It’s officially summer today! So this is your annual reminder to wear your sunscreen every single day! Let’s have a look at 2 facial sunscreens that I’m currently enjoying:
• Allie UV Mineral Moist NEO SPF 50+ PA++++
• Clarins UV Plus HP Sunscreen Multi-Protection Tint in Light
I’ll review each sunscreen and do a quick comparison of the two but I will say that I like both – they serve slightly different purpose and both have pros and cons. First, let’s look at the one I bought from Japan last year:
Allie Mineral Moist NEO SPF 50+ PA++++
This is also called “Allie EX UV Protector Gel”, from parent company Kanebo.
The main reason I bought this was that it was primarily a mineral based aka physical sunscreen. I have a preference for physical sunscreen since they’re generally more photostable and work immediately upon application, whereas chemical ones require a wait time of 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. The problem with physical sunscreens is how they look on the skin – they give that ghostly white cast (especially Zinc) and look terrible under makeup.
I had a love affair with Japanese sunscreens for many years because of how lightweight and undetectable they were under makeup. However, it seems that they were able to avoid the dreaded white cast by using only chemical sunscreens. It’s very difficult to find Japanese physical sunscreens but there are a few out there. I compromised by getting the Allie Mineral Moist NEO sunscreen which is a mixture of physical (Zinc Oxide) and chemical (Octinoxate, Uvinul A Plus, and Tinosorb S) UV filters.
It was love at first use with this sunscreen! (it made my favourites recently) The texture is so lightweight, it felt like a gel lotion that’s not greasy.
It’s not a watery texture that is typical of most Japanese sunscreens – I actually prefer this lotion-y texture as I didn’t feel like it was drying out my skin. This sunscreen is water, sweat and sebum resistant and lasts really well on my skin.
It does have a slight dewy finish but it doesn’t get oily over the course of the day. One added bonus is that I find this sunscreen acts like a primer – it helps my makeup apply more smoothly and wear longer.
Active Ingredients: Zinc Oxide 9.45%, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate) 7%, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus) 2.7%, Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine (Tinosorb S) 0.05%
Inactive Ingredients: Water (Aqua), Alcohol, Octyldodecyl Myristate, Butylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Butylen Glycol, Sodium Acrylate / Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Glycerin, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isohexadecane, Triethoxycaprylilsilane, Methicone, Polysorbate 80, Xanthan Gum, Nylon–12, Methyl Trimethicone, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate, Laminaria Japonica Extract, Soluble Collagen, Royal Jelly Extract, Averrhoa Carambola Leaf Extract, Coix Lacryma-Jobi (Job’s Tears) Seed Extract
While don’t like that this contains chemical UV filters, especially Octinoxate, but I do love that the physical sunscreen used in it is Zinc Oxide which has the broadest UV protection of any single UV filter. One odd thing I noticed is that nowhere on the packaging does it indicate the expiry date. I looked everywhere! I’ve noted when I purchased this and my best guesstimate is an expiry of 2018 (erring on the side of early). I bought this large 90g tube for ¥2,800 (approx $33.35 CAD) – it also comes in a 40g format for ¥1,400 ($16.70). This is made in Japan.
• No white cast
• Water, sweat and sebum resistant
• Feels moisturizing
• Long lasting
• Acts as a primer
• Contains alcohol
• Not 100% physical UV filter
• Difficult to find outside of Asia
Stash worthiness: 9/10
Clarins UV Plus HP Sunscreen Multi-Protection Tint SPF 40 in Light
I’ve found that in recent years, Western brands – especially those from France – are coming out with many options for physical / mineral sunscreens. One of the ways that they’re trying to improve the look of the mineral UV filters is by adding a tint to the formula to help overcome the white cast. And for the most part, they perform really well. I’ve used the tinted ones from La Roche-Posay and Consonant Skincare in the past, and tested the offerings from Avene and Coola. I decided to get the Clarins one when I asked the SA at Shoppers Drug Mart for her recommendation of a mineral sunscreen.
She advised this one can act as a light foundation as well. She was right – the tint has enough coverage that it acts as both my sunscreen and foundation. I mainly wear this one the weekends for a light coverage. If I want additional coverage, I top it off with a bit of BB cream (which also provides added UV protection).
