Benton has been hard at work. They’ve recently launched their gorgeous Cacao Moist & Mild Cream and just launched their first sunscreen: Papaya-D Sun Cream. They’re even ramping up to launch their second sunscreen!
But I came out of my hermit shell to tell you what’s up with Papaya-D. First, what’s with the D? It stands for DAILY! As you should be wearing sunscreen whenever you’re outside morning-evening. What’s nice about the SPF38 blend is lighter weight but strong baseline defense for everyday. Not to mention higher than most US sunscreens, including many [most] SPF50s are going to give you a weaker protection than this. Of course if you’re going to the beach you’d want to bring something a little heavier duty along. PA+++ is great as it’s nearly the highest protection we can get against UV(A)ging rays. The rays responsible for accelerated aging, hyperpigmentation, and dehydration. These are also the rays we still have to worry about indoors (unless you don’t have any substantial amount of artificial light on or windows open letting direct sunlight in.) so I like having something like this that’s comfortable to wear while I’m at the office that has a ton of bright HID lights and windows.
I contacted Benton regarding the percentages of each sunscreen they have included in here but they were unwilling to share that information. Here in the US it’s mandatory for the Sunscreen actives to be labeled if they are SPF15+ and broad spectrum, meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB. But they were willing to share that the major two sunscreens are Titanium Dioxide and Octinoxate both over 6% concentration. Tinosorb S and Isoamyl p-Methoxycinnamate are also present to help boost UVA protection.
Besides sunscreen, you can find 55% papaya water as the very first ingredient. Loaded with moisture retaining B vitamins, it plays hand in hand with the added Adenosine and Niacinamide. Papian the protease enzyme found in Papaya is also present to keep dead skin cells from accumulating.
Upon application it does produce a slight white cast. I only get a slight iridescence from the Titanium Dioxide but deeper skin tones may want to look at something with less mineral. The finish is VERY moist. If you dig the dewy look this sunscreen will be your best friend. I do enjoy the finish myself as I have relatively dry skin but the texture wouldn’t be suitable for any prolonged time in the heat. Also warning if you are applying this to any area with hair, such as arms, back of neck, beard, etc. extra rubbing is required to blend.
I love the scent of this sunscreen which is rare! No synthetic fragrance of course, but an intoxicating Lime scent lingers just for a minute before it fades away, leaving no Octinoxate smell.
Overall, I’m ‘alright’ with this sunscreen. It doesn’t ‘wow’ me in any way. It does slightly underperform in application, it’s a nice staple daily sunscreen. Big shoutout to Benton for providing this sunscreen for my honest review
If you want to give this suncream a try, pick it up at Amazon for $20USD.
Comfortable and water resistant are like polar opposites. The more water resistant something is, generally the more it feels like you superglued a sheet mask to your face.
Biore has reformulated their two best sellers this February and I’m here to tell you about the Watery Gel refomulation! Now it’s water/sweat resistant!
After trying the Biore UV Bright Milk I knew I wanted that same coverage that saved me from the brutal California sun. However, the way it matte downs is just a little too much for my dry skin so the search was on for something with the same ultimate sun coverage but maybe sat a little nicer for everyday.
The two suspects I wanted to pull in for questioning were Biores own “watery Gel” and Shiseido’s Senka Aging Care UV. Shiseido was just as easy to get here and half the price, but it’s a much older formula. It’s very easy to find the previous version of the Watery Gel for about the same price of the Shiseido SPF. I appreciate brands that have best sellers that they want to improve on! So unfortunately if you were looking for a comparison vs the old. I sadly cannot help you there. However ingredients wise, it’s nearly identical.
While it’s main purpose is to protect, it contains Hyaluronic Acid, Xylitol, and Royal Jelly to Hydrate and moisturize. Alcohol is the second ingredient to help absorption and you can faintly smell it. I’ve noticed some warmer days it leaves me reaching for my Dr. Dennis Gross C + Collagen Set & Refresh Mist for some moisture. It’s strange because you can tell the product is /trying/ to hydrate. But the uniqueness of the 2017 formula is that it is now sweat resistant it contains a few high performance polymers. The application doesn’t feel heavy, but you can feel it slightly for a few minutes. After the product has dried and flexed around some it’s texture is smooth and not matte or dewy. Just kinda the same!
