Every year I'm faced with the same quest: find the perfect non-greasy high protection sunscreen, preferrably mineral-based, to withhold the hot and humid New York summer without sliding off my face or causing breakouts. This year I decided to go back to the paragon of UV protection, Paula's Choice herself, and opted for the Resist Super-Light Daily Wrinkle Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 30 ($29 for 60ml/ 2 oz)
. Did you guess it's the adjective 'super-light' that really got me?
I'm the prime example of a fair skin type that gets sunburn just from looking at the photos of sunlit beaches in travel magazines (well, maybe not quite... but close enough). But all jokes aside, I take my sun protection very seriously, to the point of carrying a travel size bottle of SPF with me at all times, trying to reapply it if I can, and hiding in the shadow after my prescribed 15 minutes is up (yeah, because we all need that Vitamin D, people). I have been made fun of repeatedly because of my 'fear of the sunlight', but I don't care; even disregarding the whole skin cancer and photo-ageing issue, being burnt is simply no fun.
I have to admit that I didn't have very high hopes for this Paula's Choice Super-Light Moisturizer + SPF; last year I tried Murad's Oil-Free Sunscreen that promised to be lightweight and matte on the skin as well, but turned out to be everything but light. However, from the moment I removed the safety seal and smoothed some of the Paula's Choice on my hand, I was really impressed. The texture is quite thin but not runny, the product blends out easily on the skin, and within my moments, my skin is left feeling smooth and matte, like I don't even have sunscreen on. Throughout the day, it also doesn't cause my skin to produce more sebum, and keeps it relatively fresh and shine-free. That's a big deal, people! There's also no scent to it (like all Paula's Choice products), and as a bonus, it contains some skin-loving antioxidants (resveratrol, Vitamin E & C).
Now for some downsides: it's quite expensive, no arguing about that - I'm expecting this size will only last me through the summer, or maybe not even that long. It's also slightly tinted, and while the tint works for me personally (it even cancels out some of my redness, so it's nice to wear on its own as well as under make-up), it won't work for everyone; I'm expecting it may be too pink for warmer/ yellow & olive skintones, and too pale/ashy for darker skins. I understand perfectly why Paula chose to formulate this with an added tint (to counteract that usual white cast caused by zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide), but maybe releasing it in a couple shades would help ensure everyone is able to find a match. It's also not much of a moisturizer in my opinion, so if your skin is even a little dry, make sure to moisturize beforehand. And lastly, for my very fair skin, I actually wish this came in a higher SPF; they offer another product in SPF50, which is my usual go-to, but it's a chemical sunscreen and some reviewers mention it's not as light as this one.
Hope this helps if you've been looking for a sunscreen suitable for oily and combination skin, or you've been wondering which one to try from the Paula's Choice range. I'm definitely happy with it for the time being, but I'm also itching to try one of the Japanese or Korean sunscreen formulas. What is your favorite SPF product?
The SPF 50 fluid from PC is actually what I use. I haven't tried this one to compare, but the other one has a thin, almost runny texture and feels light on my normal skin. And although I prefer physical filters, I can put it on my eyelids and under eye area and it does NOT burn. My skin isn't sensitive, but most chemical sunscreens make my eyes burn if I put it anywhere near them. I'm on my second tube now, after replacing my beloved Skinceuticals Physical Fusion with it.ReplyDelete
Thank you for the recommendation! I used to have a non-greasy SPF 45 from PC that was meant for face and body, and it had that thinner texture too, so I wonder if the SPF 50 fluid is similar. I liked the SPF 45 okay, but I think this Super Light SPF 30 has a better texture for the face - and it doesn't burn around the eyes either (darn you, under eye freckles!). I will definitely try a sample of the fluid next time I order from PC!Delete
I bought a couple of Paula's Choice sunscreens last month and got some samples of this. It was my favorite of the three I tried, but it confirmed my fears - the Zinc Oxide in physical sunscreens gives me a weird rash on my chin. I'm returning the two I bought and may exhange it for the chemical version you mention, but if it's darker than this, it will be too dark for me. Off to Google reviews and swatches.ReplyDelete
