skincare reviews

Sunscreen Reviews 2021: the Best and the Worst in Singapore

04 May 2021

 

Here comes the sun and 2021’s sunscreen reviews!

 

Welcome to 2021’s Sunscreen Reviews! It’s been 2 years since Sunscreen Reviews: the Best, Worst and Unsafe Ones. I’m excited to share with you the hits and misses that I’ve tried in the last 2 years as well as new favourites and personal holy grails. This time I’ve focused mostly on affordable sunscreens that you can easily get from drug stores or departmental stores. I hope that you’ll find this post useful 🙂

 

As with all my skincare reviews, this updated sunscreen review will comprise a scrutiny at the ingredients, sun protection coverage and how it looks and feels on my skin. The last part is subjective of course, because we may have different skin types and preferences. I prefer light weight, quick dry formulas and matte finishes because of Singapore’s humid weather. The finish of a sunscreen is as important because it affects a user’s compliance. If a broad spectrum and high coverage sunscreen feels greasy or makes you look like you smeared toothpaste on your face- you’ll be less inclined to use an adequate amount. As I’ve explained in Sunscreen Controversies, Trends and FAQs, using a less than adequate amount of sunscreen gives you less protection than stated.

   

In 2019, a cosmetic formulator in Guangzhou conducted an experiment on a (brave and self sacrificial) human subject to test the efficacy of 18 popular sunscreens.  Black tape was used to divide the subject’s back into rectangular grids, to which the sunscreens were applied. The subject’s back was next exposed to the afternoon sun. The results of this experiment are below.

 

The picture of the results speaks for itself (see below). Some sunscreens had better protection than others. Among the sunscreens that emerged with better performance (i.e. with the least extent of sunburn) in this experiment were: SHISEIDO Anessa (my holy grail sunscreen from my sunscreen review blogpost in 2019!) and ALLIE Extra UV Facial Gel, a new favourite of mine.

 

The results of this experiment in Guangzhou

 

I’m glad that these 2 sunscreens held up well in this experiment in Guangzhou! Afterall the Purito sunscreen controversy, it’s a relief that my two sunscreen recommendations did well. That said, I would take the results of this experiment with a pinch of salt. This was a very visual but crude way of comparing the effectiveness of different sunscreens.

 

Related blogpost:

Can Asian Sunscreens Be Trusted? The Purito Controversy Explained

 

Coming back to the sunscreen review; here’s a look at ALLIE Extra UV Gel, which was featured in the experiment!

 

Kicking off Sunscreen Reviews 2021 with two from ALLIE.

 

ALLIE Extra UV Gel Review

 

ALLIE is another established sunscreen brand from Japan. You can’t miss ALLIE sunscreen at any of the drug stores in Japan. ALLIE is owned by parent cosmetics company, Kanebo. ALLIE’s sunscreens have been long time favourites in Japan. Only in 2019 did ALLIE finally make its way to Singapore. You can purchase ALLIE sunscreens from Don Don Donki stores or online at IshopChangi and its official stores on Lazada and Shopee.

 

ALLIE’s popularity in Asia really took off in 2019 when the above mentioned experiment in China showed that ALLIE’s sunscreen was one of the better performers in a comparison of popular sunscreens.

 

ALLIE Extra UV Gel Sunscreen Coverage

SPF 50+, PA ++++

 

ALLIE Extra UV Gel Sunscreen Filters

Physical filters: Zinc oxide

Chemical filters: Octinoxate, Tinosorb S, Uvinul T150

 

ALLIE Extra UV Gel: Notable ingredients or features

Moisturisers: Butylene glycol, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate, hydrolysed collagen

According to the company’s website, ALLIE’s sunscreens use its Advan technology to improve UV protection.

   

ALLIE Extra UV Gel

 

The Good about ALLIE Extra UV Gel

Finally, a sunscreen with high protection ratings with a texture that I love. ALLIE Extra UV Gel has a gel like texture that sinks into my skin nicely without any problems that the other sunscreens in this blogpost gave. It’s light on my skin, dries quickly to leave a matt finish. My skin also feels well moisturised using ALLIE Extra UV Gel. No comedones or transfers to my mask with ALLIE Extra UV Gel.

