Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Where It's At: Reader Recs for Asian Sunscreen

Last week I posted a shout-out to a commenter living in Japan (we'll call her Ampersand) who'd previously recommended some Asian brands of sunscreen because the sunscreen over there is a totally different game than what we have in the U.S. 

Asian ladies take their sunscreen very seriously and the formulations are so much more elegant and sophisticated than most of what's available here. And lets face it - a good sunscreen is pretty key in staving off aging. I wear SPF 30 every single day but since I'll be adding retinol into my skin care I thought I should get something more serious.  I couldn't find her original comment so I asked for recs again and the help I got back was so freaking amazing that I didn't want it to get lost. So, with Ampersand's permission, I'm reposting it: 

Here you go young lady- I looked up stuff that you could order right off Amazon: (FYI totally not affiliated, just very enthusiastic about Japanese and Korean products.)

I was already into them before I moved here, but now that I have access to so many different brands, I can confirm; there is a definite standard of excellence, and you don't have to pay a lot to get it. (Although you can if you want to- some stuff is very expensive, especially Korean.)

(I've used the Shiseido Urban one- I actually didn't love it- (I'd go with the blue and yellow line if you really want) and/but these are just as good or better and waaay cheaper. (Plus half of them are Shiseido anyway, Shi's other lines.)

Don't let the small sizes fool you- a drop goes a long way, and a little bottle lasts forever. I live by the beach and slather the stuff on every time I get wet, shower or ocean, and only went through 1.5 bottles of Biore pink from May to October, so...(I use something different on my body though.)


Biore Sarasara Uv Aqua Rich Waterly Essence 

Hada Labo UV Creamy Gel SPF50
Shiseido Senka Aging Care UV Sunscreen SPF50
or regular:

Shiseido SENKA | Sunscreen | Mineral Water UV Gel SPF50


Its skin Smart Solution 365 Silky Sun Block
Innisfree Eco Safety Perfect Sunblock 


I've seen this in the local drugstore, but I've never tried it-( I wouldn't worry about the "beige" color if you are: generally the BBs and tinted sunscreens only come in 1 or 2 shades- even if they look a bit too dark in the tube, they adjust to your skin. And sunscreens even more so because it balances out/you don't get a white cast.)

KissMe Sunkiller BB Perfect Strong SPF50+

And like I said- look into all the Korean BBs and CCs and powders to put over your sunscreen. IMO they behave exactly like foundations, but also have (pretty amazing) skin care properties as a bonus, and they almost all have SPF, broad spectrum, and high numbers.

Not done yet ;)

....and because this is the way to properly get off Japanese sunscreen- a really good, and inexpensive oil cleanser (have you ever used an oil cleanser? Totally brilliant. - 1 or 2 pumps whisks every trace of ss and makeup- even wp mascara etc- off in less than 2 minutes. You don't even need a washcloth or cotton- just wash your face with it and rinse it off.) [ed. note: I do! I currently use DHC Deep Cleansing Oil.] I use the Softymo White- it smells like oranges, I love it.

If you're interested, get this while you're at it:

Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist 

(to be used after cleansing, before serums, creams etc) The Japanese call this "lotion" but US would probably call it a tonic...but it's not a useless-if-pleasant type tonic- it actually does something. Once you start using it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. There are all different kinds within the Hada Labo line (and most brands carry lotion) - this is the standard one.

Great information, right? Thanks, Ampersand! I ordered the Hada Labo Hyaluronic lotion and the Shiseido Senka Aging Care UV Sunscreen pretty much immediately. I'm testing them out now and will post a full review next week! 


  1. I wonder how these would work on African American skin. My biggest issue with sunscreen is that chalky residue it leaves on my skin. I currently use Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer Broad Spectrum SPF 20- but I would love to use something with higher SPF.

    1. I will tell you the most amazing part of the Shiseido Senka is that it goes on completely clear and isn't greasy at all. It's totally different from the type of sunscreen I'm used to.

    2. I too am African American (as dark as Lupita Nyong'o), and I use and love La Roche Posay Anthelios Ultra Light SPF 60 Fluid. No chalky residue/ash and no greasiness/shininess (it is mattifying).

  2. Please make sure to put on more than a "drop" as suggested here -- SPFs are calculated with the assumption that you use 1/4 teaspoon for your face, so if you use less, you're getting a lot less protection.

  3. I loved this post. I lived in Korea for a year and found their skincare (and make up, and about everything beauty-related) so great. Looking forward to hearing your reviews. I'm going to try a few myself - surprised they're so inexpensive. Great suggestions and post!! Thanks.

  4. Fantastic roundup--many thanks to you and Ampersand! I'm amazed how affordable some of these are. I love some La Roche Posay but man it's expensive.