Have you tried the PC Hydralight sunscreen Maggie has recommended down below? Maybe that one would work out well for you. I actually really like Zinc Oxide-based sunscreens, but I know they're not for everyone. It's a good thing Paula's Choice has a flexible return policy in the US!Delete
Hi Monika, thanks for reviewing this b/c I've been meaning to try this one out as well, but I think the tint would be quite pink on my yellow-toned skin (or at least it looks like it). With that said, I do like the PC's Resist Daily Fluid SPF 50 (all-chemical sunscreen, it says non-greasy but my dry skin tolerates it just fine) -- it is great for reapplying, too since the texture is thin. I have this in my purse of all times along with Mentholatum Sunplay (Japanese, combo ZnO + chemical, tiny bottle, great for purse, price-wise is not so great since the bottle is so small, I need at least 3 to last me the entire summer). Hada Labo sunscreens are also great (the Japanese kind, I got this and Sunplay from Amazon).ReplyDelete
Actually, this year I'm going back to LRP sunscreens (Anthelios XL) now since their PPD rating is quite high -- the LRP that is sold in Europe, that is, not the ones approved by FDA and sold here, sadly. Many Japanese sunscreen, while they have high SPF, has quite low PPD rating (I need at least PA+++ = PPD rating around 25 I think? The Sunplay has PA++++, Hada Labo PA +++) while Anthelios XL products have most PPD rating above 30.
Anyhooo... I am nuts my sunscreens as well! LOL and honestly, one of the "best" is by Badger, it is as thick & white as it can get, my son hardly had any burn, so far, and it is soooo tenacious, it takes coconut oil just to wash it off, we hardly need to reapply. Now, *that* is some serious protection, don't you think? :-D
Claire, I think you should write another post on sunscreens for your blog, you're a well of knowledge on sun protection! I'll be trying both the Sunplay and Hada Labo next; I recently got their Hyaluronic Lotion and saw their sunscreens were very reasonably priced. How do you get your European versions of LRP Anthelios? I recommended that one to my mum in Poland and wanted to buy one for myself too here in the US, but I wasn't aware the formulation was much different.Delete
You know, I tried one of the Badger sunscreens and it was awful for me! I was using it on my face and it was so greasy that I got hardpan in one of my bronzers because of the oil transfer. And lol, yes, it was VERY white. Maybe for the kiddos it's a good one, but under make-up, not so much :/
I don't know if I'm a "well of knowledge" of sunscreen, honestly, I just use up and use a lot of it over the years, me and the Tod.Delete
LRP I got them from amazon U.S., in fact, I was going to tell you, some are shipped from Poland! Yes, there are some sunscreen formulation/ingredients that are still stuck in FDA (ugh!) but highly effective. The way I look it up is by going to LRP's website, pick a sunscreen that you want to try, and type it in amazon search box. Compare what pops out with the actual title on LRP's website.
In general, I think sunscreens in the market do good job in terms of UVB protection but not so much for UVA (UVB = Burn, UVA = Ageing, aka spots, pigmentation,etc. PPD = persistent pigment darkening) so I much rather focus on UVA protection in sunscreen (that's what we all need anyway, right?) :-) I'll try hard to finish my sunscreen post, I have one started the beginning of the year (!!) still not done :-\ ugh.
I never found Sunplay in stores. The Biore Aqua one everyone raves about feels uncomfortable on my sensitive skin, since it has that citrus smell and a lot of alcohol in it, I think. Thank you for the review, I was debating wether or not I should purchase this one, but PC is very very expensive in EU, so are the postal fees, samples, etc. Personally I love the Innisfree long lasting sunscreen. It's a physical one, and not very fluid, but for my dry skin it's perfect, non-irritating and lasts nicely on my skin.ReplyDelete
Thanks for the heads up on the citrus smell in Biore Aqua - I'm allergic to most citrus essential oils, so maybe I should skip that one. I can imagine how expensive PC can get in the EU :( I've looked at the Innisfree sunscreens too, they sounded really good actually, and not too pricey!Delete
According to Ratzilla cosme, it has grapefruit, orange and lemon fruit extracts :/ (+fragrance)Delete
Wow!!! This sounds like a good one. But I guess I have to pass on this one for its kinda expensive and the size is too small. I am okay with Nivea sunscreen.ReplyDelete
Hahah, Nivea has some good stuff, right?Delete
I've completely switched over to the Japanese ones because they play so nice with makeup and feel so nice on the skin (probably all the alcohol & the silicones).ReplyDelete
Lately, I'm into the Mentholatun Sunplay one which is SPF 50+ and PA++++, so excellent all-around protection. this one has no alcohol, which I think is kind of hard to find and is a mix of physical & chem.