 

Inevitably, I’ll have to compare ALLIE Extra UV Gel against my beloved SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skin Care Milk. The latter feels more like a lotion; and gives a light powdery finish on the skin. ALLIE Extra UV Gel feels more basic; there’s less of that cosmetic elegance- less of that cosmetic coverage, more of a natural matt finish.

 

ALLIE Extra UV Gel holds up well with sweat. I use ALLIE Extra UV Gel for my runs and it does not come off with sweat nor sting my eyes. It feels sweat resistant, so I’d recommend this for workouts. I’ve switched to using ALLIE Extra UV Gel whenever I exercise now.

 

ALLIE Extra UV Gel’s price point is also very attractive. It costs under SGD$30 for a 60ml tube.

 

The Bad about ALLIE Extra UV Gel

ALLIE Extra UV Gel does not work well under makeup. I wore ALLIE Extra UV Gel for a photoshoot and it made the makeup cake so badly. I highly recommend using SUQQU Extra Protector 50 if you need to wear makeup instead.

 

Verdict on ALLIE Extra UV Gel

A very affordable and lightweight gel sunscreen that’s got broad spectrum and high coverage. I like this for daily use, especially with sports.

ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire)

 

And, lastly, I’ve called off the search for another holy grail sunscreen for daily use. ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire), a pink toned sunscreen from the same brand is my new holy grail and I’ll share why I love this.

 

ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire) Review

 

ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire) is another broad spectrum sunscreen from ALLIE. It is very similar to ALLIE Extra UV Gel, but with a pink tone. This range also comes in other colours like apricot and lavender for different skin tones.

 

ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire) Sunscreen Coverage

SPF 50+, PA ++++

 

ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire) Sunscreen Filters

Physical filters: Zinc oxide

Chemical filters: Octinoxate, Tinosorb S, Uvinul T 150

 

ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire): Notable ingredients or features

Moisturiser: Sodium hyaluronate, hydrolysed collagen

   

ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire) gives a barely there but still obvious enough radiant matte finish.

 

The Good about ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire)

ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire) is very similar in formulation and texture to ALLIE Extra UV Gel. The pink colour of this sunscreen gives my skin a natural rosy glow which I really like. It’s a very affordable dupe for my Suqqu sunscreen that’s been discontinued. I use this for most everyday situations like work and home.

 

The Bad about ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire)

I honestly cannot think of any reason to dislike ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire)! It’s not a sunscreen with high cosmestic coverage; but I really like ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire) for its light rosy finish.

 

Verdict on ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire)

ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire) is a good light and quick dry sunscreen for daily use. I really like the pink undertone, it makes my chinese skin look more rosy and radiant. A good dupe for the old Suqqu sunscreen (RIP).

   

SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50

   

SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 Review

 

SHISEIDO is one of the oldest and biggest cosmetics brands in the world. Founded in 1872 by a pharmacist to the Japanese Imperial Navy, SHISEIDO is today a beauty brand synonymous with luxury, innovation and strong Japanese heritage.

 

The brand’s spirit of innovation has been evident in history. In 1888, toothpaste was first introduced to Japan by SHISEIDO. SHISEIDO also introduced the Rainbow Face Powder to Japan. In an era where face powders were normally white in Japan, the use of 7 different colours to allow users to personalise their cosmetics was ahead of its time.

 

Today, SHISEIDO is still one of the leaders of technology and innovation in the beauty industry. You can learn more about SHISEIDO and other beauty tech innovations in How is Technology Disrupting the Beauty Industry?

 

SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 Review Sunscreen Coverage

SPF 50+, PA ++++

 

SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 Sunscreen Filters

Physical filters: Zinc oxide, Titanium dioxide

Chemical filters: Octinoxate, Ethylhexyl salicylate, Octocrylene, Uvinal A plus, Ensulizole, Tinosorb S

 

SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50: Notable ingredients or features

• Uses Shiseido’s proprietary SynchroShield technology; a combination of WetForce and HeatForce features

• WetForce technology strengthens sun protection effects when exposed to sweat or waters

• HeatForce technology increases protective effects when temperature is raised

• Antioxidants: Tocopherol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract *You can learn more about Camellia Sinensis or green tea in Benefits of Topical Green Tea in Skincare.

