(like I’m not even gonna take updated photos of it)
I’ve seen so many reviews raving about this mask. I see it in almost every asian beauty store I go to and it’s just like ??? why ??? to me now. The first time I tried it I thought I initially liked it. Over a few uses I grew really tired of it. I didn’t really notice anything except my face feeling pretty smooth afterwards. But then when I started ingredient digging I started to grow less and less fond of it.
Just one measly quality ingredient callout. It’s really just the product is imbalanced. It’s not very exfoliating at all, i’m assuming it uses jojoba beads as hydrogenated jojoba oil is included but I don’t see any other potential exfoliant on the list. It has a few mild acne triggers as well as most of the “moisturized” feeling will be coming from the film forming ingredients like sucrose cocoate, and silicone ingredients like dimethicone and cyclopentasiloxane.
After leaving this mask on for 10-15 minutes you rinse and carry on with your routine. However still feeling a light film, I go over my face with some toner on cotton pads to remove it.
I really don’t have a lot more to say about it other than, I wouldn’t waste my money on it again. It just didn’t do anything well. Brightening? No more than washing my face. Exfoliating? Barely Moisturizing? Not in my book.
I hate waking up in the morning. Unless I get on some outstanding sleep the night before. But this sleep mask always got me feelin’ some type of way so I had to get up and write about it.
Now the name is the key purpose of this mask, a sleeping mask; but you can also use it as a wash off mask but applying more, or as a cream by apply just a little less. For review purposes (but also personal purposes I guess) I’m using this solely as a sleeping mask. If you’ve never heard of a sleeping mask before I’ve made a post about them here
Okay but what did I wanna try THIS one?
Well I simply resonated with this part of the products advertisement so I thought it may be worth a go:
That’s a gorgeous amount of rice extract in here which is loaded with B vitamins to increase hydration and promote skin cell turn over but also other key components are skin loves like omega-6 (linolenic acid). But there’s not a ton of ingredients bolded because there aren’t a ton I’m head over heels about. But CosRx is very minimalist so there’s nothing in here that doesn’t need to be.
However, I would like to see palm oil omitted because of it’s environmental impact. And those who worry about too much dimethicone, I haven’t ran into any issues with my problematic areas breaking out from this product. It most likely has a very small amount, especially due to rice extract being 65% before including butylene glycol and glycerin which also will take a decent amount of room up and it doesn’t really have any feeling reminiscent of it either.
Most sleeping masks leave me feeling pretty ‘normal’ in the morning. Definitely not dry, but also not entirely moisturized either. Nothing out of the ordinary however this mask leaves you feeling just like how you did before you went to sleep. Dewy, hydrated and smooooooth. I’ve noticed with continued use of this mask I feel less and less inclined to wash my face in the morning. Usually it feels like a necessity. I need to get any dirt off and start rehydrating ASAP but with this guy, nope. I’ve just been running a quick miceller water over my face and feeling ready to go.
I haven’t noticed a lot of major results from this sleeping mask, however I don’t really expect to see a ton. I do love that I’ve been waking up still moisturized rather than feeling dry. And I love with a whopping 65% rice extract my skin’s clarity has really improved.
I give this sleeping mask a 9.8/10 whaaaaaaaaat.
.2 marked off because I don’t think there’s a such thing as a perfect product. But if there was, this bad boy gets real close.
Since moving to Seattle from California my skin has been non stop dry. I can’t really tell where my skin has done better yet? It’s pretty terrible everyplace. One thing I can tell you about my skin since moving to Seattle is, it’s DRY in the cold weather.
So far I’ve kept a nice dew to my skin through the cold so far, but it hasn’t been easy! These are just a few of my tips for fighting the cold.
Sheet mask more
Sheet masks offer a variety of skincare benefits, but at the end of the day they usually have two or three humectants in them like Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol, Glycerin. Depending on the mask then you can also find even more moisturizing or hydrating ingredients. Three of my favorites:
Medi-Heal E.G.T TIMETOX Ampoule Mask is a superpowered repairing mask. Containing ingredients that can whip skin out of both dryness and dehydration. It contains Astaxanthin(super-antioxidant), Acetyl Hexapeptide-8(Peptide that reduces appearance of wrinkles), RH-Oilgopeptide-1(Epidermic Growth Factor)
The Face Shop The Solution Nourishing Face Mask is the soothing propolis flavor is a great option if you want some well rounded nutrition. What is propolis you may ask? It’s this honey like substance bees collect that they use as a disinfectant, and a glue! It’s antioxidant rich and can be used topically as a antiviral and antimicrobial. Super great for those who are acne prone or just want a super great nourishing mask.