One deal breaker for many, (but not ya boy who matches to like… NC.0000002) is the cast of this product. On Rakuten it’s states as a ‘optical correction powder’ but I got my money on it’s just the Titanium Dioxide. This makes me wonder how many names brands have marketed it as some sort of ‘glow’ or ‘correcting’ powder. One thing I’ve noticed with how the sunscreen applies, it really doesn’t like to go on top of gel moisturizers. I got a ever so slightly streaky application after waiting 10minutes before applying it on top of Primary Raw Azulene Gel and then on a separate occasion also with Erborian Bamboo Creme Frappe. This sucks because my morning routines have been very low maintenance for the sake of compatibility with high(er) performance sunscreens. It seems to do better with something slightly creamier but not too rich. Think, Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet.
There are a few things I enjoy about the sunscreen. Consistency is fluid (contrary to the speckled look) but not too liquidy application. It took some trial and error but I found I get the best application to take a small amount in my palms and apply it quickly swiping.
That second ingredient, alcohol, comes through with a subtle cooling effect when applying. Most people scoff at this ingredient, especially being so high. But alcohol, has a great roll here. It helps dry the sunscreen to helps the filters absorb, polymers, acylates and friends to adsorb. Better than any other ingredient. But isn’t it bad for you? Well… Through my teachings and own research on the subject alcohol is really only ‘bad’ undiluted direct to skin, or in high concentrations applied to dry skin. (You use this sunscreen directly after washing your face with dish soap) For more info futurederm has some great credible information on SD Alcohol (cosmetic great denatured alcohol, that’s in here, I don’t think I mentioned that part)
Does my hand look ‘Optically Corrected’? It does look dewy!
Did I find a new everyday sunscreen? Unfortunately, no. While it may work for many as such, and I’m fine using it as such, I have my issues with it. Hit or miss application aside, something that bothers me about many of these super sunscreens are the high(er) octinoxate amounts. I was unaware of the exact percentages of really anything before I purchased it. I don’t want to scare people out of the ingredient like most blogs try to do. I’m not chucking this sunscreen out the window and chanting cleansing rituals to rid myself of the potential cancer. But I did order a very awesome sounding sunscreen from Amazon.jp -> Buyee.jp -> me that does NOT contain Octinoxate but still provides SPF50+ PA++++. I actually had to ask the help of RatZilla of Ratzillacosme.com for help finding this sunscreen, the Queen of Sunscreens.
If you’re scratching your head to why I’m concerned about an extra + sign, PA rating is a easy to understand way to rate a sunscreen’s UVA(ging) protection. Still scratching? Start with my SPF 201 post to quickly learn the basics of sun protection. Well since the only thing available in the US markets are PA+++ I want that FULL UVA protection. While a very very few sunscreens in the US market exist that will actually rate a PA++++ when tested but stated as PA+++ to calm the FDA down, they are very few and not the best formulas regardless. In markets where PA++++ exists, they almost all contain Octinoxate. It’s documented as safe, it’s cheap, and it works well. OKAY BUT WHY DON’T I WANT IT? Octinoxate is a known endocrine disruptor and while isn’t proven to be unsafe long term. It has not been proven to be safe long term. One unique thing about this filter is that it accumulates in our system. That is the reason I personally want to be staying away from octinoxate on a daily basis. I will have ZERO issues slathering Watery Gel all over my body every 90 minutes (WOW, I also didn’t mention this bad boy is sized for face & body) while I’m at the beach! But do I feel good applying it everyday with what I know about it? Not so much. There are some brands that advertise full protection with just mineral SPF. But in order for mineral sunscreen to reach past the minimum rating it needs to be L O A D E D with mineral.
