Top 5: Sunscreens I’m Reaching for the Most

Top 5 - Sunsceens I'm Reaching for the Most

I’ve posted my annual Japanese sunscreens ranking on the main site for the past 8 years. For new readers, this was where I picked my top 5 SPF50+ PA++++ sunscreens that were released that year. Writing the post on it each year felt more and more a bit of a hot potato if truth be told. I’ve always tried to choose a wide variety of formulas to cater for a wide audience, but I’ve come to the conclusion that my picks — based on feedbacks — were largely neither here nor there. It’s also likely that you enjoy reading this annual feature, but what I’m trying to say is that what I think it’s good may be the complete opposite for you.

Best intentions get lost in translation can have real, potentially dangerous consequences. It just makes me shudder when I see comments out there with people getting sunburnt at the ballpark using one of my ‘top pick” sunscreen because they didn’t comprehend what “easy-on, easy-off formula” and “everyday wear” entailed.

To cut a long story short, I’ve scrapped my annual top 5 sunscreen picks from the main site altogether — but, it isn’t gone for good. Since I’ve been making it a regular thing to share a list of my top 5 of a subject on my personal blog, I thought I’d post about sunscreens too. In other words: it’s still here, but without the need for justification of each product nor the constant disclaimers.

So these are my personal top 5 most-used sunscreens. They aren’t necessarily my favourites, but for one reason or another, I’ve been reaching for them the most.

I quite like the Asia-exclusive La Roche-Posay UVIDEA XL Tone-up Light Cream (launched last year in March) for everyday wear. It’s a moisturiser, untinted complexion enhancer, and sunscreen all in one. It gives a gorgeous, almost ethereal sheen to the skin that brightens and blurs light skin tone beautifully. All in a rather elegant lotion-cream that’s hydrating but not greasy, lightweight but not drying, scent-free, and comes in an easy-to-use pump-action tube. La Roche-Posay says this is for normal to dry skin, and I’d agree with this recommendation.

I’ve been wearing Junpaku Senka White Beauty Serum in CC a lot on casual days (i.e. when I don’t have anything scheduled but still need to leave home). It’s a brilliant multi-tasking cream for non-oily skin. Junpaku Senka have formulated this with hydrators, excellent UVA and UVB protection, and tranexamic acid. I like that there’s something properly helping with moisturisation, protection, and correction of discolourations — as well as complexion enhancer. The lightly pink-tinted cream lifts the skin tone and enhances the complexion. You have something superficial to instantly improve skin tone and then something a little more long-term with the skincare.

Regular readers will be no strangers to Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk. It was the sunscreen I relied on for sunny days outside when it launched last year. And now that I’m using sun-sensitising products, it has become my ‘default’ sunscreen. I’ve written a full review of it so I won’t bore you by repeating all the nitty-gritty details — do have a read (linked above) if you haven’t already!

(For those who have seen my recent Instagram stories and were wondering: I much prefer this over the new La Roche-Posay Anthelios Shaka Fluid.)

Biore UV Athlizm Skin Protect Essence is lightweight, long-wearing, and with no sticky residue nor sunscreen-y odour. It’s like the ultra famous Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, but formulated to stay put in high heat and humidity. I’m not an outdoorsy person at all — if I were, this wouldn’t be what I’d use for a day hike — but it serves me quite well for running around the city in the (early) summer’s heat. I’ve linked my full review on it.

Anessa Perfect BB Base Beauty Booster is a tinted makeup base fluid with sun protection build in, and it’s the SPF product I reach for the most during summer if I wake up late and have less than 10 minutes to get out the door looking pulled-together. I’d use a hydrating mist follow with a creamy serum and then apply this as sort of an “all-in-one”. It’s weightless, with sheer-ish yet buildable coverage and a beautiful silky feel. If I lay this down generously, skin looks perfected but still look believable and fresh. And this really is long-wearing (it’s resistant to water, sweat, and sebum!). I’ve worn it out for 12+ hours on a number of occasions and it has stayed put extremely well.

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Alex
Alex

Hey Ratzilla, why do you prefer the Anessa Milk over the Shaka Fluid? 🙂

yupi
yupi

dear Miss Ratzilla, some articles out there say that physical sunscreen is a way better than chemical sunscreen. what do you think? thank you very much ^^

Jes
Jes

Hi Ratzilla, Just wanted you to know that I’ve used your Top 5 to pick at least 1-2 new sunscreens every year, so I hope you don’t get the feeling it’s been for naught! That said, this feature is very helpful in its own way. I’ve found 1 here and 1 or 2 from your New 2019 Sunscreens post to order for myself. Thank you as always. I usually don’t order until the Top 5 so I very much appreciate you letting us know you’re moving the feature in a slightly different direction. I still know it’s time to order… Read more »

Heather
Heather

Absolutely rate the Anessa milk. Wore it everyday while I was in Singapore and did not have a single shade change in my face. Unfortunately, my body ended up being about 3 shades darker because of it.

Do you still enjoy the Rohto Skin Aqua Tone Up?

Magda, Kociamber w podróży
Magda, Kociamber w podróży

Hey Ratzilla, thank you for this post! I always wait for your top 5 before I buy any newly released sunscreen 🙂

I’m curious: which one would you use for a day hiking? Anessa? I’m an outdoorsy person and looking for the highest protection available.

Angela w Awetwetw
Angela w Awetwetw

Are any of them fragrance-free?? It looks like they all have fragrance minus the la roche poshay one possibly ( its not on your site so I can’t check)

Have there been any fragrance-free sunscreens you’ve been teaching for often??

Hina Mian
Hina Mian

Hi, I love your blog and how much work you put into it. It’s amazing! I will be traveling to Japan very soon, I’m interested in starting a skin care line made in Japan. I would love to connect with you if you’re interested in this project. Please email me and I’ll share my information with you.