Bonvivant Botanical Mask Pack is another favorite, I was able to snag 40 masks from them @ $.50 a piece. They have a few different ones that would be great for dryness but I really love this Adenosine + Acai mask because it’s a sheet mask loaded with milk essence! So it’s a little bit more moisturizing than your regular runny clear essence sheet mask.
Lipids, fat, and cholesterol, give me it all.
Hydrating is still very important in the winter time however I recommend to most of my clients to start incorporating at least one type of lipid based product into their routine at least once a day. Hydrating gets our skin pulling in humidity but doesn’t necessarily help it stay in there. In fact they do nothing for our epidermal lipids; Which keep all the good inside, and all the bad, out. With colder weather present is should be a no brainer as to why we want to keep this lipids in tact and replenished. Facial oils and occlusive moisturizers(we’ll see this later) are great ways to add these to your routine.
Korres Wild Rose Brightening Oil is a beast in beautiful package. (With real rose petals at the bottom!) It contains demethyl isosorbide, an ingredient that enhances penetration so for people who don’t really like the feeling of oil on their skin, this can be a great place to start. Not to mention it’s loaded with a SUPER stable form of vitamin C called SUPER C (or Ascorbyl Tretraisopamitate) which is supposed to be a highly stabilized vitamin C that is 10x better at absorbing as well. Bisabolol and ginger root are also found in this oil to help calm inflammation and irritation.
For a customized approach. Tosowoong’s 100% Fermented Camellia Oil is a favorite. You can mix this into moisturizers, foundations, bb creams, or layer it before or even after moisturizer to add extra moisture and protection. This product being 100% such a heavy oil, is really best for spot application. It’s also very hard to spread, therefore taking some in your palms isn’t really easy either.
Last but not least, Boscia’s Tsubaki Oil. Also loaded with camellia oil (that’s what tsubaki is) but features a few different types of oil to make the consistency much much more appealing. This is better for someone who may want all over application, or just something more viscous but still incredibly moisturizing.
Baby your under-eyes
Your eyes suck. They may be pretty or w/e but they suck at producing moisture for themselves. So that leaves our eye area needing some extra attention. MIZON has made my only go-to option now to help fight the cold and dry.
MIZON Collagen Power Firming Eye Cream is packed with ~42% marine collagen, this puppy is mooooooisturizing. It’s ‘firming’ title comes from it’s nice array of great supporting ingredients. Main one being Copper Tripeptide-1, a power ingredient responsible for firming and lifting. Also is said to reduce damage and crosslinked collagen (scarring tissue). To top it off you’ll also find, adenosine, argan oil, and hyaluronic acid.
y’all… look how thick it is.
Yes, you do want moisturizer twice a day.
So many people I know only moisturize once a day. That can be totally fine sometimes, especially during the summer. But winter is one of those times again, where I try to encourage people to step their skin routine up. At least by swapping some of their lighter products out, or adding a hydrating step or two. Here are some moisturizers that I recommend and prefer for the colder times. They can be considered occlusive moisturizers because they help trap in our own natural production of moisture and protect it.
Benton Snail Bee High Content Steam Cream knocked my socks off. Containing no dimethicone, or heavy butters. This moisturizer is a phenomenal option for those who are oily to combo. Based with 64% snail secretion goodness, this will give your skin a boost of hydration as well as help aid in repair processing. Benton, being great and being benton, also loaded this with EGF, Hyaluronic Acid, Squalene and Niacinamide. 4 of my favorite things I’m not joking.
Yay for REN! This cream is a backbone in the brand and once you try it, you can see why. This superior protecting cream features a ‘Global Protection Complex’ that helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays, pollution and more. It’s repairing with triglycerides from calendula oil that repair the skin’s hydrolipidic film. Amazing for those with super dry and/or irritated skin because it contains chamomile and bisabolol (the component in chamomile that makes it anti-irritation anti-inflammatory, and anti-redness)
Then we have this master line from Dr. Jart+. Who almost never does wrong in my book, here are two products from their (No, it’s not a ‘he!’ There’s a Dr. J but no “Dr. Jart”) Ceramidin line. Which is heavy on….. Ceramides! and also other supporting ingredients. Ceramides are the ‘building blocks of our moisture’. If you think of your skin cells as bricks, ceramides would be the mortar in between. Neat, huh? My favorite recommendation is the Ceramidin Liquid and Ceramidin Cream layered for the driest, saddest skin.