Take a look at this sunscreen simulator, I found you needed roughly (extremely) 40% mineral SPF when using the maximum amount of Zinc Oxide (25%) to achieve a high enough PPD rating it would produce a Japanese PA++++ rating based on the 2.0mg/cm application amount which is standard.
That’s a lot of mineral on your face! Part of my goal in this quest for finding my perfect everyday sunscreen is to find one I feel is genuinely comfortable. My experiences with high mineral content has never been a ‘cosmetically elegant’ one.
Back to Biore though, I do like this sunscreen. Maybe not as much as I hoped but instead of finding a spot in my everyday routine I think it may have found a place in my backpack for hiking.
If you follow my instagram (@facequench) you may have saw I was recently off back to California for a wedding! My outfit was a disaster but my skincare of course, was on point. My SPF choice was without a doubt the most important choice I had to make. I get little sunlight compared to when I lived in the Bay. When I found out I was going to be in an outside wedding, out in the ‘Wine Country’ area I panicked a little bit.
My skin has never done well with the sun. Some filter sunscreens can cause uncomfortable sensations in my skin, too much physical causes my skin to itch. This makes sunscreen shopping difficult at times, but my biggest issue is dehydrating skin, which also leads to burning quicker.
Since I discovered them, I’ve wanted to try a PA++++ sunscreen. They are not legally sold in the States since they contain active sunscreen filters that are not approved by the FDA. Before you get too disinterested, the filters aren’t approved but they also aren’t disapproved. THEY JUST HAVEN’T TESTED THEM.
These filters include Mexoryl SX, Mexoryl XL, 4-MBC, Uvinul A Plus, Uvinul T 150 and Tinosorb S and Tinosorb M. The craziest part is these filters often show less potential safety and irritation issues compared to other sunscreens. For more information on sunscreens, both physical and chemical, check out my sunscreen 201 post here. I’m pretty bitter about the FDA being slow approving these sunscreens but a lot of americans don’t really want or look for this type of high protection. Most of my clients are looking for an SPF 20 for everyday use. (Which if you’re reading this and scoff, calm down please and refer to the link post above.) So you can also see why it hasn’t necessarily been a priority. But for folks who burn just thinking about the sun, like me, may need to look to Japan for their everyday wants.
That’s where Biore comes in, one of the largest carriers of PA++++ sunscreens. I chose the Bright Milk to try as my first quad PA product since it has a slight pink tone to it, which I can always use with my sallow complexion.
It doubles as a makeup primer/base and it’s also now waterproof since 2015! I literally couldn’t find anything unappealing about it. Best part was I could order it from Amazon (ps. sometimes you can see PA++++’s sneak into prime options but they always disappear, you gotta wait for snail mail)
The packaging is well, drug store packaging. But it’s practical and honestly, less wasteful than some of the extra packages that I come across.
Application can be a little tricky with how fluid the product is but it lays really well making a great canvas for cushion, foundation, or really whatever I’m in the mood for.
The ingredient list is pretty fine too. Generally speaking, since sunscreens adsorb instead of absorb they can have more acne triggers in them.
This is a similarly priced US ‘for babies’ sunscreen:
(note: CosDNA shows filter strengths in both spectrums which is helpful to see what your SPF is protecting you against most)
Safety is something I wanted to touch on briefly too. Oxybenzone is a filter sunscreen I would recommend to stay far away from. Especially if you are a female. This is also one of the filters that irritates my skin. Filter sunscreens work by converting harmful UV rays into heat, often times that process can cause a slight sensation, however for some reason Oxybenzone is just not my jam, but I’m not really worried about it.
After spending the entire morning till mid afternoon outside, in California, in actual sun, I was pretty worried about being a little pink at the end of the day. But once I got home and cooled off, I took my foundation off to reveal my skin was still white as a ghost without a hint of flamingo anywhere except a tiny strip on my neck.
