A Love and a Shrug #3: SPF Edition

I am currently in China visiting my family and summer is in full swing around here. While I try to stay indoors as much as possible to avoid the scorching sun and ridiculously high temperatures, SPF is an essential in my everyday morning skincare routine. UVA rays can penetrate through windows and those are the UV rays that cause photo-aging in the skin, so it's important to wear a broad spectrum UVA+UVB sunscreen even when staying indoors.

My love this month is the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Water Base SPF 50 PA+++. I've seen Asian beauty bloggers rave about this SPF, so I was pleased to find it at my local Watsons. This SPF has such a unique texture, I don't think I've ever seen another one quite like it. It really does feel very watery, even more so than most moisturizers I own, kind of like a really lightweight gel-cream texture. On the skin, it spreads and absorbs so effortlessly. Apart from the active sun protection ingredients, it also contains hyaluronic acid and citris fruit extracts to hydrate the skin. I wouldn't usually say this for an SPF product, but those who can't be bothered with too many steps in a skincare routine could skip the morning moisturizer and go straight to this SPF. It's incredibly hydrating and doesn't give my skin that greasy feeling that SPF products often have.

Despite the love, I do have a few problems with this product. First, it is a chemical sunscreen, and I do normally prefer a physical sunscreen. Physical sunscreen blocks UV rays like a shield, while chemical sunscreens absorb UV rays before they reach the skin. I guess I just like the idea of a shield more, because it sounds like I'm getting more protection, and chemical sunscreens are also said to be more irritating for sensitive skin. Being a chemical sunscreen also means that you have to reapply throughout the day (physical sunscreens don't have be reapplied as much if you don't sweat too much, go to the beach, etc.). I have to say that I'm really bad with reapplying SPF, but because this SPF has such a lightweight texture, it doesn't feel like you're piling too much onto the skin throughout the day. The product has a subtle floral fragrance, which is nice, but I do like to avoid fragrance whenever possible as it is a skin irritant. However, I have been using this SPF for a while and it does not irritate my skin at all.

Another problem is the high alcohol content. Alcohol is the second ingredient right after water, which means that there's a high concentration of it in the product. Alcohol in skincare is known to irritate and dry out the skin, but I'm kind of torn on this ingredient. Many well-known Asian skincare brands use alcohol in their products (AmorePacific is one that comes to mind) to achieve that lightweight yet very hydrating texture that my skin loves. I don't fuss too much over the inclusion of alcohol in this product because it works so well for me, but my other sensitive skin readers may want to take caution.

The SPF that didn't make the cut this summer is the Dr. Sebagh Sun-City Protection SPF 30. I bought this a while back when Feelunique was clearing out their stock of Dr. Sebagh products, and let me just say that Dr. Sebagh is not a cheap brand even at 50% off, so I had high hopes for this product.  In contrast to the Biore SPF, this is a purely physical sunscreen, which I usually prefer. Like all physical sunscreens, it does leave a white cast upon application, but that disappears in a few minutes. The texture of this product though, I really just don't understand. It's incredibly thick, so you have to really rub it in. It doesn't mix well with water, so if your face is wet from your prior skincare steps, you will have a very hard time spreading this SPF out. On the skin, this product leaves a very weird finish. When I touch my face, it doesn't feel smooth, kind of more like a chalky, almost rubbery finish. Not a comfortable feeling at all. The product also just kind of sits on the skin throughout the whole day and can feel quite heavy. Overall, I just found this a real pain to use and can't be bothered with it.

At the end of the day, remember to take your SPF off like you would take makeup off to avoid clogged pores and breakouts.

What is your favourite SPF this summer?

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