I really do get a “D” for effort with the review’s photography don’t I? I’m running out of space to store all my products so I spend quite a lot of my time moving things so that my most-used and new products are within easy reach, ready to be tested and used up. Anyway, this sunscreen gel is on the powder room counter among other products I’ve been playing with, and it’s currently one of my most reached for beauty items this summer. It (and its previous formulation) has made an appearance in my list of top Japanese sunscreens for 2013 and my list for spring 2011, so I wanted to give it its own review.
After a few months of experimenting with various new (and newly relabeled) SPF50 PA++++ sunscreens, I’ve come to the conclusion that the trade-off for significantly higher UVA protection is a much less appealing texture — shinier, filmier, and heavier. The bare skin feel and watery fresh texture that many daily use sunscreen gels (with lower UVA protection) have is just not going to happen, but ALLIE Extra UV Gel (Mineral Moisture) N would be the closest thing to it. (If you’re not familiar with the Japan’s PA rating system for UVA protection, do have a read though this post first.)
It’s no where as water-light and fresh as something like Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel SPF50 or Biore UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence, both have lower UVA protection in a very easy-on easy-off formula, but this is one of the most user-friendly PA++++ rated sunscreens released so far. I think this is best described as a gel-cream moisturiser with excellent sun protection that also happens to be water, sweat and sebum resistant. It applies and sinks nicely into the skin giving long-lasting hydration without any greasiness, just like a good moisturiser — so expectedly, no oil-control (it doesn’t claim to have any either). It works very nicely as a moisturiser substitute if you don’t have dry skin. It is also completely scent-free — no obnoxious floral fragrance nor chemical odour.
It’s possibly not ideal for oily skins or those that prefer a silky matte finish, but on my normal-combination skin, it gives a smooth, plump, glowing base for BB cream or whatever it is that you want to follow-up with. I prefer its glossy smooth finish over a matte one as it makes skin looks fresher and healthier — on camera, matte skin may be the way to go but it looks so unnatural and lifeless in real life. After 15 minutes or so, it sets into a soft, subtle glow.
With the full-blown summer heat and no oil-control, I do need to use something on my T-zone to tone down the shine — there’s a fine line between a fresh glow and an oil slick. A dusting of powder works, of course, but what works best for me it’s a very thin layer of lightweight mattifying makeup base on the area. (Shu Uemura POREraser UV Under Base Mousse SPF35/PA+++ is an excellent one.) The mattifying effect of the base together with the glossy finish of the sunscreen gel gives my T-zone a soft satin, semi-matte finish that lasts through the day without the need for blotting.
I prefer gels and creams to liquid-y milks when it comes to sunscreens for normal everyday use — they apply and feel much nicer on the skin, and this is no exception. With PA++++ — that’s PPD 16+ — in a moisturising gel-cream formula that’s water/sweat/sebum-resistant, I’d say that this sunscreen gel would suit anyone looking to step up their UVA protection without the drying effect of tenacious sunscreen milks.