You know summer’s-a-calling when stores start displaying their sunscreens in the windows, and a whole new “improved” crop make their happy faces seen. In my usual snail’s pace, I found that I’ve amassed yet another bag-full of sunscreens, and thought I’d return with a Sunscreen Smackdown III [Episodes I and II may be found here and here]. Today, I’ll be introducing sunscreens from Radical Skincare, Shiseido, Kiehl’s, TheFaceShop and Creme Simon!
Some important facts about sunscreens:
Now that I’ve gotten some nags out of my system, let me introduce you to the sunscreens that I have in store for today! Let me preface by saying that I’ve grown very fond of each of these sunscreens (yes all of them!) so this is not an exercise in comparison. However, they each have their own strengths, and I’d suggest you choose 1 or more of them based on your preferences and budget!
The Most Luxurious: Radical Skincare Skin Perfecting Screen SPF30
I was recently introduced to Radical Skincare, and have grown into a big fan. I’ll introduce more of the rest of the line in due course, and this particular sunscreen is deserving of its own review, but I simply couldn’t wait. Radical Skincare Skin Perfecting Screen comes with SPF30 protection and a host of skin-loving ingredients. It is 100% non-chemical and still manages to retain a lovely lightweight fluid texture. Do remember to shake well before use though!
What makes this particular sunscreen so unique is the inclusion of diamond powder which provides light-reflecting and optical blurring effects. Once applied, my face looks smoother, softly mattified, and radiant! I had my doubts initially, but once I tried it out for myself, I was SOLD!
Other lovely ingredients include Niacinamide which improves skin’s elasticity, enhances barrier function, help erase discoloration and revives skin’s healthy tone and texture. Adenosine supports healthy cellular activity and is anti-inflammatory. Allantoin soothes irritated skin, stimulates cell regeneration, and moisturizes. Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract is a powerful anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, and is able to reduce the skin’s reaction to sun exposure to prevent formation of dark spots. Coffea Arabica Seed Extract can stimulate collagen and elastin sysnthesis, helps repair skin and barrier function, and encourage greater moisture retention. Superoxide Dismutase is another potent antioxidant naturally found in the human body.
The Most Water-Resistant: Shiseido Perfect UV Protector SPF50 PA++++
I’m really bad about reapplying sunscreen when I’m outdoors… it’s not just about remembering to pack it in my beach bag (most times I don’t even carry a bag! Grab a towel, a bottle of water and run!), but I’m also too lazy to towel-dry before reapplying something that is potentially sticky. So it was with welcome arms that I received the latest innovative sunscreen from Shiseido.
Powered by the latest WetForce technology, the newly reformulated Shiseido Perfect UV Protector contains a stabilized form of Ionic Mineral Sensor which bonds with minerals in water, to form a water-repellent veil on the skin that further enhances sun protection up to 124% by repelling UV rays. Rated SPF50 PA++++, this nifty little bottle ensures maximum sun protection when you are out at play. It has a lightweight fluid texture that dries down to a matte finish, and is also easily removed with just regular soap.
As expected with such a highly rated SPF and fluid texture, this is formulated with a combination of physical and chemical blockers. However, for a skincare brand, Shiseido does try hard by including some of beneficial ingredients. The formula contains Profense CEL, a proprietary cocktail that prevents oxidation and damage to cells and DNA.
The Most Comprehensive: Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50 PA++++
I had previously reviewed Kiehl’s iconic sunscreen here, which was one of the first lightweight sunscreen with a SPF50 rating launched in the market during its time. However, I had noted then that although it was nice, it did not feel as lightweight as its name implied. And now, with the newly reformulated version, I was glad to find it is much lighter and more fluid than before.
Kiehl’s Ultra Light Daily UV Defense contains L’oreal’s patented chemical blockers Mexoryl SX and Mexoryl XL. In this latest turn, Mexoryl XL has been improved to extend protection to long UVA rays that are the main cause of skin aging. To be clear, there are actually 2 classes of UVA rays – short UVA rays (wavelengths of 320-340 nm) and long UVA rays (340-400 nm). Most sunscreen labels that proclaim broadspectrum and UVA protection does not clearly specify between the long/short UVA. The longer the rays, the deeper it penetrates the skin layers, and damages skin cells called keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis, which has the ability to contribute to the development of skin cancer. There are currently 17 active ingredients approved by the US FDA for use in sunscreens, of which only avobenzone and zinc oxide have the ability to block long UVA rays (please refer to the chart here).
