It’s my annual Japanese sunscreens ranking — can you believe it that I’ve been doing one for 8 consecutive years already?! Like 2017’s sunscreen top picks, I’ve tried to choose a wide variety of formulas in all price-points for this year’s run-down of my top five newly launched SPF50+ PA++++ sunscreens of 2018.
Keep in mind that what suits my skin, lifestyle, and personal preference might be terrible for yours so please be sensible when following recommendations. (For your reference, I’ve normal, very resilient skin.) Detailed information (including ingredients) of each sunscreen is linked below.
So check out my picks below.
There’s been quite a bit of hype surrounding this in Japan, and the hype is not unfounded: it lives up to its claims. And the claims are — mainly — that this is a moisturiser milk that protects (yes), balances (yes), and primes (yes) oily skin with visible pores. It’s lightweight and hydrating with a silky smooth, diffused finish that blurs imperfections. The tint (lighter, pinker, and sheerer than official the official PR picture) gives absolutely no coverage, but it does seem to help boost skintone’s clarity.
An outstanding “heavy-duty” sunscreen fluid that feels very silky and smooth on the skin, and gives superb UV protection that stays on through profuse sweating and unavoidable friction (i.e. wiping sweat off, rubbing against clothes) — even better than its predecessor, which I thought was already virtually bulletproof. It’s not ideal for everyday urban use — a bit OTT — but its reputation in Japan as the gold standard of sunscreens for sports/outdoors is very well-earned.
This is for those who want more than basic sun protection from their sunscreen. Its moisturising fluid formula also protects the skin against harmful airborne pollutants, and with 3 types of vitamin C (5% altogether) to target dark spots and brighten skin tone. If you’re getting ready in a rush, this works nicely as a one-step product after prepping your skin with a hydrating watery lotion — replacing the need for a separate serum, light moisturiser, sunscreen, and makeup base! It’s quick to apply, leaves no residue, and has a pleasingly natural satin-matte finish.
Like the product name suggests, the Milky Gel’s texture is a cross between a tenacious sunscreen milk and a user-friendly gel formula. This applies beautifully, sinks in easily — and once it sets, it’s virtually invisible on the skin and it doesn’t transfer to clothes. It’s a fantastic, super affordable option for people who hate the feeling of conventional body sunscreen that are often heavy, sticky, and white.
It’s quick to use and packed full of powerful antioxidants, making this more than just a regular sunscreen — it feels more like a lovely milky moisturiser with long-lasting protective benefits. It absorbs quickly, it glides over the skin, and there’s no greasy residue. The convenient, sturdy pump-action bottle makes daily application a breeze.
Special Mention: PARASOLA Illumi Skin Face Powder UV
I’ll preface this by saying that lavender-coloured powders (and sunscreens) will only work on naturally light skin — the correct-correcting effect usually just end up looking like a white cast on medium and darker skintone. But if your skin is light and you find that your makeup is oxidising slightly, getting a little bit darker mid-day, then this pressed powder is for you. It takes away unwanted shine and touches up your SPF while counteracting the overly yellow, dark tone of the oxidising effect. Skin looks visibly brighter and smoother. The fact that it’s also loaded with good-for-skin ingredients is an added bonus.