All About Sunscreens

March 14, 2015

I have been road testing a lot of sunscreens in recent years, and in this post it covers some of my absolute favorites. As we all know, there are two different types of UVS – the UVA and UVB . What you probably aren’t aware is that UVB rays can burn the skin, whereas what we women really have to watch out for on a daily basis is the UVA rays that causes aging and pigmentation. SPF is only for blocking UVB. In most western brands, if the sunscreen also protects you from UVA it is indicated by the word “Broad Spectrum”, however how much coverage it provides is unknown. I personally prefer the Asian standard of labeling for UVA protection as it is denoted by the PA+. The more plus signs there are, the better job it does for blocking UVA which is valuable information for those who are sensitive to the sun.

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1. Estee Lauder CyberWhite HD Advanced Brightening UV Protector SPF 50 PA+++: My top favorite and I would repurchase it over and over. It has all the protection I need, and the texture is like a lightweight gel cream that feels invisible and hydrating on the skin. It is neither greasy nor drying. And unlike other gel sunscreens, this one does not flake up and sits well under makeup. Highly recommend! (Asia version here)

2. DIOR DIORSNOW White Reveal UV Protection SPF 50 PA+++: It’s a sunscreen with moisturizing and brightening ingredients, so it doubles up as a makeup primer as it helps to brighten up and even out the skin tone. The texture feels very rich upon application – almost like a heavy moisturizer for dry skin but it absorbs into the skin after a few minutes without the oily residue, leaving your skin supple and slightly dewy. A lot of my friends who have dry skin really love this sunscreen because of the dewy finish. (Asia version here)

3. Lunasol Control Essence UV SPF34 PA+++ : It feels just as good as the Estee Lauder -very lightweight, and has a luxurious serum-like lotion texture that feels refreshing and hydrating on the skin without changing the skin color. I would rate this one as my second favorite because it has a lower SPF.

4. BECCA Mineral SPF30 Face and Body Sunscreen: This is a mineral sunscreen so it is better for sensitive as well as acne prone skin types, and more importantly, they become effective immediately upon application as opposed to the classic sunscreens that should be applied at least 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. The texture of this is lovely – it is creamy but non greasy, feels refreshing on the face but it might leave a white cast if your skin tone is darker than NC30.

5. ORBIS UV Cut Sunscreen FACE SPF34 PA+++ – A Japanese drugstore brand and their UV CUT line that is highly raved about and just blows the western drugstore sunscreens out of the water. This is a mineral sunscreen with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It has a watery milky lotion texture with more than 80% moisturizing ingredients that just melts into your skin and prevents oxidization. It sets immediately to a semi-matte finish without feeling drying nor powdery. I love using this one on days I don’t wear makeup, as it is tinted with a pale beige color that makes the complexion look really fresh and clean. My top pick for an affordable sunscreen!

6. ORBIS UV Cut Sunscreen SUPER SPF50 PA++++:  Offers maximum protection, and the texture is very similar to the face product without the beige tint, so it can be used for both the face and the body without leaving a white cast as it goes on invisible. Since it has the highest PA protection, it is great for prevention from being tanned.

7. Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral: Another mineral sunscreen but in powder form! I thought this is a brilliant idea as I like to re-apply sun protection every few hours without having it messing up my makeup! It applies pretty much like transparent loose powder, but the brush feels coarse and it doesn’t fit into the cap so it can get messy for carrying it around.

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Swatches from left to right: Estee Lauder; Dior; Lunasol; Becca; Orbis Face; Orbis Super

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Petrina March 14, 2015 at 12:04 pm

Sunscreen is a must in my everyday routine regardless of whether I go out or not. My staple is Lancome’s UV expert ( asian version) XL shield SPF 50 PA ++++. I’ve been using it for more than 7 years and for my skin it’s by far the most effective. I bring back a year’s supply every year! A close second ( usually used in humid conditions ) is shiseido uv perfect but I do feel it contains a tad too much alcohol. My fave powder sunscreen is the guerlsin meteorites uv shield compact! I agree with you re the brush for the PTR – it’s partially because of it that I switched and glad I did !

Reply

Sasa March 16, 2015 at 5:16 pm

Hello Reika, Thank you so much for a very informative article. You mentioned in an earlier traveling related article that Shiseido Anessa Perfect Essence Sunscreen SPF50+ is also one of your favorite. What’s your thought on comparing Estee Lauder CyberWhite HD to Shiseido Anessa? Any pros and cons between the two?

Thank you so much!

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