The formula is very runny and the product needs to be shaken up prior to application (there’s a metal ball inside the bottle to mix the liquid). There is a perfume-y scent to this product that is pretty strong initially but doesn’t linger. The finish of this sunscreen is semi-matte and lasts extremely well on the skin, even through sweat and heat.
The shade I have is in Light, which is quite peachy and not all that light in tone. I’m around NC20 and it looks quite obvious if I apply a generous layer (as instructed on the bottle!) And that’s one of the downfalls of tinted sunscreens – the colours available won’t match every skin tone.
In order to make this colour work on my face, I apply only a light layer or else it’s very obvious. Which means I’m likely not applying enough sunscreen to effectively protect myself from UV rays. It would be fantastic if Clarins offered a wider range of colours but I don’t see that happening any time soon – as it stands, in Canada this is only available in Light and Medium. However, I saw online that it was available in Deep as well:
Active Ingredient: Titanium Dioxide 7%
Inactive Ingredients: Cyclopentasiloxane, Aqua/ Water/Eau, Aluminum Starch Octenylsuccinate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Alcohol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, CI 77491/ CI 77492/Ci 77499/ Iron Oxides, Sodium Chloride, Peg/Ppg-18/18 Dimethicone, CI 77891/Titanium Dioxide, Phenoxyethanol, PEG/PPG-20/15 Dimethicone, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Hexyl Laurate, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Mica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Parfum/ Fragrance, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Maltodextrin Crosspolymer, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Benzyl Salicylate, Cucumis Melo (Melon) Fruit Extract, Geraniol, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Citronellol, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Benzyl Benzoate, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde, Lapsana Communis Flower/ Leaf/ Stem Extract, Limonene, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Potassium Sorbate, Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate.
I should note that Titanium Dioxide is the lesser of the 2 physical sunscreens as it doesn’t protect against the full spectrum of UVA rays (the ones that cause premature aging). This retails for $42 CAD for the 50ml bottle and is made in France
• No white cast
• Semi-matte finish
• Long wearing
• 100% mineral / physical UV filter
• Tinted formula acts as light foundation
• Very limited colour range (no fair or dark options)
• Contains alcohol
• Does not block full spectrum of UVA rays
Stash worthiness: 8/10
Comparison between Allie vs Clarins
• Allie is colourless and can match all skin tones (+ Allie)
• Clarins is 100% mineral UV filter (+ Clarins)
• Allie is unscented (+ Allie)
• Clarins is easier to purchase locally (+ Clarins)
• Allie provides broad spectrum UVB and UVA protection (+ Allie)
• Both do not have white cast (tie, both winners)
• Both long wearing, water and sweat resistant (tie, both winners)
• Both contain alcohol (tie, both losers)
• Allie is made in Japan and Clarins is made in France (neutral)
The Allie Mineral Moist NEO edges out Clarins UV Plus HP Multi-Protection Tint for me since it provides a broad spectrum protection without any white cast and is suitable for all skin tones. 😀
A few facial sunscreen tips:
• Aim for SPF 30 or above
• Use a separate sunscreen instead of relying a moisturizer or foundation with sunscreen – typically you’re not applying enough moisturizer or foundation to provide sufficient UV protection
• General guide is to use “two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin” – what does this mean? Around 1/2 teaspoon for the face, but of course this amount varies depending on the size of your face!
• Try to apply sunscreen as your last layer but it might not be possible when you wear makeup. I layer my face products as follows: serum, moisturizer, primer (if using), sunscreen, foundation, powder. I like to wait 5 minutes after I apply my sunscreen before applying my foundation.
• Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen while you’re outside – sunscreens degrade with direct exposure to the sun. A general guide is to reapply every couple of hours at minimum.
I wrote another post on sunscreens a couples of years back showcasing other facial sunscreens – check it out here. I love trying out new sunscreens, can you tell? I’m still on the hunt for a 100% mineral broad spectrum facial sunscreen. The best I’ve found so far is the Consonant Skincare Perfect Sunscreen SPF 30 – I’d like to find something that has a higher SPF. What’s your favourite facial sunscreen that you would recommend to me to try? 🌞