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.
Do these leave a white cast?
I personally didn’t notice one on my fairly light skin. If your skin tone is darker, there is a chance.
Thank you! I’m pretty dark-skinned. I went out and bought one, and I haven’t had any issues with white cast so far. Thanks for your reply!
I don’t know why I put off trying this for so long. I know it’s not a favorite for face use for a lot of people but hada labo UV creamy, biore watery essence, and sheisido senka mineral water essence all break me out, and I’m realizing they all have butylene glycol high in the ingredients list and other products with butylene glycol high in the ingredients list have broken me out. Boooo. I switched to the super plus, which I bought for body use and never actually used, and so far, so good! And still much more cosmetically elegant than my previous favorite sunscreen (topix replenix sheer physical spray). I’m on the hunt for other asian sunscreens without butylene glycol in the first half of ingredients list, just in case in a week or so all hell breaks loose, but I’m hopeful!
I’d love to get my hands on the 2015 version of this. Do you have a Rakuten link or any link in general for that? I can’t tell the difference just by looking.
So I have oily skin and generally find sunscreens just sit on top of my skin, even the ones that claim to sink in fast. Unfortunately this one wasn’t any different – it gave me a strong white cast and left a thick, slick layer (which was especially bad when I have to slather on the 1/4 tsp). Just putting this out there for all you fellow oily-skinned folks! I’m gonna use the rest of my bottle for my body and I’m more hopeful on that end.
I recently tried this sunscreen, and I must stay, Ratz is totally on point in everything. It is very light, dries down completely to a matte finish and it is so cheap! I use it on my neck and arms and the Cool version provided a refreshing cooling sensation upon application. Thank you so much again for another great sunscreen recommendation!
So glad you like this too!
This sounds like a great, inexpensive sunscreen for the body! Would you recommend this for the beach/swimming? Or, do you have some other recommendations for resistant sunscreens for the beach (for body)? Thank you!
You definitely could use this for the beach or swimming, although I have never done so so I can’t attest to how well it’ll fare. (I’m not a beach goer and I really don’t like swimming.)
For a day out in the sun though, I’ve always turned to Allie sunscreens from Kanebo https://www.ratzillacosme.com/brand/kallie/
Hi, I’m definitely picking one of these up, and I was wondering which one you preferred, and if both have the same matte finish?
Everything is indentical except the Cool Plus has menthol added. I personally quite like the cooling sensation as it feels very welcoming on hot days so I prefer Cool Plus. I use neither on my face though,
I like this sunscreen too (the red one), I think I bought it on sale 2 for ~320 yen. Cheap! However, there’s a mild scent and I doubted how so cheap sunscreen would on my face. I was in a pinch, and tried, and it did break me out. But for body, I quite enjoy this and will buy more!
I’m sure we have no problem with you turning this site into a Japanese sunscreen guide! The wealth of knowledge you have with sunscreen is just unbeatable!
I have another sunscreen question. What do you use around your eye area? Do you use the same sunscreen you do on your face? Or do you dedicate a sunscreen that is perhaps alcohol free for the eye area only? I’ve always use my facial sunscreen all over (either Biore Perfect Face Milk pink bottle or Kanebo Allie Mineral Moist), but lately, the alcohol content is starting to irritate my eyes a little…which is weird, because like you, I actually prefer alcohol in my sunscreens. Thanks in advance!
I don’t apply sunscreens very close to the eyes, just the undereye area. Right now since it’s the middle of summer, I generally use whatever I find too rich for all over face underneath the eyes. I personally rather just wear a good pair of sunglasses when I’m outside than to fuss with sunscreens near the eyes.
I love your Sunscreen posts and it acts as my Sunscreen Bible, so please keep reviewing! 😉
BTW, I just came back from Hongkong & was looking for Biore UV Milk SPF50 PA++++ but the stores are still carrying the PA+++ so I ended up playing with the sunscreen testers and actually discovered a new LOVE, it was Skin Aqua SaraFit UV Essence SPF50 PA++++
It actually kinda reminds me of BIORE UV Watery Essence (which sadly only has PA+++). Have you actually tested the Skin Aqua SaraFit UV Essence, Haru? Would love to read your review on it 🙂
I’ve written an expository post on it http://wp.me/p1UarE-ceX — I might do a review on it, but at this rate, I might as well just call this site a Japanese sunscreen guide!
I love to read sunscreen posts!! I am searching and trying all kinds of sunscreen all the time! I thanks
Please don’t apologise for “banging on” about sunscreens! I’m always interested in reading your take on them. In fact, thanks to your careful reviews and some of the expository posts here, I’ve revised my views on alcohol in sunscreens and am happily – if carefully – using some of the lighter formulas. I live in HOPE (yes, caps!) that there may one day be a very light, basic sunscreen with all-physical filters that you like and will willingly recommend.
Thanks Nick — I do actually! ORBIS’s UV Cut Sunscreen On Face Beauty (a cream) and the On Face Beauty Light (a milk), both are tinted and have SPF34 PA+++.
How did I miss that? Thank you! I’ll go look at your newest post at once. One thing more for which I would like to thank you – the links to Rakuten stores selling the items! They are really helpful!