15 Jun 2017

Sunscreen 301: A Comparison Review of the Texture and CP Value of 36 Sunscreen / Sun Protection Products



TEXTURE

Let me be clear here. There are literally hundreds of sunscreens out there, so not all are made equal. Some sunscreens are in the form of a watery gel, some more silicony, some feels like body lotion, whereas some are more creamy and richer in consistency. So I will break these sunscreens down into 4 major categories in term of consistency, namely (1) watery/silicony gel, (2) lotion, (3) cream, and (4) powdery liquid.



WATERY / SILICONY GEL

A'pieu Pure Block Aqua Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ (2015 version)
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ (2017 version)
Hada Labo Perfect UV Gel SPF50+ PA++++
Kiss Me Sunkiller Perfect Water Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
Kose Sekkisei Sun Protect Essence Gel SPF50+/PA++++

As you can see, most sunscreen with gel consistency called themselves "gel" or "essence". It is the lightest among all others in term of consistency and gets absorbed the fastest by the skin. They tend to feel like moisturizing essence on the skin instead of an occlusive cream too, if compared to other sunscreen. However, sun gel tends to contain high amount of alcohol in its formulation and has strong scent, so it might not be suitable for all skin types. It is more suitable for normal, combination, oily, and non-sensitive skin.

LOTION

AMPM 10 Peptide Ultra-light UV Lotion SPF30+ PA++
Hada Labo Air Aqua UV Day Emulsion SPF50/PA+++
Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50+ PA++++
Mamonde Water Drop Sun Jelly SPF30 PA++
Missha All Around Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel SPF50+/PA++++
Nature Republic Provence Calendula Fresh Sun Gel SPF30 PA++
Senka Mineral Perfect UV SPF50+ PA+++

The second lightest in term of consistency is sun lotion. Normally, sun lotion also uses alcohol as solvent but they smell less alcoholic and aren't as harsh as sun gel. However, keep in mind that not all sun lotion have broad spectrum protection hence you must choose the ones with PA+++ (3 pluses) to get sufficient UVA1 protection. Not doing so would make your skin vulnerable to hyperpigmentation and aging. Sun lotion can fit all skin types, especially sensitive and combination skin.

(GEL) CREAM

3W Clinic Intensive UV Sunblock Cream Waterproof SPF 50 PA+++
Belif UV Protector Fresh Sunscreen SPF50+ PA+++
Biotherm UV Supreme SPF 50 PA+++
Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++
Hera Sun Mate Essence Gel SPF40 PA++
Innisfree Eco Safety Daily Daily UV Protection Cream SPF35/PA++
IOPE UV Shield Sun Protector SPF 50+ PA+++
It's Skin 2PM Sunblock SPF50+ PA+++
Laneige Sun Screen Aqua SPF35 PA++ 
L'Oreal Paris UV Perfect Super Aqua Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
Mamonde Calendula Everyday Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++
Nanowhite Omega Day Shield SPF50 PA++
Neogen Day-Light Protection Sun Screen SPF 50 PA+++
Neogence Mineral Soothing UV Protection Emulsion SPF 30 PA+++
Primera Skin Relief UV Protector SPF50+ PA+++
The Face Shop Aqua Sun Gel SPF40 PA+++
Senka Mineral Essence UV SPF50+ PA++++

Most sunscreen comes in the form of gel cream or emollient cream. A lot of these are quite rich and may feel sticky on the skin if you apply 1/4 tsp so you are advised to testing the product out before buying it. Sun cream is normally higher in term of sun protecting power since they don't have to compromise their sun absorbing properties to give way to cosmetic aesthetics. Depends on how light their are, sun cream is more suitable for normal to very dry skin.