Sleeping Packs are the cherry on top.
If you wanna insure all that hard work you put into your routine absorbs, I recommend a Sleeping Pack/Mask These pictured are 3 more nourishing or occlusive type sleeping masks.
Fresh’s Black Tea Firming Overnight Mask is a super rich mask that sports hyaluronic acid, peptides, and of course nutrient rich black tea ferment. A great one-and-done option for those with less steps in their routine, as it can be too thick for most with a long routine.
CosRx Ultimate Nourishing Rice Overnight Spa Mask: oh my god my partner sent me this I believe over a year ago of an advertisement for this mask so I’m actually not gonna say sh** about it and let this masterpiece do the talking.
I just wanna say after that… The last has sum banana in it and smells good.
I decided I was done lusting after them I was going to more Primary Raw after falling in love with their 2 Step Facial Therapy sheet mask set. I started with the Soy Milk Cream since it’s only available online and if I hated it I could bring it back to my local Sephora and pick up the Azulene Gel Cream instead since it is sold currently in select locations.
This cream has a ‘gummy’ consistency that really reminds me of Joseon Dynasty Cream. So much in fact I returned it based on the fact that they are more similar in functionality and even to some extent ingredient wise. I may return to it once I run out of that but until then I’m sticking with the hanbang cream.
I also had a love/hate relationship with how the cream performed under makeup application, which was not too well. The product doesn’t product ball up often, and it only has when trying to apply foundation on top. This could have something to do with the cream having a high content of dimethicone, and could be the trigger of my recent forehead blemishes (also something that occurred with the Dynasty Cream!)
But what I loved about it are the ingredients. (Shocking)
This is a pretty impressive list of repairing ingredients for a moisturizer all incredibly effective.
There are quite a bit of ingredients in here but I love that it’s formulated with Rice Water instead of just regular ol’ water. I would definitely recommend this cream to anyone who was on the fence about it, especially if purchasing from sephora with their great return policy. It shows promise for it’s claims of achieving ‘aqua filled skin’ the ultimate goal of Korean Beauty of bright, plump, dewy, radiant skin.
DoYou Soy Milk Azulene Gel Cream found a spot in my morning routine however. Formulated with ZERO water. It uses super hydrating bamboo sap as the first ingredient. Following close behind it is Witch Hazel, great for hormonal breakouts and keeping skin clear and congestion free. Little vitamin capsules help deliver power ingredients like Niacinamide and Fermented Soy Milk to nourish and balance skin. Best part is the gel contains Azulene collected from steam distillation which is a superior anti inflammatory ingredient; to help back it up you also find Chamomile and Green Tea.
There are two areas of listed ingredients, I am unsure if one is for the gel and the other is for the vitamin capsule, or they’re both just the whole thing but one side shows more ingredients than the other?
Anyways, there are a ton of anti inflammatories in here along side anti acne and other conditioning ingredients. I’ve fallen in love with the gel cream and it’s sitting comfortable as my new daytime moisturizer.
After heading into Portland for a day and checking out what they had to offer as far as Asian Beauty shopping goes, I feel like I have been to enough brick and mortar locations in enough areas that I can talk about the differences between the two.
Physical Location shopping is my favorite and it always will be hands down. Like obv win: you get to see, touch, smell, try products and that’s beautiful. But it does come at a cost in america. Online businesses often times can cut their prices down much below retail price. But it must be said, Asian Beauty is a market so products fluctuate prices. I’ve also purchased products in store cheaper than online. I really think the best way to explain this more is to show some examples. Note: these are the prices when purchased, and could have been a while ago.
It’s Skin Propolis Effector I purchased for $18 in SF, CA it retails online from Memeboxusa right now for $13. Why did I knowingly waste $5? Instant gratification. I got to ooh and aah at the packaging on the car ride home. I’ll sit there with Google Translate on my iPhone and translate what doesn’t have english (and even what does). Bottom line it’s a blast. I purchased SKINFOOD rice wash off mask in Portland, OR for $14 but it retails on Sokoglam for $10. But Sokoglam doesn’t have free shipping at $10, nor do I want to wait. I wanna get home and slather it on!
