Face Sunscreens Guide 2021 Part 3 Korean Sunscreens

Face Sunscreen Guide 2021, Part 3: Korean sunscreens

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Intro
At a glance

My face sunscreens 2021 guide, third and last part: I tell you about my Korean sunscreen tests! And I also discuss the “Purito-gate” in this post.

I know this last part of my 2021 Face Sunscreens Guide is highly anticipated, and for good reason. Here, we’re South Korea and K-beauty lovers! I kept you waiting, I know, but I promise, it was worth it: here are the 14 (yes, 14!) Korean sunscreen products I tried this year 😍

My two other articles in my Face Sunscreen Guide 2021 saga are here, in case you missed them 😉

It has been a tough year for Korean sunscreens… There have been several controversies, predominantly regarding UV protection.

Yet, Korean sunscreens are still my favorites. And no, I don’t think the whole Korean cosmetic industry should be condemned for the poor practices of a few.

I’m so reluctant to talk about it, because this story was all over social media and honestly, a lot of things that were said were very exaggerated (“skincare drama” is definitely a powerful clickbait these days!)… But yes, just to give you context, I’m going to discuss the infamous Purito-gate controversy and what I took away from it.

I will not spend too much time on it either, don’t worry. If you follow me on my Instagram account, you already know my stance! And it’s always more interesting to talk about the products, right? 😉

Because for me, Korean sunscreens remain the most pleasant to wear every day: their textures are probably the greatest on the market They’re also super comfortable every day and imperceptible under makeup.

For me, who has a weakness for mineral sunscreens (which I love for their mattifying properties), Korean mineral sunscreens are clearly the best I’ve tried! Their textures are lightweight, the white cast is usually minimal and they don’t have that drying effect that mineral sunscreens can have. That’s why I tested a bunch of them for this article 🙂

By the way, if you want to know more about how I choose my sunscreen products, my skin type, my preferences and my product expectations, I invite you to read the paragraph titled “How I choose my sunscreens (in 2021)” in my first post of this sunscreens series (it will allow you to compare your skin type and preferences to mine).

Face Sunscreen Guide 2021, Part 1: European sunscreens

Face Sunscreen Guide 2021, Part 2: Japanese sunscreens

This third part will probably be quite long. If you prefer, you can go directly to the product you’re interested in from the “Jump To” menu at the top of the page 😉. In the header on mobile and in the jump to box at the beginning of the article on desktop.

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So first I’ll discuss the “Purito-gate” and then I’ll introduce you to the 14 Korean sunscreens I tried this year: 5 mineral sunscreens, 5 chemical sunscreens and 4 that contain a mix of chemical and mineral filters (so there’s something for everyone!).

Note:
The products I tried for this 2021 article are the latest, most recent versions. We’ll talk about it right away: this year in Korea, there have been a lot of reformulations! I’ll do my best to find the links to these newest versions, but it’s possible that some big E-shops still have the old versions in stock (and sometimes, the new reformulated ones can be quite different!). There might be a bit of a delay in the availability of some new reformulated products, so I’ll try to remember to update my links if needed 😉. I want you to be aware, as always, to check what you are buying so there are no surprises.

Face Sunscreen Guide 2021, Part 2: Japanese sunscreens Skincare Face Sunscreen Guide 2021, Part 2: Japanese sunscreens Here is the second part of my 2021 Face sunscreens guide! This time, I’m focusing on the land of the rising sun, where there is no shortage of nice sunscreen options! So let’s take a closer look at the new Japanese sunscreen products I tried this year. Read more

The Purito controversy, explained:

At the end of 2020, a storm hit the community of skincare addicts: the cult sunscreen Purito Centella Green fell from its pedestal of grand favorite. An independent test revealed that its protection SPF value of 50 was actually only 19!

Such news spreads quickly on social media and, more often than not, causes a great confusion. Everywhere, the same question: can we still trust Korean sunscreen products?

Here is the story of the events (very summarized) with the information I have so far:

So what happened?

Once upon a time, there was a Korean sunscreen product called Centella Green Level SPF50+ PA++++, praised by the K-Beauty addicts community and beyond. Celebrated for its moisturizing, lightweight texture, broad UV protection index, and natural finish on the skin, it was a favorite, since its launch in 2019.

So what happened?

Last year, Judit Racz, founder of INCIdecoder.com and co-CEO of the skincare brand Geek & Gorgeous was researching competitors’ products to develop her own sunscreen product for her skincare brand. Considering the success of the Purito sunscreen, she inspected it and while observing the formula, doubted the real protection of this SPF (for the record, this Purito sunscreen contained 3% Uvinul A and 2% Uvinul T , 2 chemical filters).

So she had it tested by 3 independent laboratories in Europe to verify her theory. The results revealed her doubts were founded: instead of a SPF50+ protection, Purito sunscreen turned out to be SPF19 (on average). (You can find the post she published on INCIdecoder.com here).

The aftermath of this post was quite cataclysmic, internationally, then locally. First for Purito, which saw its integrity questioned in many YouTubes videos and other online publications.

But not only. Because it turns out that the formula of the Purito sunscreen was not so unique in the market.

In fact, in Korea, there are cosmetic manufacturers that work to provide products for several brands. These companies, known as ODM (Original Design Manufacturing), design and manufacture products that are then sold by other brands.

And the company in charge of manufacturing the Purito sunscreen formula (NowCos) had also worked with other Korean brands: Dear Klairs, for its Soft Airy UV Essence sunscreen, but also Dr. Ceuracle Cica Regen Anti Dust Sun Gel… (you can find the list of the concerned products in this Reddit thread).

Soon, another ODM manufacturer, Green Cos Co, responsible for the Keep Cool Soothing Bamboo Sun Essence and other similar formulas, was also exposed. The formulas of the sunscreens manufactured by this company were indeed quite close to those of the other ODM company (NowCos), which raised consumers’ suspicions.

Following the (very justified) anger of the customers of all these brands, these brands withdrew the incriminated products from sale. A few months later, some of them published the results of independent tests on the protection index of the products mentioned; unfortunately, many of them did not match the SPF on the tube. As a result, most of them decided to permanently discontinue the products and offered refunds to customers who could justify their purchase.

