I received this sunscreen from Paris, thanks to a giveaway she held to mark her blog’s birthday. It’s a favourite of hers, and the original Extra Smooth Sun Protection with an SPF of 30+ has been around for a long time. I think most Beauty Bees would recognise the curved bright cobalt blue bottle! And yet, I had never tried it before. This is the ‘new-ish’ version, with an SPF of 50+ and ‘WetForce’ protection (more on that later). One thing that confuses me greatly is the different versions of the sunscreen, i.e. there’s also a HydroFresh WetForce Perfect UV Protector, and all the packaging looks pretty much the same. From reading Paris’ blog review of the new sunscreen, the HydroFresh version is just a bit creamier. That being the case, I’m glad I picked up the ‘standard’ version (well, in regards to the texture – see confusing!). So how did this sunscreen fair next to my all time favourite, Tatcha’s Pore Perfecting Sunscreen?
Swim, play, and enjoy the outdoors, knowing your sunscreen loves water as much as you do. Providing powerful protection for your skin, this innovative protective veil actually becomes even more effective on the applied area when exposed to water for 15 minutes*, because of its WetForce technology. This unique formula for body and face includes beneficial ingredients to help prevent skin dryness. Ideal for outdoor activities and sports, it provides high sun protection, yet is comfortable and gentle on the skin.
- Broad spectrum UV protection helps reduce the appearance of photo-aging with exclusive SuperVeil-UV 360™ technology.
Research and development of WetForce
In Shiseido’s research and development, the company focused on the relationship between minerals, such as the calcium ions and magnesium ions in tap water, sea water, perspiration, and the components that make up the film in sunscreens. This resulted in the discovery of an Ionic Mineral Sensor, a technology that causes the minerals in water or perspiration to bond, improving the water repellency of the sunscreen, and making the sunscreen film on the skin more uniform, smoother, and stronger, with a higher protection effect. This new technology will be incorporated into sunscreens in addition to the features already developed by Shiseido, such as easy removal without the need for special cleansers, and a texture that is pleasant to use.
First of all, I love the iconic packaging. No other sunscreen is like it! It is small (you get 50ml of product, the same amount as a face cream/moisturiser) and fits perfectly in the palm of your hand. The slight curve in the bottle make it look modern yet minimalistic. And the colour! I just love bright saturated colours (why be same same, when you can be different?). You need to shake the bottle well before dispensing any product (it has a metal ball inside to the ingredients mix together evenly) and it has a squeeze-y nozzle dispenser. It’s easy to use and control how much product you want.
The texture of the sunscreen is very different to any other sunscreen I have tried. It is a liquid (a little like a lotion) and super runny. This means it is incredibly light weight – I’ve never tried such a light weight sunscreen before! It’s non-oily, not shiny or greasy. It doesn’t clog pores or break me out, thanks to the formulation being non-comedogenic. It sits under makeup really, really well and has no white cast what-so-ever. It has a light ‘sunscreen-y’ scent, but nothing overpowering or perfumed. Shiseido really created a wonder product with this one! The only note I’d make is that because it is so light, do apply it liberally, so you get all the sun protection that the product offers. On stupidly hot days, I would even apply a thin layer over my face and neck and then wait 5 minutes, before applying another layer. Maybe that’s overkill (let me know Shiseido!) but it’s better to be safe than sorry. On hot days, say at the office, if outside for lunch, I don’t find that my skin overheats and turns red like a beetroot. That means it’s working. And I haven’t gotten any new pigmentation spots since using the product (sun spots). If you get purple pigmentation post acne spots, sunscreen is also a must if you want them to fade in 2-3 few weeks, rather than a few months months. How does it differ to my favourite Tatcha’s Pore Perfecting Sunscreen? They are both great sunscreens, but have very different textures. Tatcha’s is a cream, that feels more smoothing and hydrating. It definitely preps the skin for makeup application. The Pore Perfecting Sunscreen is also non-oily, non-greasy and non-shiny, but has an SPF of 35+ instead. Tatcha’s sunscreen hasn’t yet been released in Australia at Mecca, so you need to get it in from the States and Tatch’s shipping rates are high, so that must be factored in. The Pore Perfecting sunscreen retails for $65 US.
