-zone. Might be worth the try.

  • Flora

    March 20, 2009 at 12:07 am

    I personally found all suncreens to be yucky. I still tanned through all I have tried, and I got a sample of Shisheido ultimate sun cream SPF 55 and it’s the ONLY sun cream that absolutely kept my face from tanning. I also noticed at night when I washed my face my skin looked so much better. I also used Garnier anti sun damage serum. I tried Estee Lauder’s new Time Zone ($60!) and it didn’t feel all that nice on my skin and smelled like cheap perfume that stank on me all the time I had it on my skin. Sheishedo’s sun cream is $34 on sephora and a little goes a LONG way. I also skipped night treatments while using it and my skin looked amazing.