It’s difficult to know exactly what happened to get to this point, but there are several hypotheses currently being discussed. The hypothesis that I find the most plausible is presented by Odile Monod in her YouTube video on the topic. Please watch it if you’re interested, it’s a very informative video!

In a brief summary (the video is very dense with information!), Odile explains that there is a loophole in the Korean legislation that could explain this situation.

Indeed, ODM companies responsible for sunscreen manufacturing use a “standard formula” for their clients (this is a common practice, and not only in Korea). This reference “standard formula” is the one that is sent to do the preliminary sunscreen tests. It allows the ODMs to check the compliance of their “standard formula”. ODM companies then can adapt this formula to their clients’ requests in order to offer slightly different products to each client/brand. Korean legislation (specifically the Cosmetics Act Article 10) allows them to transform this “standard formula” by up to 20% of the original formula (and yes, this can be problematic with sunscreens, as we witnessed with the Purito controversy).

Most Korean ODM companies avoid changing the original formula too much to avoid lowering the protection index but unfortunately, as we saw in this situation, this is not the case for all companies.

Does this mean that we should be wary of all Korean cosmetic companies?

The latest news is that legal actions are still ongoing and there’s also a proposition to add an amendment to the famous Article 10 that should avoid this kind of issues in the future (for more info, you can follow Odile Monod on Twitter).

Anyway, I encourage you to go watch Odile’s video, which explains this in much more detail (there are English and Italian subtitles). You can also listen to Ulrike’s podcast, the K-Beauty podcast, she just released a whole dedicated episode about this topic, and she even gave a list of all the impacted sunscreens in it (and in her transcript)!

Does this mean that we should be wary of all Korean cosmetic companies? Personally, I don’t think so.

First of all, not all Korean cosmetic companies go through ODM companies. This concerns only a portion of the brands in the market. Some brands have their own lab and production line, which allows them a very controlled follow-up of the manufacturing of their products (this is the case, for example, for brands belonging to big cosmetic groups, like LG to name one).

The fallout from this situation has been a PR nightmare for most Korean brands, who have been forced to defend all their sunscreen products against the anger of consumers (locally and internationally).

These recent months, most Korean skincare brands chose to reformulate their sunscreen products (even if they were made by a manufacturer not involved in the controversy), just in case. Many have turned to the Korea’s renowned sunscreen specialist, Kolmar Korea (business is great for them this year!).

If there’s one thing I’ve always admired about Korean brands, it’s their ability to bounce back and adapt. And here, most of them have reacted quickly and reformulated their products.

All the sunscreen products I present in this guide are recent and reformulated versions, or products that independent laboratories have tested, where the protection matches the index mentioned on the tube (yes, I’ve been working on this article for months!).

I will stop here for this (already very long) part. I know I didn’t give all the details, but I tried to stay as factual as possible, knowing that we don’t really have all the information on this case.

So here are the Korean sunscreens I tried this year! As usual, I classified them according to their filters (mineral, chemical, or mixture of both).

100% Mineral Sunscreens:

My favourites at the moment, for summer, because they usually leave a matter finish than chemical filter-based sunscreens, and they’re very comfortable to wear every day in my experience!

Thank You Farmer Safe Sun Fluid Age 0880 SPF50+ PA++++ (gifted by the brand):

∎ Price:
Between $28 and $33 for 100 ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A very watery fluid that feels quite light and fresh, and is quickly absorbed but leaves the skin feeling comfortable and moisturized.

∎ UV filters:
– Titanium dioxide (7.99%): mineral filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Aqua/Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Titanium Dioxide, Butylene Glycol, Dipropylene Glycol, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Niacinamide, Caprylyl Methicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Aluminium Stearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Silica, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Alumina, Propanediol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/Vp Copolymer, Parfum, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Saccharide Hydrolysate, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose Stearoxy Ether, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate,
Octyldodecanol, Stearic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Adenosine, Curcuma Longa Root Extract, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Glycerin, Tocopherol, Camellia Japonica Flower Extract, Chamomilla Recutita Flower/Leaf Extract, Pancratium Maritimum Extract, Linalool, Hydroxycitronellal, Limonene, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Citronellol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional.

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, a light and aromatic scent, very pleasant and which fades away quickly.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, plenty: niacinamide, Turmeric, Centella Asiatica, Houttuynia Cordata, vitamin E, Purslane.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Niacinamide for brightening and anti-aging effect, Matricaria flower, Cypress extract, Centella Asiatica for soothing, Adenosine for anti-aging, Glycerin for moisturizing and Olive oil for comfort.

∎ White cast?
Yes, unfortunately, the white cast is quite noticeable. On me and my fair skin, it pretty much goes away when I’m wearing makeup but without makeup, it shows.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
Not especially, on the contrary, the finish is pretty glowy. I don’t glow like a disco ball with it either, but let’s say you’d be better using a little powder on top with it 😉.

∎ Drying?
No, on the contrary, I find it rather moisturizing.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a pretty good makeup base; for my combination skin, I just need to blot in the middle of the day, and it looks fine.

∎ Would I repurchase?
I have mixed feelings about this one. I like the formula, very rich in skincare ingredients, it’s a nice sunscreen to use, suitable for sensitive skin (with its mineral filter) and with a fresh and light but comfortable texture. But I’m not a fan of the white cast that shows up even on my fair skin. It’s a compact but generous size (100ml), which I really appreciate, though. I think I’ll use it on my body this summer! And if you’re in Europe, you can find it in UK-based stores, which is always nice 🙂.

∎ Shop for this product:

Thank You Farmer Safe Sun Fluid Age 0880 SPF50+ PA++++

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Perfect Sun Block SPF50+ PA++++ (gifted by the brand):

∎ Price:
Between $20 and $26 for 50ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A rather rich, emollient cream.

