My apologies to those of you who are bored of the seemingly endless sunscreens posts. I know I’ve banged on about this — there’re 340 (and counting) sunscreens listed on RatzillaCosme (that’s 27% of the site!) — but I get asked about sunscreens the most, so I do feel I should keep up with the popular demand! I do also want to document some of the ones I’ve been trying while they’re still available (Japanese companies discontinue or reformulate their sunscreens so frequently that by the time I want to write about them, they’re often already off the market!).
You’ll know, if you’re a regular reader, that I absolutely do not mind alcohol in my beauty products even though I don’t have oily skin — in fact, I prefer my Japanese sunscreens with alcohol. I tend to find alcohol-free formulas feel too heavy and take much longer to dry on the skin, and they feel absolutely terrible in stifling humidity. I much rather use more moisturising products to compensate for alcohol’s (potential) drying effect than to deal with the mess of alcohol-free formulas.
PA++++ (that’s PPD 16+) sunscreen formulas in Japan have been getting progressively more comfortable to wear — and finally, so have alcohol-free sunscreens. Menturm’s Sun Bears Strong Super Plus and Sun Bears Strong Cool Plus are both newly-released, and they’re very excellent for the price (under 300 JPY!). Both are the same, except the Cool version has menthol added to give your skin a — you’ve guessed it — cooling sensation. It’s so light and seems to simply disappear a few seconds after application. The finish is absolutely bone dry. It has the same quick-to-dry formula and invisible, matte finish that I like, but without the alcohol. If your skin is on the dry side then you will most definitely want to moisturise well before using (it still feels dry, despite its lack of alcohol).
While they’re not my all-time favourites, I quite like them for the price! I have been using them for a few weeks now, mainly on my hands, arms, and décolleté area. I especially like Cool Plus — its cooling effect upon application is particularly welcoming on hot days. They come in such compact bottles that they’re small enough to fit in my pocket.