First, a little background information
I’ve had Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation since I was about 10 or 11 years old, and began breaking out in pretty severe, non-cystic acne due (mostly) to hormones and sluggish skin cell turnover. Now, at the age of 36, I am about three years into my kbeauty journey, and I think I can see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of PIH.
For reference, my skin is oily and acne-prone these days (used to be oily-dehydrated, but good toners, essences, serums, and an abundance of sheet masks have mostly taken care of that issue), and my skin tone is MAC NC42.
Sunscreen, in addition to my multi-step Korean beauty routine, has been essential in allowing my scars to fade. Another important factor has been keeping my damn hands off my face, which is easier said than done for a picker.
So. Light at the end of the tunnel. I have been wearing sunscreen consistently for nearly 18 months, and 2/3 of my face is finally PIH-free.
Why you’re here
I am going to review two sunscreens that I have not read about for those of us who are melanin-blessed. White cast is such an annoyance for those with dark skin, so I feel like I may actually be contributing to the world of Asian beauty by writing this post.
Skin Aqua Sarafit SPF 50 PA++++
Can you see it over on the left? I neglected to take
a solo picture of it.
This sunscreen was spirited out of Japan just before the whole kerfuffle
about packages with Japanese sunscreen being turned back by Canada Post. I’m not sure how it got through, I’m quite sure the package was labelled as containing sunscreen *shrug*
I purchased this on Ebay, you can find Japanese sellers with great reviews easily by searching Skin Aqua Sunscreen.
I used this sunscreen on the back of my NC42 hand, after applying an average (for me) number of layers of skincare that include several toners, essences, and moisturizer:
I applied these layers one at time on the back of my left hand, and left them dry completely before applying the Skin Aqua Sarafit SPF 50 PA++++.
Maybe a tiny bit too much even for my big hand, but better safe than sorry.
Out of the tube, it immediately brought back memories of the late 90’s for me: it smelled like cheap vodka, and felt a bit greasier than my usual sunscreen, Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50 PA ++++, which I’ve been using for more than a year now.
Not a drop unused. I’ve got two more on the go right now.
Smooshed around to show some texture
After applying, but before tapping it in
I tapped the formula into my skin for 30 seconds in the same manner I would have on my face. There was a bit of a sheen, but my skin did not feel greasy. I stopped smelling like Stolichnaya vodka about two minutes into the process.
Six minutes after initial application.
Little bit of shine, but I’d say no white cast.
Six minutes after initial application
If you look closely, you can see the dried
sheen where I’ve applied the sunscreen.
At about six minutes after application, I felt that the sunscreen had created a “shell” over my skin where it was applied. As in, I could feel the non-greasy, dry layer of sunscreen. My hand felt smooth, but I could tell from the look and feel, that it was covered in an almost-invisible, slightly stiff layer. This makes me think that the Skin Aqua Sarafit might make a good base for makeup on oily skin.
Let’s take last look at any possible white cast.
Like Tracy from Fanserviced-b, I too, found myself trying to make
my hand look slimmer. Still don’t know if it worked; it is what it is.
I see no white cast with this product on my NC42 skin, so I believe this would be a good sunscreen for any skin tone. However, at six minutes post-application, there is a bit of a dry sheen, which may or may not be a problem for some of my melanin-blessed sisters who were hoping for a truly invisible sunscreen.
I think the sheen on my skin looks like I put a bit of highlighter all over, but in my particular case, I use full coverage foundation on a daily basis, so it wouldn’t be visible unless I went bare-faced.
My opinion on the Skin Aqua Sarafit SPF 50 PA++++ is go for it, because I’ve tried multiple Japanese sunscreens and have not found one that looks completely invisible on my skin. This formula dried down within six minutes. I think this sunscreen would be ideal for those with oilier skin, and that those with dry skin might not appreciate the formula due to the higher amount of alcohol.
Of course, you need to be sure that your skin can handle alcohol and the ingredients
contained within, so see if you can get yourself a decant
first, or throw caution to the wind and buy a bottle
for approximately $6 USD from Amazon.
My opinion on alcohol in sunscreen is the same as my opinion on alcohol in life in general: I like it because it makes me an unabashed dance queen when necessary, and it makes Japanese sunscreen cosmetically elegant and therefore a pleasure to use for me.