∎ UV Filters:
– Titanium dioxide: mineral filter for UVA and UVB rays.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Titanium Dioxide, Propanediol, Butylene Glycol, Acrylates Copolymer, Niacinamide, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Aluminium Stearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Pentylene Glycol, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract, Ceramide NP, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Silica, Alumina, Glycerin, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Stearic Acid, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose Stearoxy Ether, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Tocopherol, Astaxanthin, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Ascorbyl Propyl Hyaluronate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Xanthan Gum, T-Butyl Alcohol, Ethylhexylglycerin

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
No.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, vitamin E, niacinamide, maritime pine extract (pycnogenol), astaxanthin-rich algae extract…

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Yes, plenty: repairing ceramides, moisturizing hyaluronic acid and glycerin, anti-aging adenosine, soothing Centella Asiatica…

∎ White cast?
Yes, unfortunately, on me it leaves a white cast. Once I have my makeup on top, it’s less obvious but still.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
Not really, no, it makes me look quite shiny on the contrary.

∎ Drying?
No, it’s rather moisturizing, even emollient!

∎ How does it look with makeup?
Foundation applies over it easily but on my combination skin, it doesn’t help with the lasting power of my foundation; my skin looks quite shiny and my makeup doesn’t hold up as well on top of it.

∎ Would I repurchase?
No, I don’t think so. I’m not a fan of its white cast and the texture is too rich for me. However, if you have drier skin than me, and you don’t mind the white cast, you should like the formula; it’s practically a skincare cream with all the skincare ingredients in it! It’s also suitable for sensitive skin, which is always a plus.

∎ Shop for this product:

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Perfect Sun Block SPF50+ PA++++

Dr.G Green Mild Up Sun+ SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version):

∎ Price:
Between $20 and $25 for 50ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A melting cream that absorbs very well into the skin when massaged in.

∎ UV filters:
– Zinc oxide: filters for UVA and UVB rays.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, Zinc Oxide, Cyclohexasiloxane, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Propanediol, Lauryl Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Caprylyl Methicone, Acrylates Copolymer, Polyglyceryl-4 Isostearate, Diphenylsiloxy Phenyl Trimethicone, Magnesium Sulfate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Polyglyceryl-3 Polyricinoleate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Sorbitan Isostearate, C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Sorbitan Olivate, Lauryl Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Tocopherol, Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Glyceryl Caprylate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Glycol, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyhydroxystearate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Stearoyl Inulin, Polyglycerin-6, 1,2-Hexanediol, Disodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Caesalpinia Spinosa Fruit Extract, Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract, Kappaphycus Alvarezii Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Buddleja Officinalis Flower Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
No.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, plenty: pycnogenol, a powerful anti-oxidant that is the star ingredient of the Dr.G. brand. It’s a natural plant extract, from the bark of the maritime pine. There is also vitamin E, Houttuynia Cordata extract, as well as Buddleja Officinalis flower extract and Centella Asiatica.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
A repairing red algae extract (Telosomyl), and highly soothing Centella Asiatica, licorice extract and Houttuynia Cordata extract.

∎ White cast?
A little at first, then this effect fades when you massage the product and it’s almost not noticeable anymore (at least, on my fair skin). It’s quite impressive to see it disappear when massaging!

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
Nope, not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
A little less than the 2020 version, but it’s still a semi-matte finish, and it doesn’t make me look more shiny than usual.

∎ Drying?
No, not on me.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a good makeup primer, foundation applies easily on top. Its semi-matte finish is rather nice to improve makeup staying power.

∎ Would I repurchase?
I think so, but I have to tell you all about it! This Dr.G Green Mild Up Sun+ sunscreen was a favorite of mine last year, I emptied 2 or 3 tubes. But it’s been reformulated this year. It’s still a good formula, with plenty of good skincare ingredients, suitable for sensitive skin but I’ll admit I like last year’s texture better. The new texture is a bit creamier, less lightweight than the previous one. In the end, on the skin, it’s also a little less mattifying. It’s subtle, but enough for me to notice it.
Still, it’s a good product; I like the fact that it leaves a super minimal white cast and it’s very comfortable to wear on a daily basis! It’s still one of my go-to options for everyday, even though I had a slight preference for the old version, personally. So anyway, I’ll post the links I found online without really knowing if it’s the new 2021 version or the old one (most online shops don’t mention it and the packaging is exactly the same; and after a while, I guess it’ll be the new version everywhere) but in both cases, it’s still a good product, so it doesn’t really matter IMO 😉

∎ Shop for this product:

Dr.G Green Mild Up Sun+ SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version)

Dewytree Urban Shade Anti-Pollution Sun SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version):

∎ Price:
Between $25 and $30 for 50ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A lightweight moisturizing cream that melts onto the skin upon application and becomes semi-matte after a few minutes.

∎ UV filters:
– Zinc Oxide: filters for UVA and UVB rays.
– Titanium Dioxide: filters for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Purified Water, Zinc Oxide, Propylheptyl Caprylate, Propanediol, Titanium Dioxide, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Disiloxane, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Caprylyl Methicone, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Calamine, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Desert Rose Leaf Cell Extract , Rose Extract, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Safflower Seed Oil, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Magnesium Sulfate, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Glyceryl Caprylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexyl-Glycerin, Tocopherol, Butylene Glycol, Biosaccharide Gum-4, White Mushroom Polysaccharide

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
No, but the product contains rosemary essential oil (used here for its soothing properties).

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, vitamin E.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Purifying and soothing Calamine, soothing rose extracts, nourishing and anti-aging safflower oil, soothing rosemary essential oil.

∎ White cast?
No, not on my skin. Yet it’s slightly pink-tinted, so I was expecting a bit of a tone-up effect but not at all. When you massage it, it almost disappears completely. On me, it gives a “brightening” effect like a porcelain skin that is very pretty!

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, on the contrary, it’s rather soothing.

∎ Mattifying?
Yes, but it’s a natural matte effect, rather semi-matte which I really like!

∎ Drying?
No, not on me.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a good makeup primer, the foundation applies easily on top of it. Plus, it helps to mattify my combination skin after a few hours, so my makeup even lasts longer.