One trip back to SF I purchased May Island Mela-Tox masks for $2, when online the cheapest I could find individually was $3.20, score!
I think it all boils down to how much you want to spend. If you’re used to shopping at sephora, shopping in Asian Beauty stores will be like a candy store. They were for me at first until I QUICKLY grew accustomed to the generally cheaper prices. Then you kinda turn into a stingy old lady that complains about things being cheaper online (but you don’t actually say it b/c that’s rude!) So I’ve placed a lot of rules on my shopping that only I remember but they’re good tips if you find yourself inside an asian beauty store!
Mainly sheet mask purchasing:
you can easily try many types of sheet masks often at deals like buy 7 for 5. You don’t have to worry about box buying to make your $ count.
The more ridiculous the packaging is the more overpriced the item will most likely be:
Things like Tony Moly Prestige Jeju Snail Cream I have seen priced $100+ in store but only $48 on koreadepart. An obvious purchase to do online if I chose.
Japanese and Taiwanese masks are generally the most cost efficient, especially for frequent masking:
I used to use pretty much only Korean sheet masks until I started physical asian beauty shopping which in some places only have japanese/taiwanese sheet masks for sale (most asian markets). PureSmile, My Beauty Diary, and My Scheming are brands you’ll often see in asian markets. My favorite are PureSmile they even have lil eye flaps.
Check prices of products online before deciding if you want to purchase in store or wait until you get home:
Simple as that. Too much of a markup? Save it! Only a couple bucks different? Why not!
This is what an online haul looks for me for comparison to the above from in store purchases:
No masks!!! (well some forehead patches I can’t find in store around me) I got some nifty products you can’t get in stores like 60pc of Sulwhasoo brightening cleanser sample packets to try, or Mizon’s coveted 8% AHA serum. (Actually now that it’s back in stock I did spot it in SF for some ridiculous price like $40).
Stores have worse return policies than websites:
I’m not even joking. I haven’t been to a single AB location that has accepted returns, opened or not. But I’m sure this has to do with many of the location running razor thin margins. If you buy from a reputable online website you’ll generally find some sort of return policy. I love sephora for their return policy, I also love memebox for theirs (it can’t compete with sephora’s but not many can).
So have fun with your Asian Beauty adventures but be wise with your purchases. Pesky sales people can sometimes get in the way but if you take your time and play it’s really a great adventure. I know I can’t leave those places without at least a couple of sheet masks, minimum. But don’t be afraid to go home and order a few products so you can try more out for dollar.
I have been so excited to share this toner but I wanted to give it a decent amount of time under testing. But from my first impression I’ve liked this product and my love for it just keeps growing every day I use it.
Galactomy Clearnskin Toner is a pH balancing toner that is hydrating, mildly exfoliating, and infused with the muti-functional powerhouse Galactomyces ferment filtrate. (what? find out here)
Manyo Factory is a lesser known but still relatively popular Korean brand that delivers high quality, simple, effective, concentrated, natural products. They don’t formulate with a lot of common irritants and always load up on key ingredients.
I love this stuff because well… It’s so gentle! So gentle I can remove heavy duty chemical exfoliators with it and it’s still incredibly soothing. My favorite part has to be the consistency. Many hydrating toners I’ve tried leave my skin sticky don’t leave it feeling entirely clean. This is based with Mineral water and Galacta so it’s perfect. It feels just like water. I also like that it’s in a spray, I can either spritz onto cotton pads or all over then wipe. Whichever way, the spray bottle works the best.
Let’s talk hair for a min. When I first started really getting into Asian Beauty I knew there was of course a hair care market and it’s also less western friendly. Not a ton of translations on packaging, much harder to find in stores, and less reviews except for most of the big hair brands.
I want to introduce you to two of them. Ryo, who is owned by AMOREPACIFIC and La’Dor a very affordable and potent brand.
Let’s start with Ryo (sometimes written Ryoe they’ve simplified the name and dropped the e) This is where I started with my AB hair journey. Being from AMOREPACIFIC, the leader in Korean cosmetics I felt pretty safe starting here. Not to mention many of their shampoos have won awards and gone through multiple revisions. Also I’ve tried many products from both Amore and also their other brands like Sulwhasoo, Laneige, and Happy Bath (YA THE BEER SOAP) and always been impressed.