   

   

The Good About SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50

I got SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 to try because it struck me as an improved formula from my holy grail in 2019’s Sunscreen Reviews– Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Milk. This version is also a broad spectrum sunscreen with a similar formula (with less silicones) and its protection is strengthened with heat and sweat- perfect for Singapore’s weather!

 

Shiseido’s Synchroshield Technology comprises its Wetforce Technology and Heatforce Technology, which supposedly increases the sunscreen’s benefits in the presence of heat and water. The Wetforce Technology contains negative ions which binds to the positive ions in sweat and water to form ionic bonds. According to Shiseido, this reaction spreads the sunscreen more evenly to reduce absorption of UV rays. You can read more about Heatforce Technology in this article by Shiseido here.

 

Heatforce Technology is another interesting aspect of SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50. With this proprietary technology, the sunscreen’s protective benefits increase when the temperature increases. I was not able to find details about the mechanisms of Heatforce; so if any of you do, please let me know and I will update this post accordingly .

 

This sunscreen is aligned with Shiseido’s campaign to strengthen the brand’s efforts towards environmental sustainability. According to the brand, SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 is ocean-friendly and less likely to damage coral reefs. The paper box that the sunscreen is packaged in comes from recycled paper. Kudos Shiseido!

 

Formula wise, it reminds me of my beloved Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Milk- a mix of physical and chemical filters with vitamin E and green tea extract. SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 has a thin, watery formula. There is a floral fragrance on application. It did not irritate my skin.

 

The Bad about SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50

SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 has an oily feel and takes very long to dry. If you are used to lightweight and quick dry formulas like Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Milk, then this sunscreen is not for you. This sunscreen also gave me comedones, so I would not recommend SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 to anyone with oily or acne-prone skin.

 

The other problem with SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 is that it transfers very easily to face masks. Even after letting it dry for 30 minutes and wearing my face mask; the sunscreen gets onto my face mask.

 

The Synchro Shield Technology in SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50 sounded very promising, especially for sports enthusiasts and Singaporeans. However, it was a hot mess for me. This sunscreen melted away everytime I sweat… I could see that my perspiration was milky white. Because of this, I am very doubtful that the Wetforce and Heatforce Technology work for me.

 

Verdict on SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50

Promising but did not live up to expectations. Might be better for users with dry skin. Fans of quick dry and lightweight formulas will not like SHISEIDO The Perfect Protector SPF 50.

 

SUQQU Extra Protector 50

 

SUQQU Extra Protector 50 Review

 

SUQQU is a luxury beauty brand from Japan. It has a global following for the fine quality of its skincare and makeup products. Celebrities such as Victoria Beckham and Margot Robbie are fans of SUQQU. SUQQU’s products retail in luxury departmental stores in Japan and can be shipped to Singapore from Harrod’s online.

 

SUQQU is also one of my favourite beauty brands. I’ve been a fan of their sunscreens and makeup for years. As I’ve shared in my older sunscreen review post, SUQQU’s original sunscreen called Face Protector Advanced 50 was my favourite sunscreen for its lightweight formula and naturally radiant finish. This sunscreen was discontinued in 2019 and replaced with this sunscreen, SUQQU Extra Protector 50 in 2019. Needless to say, SUQQU Extra Protector 50 had high expectations to live up to.