∎ Would I repurchase?
This was already one of my go-to products last year, so yes, I will definitely repurchase! It was reformulated this year, and I saw a slight change in the texture: it’s a bit more moisturizing in the new version. Another difference is that the formula contains less essential oils than the 2020 version (which already didn’t contain much): in the 2021 version, there’s only rosemary essential oil left (used here for its soothing properties). It’s very pleasant to wear, barely noticeable and lightweight on the skin. Its slightly pink tint gives a nice brightening effect to my fair complexion without making me look like a ghost. It leaves a natural matte finish that is perfect for the warm season. It looks great with makeup on top. And it doesn’t dry out my skin, I find it comfortable. In short, for me, it remains a staple! As with the Dr.G above, I’m going to post the links I found online without really knowing if it’s the new 2021 version or the old one (most e-shops don’t mention it; and after a while, I imagine it’ll be the new version everywhere). The packaging of the new one is a bit different from the old one, though (the one on my picture above is the new version 😉 ).

∎ Shop for this product:

Dewytree Urban Shade Anti-Pollution Sun SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version)

Missha Cicadin Rescue Mild Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version):

∎ Price:
Between $13 and $15 for 40 ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Able C&C (in house/ Missha’s parent company own manufacturer).

∎ Texture:
A melting, non-greasy cream texture that absorbs quickly into the skin.

∎ Sunscreens:
– Titanium Dioxide: mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Zinc Oxide: mineral filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Centella Asiatica Extract, Zinc Oxide, Butylene Glycol Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, Methyl Trimethicone, Titanium Dioxide, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, Acrylates Copolymer, Caprylyl Methicone, Triheptanoin, Propanediol, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Polyglyceryl-4 Diisostearate/Polyhydroxystearate/Sebacate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Diisostearyl Malate, Centella Asiatica Root Extract, Lavender Oil, Bergamot Oil, Rosemary Leaf Oil, Chamomile Flower Oil, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Magnesium Sulfate, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Triethoxycaprylyl Silane, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Disteadimonium Hector Light, Glyceryl Caprylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Mica, Ethylhexyl-Glycerin, Purified Water, Glycerin, Raffinose, Pentylene Glycol, Panthenol, Cholesterol, Ceramide NP, Calcium Aluminum Borosilicate, Calamine, Tromethamine, Chlorella Vulgaris Powder, Madecassoside, Madecassic Acid, Asiaticoside, Asiatic Acid, Chromium Oxide Green, Ultramarines, Linalol, Limonene

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
There are essential oils. So the fragrance is very aromatic and frankly, I like it a lot!

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, Centella Asiatica extract.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Soothing and purifying ingredients: Centella Asiatica, panthenol, calamine, rosemary and lavender essential oil. There are also repairing ingredients for the skin barrier: cholesterol and ceramide. But also hydrating glycerin.

∎ White cast?
A little at first, but I just massage it in and the cream disappears into the skin (at least on me).

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, on the contrary, I find it quite soothing.

∎ Mattifying?
It’s a semi-matte finish, it doesn’t make me look more shiny than usual.

∎ Drying?
No, not at all, I find it comfortable and moisturizing.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a good makeup base, foundation applies on it very well and its lasting is not affected.

∎ Would I repurchase?
Yes, definitely! I feel like this is a reformulation (the old packaging was dark green), but I haven’t tested the old version. I find the 2021 version super nice: moisturizing, soothing, and I really like its semi-matte finish. I regret its small size (40ml) but the price is reasonable, so it compensates, I guess. If you’re not a fan of essential oils, you may not like it but I find it a nice product to use! It’s almost like a skincare/sunscreen 2 in 1; I love using it when my skin is a little sensitized, I find it really soothing. In short, it’s a great discovery!

∎ Shop for this product:

Missha Cicadin Rescue Mild Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version)

100% Chemical Sunscreens:

The textures of chemical sunscreens are generally very pleasant, lightweight, and imperceptible on the skin. Most of them are completely transparent, which is very nice! Some of them have a glowy finish, so be careful if your skin tends to look shiny during the day. If you have a dry skin though, you’ll probably really love them! 🙂

Thank You Farmer Sun Project Light Sun Essence SPF50+ PA+++:

∎ Price:
Between $27 and $30 for 40ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA+++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A very light fluid that absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving a semi-matte finish.

∎ UV Filters:
– Uvinul A Plus: chemical filter for UVA.
– Octinoxate: chemical filter for UVB.
– Homosalate: chemical filter for UVB.
– Octisalate: chemical filter for the UVB.
– Octocrylene: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Homosalate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Octocrylene, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, C20-22 Alkyl Phosphate, C20-22 Alcohols, Silica, 1,2-Hexanediol, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Glycerin, Tromethamine, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Octyldodecanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Fragrance, Glyceryl Caprylate, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Lipids, Nelumbo Nucifera Flower Water, Microcrystalline Cellulose, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Polyisobutene, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Polymethacrylate, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Cellulose Gum, Sorbitan Oleate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Althaea Rosea Flower Extract, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, and unfortunately, it’s quite strong.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes: purslane extract and water lily water.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Moisturizing glycerin and Aloe Vera, and nourishing sunflower seed oil.

∎ White cast?
No, it’s completely transparent.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
It leaves a semi-matte finish, I really like it.

∎ Drying?
No, on the contrary, it’s quite moisturizing.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a great makeup base, my foundation applies perfectly over it, and it also helps makeup to last longer.

∎ Would I repurchase?
I’m not sure. I really like this product but it has one flaw: its scent. I find it way too overpowering. And it lingers quite a bit. Too bad, because otherwise it’s perfect: great texture, very nice and light, great with makeup, nice natural semi-matte finish… And completely transparent! Plus, if you live in Europe, it’s available in UK-based eshops that deliver faster than Asian-based ones!

∎ Shop for this product:

Thank You Farmer Sun Project Light Sun Essence SPF50+ PA+++

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF50+ PA++++(gifted by the brand):

∎ Price:
Between $13 and $18 for 50ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A refreshing, melting gel-cream that leaves the skin feeling fresh and moisturized.

