Intro
At a glance

An overview of 3 Korean face sunscreens: the make p:rem UV defense me Blue ray sun gel, the Labno Cicaloe Relif Sun Milk and the Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish.

Today, I tell you more about 3 Korean sunscreens I recently tried, the make p:rem UV defense me Blue ray sun gel, the Labno Cicaloe Relif Sun Milk, and the Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish.

I already mentioned it several times, I use a sunscreen product every day on my face.
   
Where I currently live I get a lot of sun all year round and I also use very effective anti-aging actives in my skin care routine. These tend to be photosensitive (acids and retinol) so I definitely have to protect my skin from the sun! And besides, daily sun protection is for me the most effective anti-aging action you can provide your skin with, I already mentioned it several times!

But finding a good sunscreen product for every day use, is not an easy task. Many sunscreens are still too greasy, too thick, too irritating, especially when you use them every day. Even if the formulas improve from year to year, the quest for the ideal sunscreen product is still on!

This time, I decided to try 3 different Korean sunscreens. And I discovered some great products!

Bioderma Hydrabio Eau De Soin SPF30 mist, Gentle Monster sunglassesdummy Skincare SUN PROTECTION: Q&A AND COMMON MYTHS Even though sun protection is relevant all year long, I definitely feel this topic will grab people’s attention far more at the moment, with summer just around the corner... Read more

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How I choose my sunscreen (reminder):

Sorry if I’m repeating myself here, but in case you haven’t read my other articles about sun protection, here’s what I’m usually looking for in a sunscreen:

– a product offering a broad-spectrum protection, so filtering both UVA and UVB filters.

– a high protection: an SPF of at least 30 and an important PA (3 or 4 +).

– ideally, a product containing mineral filters rather than chemical filters because I noticed that some chemical filters caused me breakouts after a few days (but it really depends, I don’t exclude all chemical filters, my skin can handle some of them very well).

– I also prefer non-nano mineral filters because the regular ones are less harmful to the environment. I also avoid if I can the polluting chemical filters: oxybenzone, octinoxate (these two have just been banned in Hawaii), enzacamene (or Parsol 5000) and octocrylene in particular (that being said, these requirements mainly concern my choice of products for the body, because even when I go swimming, I don’t really put my head underwater).

– I like when a sunscreen formula contains antioxidant ingredients because they help to provide an good cellular protection (= they’re anti-aging). But it doesn’t matter if some formulas don’t contain any, because I already use a lot of antioxidants in my skincare routine..

– I avoid formulas with synthetic fragrances (fragrances can be photosensitizing).

Drunk Elephant Umbra Sheer Physical Daily Defense SPF30, Drunk Elephant Umbra Tinte Physical Daily Defense SPF30, Derma E Natural Mineral Oil Free Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF30, Shiseido Anessa essence UV sunscreen mild milk SPF35, SPF50, Bioderma Hydrabio Eau De Soin SPF30 mist, Cosrx Aloe Sun Cream SPF50, Elta MD skincare UV Clear Broad Spectrum SPF46 facial sunscreen, Bioderma Photoderm Max SPF50 Aquafluid, Bioderma Hydrabio Perfecteur SPF30 Smoothing moisturising care Radiance booster, UV natural 100 mineral Sunkill RX powderdummy Skincare SUNSCREEN GUIDE 2018 I use sunscreens all year round because I care about my skin a lot (no big surprise so far!). As you can imagine, I tried a lot of different ones and today, I’m finally going to introduce you to most of them! Read more – I also put aside formulas that contain too much alcohol that can dry out the skin over time (even if alcohol considerably lightens the texture of the sunscreen formulas).

– If it’s possible, I prefer formulas that don’t contain too much silicone (I generally avoid them in my skincare products, my skin doesn’t like them very much, even though I realized recently that it really depends on the type of silicones used in a formula) but for sunscreens, I must admit it’s a bit of a losing battle. Most sunscreen products contain them because they improve the formulas a lot by making them more pleasant to use, and cosmetically elegant. So, it’s not easy to find great silicone-free sunscreen products.

– I also appreciate when a formula doesn’t leave me with a white cast, it’s always better!

– if my sunscreen doesn’t mess up my makeup, it’s always a plus! Some sunscreens have an unpleasant tendency to make my foundation pill a lot and also to make me look shiny like a disco ball only after a few hours.

However, I try not to be too narrow in my choice of products. In the ones I tried recently, some don’t correspond to my perfect description of the ideal sunscreen on paper but are still very efficient and pleasant to use.

In the case of daily use, these are very important criteria. Because if a sunscreen product has a perfect ingredients list but looks like thick paste, doesn’t spread evenly, is super greasy and makes the makeup on top look bad, even if you’re super motivated, it will be a chore to use it every day!

Recently, I tried three Korean sunscreens which, as you will see, are not that close to the charter I just described. Nevertheless, some of them are real gems that I even enjoy applying in the morning. And that, especially for a sunscreen product, is gold!