Ryo is a unique brand because it takes both Hanbang (traditional Korean medicine) and infuses it with high performance, innovative Korean cosmetic R&D.
I started with: Ryo JaYangYunMo Anti-Aging Loss Shampoofor normal to dry hair. Why? Well it sounded heaven sent that’s why. I suffer from mild keratosis pilaris on my forehead. It could also be on my scalp (like my sister) or I could also just have a super dry flakey scalp, but I’ve never made it to see a derm to find out for sure. But as long as I have this shampoo I don’t think I need too.
What started my AB hair product search was my scalp. I’ve dealt with my finicky scalp since as long as I’ve been washing my own hair and I’ve tried just about every shampoo on the market for it. Most made my scalp worse, (especially those god awful shampoo bars from LUSH. Whoever thought putting pH unbalanced sulfates into a bar and marketing them towards ‘all hair types’ needs to be fired.) I was looking for a shampoo that contained BHAs. But also didn’t want something stripping but also want something that actually washed my hair. Funny enough this guy matched all that criteria.
What I love about it: BHAs exfoliate! If you’ve read my Pore post you should be pretty familiar with BHAs. Quickly, they’re a hydroxy Acid that helps both regulate sebum production and also exfoliates the inside and out of pores. It’s very hard finding a shampoo in the western market with BHAs and you most likely won’t find one inside a store. It’s a lathering shampoo (my thick hair and problem scalp don’t mix well with co-washes and other surfactant free shampoos.) however it’s still perfectly pH balanced to 5.5. Right where our scalp should be. It’s also infused with oodles of Hanbang to really just knock your socks off. Ginger and green tea help protect and nourish while skullcap, licorice, and biota seed strengthen hair from the root. There’s also some soothing Hanbang ingredients to provide immediate relief too! Coix and Wilfordi root soothe and cool the scalp. (You can really feel this great sensation if you’ve been itching or just extra dry)
(see all those lil bits of herbal goodness in there?!)
I love the smell. It does smell like the produce section of your local Asian market however, something about making your entire apartment smell like such is soo satisfying and it lathers beautifully.
As far as the anti aging benefits go, personally I don’t see much but I also won’t! I have a crazy amount of thick hair however, on my partner who has pretty thin hair I’ve noticed over the past few months it getting increasingly thicker. Slowly but surely but it’s pretty amazing stuff and have no doubt I’ll be thanking it when I’m 60 and have a full head of hair still (like can we rly pray this happens)
Since I rambled about Ryo for so long I’m trying to make this about LADOR short and sweet. Just like the brand. Free of chemical ingredients, artificial colors, parabens, and alcohol and formulations are very simple. Wrap it up with it’s crazy good price tag, it’s really one worth talking about.
LADOR Hydro LPP Treatment is a win for me. The first product I tried from them and I’m glad I started with it. This treatment is pH balanced to 4.5 and includes ingredients like keratin and collagen to help strengthen hair from the core. I’ve also been mixing it with my Pravana ChromaSilk Vivids in Silver and making a silver conditioner rinse to keep my blonde nice a cool, it’s been keeping my hair strong through the more frequent color deposits especially during such a cold fall. It does have a bit of an ‘old lady smell’ to it but their other products definitely have a much more enjoyable scent to them. My only complaint is my hair still needs ‘something else’ afterwards. It’s just not quite moisturizing enough to just hop out and blow dry.
As for the Damage Protector Acid Shampoo.. I can’t say it was my favorite, but it wasn’t the worst. Seeing it’s pH being so acidic at 4.5 I figured this would feel about the same as my Ryo shampoo which is sulfate free but pH 5.5. It felt unfortunately like a regular shampoo which no slip whatsoever. I do however like the scent but I don’t think I’ll be finishing this one.
So that’s my taste of AB haircare for you guys. I’ll have more to come, especially once I find a conditioner I really like in this realm.
Here is a gummy cream moisturizer I’ve seen talked about for literally years but it wasn’t until the ‘discontinue’ scare that I finally tried it. From what I have gathered from many reddit posts and searching was that the cream was discontinued and memebox said they could not get the manufacturer to make anymore. But then, somehow magically they came back! Some people said this was just a last run, but then my like new favorite website find crystalcovebeauty.com stated in an instagram post they “have not heard that this is a last run production or that the cream has been discontinued.” So great news!