∎ UV filters:
– Uvinul A Plus: chemical filter for UVA.
– Octisalate: chemical filter for UVB.
– Parsol SLX: chemical filter for UVB.
– Homosalate: chemical filter for UVB.
– Tinosorb S: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.
– Tinosorb M: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Homosalate, Dibutyl Adipate, Niacinamide, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Cyclopentasiloxane, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, Polysilicone-15, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract, Ceramide NP, Centella Asiatica Extract, Glycerin, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Olea Europaea (Olive) Fruit Oil, Ficus Carica (Fig) Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Ceteth-10, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Decyl Glucoside, Propanediol, Tocopherol, Astaxanthin, Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Ascorbyl Propyl Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Adenosine, Xanthan Gum, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Tromethamine, Carbomer, Propylene Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
No.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, plenty: maritime pine extract (pycnogenol), Centella Asiatica, purslane extract, olive oil, niacinamide, vitamin E, a vitamin C derivative, Houttuynia Cordata, astaxanthin…

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
The formula contains lots of them! Moisturizing ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid; repairing ceramides, anti-aging adenosine, soothing Centella Asiatica, anti-aging and brightening niacinamide…

∎ White cast?
No, it’s completely transparent.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, I find it rather soothing on the contrary. On the other hand, it can tend to sting my eyes a bit (but if I wear makeup over it, it’s usually fine).

∎ Mattifying?
No, not really, it leaves more of a satin finish.

∎ Drying?
No, more like the opposite, it’s quite moisturizing.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a good makeup base, foundation applies perfectly well over it. But you have to blot mid-day if you have a combo or oily skin.

∎ Would I repurchase?
Why not? I received this product from the brand last summer and I’ve been using it more in winter (in summer here, it’s complicated for me to use sunscreens with a satin finish) and I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit. The texture is lightweight, it reminds me of the Bioré Watery Essence but without alcohol and fragrance. If you have normal/combination sensitive and dehydrated skin, you will love it. Plus it’s completely transparent, so it works great on all skin tones. This is a great option!

∎ Shop for this product:

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF50+ PA++++

Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version):

∎ Price:
Between $20 and $25 for 50ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A light, melting cream that is super pleasant to use and leaves a nice, natural semi-matte finish.

∎ UV filters:
– Uvinul A Plus: chemical filter for UVA.
– Uvinul T 150: chemical filter for UVB.
– Tinosorb M: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.
– Uvasorb HEB: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, Dibutyl Adipate, Propanediol, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Niacinamide, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, Coco-Caprylate/Caprate, Caprylyl Methicone, Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone, Glycerin, 1,2-Hexanediol, Butylene Glycol, Betula Platyphylla Japonica Juice, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid, Glyceryl Glucoside, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Allantoin, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Artemisia Annua Extract, Pinus Sylvestris Leaf Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamethite, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Ethylhexylglycerin, Ascorbic Acid, Adenosine, Pentylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Decyl Glucoside, Tromethamine, Xanthan Gum, t-Butyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Carbomer

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
A very light aromatic fragrance. It contains some essential oils in the formula, which are also skincare ingredients.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, plenty: niacinamide, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, purslane extract.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
This is practically a skincare product! It contains moisturizing ingredients: birch juice obviously, glycerin, hyaluronic acid; anti-aging ingredients: niacinamide, adenosine; and soothing ones: licorice, allantoin, chamomile essential oil.

∎ White cast?
Not at all, it’s completely transparent.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, it’s actually quite soothing, IMO.

∎ Mattifying?
Not really, but it doesn’t make me look more shiny than usual either.

∎ Drying?
No, on the contrary, it’s hydrating.

∎ How does it look with makeup:
It’s a good makeup base, foundation applies perfectly well over it.

∎ Would I repurchase?
Yes, probably. It’s a very nice product! If you were looking for a dupe of the infamous Purito or Klairs sunscreens that has been discontinued, look no further, this is it! It’s a light but moisturizing texture, super comfortable and imperceptible when you wear it. For me in the summer, it’s not as matte as I’d want, but I can use it easily the rest of the year! It contains a tiny bit of essential oils, but personally, it doesn’t bother me at all (I actually like the aromatic scent!). It’s a great product, and special mention for its super cute packaging 🥰

∎ Shop for this product:

Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version)

Dr.G Green Mild Up Sun Essence SPF50+ PA++++:

∎ Price:
Between $27 to $32 for 50ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A very light fluid that absorbs very quickly and leaves a semi-matte finish.

∎ UV filters:
– Mexoryl SX: chemical filter for UVA.
– Uvinul A Plus: chemical filter for UVA.
– Uvinul T 150: chemical filter for UVB.
– Parsol SLX: chemical filter for UVB.
– Tinosorb S: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Purified Water, Dibutyl Adipate, Propanediol, Ethanol, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Polyglyceryl-3 Distearate, Tromethamine, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Caprylyl Methicone, Polysilicone-15, Caesalpinia Spinosa Fruit Extract, Hayflower Extract, Eucheuma Cottonii Extract, Pycnogenol (Pinus Pinaster Bark Extract), Sodium Hyaluronate, Caprylic/Capric/Succinic Triglyceride, Palmitic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Stearic Acid, Methylpropanediol, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Silica, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Glyceryl Stearate Citrate, Ethylhexyl-Glycerin, Adenosine, Sodium Polyacrylate, Polyether-1, Myristic Acid, T-Butyl Alcohol, Ectoin, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Butylene Glycol, Biosaccharide Gum-1, 7-Dehydrocholesterol, Lactobacillus Fermentation, Water, Tocopherol, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Hyaluronate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, Potassium Hyaluronat, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Hyaluronic Acid, Fragrance

∎ Alcohol?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, a very light and quite “cosmetic” fragrance. It’s very subtle.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, maritime pine extract (pycnogenol), niacinamide and vitamin E.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Moisturizing ingredients: 8 different forms of hyaluronic acid, glycerin; and anti-aging ingredients: niacinamide and adenosine.

∎ White cast?
No, it’s completely transparent.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
Not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
The finish is semi-matte, and I don’t look more shiny than usual with it.

