It’s La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios Shaka Fluid SPF50+ that I want to talk about today, notable for its PPD46 UVA protection. Most reviews online of it have been unblemished and so, I was expecting to be blown away by it. But I wasn’t. In fact, I was so completely underwhelmed by it.
I can tell you that I’ve now tried the sunscreen with a light moisturiser beneath it, on bare skin, in ultra-hot and unbearably humid Japanese summer, and in pleasantly warm weather. Each time I’ve come to the same conclusion: Shaka Fluid and I do not quite see eye to eye.
The facial sunscreen boasts the “highest UVA protection achieved on an Anthelios product”. In theory, it’s a “non-greasy cream” with an “invisible, light-weight texture” that “does not leave white marks and does not migrate”.
But this isn’t what happened on my (relatively normal) skin at all. In Japanese summer weather, it didn’t sink in at all — it was so off-putting that I had to wash it off. I tried it again in a much milder climate. While it was significantly more pleasant, it left a greasy, filmy residue that transferred onto everything my skin touched. It wasn’t possible to apply makeup over it without wrecking the protective layer underneath. The texture was light and fluid, but the appearance was shiny — and not in a glowing or dewy way. Its distinct sunscreen-y odour didn’t dissipate with time.
It’s worth pointing out that Shaka Fluid‘s purported PPD46 is not actually on the packaging. I find this odd considering the sunscreen is heavily marketed around it. La Roche-Posay is boasting that Shaka Fluid has the highest UVA protection ever achieved in the lineup, so why isn’t its impressive PPD on the packaging for everyone to see? It couldn’t be due to E.U.’s labelling regulations. There are, after all, French sunscreens with PPD printed on the box (e.g. Bioderma) in Europe. I’m inclined to think the reason is that the PPD46 rating has not been tested according to international standards to be true.
(I never got the hype with Mexoryl. They aren’t as great as the rumours suggest, especially Mexoryl SX. L’Oreal is secretive about their proprietary Mexoryl filters and data on them is scarce because neither is as good as they sound. The veil of secrecy both blurs their inadequacies and helps the hype going. They’d sell them if they were that great, so there’s another conspiracy theory for you.)
Regardless, superior UVA protection is a bit of a moot point if the sunscreen doesn’t agree with your skin or you simply can’t stand it. It also needs to stay put on the skin in order to be protective. Shaka Fluid claims to be resistant to water, sweat and sand, but on my skin, the only thing it is resistant to is splashes of tap water. It comes off far too easily for me to feel confident that it will protect my skin.
So why did I persevere with Shaka Fluid? Firstly, as I’ve explained, most reviews online have been glowing, which made me question my own results. Secondly, it is still a lot less greasy and shiny than any French sunscreens I’ve ever tried. So it’s not as though I hate this sunscreen. I just do not want to use it again given the myriad of better and cheaper options I have available.
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