I love this packaging, unfortunately my box came damaged so I cannot share a great photo of it.
What it is: gel-cream-like Hanbang (korean natural medicine) multifunctional moisturizer. To help break down the benefits this cream delivers here are a few of them broken down:
*bolded ingredients are some of my favorite key ingredients I find in products.
What I don’t like about it: There are a few acne triggers you can see in the CosDNA posting and I do believe it is the culprit for a few weeks of breakouts on my forehead which is very acne prone. However it was fine on the rest of my face, including other acne prone areas but my forehead has always proven to be the hardest to please. It is also ever so slightly tacky, In my routine this moisturizer isn’t the last step before SPF or BB Cream(day) or Sleeping Pack(night) so this feeling goes away for me.
What I like about it: For starters the packaging is pretty damn beautiful. The scent isn’t overpowering but it is a pleasant scent. I feel like my skin has been a little bit more luminous since starting this moisturizer and I get this nice temporary immediate glow too which I’m sure is from the higher Niacinamide content (it’s the 3rd ingredient after all).
UPDATE 1/27/17: I’ve now almost finished the entire jar. I’ve used the cream almost every day and every night. There’s something about the cream that keeps me coming back. Maybe it’s the gorgeous scent, or packaging. It could be how cool and refreshed my skin feels after. Or it may be I get thinking about all those great ingredients and feel like slathering it on. Anyways.
I impatiently waited for these to ship from Korea and I’ve now FINALLY used them enough to make a decent review on them. If I had an expendable budget I would have gotten all of them, but today we have:
Pikachu Moisture Foaming Cleanser
What about it: This is a more simple foaming cleanser designed to try to maintain your skin’s natural moisture levels. The description on the back states:
“This moisture foam cleanser effectively removes impurities from skin with moisturizing foam containing olive leaf extract”
and that’s pretty much it! If you have very dry skin I would not recommend this cleanser. Unfortunately the pH of the cleanser is still relatively stripping. But in comparison to the Pore cleanser it leaves the skin soft and just lightly moisturized still. The scent is described as ‘vanilla’ and it 100% in all honesty doesn’t even slightly smell like vanilla. It doesn’t foam as well as some other cleansers actually and it doesn’t really foam much more when rubbing it either. I’ve used it a few times with my clarisonic and it does foam up much more!
Overall I give it a 6/10 and most of these points are for it being Pikachu.
Bulbasaur Pore Foaming Cleanser
What about it: Now this guy actually is using two key ingredients, Albumin and Purslane! Albumn is a protein from egg white and is said it helps tighten pores and condition skin while Purslane (portulaca oleracea) is very soothing and helps skin retain moisture. This cleanser scent is described as ‘green tea’ while I can kinda get a green tea scent from it, it smells like a new hotel lobby… Idk… like really specifically if you’ve ever been to an ‘Aloft’ hotel. That’s what it smells like. You’re welcome.
Overall it gets a 6/10 too, these cleansers are more alike than they are different. But you can definitely feel a difference which I appreciate. When it comes to some brand’s cleansers (shiseido is the first that comes to mind) their cleansers all feel exactly the same no matter what type of skin it’s for and ya know, that’s a little concerning.
Would I recommend them to a friend? I wouldn’t tell them to go out of their way for it, but if you have a itch for pokemon products, they are definitely not bad choices!
Yeah it’s sunscreen 201 not 101 because I’m givin’ you to some higher sunscreen knowledge.
First let’s talk about the types of damage our skin faces from the sun. They say that sun damage is the #1 cause of age on the skin. Even ahead of free-radical (pollution) damage. UV rays are the culprits for this, there are 3 different types of UV rays:
(credit: coola.com) (they make some bomb sunscreens too btw)
As we can see UVA rays penetrate the deepest, because of this these rays are the ones responsible for what is known as photo-damage. Photo-damage can come in the form of: dark spots, uneven skin tone, dehydrated skin; and worst of all, accelerated aging. These are actually the most prominent rays making up 95% of radiation from the sun that penetrates the OZone layer. These are also emitted from traditional indoor lighting sources too. (Yeah your lamp might be aging you I’m not even shitting you) LED lighting is said to produce no harmful amount of these rays. (HOWEVER ENOUGH TO ATTRACT MOTHS TO THE LIGHT STILL THANKS GUYS)
(This is Bill McElligot, a truck driver for over 30 yrs showing increased UVA damage, car windows block 100% UVB rays but don’t do much when it comes to the sleeper UV rays)
UVB rays don’t always reach the epidermis, and frankly we don’t want them reaching us at all. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns, pink arms, and all the unpleasant sensations that come along with “too much sun”
Then we have UVC rays, which I will explain even though it’s irrelevant to most of the world. These are the strongest, most intense rays from the sun, and they actually cannot penetrate the OZone layer. However, since we’ve caused a couple holes in the southern hemisphere there are areas which you can be exposed to these rays. But hypothetically speaking, any prolonged exposure to UVC rays will cause much more damage than the other two.