∎ Drying?
No, it’s quite moisturizing, on the contrary.

∎ How does it look with makeup:
Unfortunately, it tends to pill a bit on me. Nothing dramatic, but I have to be a little careful with my makeup application when I use it.

∎ Would I repurchase?
Why not? I was really attracted to this product on paper/ I liked the idea of an “essence” texture for a sunscreen, super fluid and light. And it’s the case, the texture clearly keeps its promises! It’s really nice to use in summer and I really like its semi-matte finish! With makeup, it has a little tendency to pill, but it’s manageable. It has a little bit of alcohol in it but I don’t really feel it. And there are plenty of skincare ingredients to make up for it (including quite a bit of hyaluronic acid). It’s a great option if you like very light textures but still hydrating 🙂

∎ Shop for this product:

Dr.G Green Mild Up Sun Essence SPF50+ PA++++

AHC Safe On Light Sun Serum SPF50+ PA++++:

∎ Price:
Between $30 to $35 for 40ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Cosmax.

∎ Texture:
A super unique texture for a sunscreen: it’s a fresh, melting pink gel that contains little capsules that break off when they come in contact with the skin. I’ve never seen a sunscreen with this type of texture before!

∎ UV filters:
– Uvinul A Plus: chemical filter for UVA.
– Uvinul T 150: chemical filter for UVB.
– Parsol SLX: chemical filter for UVB.
– Amiloxate: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.
– Tinosorb S: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredient list:
Water, Dibutyl Adipate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Alcohol, Niacinamide, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Butylene Glycol, Eclipta Prostrata Extract, Melia Azadirachta Leaf Extract, Moringa Oleifera Seed Oil, Peucedanum Graveolens (Dill) Extract, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Hibiscus Abelmoschus Extract. Thymus Serpyllum Extract, Achillea Millefolium Extract, Alpha-Arbutin, Crithmum Maritimum Callus Culture Filtrate, Phyllus Emblica Fruit Extract, Camellia Sinensis Seed Oil, Caesalpinia Spinosa Fruit Extract, Xylitylglucoside, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Extract, Kappaphycus Alvarezii Extract, Xylitol, Yeast Ferment Extract, Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Root Extract, Vanilla Tahitensis Fruit Extract, Orthosiphon Stamineus Extract, Thermus Thermophillus Ferment, Candida Bombicola/Glucose/Methyl Rapeseedate Ferment, Mentha Suaveolens Leaf Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Thymus Vulgaris (Thyme) Leaf Extract, Imperata Cylindrica Root Extract, Calamine, Chlorella Ferment, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Opuntia Ficus-Indica Stem Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Perilla Frutescens Extract, Adansonia Digitata Seed Extract, Adenium Obesum Leaf Cell Extract, Eugenia Caryophyllus (Clove) Bud Extract, Solidago Virgaurea (Goldenrod) Extract, Soluble Collagen, Caprylyl Methicone, Hexyl Laurate, Isoamyl p-Methoxycinnamate, Polysilicone-15, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Sodium Acrylates Crosspolymer-2, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Silica, Dibutyl Lauroyl Glutamide, Hydroxyethyl Urea, Isopropyl Myristate, Sodium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Dibutyl Ethylhexanoyl Glutamide, Hydroxyacetophenone, C30-45 Alkyldimethylsilyl Polypropylsilsesquioxane, Trehalose, Ammonium Acryloyldimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Adenosine, Propanediol, Allantoin, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Albatrellus Confluens (Mushroom) Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Citric Acid, Glycerin, Ascorbic Acid, Madecassoside, Ectoin, Glutathione, Hydroxystearic Acid, Panthenol, Phenylethyl Resorcinol, Tranexamic Acid, Palmitoyl Glycine, Ellagic Acid, 4-t-Butylcyclohexanol, Anhydroxylitol, Lactic Acid/Glycolic Acid Copolymer, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Dipotassium Phosphate, Acetyl Glutamine, Cerium Oxide, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Triethoxycaprylysilane, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Ceramide NP, Maltodextrin, Gluconolactone, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Cellulose Gum, Calcium Gluconate, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Disodium EDTA, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Benzoate, Mica (CI 77019 )

∎ Alcohol?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, a very light and fresh fragrance. It contains essential oils, so it’s a very subtle aromatic scent.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, several: niacinamide, vitamin C, green tea, ginseng, phenylethyl resorcinol, Centella Asiatica, Alpha Arbutin.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
This is practically a skincare serum, considering all the ingredients it contains! In addition to all the antioxidants mentioned above (which also have other anti-aging and brightening effects), there are also moisturizing ingredients like glycerin and gluconolactone; soothing like allantoin, yarrow, panthenol; brightening ingredients like tranexamic acid, anti-aging ones like adenosine… In short, it’s a sunscreen/skincare treatment 2 in 1!

∎ White cast?
No, it’s completely transparent.

∎ Irritant? Comedogenic?
Not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
Not really! The texture is lightweight and non-greasy, it gives a plumped and hydrated look to the skin. It has a slight glowy effect but in a luminous sense, not greasy at all. It doesn’t make me look more shiny than usual, but clearly, if you want a matte finish, this isn’t necessarily the most mattifying sunscreen in my selection.

∎ Drying?
Not at all, it’s quite moisturizing on the contrary.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
Makeup applies perfectly over it, it’s a good makeup base.

∎ Would I repurchase?
I already did, I stocked up a few bottles! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a texture like this for a sunscreen, it completely blew me away when I first discovered it! It’s a fresh gel, it melts on the skin and absorbs quickly leaving the skin plump and hydrated. If you have dehydrated skin, you will love it! Plus, it’s silly but a pink texture with little capsules is just super fun!
But don’t think it’s a gimmicky product: the formula is really impressive! It’s almost an all-in-one product that will work on hydration, anti-aging and anti-oxidant effect, it’s also a treatment for pigmentation spots and of course a sunscreen! It also contains anti-pollution protective ingredients, which makes it a perfect city sunscreen. And it’s also water-resistant. If you’re the minimalist type, this is a product that has everything you need in the summer, and it can be your one step routine in the morning, if you want to 🙂
One small flaw though; on me, it can tend to sting my eyes a bit, but if I wear makeup over it, I don’t feel it at all. In short, I find this product really unique and it’s my favorite sunscreen discovery of the year 2021!