Drawing on its apothecary roots, Kiehl’s products are generally straight-forward, no-frills formulations. So, it is a nice change in pace to see the inclusion of Rosa Gallica Extract in this sunscreen. This has the potential to soothe and calm skin irritated by sun exposure, which in turn prevents the formation of dark spots (a common consequence of skin’s reaction to sun irritation). In addition, Vitamin E conditions the skin and protects against free radical damage.
The Most Budget-Friendly: TheFaceShop Natural Sun Eco Sun Cream SPF45 PA+++ and Natural Sun Eco Sebum Control Moisture Sun SPF40 PA+++
TheFaceShop is an affordable beauty brand from Korea, and its products are formulated with natural ingredients. The Natural Sun Eco Suncare range contains eco-certified organic sunflower sprout extracts which is able to neutralize the oxidative damage from sun exposure. It also contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. There are 2 variations to choose from – the Natural Sun Eco Power Long-Lasting Sun Cream SPF45 PA+++, and Natural Sun Eco Sebum Control Moisture Sun SPF40 PA+++. Both have a silky, lightweight cream texture that feels comfortable on my dry skin, and have a matte finish that stays shine-free throughout the day.
The Long-Lasting Sun Cream (orange tube) carries a slightly higher SPF rating and is slightly tinted pink so it doubles up as a light base to brighten and correct skin tone. It is convenient for outdoor activities, simply dust on some powder as needed and go. The other, Sebum Control Moisture Sun (turquoise tube) has a slightly lower SPF rating but has the ability to control excess sebum, and is thus well suited for oily / combination skin. The latter blends out translucent even though it seems greenish when freshly squeezed out of the tube. Both feel creamy and are slightly moisturizing.
Both come with a generous 50ml, the largest amongst those discussed here today, and are priced very affordably at SGD28.90 and SGD23.90 each. They use a mixture of physical and chemical sun blockers, and no animal-sourced ingredients.
The Most Moisturizing: Creme Simon Daily Defense UV Protector SPF50
I have loved quite a number of Creme Simon products over the past year [reviewed here] and was excited to try their award-winning sunscreen. The Daily Defense UV Protector is an oil-free sunscreen with SPF50 protection.
This sunscreen has a cream texture, and is thicker and feels heavier on my skin than the others reviewed here today. On the other hand, it does feel very nicely moisturizing and emollient, and should help those with severely dry skin or if you are heading into cold climates.
The Creme Simon Daily Defense UV Protector is formulated with the line’s proprietary Activ-Fleur Complex, which is an exclusive botanical elixir of 7 flowers and plants designed to brighten skin. It also contains Rose, Iris, and Jasmine extracts to oxygenate and promote carbon dioxide and toxin elimination from the skin in order to maintain luminosity and clarity. Wheat Oligosaccharides Complex helps to boost brightening by reducing skin pigmentation. I also love that it does not contain any parabens.
Overall, I’ve really enjoyed each of the sunscreens discussed here today, and I hope I had given you a good idea of how each of them are like. Each of them managed to be quite different from the others, whilst still performing their basic functions of providing good sun coverage. I found Radical Skincare’s Skin Perfecting Screen to have the lightest texture, whereas Creme Simon had the highest. Radical Skincare is also the only one here that is formulated entirely from physical blockers whilst the others all employed a combination of physical and chemical ingredients. Shiseido is great for sports and water-activities. TheFaceShop offers 2 very nice, affordable options that should suit a wide variety of skin types. Kiehl’s is the only one that specifically mentions that it blocks long UVA rays, but the others all contain zinc oxide which has the ability to do the same.
Do you have any favorite sunscreen to share?
This post featured PR samples that were kindly sent to me for my consideration. Regardless, all opinions expressed here are my own honest, unbiased views. I am not affiliated to any brands.