Now we know what sun damage is and what causes it, lets talk about SPF. Spf stand for Sun Protection Factor and this is the measuring system used to tell us how well the sunscreen can protect against UVB rays. Specifically speaking, SPF will tell you how much longer before you would start to burn. SPF 20 is 20 times longer. 35 is 35 times longer. But this is frankly a useless way to look at SPF in my opinion since reapplication, formula, percentage, quality, etc are all factors. SPF can range from 10 all the way to ‘50+’. SPF is also not a linear rating system so SPF 20 isn’t double the protection of SPF 10. Here’s a chart of protection:
SPF 0: 0% SPF 10: 90%
SPF 15: 93% SPF 30: 97%
SPF 50+: 99%
No there’s nothing higher than SPF 50 no matter what neutrogena tries to tell you! There’s no 100% protection from the sun unless you’re just not being exposed to it. Most brands now, and any brand with integrity simply state ‘SPF 50+’ as an indicator there may be a temporary effect of a ‘higher spf’. Everyday use is recommend of course but a minimum of 15 should be worn everyday, while an SPF 30-50 is more suitable for going to the beach, etc. Some sunscreens can have a less pleasant texture when delivering more protection.
Now there’s also another rating system we see sometimes on sunscreens called PA. This stands for “Protection of uvA” The PA rating can This is actually a conversion from how the rest of the world rates sunscreen for UVA (remember aging!) Ratings range from PA+ to PA++++ of course the more pluses the more protection.
Sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB are called ‘broad spectrum’. I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase at least once in your life.
Now that you know the Sun is the devil, we’ll move on to the different types of sunscreen. Physical vs. Chemical.
Physical sunscreens are minerals that block and reflect harmful UV rays. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide are currently The only two physical sunscreens. Both happen to be broad-spectrum sunscreens, meaning they protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Because of how these sunscreens work they can often times leave a sick and uncomfortable feelings.Physical sunscreens interact less with the skin compared to chemical sunscreens, making them more ideal for sensitive skin. These minerals are naturally white, therefore they can meet a white cast for streaking if not tinted. Considered to be the safest sunscreen option by most however there’s a lot of controversy over their saftey and the possibility of nano sized particles of these known carcinogens absorbing through our skin into our blood stream. I’m not frankly worried about it and don’t think you should be either. But hey, that’s just me.
Drunk Elephant Umbra Defense (Left) VS Tony Moly Mild Mango Block (Right)
The drunk elephant sunscreen is 20% zinc oxide, no fragrance so it smells like… mineral sunscreen.. or aka pennies. But this is to show the ‘white cast’ effect. Which in this physical sunscreen it’s minimized since there’s color correcting pigment added.
Chemical sunscreens are also known as organic sunscreens. Reason being they are generally derived from carbon. Chemical sunscreens generally work by causing a chemical reaction that converts the harmful UV rays into heat which then leaves our skin. These can cause irritation to some sensitive skin. Benefit over physical sunscreens is the increased UVA protection.These do take up to 20 minutes to activate. Some chemical filters can generate free radicals so we see many of them packed with an antioxidant boost to cancel out that effect. Some filters like avobenzone are very unstable, however it is one of the filters that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Filter sunscreens have a tendency to be light weight compared to physical sunscreens, they also do not produce a white cast making them in a great choice for any skin tone.
While there are a slew of different chemical sunscreens and they all have their own pros and cons. Many sunscreens actually aren’t sold in the US but can be purchased overseas in countries more conscious about their skin darkening. The US FDA is very slow at approving things (but also very slow and banning things it doesn’t make sense)
I hope this helps you navigate your next sunscreen purchase!