 

SUQQU Extra Protector 50 Sunscreen Coverage

SPF 50+, PA ++++

 

SUQQU Extra Protector 50 Sunscreen Filters

Physical filters: Zinc oxide

Chemical filters: Octinoxate, Tinosorb S, Uvinul T

 

SUQQU Extra Protector 50: Notable ingredients or features

Antioxidant: Camellia Sinensis extract

Moisturiser: Sodium hyaluronate

 

Related blogpost:

Everything You Need to Know about Hyaluronic Acid

5 Cult Favourite Hyaluronic Acid Serums and Moisturisers Reviewed

     

 SUQQU Extra Protector 50 leaves a natural glow on the skin

 

The Good about SUQQU Extra Protector 50

SUQQU Extra Protector 50 is the newest sunscreen from SUQQU. Formula wise, it is similar to its predecessor: a mix of physical and chemical sunscreen filters with green tea extract and sodium hyaluronate. A safe combination for most sunscreens.

 

SUQQU Extra Protector 50 sinks in quickly into my skin. It dries to a glowy finish that feels very natural (i.e. not sparkly or oily); and does not transfer to my face masks. I like this sunscreen; and of all the sunscreens reviewed in this blogpost; SUQQU Extra Protector 50 had the best cosmetic finish for me. SUQQU Extra Protector 50 pairs well under makeup; it does not interact with makeup.

 

The Bad about SUQQU Extra Protector 50

Inevitably, SUQQU Extra Protector 50 will be compared to its predecessor. And as much as I think it was great for my skin, SUQQU Extra Protector 50’s cosmetic elegance pales in comparison to the original formula. I prefer the glow and radiance that the older formula gave on my skin.

 

Secondly, this was the most expensive sunscreen I’ve ever had at approx SGD$100 for 30g. Also, SUQQU is not available in Singapore, so to purchase SUQQU Extra Protector 50, you’ll have to ship it in.

 

Verdict on SUQQU Extra Protector 50

Nice finish but expensive. The older formula still remains my favourite though. SUQQU please bring the old formula back!

   

SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

   

SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++ Review

SUPERGOOP! is a cult favourite beauty brand from the US. Not to be confused with the Goop brand founded by Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow, SUPERGOOP! was the brainchild of Holly Thaggard, a sunscreen advocate.

 

The beginnings of SUPERGOOP are very heartwarming. The idea for SUPERGOOP came to Thaggard when a friend was diagnosed with skin cancer at the age of 29. As she learnt more about the risks of exposure to UV rays, she realised that sunscreens were not made available in schools. Thaggard started working on formulating sunscreens that would be dispensed in schools. Unfortunately, the distribution was prohibited by US government regulations as sunscreens are considered as over-the counter drugs.

 

Thaggard continued to work on distributing SUPERGOOP commercially; and today her products are globally available. One of the more interesting aspects of SUPERGOOP’s product range is its diversity. Their products like mists and powders, also include SPF.

 

SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Coverage

SPF 40; PA +++

 

SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen Filters

Chemical filters: Avobenzone, Homosalate, Octisalate, Octocrylene

 

SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen : Notable ingredients or features

• A lot of silicones

• Antioxidant: Tocopherol

• Moisturiser: Shea butter, Jojoba esters

 SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen has an invisible, matte finish

The Good about SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

True to its name, SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen has an unseen and poreless finish. The sunscreen filters are entirely chemical afterall. It dries very quickly and feels very light on the skin. The finish is very matte, and feels velvety smooth, likely because of the high amounts of silicones.

The Bad about SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

In a sea of readily available SPF 50+ and PA+++ sunscreens, SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++ feels lacking in protection. I understand the hype of this sunscreen but I would not compromise on sunscreen protection.

As a wholly chemical sunscreen, SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen may irritate the skin more than sunscreens which contain physical filters. But the lack of the physical filters is what gives SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen its unseen finish. The velvety smooth texture of SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen also feels very artificial to me. It feels like a light veil of primer on my skin.

 

Verdict on SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

Chemical sunscreen with poreless, invisible finish, almost like a makeup primer. Might be suitable for users with darker skin. Sunscreen protection indices is relatively lower than all the other sunscreens in this review.

 

KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel

KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel Review

 

KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel Sekkisei is another drugstore range under Japanese beauty brand, KOSE (which owns Decorte, another well known Japanese beauty range). KOSE Sekkisei products are centered on the use of Japanese and Chinese herb extracts. In Kanji, the first character of ‘Sekkisei’ translates to ‘snow’; in line with the range’s focus on skin brightening and moisturising products.