∎ Shop this product:

AHC Safe On Light Sun Serum SPF50+ PA++++

Combo Sunscreens (with both Mineral & Chemical filters):

The “heavy-duty” formulas. I use them when I want to be sure I’m very well protected, and if I know I’m going to be out in the sun for a bit.

Cell Fusion C Laser Sunscreen 100 SPF50+ PA+++:

∎ Price:
Between $20 and $35 for 50ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA+++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A melting cream that absorbs quickly leaving a semi-matte finish.

∎ UV filters:
– Zinc oxide: mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Titanium dioxide: mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Octisalate: chemical filter for UVB.
– Octinoxate: chemical filter for UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Zinc Oxide, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dipropylene Glycol, Titanium Dioxide, Lauryl PEG-8 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Dimethicone, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Tocopheryl Acetate, Magnesium Sulfate, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, Aluminum Stearate, Methicone, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Caprylyl Glycol, Disodium EDTA, Ubiquinone, Hydrolyzed Collagen, Acetyl Hexapeptide-8, Fragrance, Phenoxyethanol, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Hexyl Cinnamal, Linalool, Citronellol, Hydroxylcitronellal

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, it’s a floral scent that’s a little powdery, quite lightweight and not unpleasant. It doesn’t really last too long.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, coenzyme Q10, and vitamin E.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Hydrating hydrolyzed collagen and anti-aging peptides.

∎ White cast?
Super minimal. When massaged in, it disappears completely (at least on my skin).

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, on the contrary, I find it quite soothing.

∎ Mattifying?
It leaves a semi-matte finish, and it slightly mattifies during the day (which I really like).

∎ Drying?
Not on me; I find it quite comfortable.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a good makeup base.

∎ Would I repurchase?
Without a doubt, yes! This sunscreen has been a bestseller for years in Korea. I’ve been wanting to try it for a while, but the name “laser” had always foolishly held me back (a memory of an old Bioderma Laser something sunscreen that was really white and thick). Actually, the name “Laser” is important here. This sunscreen is recommended after a dermatological surgery, or on sensitized skins. It’s actually very protective (it contains chemical AND mineral filters) but also super repairing thanks to the skincare ingredients it contains. I was really expecting something quite white, but the texture and finish are quite elegant! On me, it absorbs very well and doesn’t leave a white cast. And its finish is semi-matte, so I can use it all year round, even in the summer when it’s hot and humid! In short, I understand why it’s a cult favorite in Korea and I must say that I am quite pleased with it myself too!

∎ Shop this product:

Cell Fusion C Laser Sunscreen 100 SPF50+ PA+++

Hanskin Sun Cover Waterproof Cool Down SPF50+ PA++++:

∎ Price:
Between $20 and $25 for 50ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Cosmax.

∎ Texture:
A blue cream (because of the azulene!), rather comfortable that absorbs well.

∎ UV filters:
– Titanium dioxide: mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Uvinul A Plus: chemical filter for UVA.
– Uvinul T 150: chemical filter for the UVB.
– Tinosorb M: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, Phenethyl Benzoate, Dicaprylyl Ether, Titanium Dioxide, Isononyl Isononanoate, Butylene Glycol, Alcohol, Caprylyl Methicone, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Niacinamide, 1,2-Hexanediol, Pentylene Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Peel Oil, Saccharomyces/Rice Ferment Filtrate, Aspergillus Ferment, Centaurea Cyanus Flower Water, Agave Tequilana Leaf Extract, Hydrangea Macrophylla Leaf Extract, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Polyglyceryl-6 Stearate, Acrylates Copolymer, C20-22 Alkyl Phosphate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Tromethamine, Aluminum Hydroxide, Methylene Bis-Benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, C10-18 Triglycerides, Hydroxyacetophenone, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Stearic Acid, Arachidyl Glucoside, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Polyglyceryl-6 Behenate, Decyl Glucoside, Adenosine, Biosaccharide Gum-1, Glycerin, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Octanediol, Arachidyl Alcohol, C20-22 Alcohols, Behenyl Alcohol, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Limonene, Linalool, Guaiazulene

∎ Alcohol?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance?
It contains several essential oils.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, vitamin E and niacinamide.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Fermented ingredients, cornflower water and azulene for a soothing effect; adenosine for an anti-aging effect and glycerin for hydration.

∎ White cast?
Yes, unfortunately, and quite noticeable.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, it’s rather soothing.

∎ Mattifying?
It leaves a semi-matte effect.

∎ Drying?
No, it’s pretty comfortable on me.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s pretty white, so it lightens makeup and it tends to fluff up a bit with my makeup.

∎ Do I repurchase?
No, I don’t think so. On paper, I really liked the fact that it was a soothing sunscreen and very durable (it’s waterproof) but in practice, I didn’t find it very cosmetically elegant. It’s quite white and tends to make my makeup look flaky. It has a nice formula with some good skincare ingredients, but considering it’s not super pleasant to use, I don’t really recommend it.

∎ Shop this product:

Hanskin Sun Cover Waterproof Cool Down SPF50+ PA++++

Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++:

∎ Price:
Between $22 to $28 for 50ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA+++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Kolmar Korea.

∎ Texture:
A melting, emollient cream that leaves a glowy finish.

∎ UV filters:
– Titanium dioxide: mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Uvinul A Plus: chemical filter for UVA.
– Octisalate: chemical filter for the UVB.
– Octinoxate: chemical filter for UVB.
– Homosalate: chemical filter for UVB.
– Octocrylene: chemical filter for UVB.