On a day to day basis I found that the Bright Face Milk was just a little too matte for my liking. But surprisingly comfortable on my dry skin as a matte finish. But for the less than ideal environment, it worked out perfectly. There are a number of finishes in the Biore sunscreen line including gel and essence. Next I’ll be trying the new Biore 2017 reformulation of the watery gel since it is the most ‘moist’ finish for a more everyday sunscreen. But Bright Milk, you delivered. Even with my lack of reapplication except some cushion blots on my cheeks before photos.
I think this is my first makeup post on here! But it’s still skincare, you will see. Look at this cushion! It’s not a new one, it’s not a lesser known one. It’s Sulwhasoo’s best selling, super dewy finish cushion the Perfecting Cushion. When I first discovered this cushion they didn’t actually make it in a color that matched me. But since those days Sulwhasoo now sells their Perfecting Cushion in 6 shades: #11 Pale Pink, #13 Light Pink (what I normally match to in other cushion brands), #21 Medium Pink, #23 Medium Beige, #25 Deep Beige, #33 Dark Beige.
I actually got this cushion to celebrate a new job! It’s unfortunately (but not that unfortunate) not in skincare, but I’m hoping it’ll give me more creative freedom with this blog! I got a lot of privileges products from my old job that I review on here, so there will be a shift more into solely products I pick out with my own wallet and money! Less branded, overhyped junk you can buy at a cosmetics store, more hidden gems.
Sulwhasoo is one of the brands I’m the most interested in that I don’t get to experience as much as I would want to. Mainly because the products are expensive, and hard(er) to find. Since they’re under AMOREPACIFIC you can often times find teeny tiny boutiques that carry it inside of asian markets. If you don’t have any around you, some Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom stores sell them as well. But it’s hard to find still, Seatte’s Nordstrom just started carrying Sulwhasoo a few months ago. I purchased this at the AMOREPACIFIC inside of the HMart shopping center in Lynnwood, WA because I love supporting local businesses, it’s the same price, and I got showered with love from the Ajummas who work there and samples from not only Sulwhasoo but from other AMORE brands like ARITAUM, IOPE, and Mamonde. Brands you won’t find anywhere other than a true K-beauty store.
If you know me, I want to be g l o w i n g 24/7. I’d like to think I do a pretty good job at this with just my skin routine, but during the day I like to amp it up some. I’ve gone back and forth between doing my whole face everyday to nothing to light makeup styles. Fine tuning my skin’s texture over time has had a lot to do with this. I could never settle on what I prefered the look of because my texture and tone were constantly changing. I’ve settled on cushions finally because I realize I will always want some tint and pore coverage on my nose and inner face. Those bad boys are at a genetic predisposition, thanks Dad.
What is a cushion compact?
Magical skincare Photoshop sponges. Now you can get foundation, blush, highlighter, color corrector, pretty much anything in a cushion compact. But this is part of the OG first generation of AMOREPACIFIC cushion compacts. The idea of them is to be the next generation of on the go coverage and SPF in one. Brought to life by AMOREPACIFIC’s own R&D Team, the HERA UV Mist Cushion was the first launched in 2008! It was a long work in progress but it has already shaped the world’s cosmetic industry and will continue to do so.
Almost every brand has their own version of these compacts but AMOREPACIFIC has filed 114 patent applications and already registered 13 patents. The amount of time this company put into the product is staggering, but it’s definitely paying off for them. They state in 2014 alone, they sold a cushion every 1.2 seconds. This cushion albeit from their most luxe brand (if you don’t include amore themselves) cost me $65, $5 more than AMOREPAICIFC’s own Color Control Cushion Compact. I wanted to splurge for the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Intense Cushion but at $80 I couldn’t bring myself to pay $40 per sponge. Per sponge? Yup. They give you a refill cushion to use when you finish off the first one! It actually adds up to ~1oz of product which is smaller than a foundation but by less than half.