 

KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel Sunscreen Coverage SPF 50+ PA ++++

 

KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel Sunscreen Filters

Chemical filters: Octinoxate, Polysilicone-15 , Uvinul A plus, Tinosorb S

 

KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel: Notable Ingredients or Features

Moisturiser: Butylene glycol, Job’s tears Herbal extracts: White lotus, Angelica Acutilob

   

KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel swatch. It leaves a greasy-and ash grey finish on my skin.

     

The Good about KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel

KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel spreads thinly and leaves a cooling sensation on the skin. It also made my skin feel well moisturised.

 

The Bad about KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel

What I did not like about the KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel was the glossy, ash-grey cast it left on my skin. If you have a darker complexion, you might find KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel problematic. KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel also takes a long while to dry; and leaves a slightly sticky feel.

 

I used KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel while working out and the sunscreen ran as I sweat, leaving white streaks. (This might sound expected of sunscreen as no sunscreen is truly water resistant; but I found one that held up well with my workouts- continue reading to find out which sunscreen stood up to the test!)

 

Verdict on KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel

KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel leaves the skin feeling well moisturised. However, it leaves a glossy, grey finish and the sunscreen comes off easily with sweat. I won’t be repurchasing KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel as it did not work for me.

   

YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender 

YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender Review

 

YSL Beaute is the cosmetics extension of French haute couture label YSL. The founder, Yves Saint Laurent, is regarded as one of the most celebrated and influential designers of the twentieth century. The YSL tribute sandals, Mondrian dresses and Le Smoking tuxedos are some of the most iconic creations of the designer.

 

The beauty arm of YSL is also associated with sophistication and the celebration of women. Some of the most popular products from YSL beauty are its Touche Eclat highlighter and Rouge Volupte Shine Lipstick. For its Pure Shots range, YSL uses botanicals from its Ourika Gardens in Morocco, such as moonlight cactus, iris and orange blossoms.

 

YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender

Sunscreen Coverage SPF 50+, PA ++++

 

YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender Sunscreen Filters

Chemical filters: Homosalate, Octocrylene, Mexoryl XL, Avobenzone, Tinosorb S

 

YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender: Notable ingredients or features

Moisturiser: Glycerin

Antioxidants: Tocopherol, Niacinamide, Camellia sinensis leaf extract

Fragrance: Citrus peel

 

Related blogpost:

Niacinamide: A Versatile Skincare Ingredient Your Skin Will Thank You For

   

 It may not be obvious in the swatch but YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender has a oily finish.

 

The Good about YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender

The addition of antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory benefits provide additional protection against free radical damage by UV rays. The citrus fragrance also gives YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender is very refreshing.

 

The Bad about YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender

True to its name, YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender spreads very thinly but it takes an awfully long time to dry. YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender also leaves a very oily and greasy residue that sticks to my face mask. Of all the sunscreens reviewed in this blogpost, YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender left the oiliest feel. This also gave me comedones very soon each time after I used YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender.

 

The citrus peel from Morocco supposedly defends the skin against free radicals. However, there is very little data to substantiate this claim. In case reports, citrus peels can cause allergic contact dermatitis.

 

Verdict on YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender

YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender is a sunscreen that takes too long to dry and feels very greasy.

   

 

HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+

 

HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+ Review HELIOCARE is a Spanish sunscreen brand developed by Cantabria Labs in 2001. The brand is most well known for its oral photoprotection capsules (oral sunscreen), Heliocare Oral. You can learn more about oral sunscreens and their limitations in this post Sunscreens Controversies, Trends and FAQs.

 

HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+ is available at selected clinics in Singapore.

