I‘ve featured 2 “essence” type sunscreens in my Best Pick reviews, Mentholatum Skin Aqua Sara-sara Essence in 2012 and Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence in 2011. This one, however, does not get my pick this year.
SUNKILLER Perfect Water Essence is not a bad sunscreen by any means. It feels light-weight, free of chemical odour, and applies like water on the skin — very much like the 2 sunscreens just mentioned. All 3 have the same ‘bare skin, water-like’ concept, packaging, and price point, and their texture and consistency are nearly indistinguishable from each other.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to absorb completely no matter how long I wait. An hour in, I can still feel a slight film on my skin when I touch my face — not my idea of a bare skin feel. The finish is also shiny — not in a luminising or greasy sort of way, but a distinctive sunscreen sheen. Makeup applies fine over it but this in no way acts a makeup base. It doesn’t extend the wear of makeup or improve application by giving skin a smooth surface — quit the opposite, in fact. You’ll need to carry oil-blotting sheets or powder with you to keep yourself looking presentable if you have oily skin. I have not tried this in the heat and humidity (it’s still early spring), but I can’t image this would fare well.
The formula seems impressive — it’s water-based, oil-free, and features hyaluronic acids (3 types!) and antioxidants. With its shiny finish and lack of oil-control, I would expect this to be some-what mosturising but unfortunately (and ironically), it always makes my skin a bit dry and flaky at the end of the day unless I “compensate” by using something more moisturising underneath.
As you no doubt know by now, I’m difficult to please when it comes to sunscreens. Those who are accustomed to European or American formulations might find my complaints to be trivial or non-issues. However, when there’re myriad of sunscreens in the market in Japan, I personally don’t feel the need or reason to make do or compromise.
I still feel this is a great daily use sunscreen — but, for the neck, décolleté area, and arms. It truly applies like water and dries to an invisible finish that is undetectable to the touch on my skin that’s anywhere but the face. It has PA++++, giving skin better UVA protection than ever before (that’s PPD16+) and application (and removal) is not a chore.
SUNKILLER Perfect Water Essence is ¥821 (approx. US$8) at Rakuten (HERE).