The cushion has a unique film fixing polymer that gives it your skin an unrivaled dewy finish as well as a blurring effect. It also helps keep the product on and in place all day long. Sulwhasoo states that this should also insure long lasting coverage, up to 12 hours to be exact. That’s foundation strength wear! The color shown is #11 Pale Pink, comparing to other colors, I feel like it’s pretty dark for ‘11′. I feel like it’s just slightly lighter than Missha’s #21 in their Perfect Cover BB Cream.
Pale pink isn’t quite pale enough for this pasty-paste.
Blended in however you can see that gorgeous radiance and no orangey tone.
Part of Cushion benefits are SPF! Since these are hybrid on-the-go formulas they provide decent sun protection and make great SPF touch ups that doesn’t disturb other makeup. This compact sports an SPF 50+ and a PA+++, so maximum protection (in the US that is.) Lastly, I want to point out the quality. After owning a few other cushions I was really impressed with this one. I’ve never owned a legit Amore cushion, only cheap Missha ones. Those not only didn’t come with a refill, some things just feel off. The Sulwhasoo applicator sponge feels really high quality compared to them. I feel like I use a lot less product as well. It lays nicer, feels better. It’s just better.
What makes you really fall in love with the compact is the scent. It’s a signature Sulwhasoo Hanbang scent. Like a sexy ginseng root, this cushion gets a 10/10. I just might splurge (even though the $65 was a splurge) on the Intense Cushion next time, as it’s apart of their newest generation of cushions!
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!
After a trip back home to the Bay Area I may have spent substantially more money than anticipated on skin care in Japantown. But this was my favorite purchase so it gets reviewed first! However, I purchased it for WAY more than I needed to! At the time of this post, Amazon is selling it for ~$10, I purchased it from an official Tony Moly reseller called K-Beauty for ~$21 (the same on Tony Moly USA’s website).
My partner is pretty finicky about what he puts on his face. Not quite in the same way I am though, I can live with a product I don’t like the feeling/smell of as long as it’s a good product. He however…. is more concerned about feeling and smell. We’ve had a couple everyday sunscreens he’s tried: Drunk Elephant’s Umbra Defense (20% Zinc Oxide mineral based sunscreen) and Supergoop!’s City Serum Sunscreen (lightweight chemical filter sunscreen) and while the Supergoop wasn’t a total bust the ‘sunscreen’ smell lost him. It’s safe to say he is in love with this as much as I am.
What about it: This magical mango sunscreen is over 60% a hydrating base which leaves an incredible supple feeling without feeling too greasy or matting down too much. It uses chemical filter sunscreens that instead of bouncing harmful UV(B)urn and UV(A)ging rays it filters these rays out and actually causes a chemical reaction that changes them into heat which is then released from the skin. There are a ton of different chemical sunscreens and they all work differently from each other, some instead of absorbing the rays will actually scatter the light. For more information on the differences of sunscreens I highly recommend this chart by skinacea It’s designed to be a super universal non-oily/fluid lightweight sunscreen, using chemical filter sunscreens means this product won’t give you a white cast, or a ‘penny smell’ like some physical sunscreens. It can be worn alone or under makeup without disturbing application.
What I like about it: It f*cking smells like MANGO. Like I mean to each their own but if I catch a whiff of mango while walkin to the store on a sunday in sweatpants I’m not complaining. The smell is pretty prevalent however it does dissipate especially with makeup application. I also love the protection without sacrificing comfortability SPF 50+ (This is rating protection against UVB rays, remember B for burn, these are the ones that leave us pink and sore after a day at the beach) and PA+++ (Rating UVA protection, out of a possible quadruple plus ratting, however most sunscreens today offer 1-3 pluses. These rays are responsible for (UV)Aging our skin.) Holy parenthesis batman. It leaves me feeling fresh all day, something sunscreens have a problem with delivering and I can put on a full face, light bb cream or just some concealer and not run into any problems.
(leaves a slight dewy finish as you can see immediately after application)
Overall take: Lightweight, smells great, full sun protection I can’t ask for much more. However I would love to see more good for you ingredients but reiterating the price point of under $10 I’m not going to say it’s a deal breaker whatsoever.