 

HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+ Sunscreen Coverage

SPF 50+, PA ++++

 

HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+ Sunscreen Filters

Chemical filters: Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Avobenzone, Ensulizone, Uvinul A plus, Tris-Biphenyl Triazine, Uvinul T 150

 

HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+: Notable ingredients or features

Amino acid: Arginine

Photoprotection: Polypodium Leucotomos leaf extract

Antioxidants: Physalis angulata extract, Tocopherol

Anti-inflammatory: Plankton extract

Moisturisers: Sodium hyaluronate, glycerin, urea

 

HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+ contains their Fernblock+ Technology, which comprises Polypodium leucotomos extract. Polypodium leucotomos fern extract can protect the skin from sunburns through several cellular pathways. One caveat here- most of the research for Polypodium leucotomos extract is based on the oral forms. The efficacy of Polypodium leucotomos extract is still uncertain as there are no large trials that have been published yet.

 

High energy visible light absorption curve of melanin vs biomimetic melanin. Image credit: Heliocare Singapore.

 

The Good about HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+

All in all, I find the use of novel ingredients to supplement the sunscreen filters interesting and promising, as compared to the same types of antioxidants used in most other sunscreens.

 

This sunscreen also uses HELIOCARE’s proprietary Bioshield System, which is said to protect against blue light and infrared light. The effects of blue light on the skin have been discussed in Sunscreen Controversies, Trends, FAQs. Essentially, infrared and visible light may accelerate signs of aging like wrinkles. HELIOCARE’s Bioshield System uses a combination of Biomimetic Melanin and Oxothiazolidine to absorb blue light.

 

Melanin is naturally present in our skin; it is what gives our skin its intrinsic colour. Melanin (especially eumelanin) has a protective effect against UV rays by physically scattering these rays and reducing its absorption through the epidermis. Biomimetic melanin refers to melanin that’s been produced to mimic natural melanin. Research on these synthetic melanin molecules is still in the nascent stage; but some studies suggest that these nanoparticles may behave like natural melanin and offer some UV protection. (See above graph)You can learn more about melanin and how hyperpigmentation forms in these blogposts:

How to Lighten Hyperpigmentation with Skincare

Hyperpigmentation Disorders: Causes, Types, Treatments.

 

Oxothiazolidine (OTZ-10) is a type of antioxidant that neutralises free radicals generated by UV rays and blue light. In the presence of free radicals, Oxothiazolidine (OTZ-10) gets oxidised to form taurine, a type of amino acid (like arginine). Taurine has several biological functions in the skin, including improving skin’s barrier function.

 

HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel is a thin watery lotion that dries quite quickly. It’s got a matte finish when it dries. This sunscreen did not cause comedones or irritate my skin.

 

The Bad about HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+

Texture wise, it feels slightly oily. HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel also lends a grey cast on my friends with darker skin.

 

Verdict on HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel SPF 50+

The use of novel ingredients for extra sun protection in HELIOCARE 360º Water Gel gets a thumb up from. The inner chemistry nerd in me approves. May be more suitable for users with fairer skin because of the grey finish.

 

JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base

 

JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base Review

This beauty brand is the eponymous skincare and makeup brand by Korean celebrity makeup artist Jung Saem Mool. The veteran makeup artist counts Kim Tae Hee and Jun Ji Hyun. Jung Saem Mool has been often for popularising the dewy, transparent look that’s highly coveted in Asia.

 

Her flagship store, Plops, in Garu-sogil, Seoul is part makeup store and museum. A kaleidoscope of bright colours, drawings and sculptures, Plops offer a playful experience for cosmetic shopping. I picked up this sunscreen when I was in Seoul in pre-COVID days because I could not resist leaving JUNG SAEM MOOL’s flagship store without a memento. This cost approximately SGD$40.

 

In Singapore, JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base can be purchased at Tangs or Escentials.

   

A look inside Plops, JUNG SAEM MOOL’s flagship store in Gangnam, Seoul.

     

JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base Coverage

SPF 50+, PA +++

JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base Sunscreen Filters

Physical filters: Titanium dioxide, Zinc oxide

Chemical filters: Octinoxate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate

 

JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base: Notable ingredients or features

Antioxidants: Niacinamide, Tocopherol

Moisturiser: Butylene glycol, glycerin, Sodium hyaluronate

 

The Good about JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base

JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base feels like a sunscreen and pink makeup base combined. It gives some coverage and I like the pink colour correction for my skin. It makes my skin look more radiant and the finish lasts throughout the day.