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make prem UV defense me Blue ray sun gel :

A cult favorite product among K-Beauty fans! Even if to be honest, it’s rather the kind of sunscreen I would normally avoid: chemical filters based, with a lot of fragrance, alcohol, and silicones in its formula… Not really my usual sunscreen type!

But the excellent reviews I saw everywhere made me very curious and I really wanted to try it!

The concept is quite interesting and rather innovative: it’s supposed to fight against the damage caused by infrared radiation (IR) in addition to UV rays. IR rays can cause the skin to overheat and can also create free radicals that accelerate skin aging. The make prem UV defense me Blue ray sun gel has an important cooling effect (it cools the skin by several degrees upon application) which allows it to be better protected against this IR radiation.

Here are the details:

∎ Texture:
a very fresh gel-cream, with a light and non-greasy texture, but which leaves the skin very comfortable and hydrated. It can completely replace a daily moisturizer IMO, especially if you have combination to oily skin.

∎ UV filters:
– Uvinol A plus (Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate): chemical filter for UVA.
– Octisalate (Ethylhexyl Salicylate): chemical filter for UVB.
– Homosalate: chemical filter for UVB.
– Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate): chemical filter for UVA and the UVB.

∎ Effects on the environment?
The octinoxate is suspected to have a potentially harmful effect on the environment (feel free to do your own research if this topic is important for you).

∎ Ingredients list:
Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Homosalate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Propanediol, Niacinamide, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Pentylene Glycol, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Fragrance, Glyceryl Caprylate, Fructooligosaccharides, Saccharide Hydrolysate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Pullulan, Adenosine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Betula Alba Juice, Dipropylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Xylitylglucoside, Sodium Palmitoyl Proline, Rubus Arcticus Callus Extract, Anhydroxylitol, Xylitol, Nymphaea Alba Flower Extract, Glycerin, Chamaecyparis Obtusa Leaf Extract, Glucose, Polyglyceryl-10 Oleate, Alcohol, Lecithin, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Phytosterols, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Lysolecithin, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Ascophyllum Nodosum Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Potassium Sorbate, Disodium EDTA, Citric Acid

∎ Silicone-free?
NO.

∎ Alcohol-free?
No.

∎ Fragrance-free?
No (and it’s quite a strong one!).

∎ Anti-oxidants?
Yes: a vitamin C derivative, Niacinamide.

∎ Other skincare ingredients in the formula:
Soothing and repairing Centella Asiatica, anti-aging adenosine, hydrating hyaluronic acid, hydrating Chia seed extract.

∎ White cast?
No, it’s transparent.

∎ Irritant? Comedogenic?
3 ingredients have potentially irritating effects: alcohol, fragrance and the Octinoxate filter. I don’t have a sensitive skin, so I didn’t feel any irritation personally. And I also didn’t have any breakouts with this product, even when I used it for several days in a row.

∎ Mattifying?
No, it tends to make me look a little shiny, it’s very emollient.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
The makeup applies perfectly on top, but because it’s very emollient, it tends to look quite shiny/ greasy after a few hours.

∎ Would I repurchase?
I’m not really convinced at the moment… I like its texture and its very moisturizing effect, but on my skin type, it’s a little too much. Maybe it will be better if I use it in winter (if I travel in Europe for example).
But what bothers me the most about this product is the amount of fragrance it contains! It smells really, really strong and it lingers for several hours after I applied it. I’m not against fragrance in cosmetics, but this is really too much. If this aspect doesn’t bother you and you have dry skin (or you live in a cold and dry climate), it’s still a very good product, with many good skincare ingredients in its formula. But unfortunately, it’s not for me, I’m afraid.

The make prem UV defense me Blue ray sun gel retails for $30 to $35 depending on the retailers for 75ml.

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Labno Cicaloe Relief Sun Milk SPF50 :

I have already mentioned it in my Focus article on Centella Asiatica, the Labno Cicaloe Relief Sun Milk SPF50 is also a rather moisturizing sunscreen, like the make p:rem. It can be used in place of its day cream. It also contains a high concentration of skincare ingredients, including extracts of Centella Asiatica and Madecassoside, which are very soothing and repairing. It’s definitely a great sunscreen for sensitive skins!

∎ Texture:
a very liquidy cream but also very moisturizing.

∎ UV filters:
– Titanium dioxide: a mineral filter for both UVA and UVB.

∎ Effects on the environment?
I couldn’t find the information so I don’t know if it’s a nano mineral filter or not. Given the profile of the brand, I would tend to say it’s not, but I can’t be 100% sure.

∎ Ingredients list:
Centella Asiatica Extract, C12-15 alkyl benzoate, Titanium Dioxide, Aloe Vera leaf juice, Dipropylene glycol, Butylene Glycol, Butyloctyl salicylate, Caprylyl Methicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Aluminum stearate, Polyhydroxystearic acid, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Madecassoside, Orange oil, Mandarin peel oil, Green Tea, Lychee fruit oil, Horsetail extract, Purified Water, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Alumina, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Sodium stearoyl glutamate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose Stearoxy Ether, Ethylhexylglycerin, Stearic Acid.