Also a perk, the kids don't mind being slathered with this one because it feel so nothing-y on the skin.
Another one for Mentholatum Sunplay! Do you get yours on Amazon as well? SPF50+ PA++++ sounds amazing :O No alcohol sounds great too, I've noticed that most Asian sunscreens contain alcohol. Have you tried a Hada Labo sunscreen? I've read some really good reviews online and it's quite inexpensive, so I'm curious...Delete
I've purchased on both eBay and Amazon. :) some shippers are fast and some are super sloooow (like weeks and weeks). I order a bunch so that I never have to fear running out.Delete
I do currently use a Hada Labo. can't recall the name but it is in a pale blue tube. It is all chem filters (I think) and feels a bit drying, so I reserve for body. Feels nice and light though!
I use a clear fluid SPF 30 in a spray bottle from a brand called Kinesys. I find it to be the most comfortable/invisible to wear on my face (not greasy, doesn't burn my eyes, etc.). My sister uses this Paula's Choice sunscreen though, and really likes it. In the past mineral sunscreens have made me break out, so I'm hesitant to try it. I'd like to use a chemical sunscreen higher than 30 on my face, but they usually burn too much around my eyes, so I hope the SPF 30 will do the trick!ReplyDelete
Thank you, added Kinesys to my 'to-try' list! Yeah, the whole problem with sunscreens and breakouts is really annoying... luckily, I don't breakout from 99% of skincare, just from hormones :/ Have you tried using an eye cream with SPF? I have a Clarins SPF 30 that does the job reasonably well, doesn't sting or run into the eyes, but maybe isn't terribly moisturizing - which I try to compensate at night with a heavier eye cream.Delete
The Kinesys sunscreen doesn't burn at all around my eyes, so I'm happy with that for the time being. I guess once you get much higher than 30 the improvement in protection in minuscule anyway - at least I'll use that as an excuse for not wearing anything higher on a daily basis!Delete
The Paula's Choice sunscreens strike me as superbly formulated, especially considering the paucity of options for sensitive AND acne-prone skin. I use the Hydralight, which I love. It's also zinc-based, but without the tint, and a relatively matte finish, though probably not as much as this one. It's also very lightweight. (I may have picked up four of them during the recent sunscreen BOGO.)ReplyDelete
Thank you for the recommendation, the Hydralight sounds amazing! This one can sometimes feel a touch TOO matte, especially when paired with a long lasting foundation. I didn't know they had sunscreen BOGOs, I need to get on that!Delete
Yeah, they have sales all the time! I usually check in once a month to see what's up, and they're pretty good about putting them up on their Facebook page as well.Delete
It's actually great that the tube would only last you a summer, since they effectiveness starts to go down as soon as it makes contact with air (I saw a Chinese blogger testing her 7-8bottles with those uv-sensitive balls)ReplyDelete
I've been hearing so much about PC skincare lately, looking forward to trying some bits out soon. My favourite sunscreen is the Dermalogica Oil-Free Matte - I use it like a primer and adore it!ReplyDelete
Hi Monika, I love my Shiseido Perfect UV Protector, and now it comes in a blue bottle which protects even better when you get wet / when you sweat! It's amazing because it feels light, great as a base before foundation, and my face doesn't burn from the extreme heat here. However, it's pretty high in alcohol.ReplyDelete
If you want to try Hada Labo, Biore or Sunplay, I can help you buy it. I'm guessing the prices might be marked up at Amazon. The prices range from RM20 to RM60 (so that's about USD8 to US18??) and shipping is about US10. If you want my help, just send me a DM on Twitter :-)