   

JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base gives a radiant matte finish, almost like a foundation.

 

The Bad about JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base

JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base’s PA +++ rating is lacking compared to the other sunscreens reviewed in this post. This product feels thick and takes a while to dry. It gives a slightly sticky finish. JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base also feels occlusive on the skin- might be a hit or miss for users with oily or acne prone skin.

 

Verdict on JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base

I like the brightness and colour correction of JUNG SAEM MOOL Skin Setting Tone Balancing Base, but this thick and sticky texture may not work for everyone. PA ratings are relatively low.

   

  A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream

   

A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream Review

 

A’PIEU is the sister brand of K-beauty drugstore favourite, Missha. The target audience of A’PIEU is much younger- mostly teenagers, hence the affordability of A’PIEU’s products. I bought A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream in a drugstore in Myeongdong, Seoul in 2019. At SGD$10 for 2 bottles, A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream is the cheapest broad spectrum sunscreenI’ve bought to date. In Singapore, you can purchase this sunscreen online.

 

A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream Sunscreen Coverage

SPF 50+, PA ++++

 

A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream Sunscreen Filters

Chemical filters: Homosalate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Avobenzone, Ensulizole, Octocrylene

 

A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream: Notable ingredients or features

Anti-inflammatory: Centella Asiatica (cica)

Moisturiser: Butylene glycol, Glycerin, Squalene Antioxidants: Tocopheryl acetate

Plant extracts: Cocoa, Adansonia Digitata seed, Olive leaf, Equisetum arvense, Sophora japonica flower, Phellodendron amurense bark, Ziziphus jujuba, Trichosanthes kirilowii root, Rosa davurica Bud, Ligularia fishceria leaf

 

Related blogpost:

Cica in Skincare: Centella Asiatica Explained

   

A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream is thick and pasty. It leaves a whitish finish to my skin.

 

The Good about A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream

Affordable broad spectrum and high coverage sunscreen. The long list of botanical extracts may appeal to “natural” and “clean-beauty” enthusiasts. Despite its thick texture, A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream did not cause any comedones for me.

 

The Bad about A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream

It is hard for me to have high expectations of A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream since it only cost me SGD$5 a bottle. The sunscreen feels like toothpaste; it is thick and clunky. A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream does not blend in as easily as most other sunscreens on my skin. I had to spend a lot of effort blending the sunscreen each time.

 

A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream’s finish was also disappointing. I thought that the pink colour would help in adding radiance to my skin. Instead, A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream looked like a high coverage foundation. You can see the stark difference in the photo in which I compared the swatch. On my face, there was no radiance at all with A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream, as compared to most other pink toned sunscreens I’ve used.Instead, it was a whitish cast on my skin.

 

Verdict on A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream

The cheapest sunscreen I’ve owned but will not repurchase. Thick and requires a lot of blending. A’PIEU Power Block Daily Sun Cream feels more like a cheap foundation.

   

BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

 

BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA ++++ Review

 

BIORE is a drugstore beauty range under Japanese conglomerate, Kao. BIORE is a household name in Singapore and Japan. Since BIORE was introduced in 1980, it has become one of the leaders in the Japanese sunscreen market.

 

I first discovered this particular sunscreen on a trip to Tokyo several years ago (dang, COVID-19!). Although BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel retails at Watsons and Guardian in Singapore for $16-19; it costs half of this price in Japan.

 

BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel Sunscreen Coverage

SPF 50+, PA ++++

 

BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel Sunscreen Filters

Physical filters: Titanium dioxide

Chemical filters: Octinoxate, Tinosorb S, Uvinul A plus, Uvinul T

 

BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel: Notable Ingredients or Features

Moisturiser: Sodium hyaluronate

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant: Royal jelly extract

   

The Good about BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF

I really like this body sunscreen and so I wanted to share this find with you all! BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel is my daily to go body sunscreen. It feels more like a serum than gel and my skin feels moisturised after using it. BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel does not leave a sticky feel or stain my clothes. I use this on a daily basis for my neck and hands.