∎ Complete ingredient list:
Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Homosalate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Octocrylene, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Cyclomethicone, Alcohol, Titanium Dioxide, Glyceryl Stearate, 1, 2-Hexanediol, Behenyl Alcohol, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Peg-100 Stearate, Viscum Album (Mistletoe) Leaf Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Phenoxyethanol, Aluminum Stearate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Octyldodecanol, Fragrance, Bambusa Vulgaris Water, Xanthan Gum, Alumina, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Lipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Extract, Althaea Rosea Flower Extract, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Plukenetia Volubilis Seed Oil

∎ Alcohol?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, and not just a little, unfortunately. I find it quite strong and it lingers for quite a long time.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, Centella Asiatica, and purslane extract.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Quite a few nourishing ingredients: sunflower, soy, and Inca sachi vegetable oils, but also Aloe Vera, bamboo water, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid for hydration.

∎ White cast?
No, it’s completely transparent on me.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, it’s rather soothing on the contrary.

∎ Mattifying?
No, it’s the opposite, it leaves a glowy finish.

∎ Drying?
No, it’s super hydrating, even nourishing.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It would be great for a drier skin than mine, but on me and my combination skin, it diminishes the lasting power of my foundation, unfortunately.

∎ Would I repurchase?
No, it’s not for me. Its texture is too rich for my dehydrated combination skin, even in winter. And I’m not a fan of its scent, which I find too overpowering. But if you like sunscreens with silky textures that don’t have a white cast and leave a satin finish, you will probably like it 🙂

∎ Shop this product:

Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++

Iope UV Shield Sun Protection XP SPF50+ PA++++:

∎ Price:
Between $24 and $26 for 60ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
South Korea.

∎ Manufacturer:
Amorepacific (in house/ Iope’s parent company own manufacturer).

∎ Texture:
A rich, melting cream that leaves a satin finish.

∎ UV filters:
– Titanium dioxide (nano): mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Uvinul A Plus: chemical filter for UVA.
– Octinoxate: chemical filter for the UVB.
– Tinosorb S: chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water/Aqua/Eau, Butylene Glycol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Titanium Dioxide (Nano), Cyclopentasiloxane, Niacinamide, Dimethicone, Silica, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cetyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, PEG-100 Stearate, Trisiloxane, Nylon-12, C14-22 Alcohols, Polyacrylate-13, Aluminum Stearate, Fragrance/Parfum, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Polyisobutene, Alumina, Stearic Acid, Tocopheryl Acetate, C12-20 Alkyl Glucoside, Polysilicone-11, C12-15 Alcohols, Methoxy PEG-114/Polyepsilon Caprolactone, Glyceryl Caprylate, Bifida Ferment Lysate, Carbomer, Cichorium Intybus (Chicory) Root Extract, Ethylhexylglycerin, Disodium EDTA, Polysorbate 20, Adenosine, Sorbitan Isostearate, Phenoxyethanol, Gossypium Herbaceum (Cotton) Extract, Glucose, Sodium Benzoate, Acetic Acid, Lactic Acid, Tocopherol

∎ Alcohol?
No.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, but it’s fairly light and doesn’t linger.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, niacinamide and vitamin E.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Bifida Ferment Lysate, a soothing ingredient, anti-aging adenosine, and hydrating lactic acid.

∎ White cast?
A little when you applied first, but it disappears quickly when massaged in.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
No, it’s the opposite, it has a pronounced satin finish.

∎ Drying?
No, it’s comfortable.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It will be great for dry skin but on me and my combination skin, it decreases the staying power of my foundation and makes me shine a lot, unfortunately.

∎ Would I repurchase?
No, I don’t think so, but it’s with regret because I find the texture very nice (but too rich for me). I think it will appeal a lot to dry skin types, as it’s a really “soft” texture without being thick and too greasy. The scent is very subtle, the white cast really minimal. It’s a good option if you like satin finishes and comfort!

∎ Shop this product:

Iope UV Shield Sun Protection XP SPF50+ PA++++

In conclusion:

As I know you’re going to ask, my favorites among the mineral sunscreens that I find comfortable to wear, lightweight, perfect for summer (and for my combination skin) and that I can use every day without worrying about my skin getting irritated, it would probably be these:

– the Dewytree Urban Shade Anti-Pollution Sun SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version) : this was already a favorite last year and the reformulation did not disappoint.

– the Dr.G Green Mild Up Sun+ SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version) : even though I prefer last year’s version, this is still an excellent option.

– the Missha Cicadin Rescue Mild Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version) : a delightful discovery! I particularly like it when my skin is a bit sensitized, it helps to soothe it effectively.

For products with chemical filters, my favorites are those that are the lightest in texture, completely transparent and hydrating (without being greasy):

– the Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA++++ (2021 version) : I love its light, very moisturizing texture. If you were looking for a dupe of the infamous Purito or Klairs, look no further, this is it!

– the AHC Safe On Light Sun Serum SPF50+ PA++++ : the texture and concept crush of the year for me! It’s really a unique product. You can only see these kinds of sunscreens in Korea! I particularly recommend it for dehydrated skins.

And for super protective sunscreen (with a combo of mineral and chemical filters) and very pleasant to wear every day:

– the Cell Fusion C Laser Sunscreen 100 SPF50+ PA+++ : it’s not a best seller for nothing! It’s a great everyday option for a super effective protection!

Note:
You may have noticed that some sunscreens I’ve featured in this article contain essential oils, including Bergamot essential oil, which when used as is, is photo-toxic (= it can cause spots on the skin when exposed to the sun). I can reassure you, in the Korean legislation, Bergamot essential oil is treated to remove its photo-toxic compounds (it is “psolaren-free”; source: Korean Cosmetic association). Thanks to Odile Monod for confirming this for me! ❤️

Among the products in this selection, did you know some them? And what are your favorite Korean sunscreen products? 😉

Comments (4)

  1. Very through and detailed and well written. Glad you covered European, Japanese and Korean sunscreens I might order a few. Please keep going into such little details in your articles it’s great information. I wish all the sun screens gave percentages for actives ( a few were listed)

    Thank You
    Linda Greco

    • Thank you very much 😊 Yes, mentioning percentage of actives is only legally required in the United States and most of the products I tried are not sold in the US, so I guess that’s why they don’t mention it 😉

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