∎ Silicone-free?
No, but they’re volatile silicones, so you can barely feel them on the skin (and they’re not comedogenic).

∎ Alcohol-free?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance-free?
Yes but it contains some essential oils (which personally, I have no issue with). It has a fresh and slightly lemony scent.

∎ Anti-oxidants?
Yes: green tea.

∎ Other skincare ingredients in the formula:
Yes, some Centella Asiatica (it’s the first ingredient on the list!) and Madecassoside soothing and repairing, and also moisturizing plant extracts: aloe vera, lychee oil, and horsetail.

∎ White cast?
Yes, a little bit, but it’s still quite light if you spread it well on your skin.

∎ Irritant? Comedogenic?
No.

∎ Mattifying?
No, it’s quite emollient (but it doesn’t make me look too shiny).

∎ How does it look with makeup?
My makeup is easy to apply on top of it and it doesn’t change its lasting power.

∎ Would I repurchase?
I really like it. I find it very nice and I really like its ingredient list. It will be perfect this winter because it’s really comfortable on the skin!

The Labno Cicaloe Relief Sun Milk SPF50 retails for $26 to $30 depending on the retailers, for 50ml.

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Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish :

The Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish was definitely a great surprise! On paper, it has a lot of ingredients that I try to avoid, but I love it and I use it very often, especially if it’s hot outside and I have a long day ahead of me!

∎ Texture:
A very fluid, almost liquid texture that is very easy to apply and you can barely feel on the skin.

∎ UV filters:
– Zinc Oxide: a mineral filter for both UVA and UVB.
– Titanium dioxide: a mineral filter for both UVA and UVB.

∎ Effects on the environment?
None, they’re not nano mineral filters.

∎ Ingredients list:
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide, Alcohol, Dicaprylyl Ether, Dipropylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Extract, Carex Humillis Root Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Limon (Lemon) Peel Oil, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Oil, Pinus Sylvestris Leaf Oil, Citrus Aurantifolia (Lime) Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Euterpe Oleracea Fruit Extract, Malpighia Emarginata (Acerola) Fruit Extract, Terminalia Ferdinandiana Fruit Extract, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Cyclomethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Methicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Aluminum Hydroxide, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Octyldodecanol, Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Butylene Glycol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Cellulose Gum.

∎ Silicone-free?
No, quite the opposite, there are a lot of them.

∎ Alcohol-free?
No, and likewise, alcohol is placed at a fairly high level in the list of ingredients, which means that the product contains a lot of it.

∎ Fragrance-free?
Yes but it contains some essential oils (which personally, I have no issue with). It has a fresh and slightly lemony scent.

∎ Anti-oxidants?
Yes, it contains acerola extract which is a source of vitamin C.

∎ Other skincare ingredients in the formula:
A lot! Dwarf sedge and sunflower seed extract for the protective effect, acai and acerola berries for their vitalizing properties, Portulaca Oleracea, Centella Asiatica and mistletoe leaves to soothe the skin. And finally, Aloe vera, Cactus and hyaluronic acid to hydrate.

∎ White cast?
Yes, a little bit, but it’s still quite light if you spread it well on your skin.

∎ Irritant? Comedogenic?
No, not with my skin.

∎ Mattifying?
Yes, so I love it during summer, it’s perfect for my combination skin!

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s great! For me, it just acts as a primer: it blurs pores and helps my makeup last longer.

∎ Would I repurchase?
Already did! I love this product! I was scared because of the number of silicones in the formula (which can cause breakouts and blackheads on my skin) and the high concentration of alcohol also (which can be irritating and dehydrating) but the rest of the formula is impeccable and my skin handles it really well without any side effects. In addition, it’s very nice to use and, the icing on the cake, it’s very affordable. What’s not to love?

The Etude House Sunprise Mild Airy Finish retails for $10 to $13 depensing on the retailers, for 55ml.

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In conclusion:

Apart from the small disappointment of the make prem UV defense me Blue ray sun gel, I’m pleasantly surprised by the quality of these Korean sunscreens!

It confirms the feeling I have regarding Asian sunscreens: it’s quite easy to find effective and nice to use sunscreens in Asian markets (especially in Korea and in Japan)!

I guess this probably has something to do with the fact that the demand for daily sunscreens is very high in Asia (and particularly in Korea and in Japan) because people are definitely aware of the sun’s damaging effects on the skin. As a result, the offer for sunscreen products is quite high too and consumers have a wider choice compared to the rest of the world. It makes perfect sense that the best-selling ones are those with an elegant texture, that you want to use every day!

So as long as I can find online shops that deliver internationally, I will definitely continue to prefer Asian sunscreens to others! 😉

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