 

Royal jelly, honey and propolis are derived from bees and can be commonly found in skincare and supplements. Royal jelly extract is used in BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel. Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits have been attributed to royal jelly extracts. In skincare, royal jelly extract is often used for its moisturising effects. If you’re a fan of trivia; royal jelly comes from the throat and salivary secretions of bees. It’s a superfood loaded with carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals. Another interesting fact- royal jelly is consumed by the queen bee; not the worker bees!

 

The Bad about BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

I’d have to nitpick for any flipsides of using BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel- it would be that it contains Octinoxate as one of the chemical sunscreen filters. Why is this a disadvantage you might wonder? Afterall, as one of the most common sunscreen filters, Octinoxate is found in almost all of the sunscreens reviewed in this blogpost.

 

Octinoxate can accumulate in the bloodstream after application. The body has a larger surface area compared to the face, so the amount of sunscreen applied and absorbed through the skin is greater with body sunscreens, especially when used long term on a daily basis. The significance and safety issues related to Octinoxate in the blood are not known- yet. If you’re worried about chemical filters getting into your blood- switch to a sunscreen with physical filters

 

Verdict on BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

My favourite sunscreen for the body. Moisturising, dries quickly and doesn’t stain clothes. BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF is also very affordable.

     

SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray

 

SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray Review

 

Anessa is one of the drug store product range from SHISEIDO. If you’ve read my sunscreen review blogpost from 2019, you’ll know that SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sun Care Milk is one of my all-time favourite sunscreens. The SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray is one of the newer releases from the SHISEIDO Anessa range. This bottle was gifted to me by my friend Eilenia as a fun way to introduce sunscreen to my toddlers.

 

SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray Sunscreen Coverage

SPF 50+, PA++++

 

SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray Sunscreen Filters

Physical filter: Zinc oxide

Chemical filters: Octinoxate, Tinosorb S, Uvinul A plus, Ethylhexyl salicylate, Uvinul T 150, Ensulizole

 

SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray: Notable ingredients or features

Moisturiser: Glycerin, butylene glycol, sodium acetylated hyaluronate

       

 

The Good about SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray

A fun way to apply body sunscreen with this one. SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray gives a bubbly lotion that pops and tingles on the skin. It also leaves a cooling sensation, almost like menthol. My two kids love using this sunscreen on their bodies.

 

The Bad about SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray

The problem with spray on sunscreens of any type is that it is very hard to assess whether the amount dispensed was adequate, vis a vis liquid sunscreens. I’d suggest using SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray who would find the novelty of a bubbling sunscreen fun.

SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray also takes a while to dry, compared to the other body sunscreen that I prefer, BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel.

 

Verdict on SHISEIDO Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Bubble Spray

A fun and novel sunscreen spray for children.

   

 

Conclusion on Sunscreen Reviews 2021

Thank you for reading to the end of my long, long blogpost. This took me way longer than expected to put together. I hope this review will help guide you to pick a sunscreen that you like. Remember to stay protected, even when you’re indoors!

 

If you got lost in the myriad of sunscreens, here’s an easy summary of my recommendations:

Best sunscreen (daily use and overall): ALLIE Nuance Change Tone Up UV Gel Sunscreen (Rose Chaire)

Best sunscreen (splurge): SUQQU Extra Protector 50

Best sunscreen for sports: ALLIE Extra UV Gel

Best unseen finish: SUPERGOOP! Unseen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen

Best body sunscreen: BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

Worst sunscreen finish: YSL Pure Shots Airthin UV Defender and KOSE Sekkisei White UV Gel

 

You may also find these sunscreen related posts useful:

Can Asian Sunscreens Be Trusted? The Purito Controversy Explained

Sun Protective (UPF) Clothing Explained

Sunscreen Safety and What You Should Avoid

Do Children Need Sunscreen?

Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) and Copper Ion Face Masks- Do They Work?

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