Skin Aqua UV Super Moist SPF 50 PA++++
I purchased this on Ebay, you can find Japanese sellers
with great reviews easily by searching Skin Aqua UV Super Moist
Using the Google Translate app on my phone, I was able to see that Skin Aqua UV Super Moist SPF 50 PA ++++ (whew!) is water resistant. I applied this product on my right hand, after applying all the same layers of kbeauty products that I applied to my left hand for the other sunscreen test above.
One small pump for my hand, one giant
whatever for womankind.
This sunscreen felt like somewhat thin, runny lotion. It smelled like something non-descript, and not so much like cheap vodka. The texture was like a light gel-liquid.
Smeared around to show more texture.
The Skin Aqua UV Super Moist did not feel sticky on my skin, and after patting it in, it still had a slight white cast two minutes into the process. By three minutes in, the white cast was completely gone, but it didn’t appear to be drying as quickly as I would have liked. I set a timer for five minutes to see what would happen to this goop on my hand. At a total of eight minutes post-application, the sunscreen had mostly disappeared into my skin, with a slight sheen left behind, but it still wasn’t dry enough that I would have felt comfortable applying foundation over it.
Eight minutes post-application.
Seventeen minutes post-application. I like.
In total, I had to leave this the UV Super Moist on for 17 minutes before I felt like it had dried down to the point where I would feel comfortable applying my full coverage foundation over it.
I liked the look but not the time it took to get there. This would be a pain for me in the mornings, as I am usually in a rush and only have five minutes to let my sunscreen dry down. However, I believe that less alcohol and some scientifically-proven effective moisturizers in the formula is the reason for this.
There was still a sheen, but that the UV Super Moist was not as dry or stiff and noticeable as the Sarafit. I could discern no white cast
on my skin, so again, I believe this product would be good for people of all skin tones, especially those of us with darker skin who cannot afford to be walking around looking ashy and grey in the face.
Overall, I would recommend UV Super Moist due to it’s high SPF and PA++++ rating, and the fact that it has no white cast on my NC42 skin. However, this sunscreen might be a little too moisturizing for those of us with oily skin. So, I would recommend this product specifically for those of you with combination or dry skin, as you may appreciate it’s moistness more than oily skin would.
Skin Aqua Sarafit SPF 50 PA++++ VS Skin Aqua UV Moist SPF 50 PA++++
Sarafit: higher alcohol content (smelly AF), dries quickly, distinct, dry layer of sheen left behind, but no white cast. Would be ideal for oilier skin types as the formula leaves a dry layer behind that would form a good base for foundation.
Aqua UV Moist: lower alcohol content (less smelly), dries slowly, less sheen after drying, soft flexible layer left behind, but no white cast. Would be ideal for dryer skin types because it seems more moisturizing.
Other Blogger Sunscreen Reviews
(MAC NW45) loves her Biore Aqua Rich Watery Gel Sunscreen and names it as one of her skincare Holy Grails. I just received my lone bottle last week, after ordering it in…March? I’m sure I’ll love it as much as she does!
knows what’s up- if you’re not using sunscreen appropriately, your skincare routine is a waste of both time and money.
said it best: the best sunscreen for you is the one you use. She has reviews of other sunscreens that she loves, and ones that tanked in her books. Helpful for people of all skin tones.
Snow White and the Asian Pear
can only tolerate certain sunscreens, so her standards and reviews are very specific. Although I don’t have sensitive skin myself, I find her reviews helpful because my daughter seems to have similar reactions to drugstore sunscreens and refuses to use any because her face immediately starts itching and burning on contact.
Kind of Stephen, the skincare expert
has a great post about sunscreen myths. I encourage you to read this because you need to know the science behind sunscreen so you know when people are feeding you BS.
What BS you ask? How about this big one:
- you need to let your sunscreen sit on your face for 15 or 20 minutes before it starts working to protect you
There’s a good reason to wait, but that’s not it.
Alrighty! Thanks for reading my ramblings, I hope I was helpful to someone. I have two more zero white cast sunscreens to review and a confession to make in the coming weeks. HINT: APPLY SUNSCREEN ALL OVER NOT JUST YOUR FACE 💀💀💀💀