Tuesday 12 May 2020

A Long Note About Suncreen

(For anyone who's still out there (Is anyone still out there? Hello. (It's me...)), thank you for waiting more than two years for an update, but my dear you shouldn't be waiting that long for anyone.)

I can only bank so much on my Asian skin genes and not calling for reinforcements is an underestimation of the powers of cumulative UV rays and our propensity to keep breaking down that good ol' ozone layer (but that's another post which we aren't here for). Which all just means, I wear my sunscreen and most often I have it combined within my moisturizer, powder, or foundation to make life less cluttered.

A colleague mentioned that computer screens age us with UV light emissions and a question of sunscreen preferences was raised. I quickly chimed in that everyone needs to get on the Asian sunscreen train, like ASAP, like yesterday.

Since I was asked for my preferences, I feel some obligation to give a half-way decent answer - I did use to write about this stuff and I still have a fading reputation to uphold. So here we are and before anyone gets too excited, this isn't a comeback (look I didn't even tag or properly compose my photos and we all know how important that is, *lookin' at you, beauty bloggers*).

My sunscreen choices will always lean towards those developed/sold in Asia. They've just cared about skin pigmentation for way longer and to a stronger degree than North America. This means more innovation, more demand for different formulas that work in hot humid weathers, and the ability to scale production. In other words, thinner, stronger formulas at drug store prices.

The Western market has been coming around though. Some choices to consider are:
La Roche Posay Hydraphase UV SPF 30 ($39.95CDN/50ml): It's a great everyday moisturizer with SPF in a lotion like consistency. It's not heavy and you can't tell it has sunscreen. Once I get through all the new sunscreens/moisturizers I have, I'll likely repurchase this as a basic everyday option.

Avène High Protection Emulsion SPF 50 ($25.50CDN/50ml): I wrote about my love for it here when I received it through PR contacts but have since repurchased it with my own dollars.

Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 50 ($42CDN/50ml): I tried their old SPF40 version (looks like they may have changed the formula since though) and liked the lightweight feel and matte dry down. (This is a quick post on that option and all of Clarins' body sunscreen options)

I just cracked open the Kiehl's Super Fluid UV Defence SPF 50 ($47CDN/50ml) and was pleasantly surprised by the very thin texture and matte dry down. It's less thick than Avène's but both dry down to the same finish.

(If you're interested, this is a post on a random selection of sunscreen.)

The above approximate the thinner Asian formulas with maybe Kiehl's winning out but all at higher prices.

It kills me that a large proportion of Asian sunscreen varieties aren't sold in Western stores - even Shiseido's Anessa line isn't sold in Shiseido's Western outlets and that's a big seller in Asia. That being said, Korean brands have been getting a foothold into Western culture and Asian supermarkets, like T&T, have beauty sections with good options so we aren't completely left out.

When I'm in Asia, I step into a drug or cosmetics store and randomly buy 4 - 5 sunscreen options. Even at random, they're always better in terms of formula and price than Western varieties I've tried. During my last trip to Korea, I bought three from Innisfree and have been using the Moist Winter Barrier SPF50. I paid all of...what, $14 for it? Maybe $11? I enjoy everything about it as a winter moisturizer except for the floral scent.

I haven't used the same product twice but some Asian options to consider are Missha All-Around Safe Sun Block Essence SPF45 for face, anything from Suncut, Skin Aqua and Bioré for the body. Unfortunately, all will need to be purchased online (try Ebay, Sasa, or Yesstyle - I've purchased from all three before) but if you want to step into a store you may find options at T&T Supermarket, The Face Shop, and random Asian beauty stores in Richmond. I suspect that prices are higher than in Asia though.

One worth a specific mention is Majolica Majorca's Nude Makes Gel SPF 50 (For Active Girls) (~$25CDN?/25g): It's not in the drug store price realm but I loved this stuff. It's a tinted face moisturizer with the benefit of an Asian sunscreen formula that even works for my "darker" Asian skin tone (but likely not for anything darker). Majolica Majorca is a sub-brand of Shiseido (their mascara is great and they have really cute blushes). I wore it all through one summer and it never felt heavy.

Regardless of which sunscreen you choose, slather it on (I once heard a tablespoon is needed to properly cover your face), and bring it all the way down past your neck.

As a final note to this long not-return to my blog, for those who haven't gotten on the cleansing oil train...that's a great follow up journey to your foray into Asian sunscreens. Water and soap doesn't always cut it when cleaning sunscreen off your face, but a good cleansing oil will always do the trick.


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