POWDERY LIQUID / POWDER / SPRAY

Belif Almighty Sun Powder SPF50+ PA+++
Innisfree Eco Safety No Sebum Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++
Loveisderma UV Shield SPF 50+++
Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk SPF50+/PA+++
Nature Republic California Aloe Sun Spray SPF50+ PA+++
Nature Republic The First Sun Liquid SPF50+ PA+++

Not everyone can wear sun milk, or sun liquid. Normally, these are powdery sun lotion with sebum-absorbing ingredients inside. They also tend to come in zinc oxide and are more suitable for oily, acne-prone and sensitive skin. It may be too drying for normal to dry skin.


COST-PERFORMANCE (CP) VALUE

In this section, I will share my thoughts on the cost ($$$) of a sunscreen in comparison to its efficacy (ingredients used) and performance.

Since we are required to apply 1/4 tsp sunscreen on our face and neck, we need at least 1.23ml of sunscreen per day, or 2.5ml if you reapply at least once thorough the day. 2.5ml x 30 = 75ml. So, a sunscreen should at most last you for 1 month, or 2 months if you don't use it everyday and don't reapply thorough the day. If you buy a RM 150 sunscreen, how much do you need to pay just for the sunscreen alone in a month (or a year)? And given the amount you are paying, will you use it generously or just sparingly since it is so "precious"?

In short, I will try to limit my sunscreen to RM 30-50 per 50ml. Anything below RM 30 (unless if there is discount) tends to be badly formulated based on my experience. Anything above RM 50 is considered high-maintenance.

I will divide these 36 sunscreens into 4 major categories. Keep in mind that not all products will be categorized because some products are just "so-so" that is neither "nice or not nice". Some are also averagely priced to be called cheap or expensive.

CHEAP BUT "MEH"

3W Clinic Intensive UV Sunblock Cream Waterproof SPF 50 PA+++
A'pieu Pure Block Aqua Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++
Nanowhite Omega Day Shield SPF50 PA++

CHEAP AND GOOD

AMPM 10 Peptide Ultra-light UV Lotion SPF30+ PA++
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ (2015 version)
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ (2017 Version)
Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++ 
Hada Labo Perfect UV Gel SPF50+ PA++++ 
Innisfree Eco Safety Daily Daily UV Protection Cream SPF35/PA++ 
Innisfree Eco Safety No Sebum Sun Milk SPF50+ PA+++ 
Kiss Me Sunkiller Perfect Water Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
Kose Sekkisei Sun Protect Essence Gel SPF50+/PA++++ 
L'Oreal Paris UV Perfect Super Aqua Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ 
Missha All Around Safe Block Aqua Sun Gel SPF50+/PA++++ 
Neogen Day-Light Protection Sun Screen SPF 50 PA+++ 

EXPENSIVE AND "MEH"

Belif UV Protector Fresh Sunscreen SPF50+ PA+++
Biotherm UV Supreme SPF 50 PA+++ 
IOPE UV Shield Sun Protector SPF 50+ PA+++ 
Mamonde Water Drop Sun Jelly SPF30 PA++ 
Neogence Mineral Soothing UV Protection Emulsion SPF 30 PA+++ ☆

EXPENSIVE BUT GOOD

Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50+ PA++++ 
Laneige Sun Screen Aqua SPF35 PA++

MULTISCREENING / SUNSCREEN LAYERING


Just like multi-tasking, where you apply different masks on different areas of your skin, I am doing the same for my sunscreen.

I will apply a lightweight and cheap sunscreen as the base, then apply a layer of richer or more expensive but broad spectrum sunscreen on the areas with or more vulnerable to dark spots, such as cheek bone areas and nose.

However, do keep in mind that certain unstable ingredients such as avobenzone aren't supposed to go together with (uncoated) titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Since I am not sure whether or not those ingredients in the sunscreen I'm using are coated, so I normally just avoid mixing sunscreens with those ingredients to be safe (reference).

These are so far my takes on sunscreen products having used some 36 different sunscreens in the past 2-3 years. I hope it was helpful for some of you. Do proceed to Sunscreen 401 for my holy grail and runner-up holy grail sunscreens!


[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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