Above: Tatcha’s Pore Perfecting Sunscreen on the left and on the right, Shiseido’s Perfect UV Protector WetForce
An SPF of 50+ is of course better than 30 or 35+, but remember that it is only a minimal difference. An SPF of 30 blocks out 96.7% of UVB rays, while 50, blocks out 98% of radiation (source, Skin Cancer Council). Also remember, that the ‘+’ sign on the end of a number (30+ or 50+) means more than. For example, SPF50+ sunscreen must provide at least SPF60 in testing. This is because the same batch of sunscreen will test slightly differently in different laboratories with different methodology. By testing at SPF60, it removes any margin for error. This means that an SPF of 50+ is seriously high protection! Because the sun in Australia is so damaging and strong (there is a hole in the ozone layer above Australia), the higher an SPF factor, the better. When you live in the tropics or in places where the summer sun can be dangerous, Shiseido’s WetForce protection is brilliant. You can’t help but sweat in summer, even if you aren’t playing sports (you start to sweat even when walking to the office, this past week, it was 30 degrees at 10am in the morning!). To have a sunscreen that reinforces that protection barrier on your skin, when exposed to either water or sweat, is genius! I also really like that this sunscreen includes both chemical sunscreens (Octinoxate 7.4% & Octocrylene 3.0%) and physical sunscreen blockers (Titanium Dioxide 1.4% and Zinc Oxide 16.4%). It means you get the best of both worlds – chemical sunscreens are more difficult to ‘rub off’ the skin as they absorb into the skin, while physical blockers are just that, they sit on top of the skin and block/reflect UV rays.
What about PA++++? What the hell does that mean?! Well I’ve looked into it and it seems to be a grading system invested by the Japanese. PA stands for Protection Grade of UVA. Noticed how the SPF factor measures how much protection you get from UVB rays? Sure, ‘broad spectrum’ means protection against both types of rays, but you aren’t told how well your sunscreen protects against UVA rays. Generally physical sunscreen blockers work better at reflecting UVA rays, and hence are great protectors against pigmentation. UVA rays are the ultraviolet rays that cause skin to age. UVB on the other hand causes skin to burn. But back to the PA grading. It makes sense to have a grading system that tells you how much protection you are getting from your sunscreen in protecting your skin from UVA rays. One plus after the PA abbreviation (PA+) means some protection against UVA rays. Two pluses (PA++) means moderate protection, three pluses (PA+++) means very good protection and four pluses (PA++++) excellent protection. I should mention that Australia’s Cancer Council doesn’t recognise this rating system. It doesn’t mean that products sold here in Australia can’t include it on their packaging and descriptions of products, but I suspect they don’t endorse it because it can be vague and open to interpretation (as opposed to a statistical rating). I do think it helps consumers make decisions, especially in the face and skincare categories.
Sunscreens in Australia go through very rigorous testing and if a sunscreen has been allowed to be sold onto our market, it’s been vetted by the best (Cancer Council etc.)! For example, they don’t allow sunscreens to be advertise as having a SPF rating higher than 50, even if the product does, because they don’t want consumers to think they they don’t have to be careful in the sun. Makes sense to me! Here’s the thing though, the Shiseido Perfect UV Protector WetForce SPF 50+ hasn’t been yet released by Shiseido in the Australian market. This isn’t to say that they won’t or that they have failed testing standards in Australia, but rather, it’s the same old story that we get some products much later on than everyone else in the world (or not at all). The regular or ‘original’ Extra Smooth Sun Protection SPF 30+ is available (find it here at David Jones including the tinted foundation version and the compact foundation, which I remember from the 90s!) and has been for a long time. I did track it down at Fresh Fragrances and Cosmetics (the Australian version of the site) except that it’s got extra information on the bottle, but I suspect strongly it’s exactly the same formula (made in Japan) as what I have, just released for a specific country’s market. I’ve noticed Fresh has a lot of brands and products available in Asian markets that are not available here locally (e.g. Biotherm), which is fabulous for us! The Perfect UV Protector WetForce 50+ retails for $59 at Fresh. I think that’s reasonable since the Extra Smooth Sun Protection version of the sunscreen retails for $62 at David Jones. There’s also a sensitive WetForce Sunscreen available at Fresh, you might want to check out, if you have sensitive skin! I found the Shiseido Perfect UV Protector WetForce 50+ at YesStyle, but it was $105 Australian dollars LOL no thank you… I don’t know what happened there YesStyle, because they usually sell skincare products at very reasonable prices. It’s easily found in the US of course, where it can be picked up at Nordstrom for $40 US dollars. In any case, I really, really recommend this sunscreen if you haven’t yet found your holy grail everyday sunscreen! I’m sure I will be repurchasing it and perhaps trying some other suncare products from Shiseido.
I use sunscreen every morning before makeup application. I don’t usually wear makeup when I am at home, except for some BB cream if I am heading out to the shops and feel my skin isn’t looking so great. In Australia, it’s really become a must to apply sunscreen daily, especially since as kids, most of us probably didn’t apply it as often as we should have and might have some underlying damage as a result. If you want to minimise the appearance of ageing at least, finding a sunscreen you don’t mind applying on a daily basis can be a feat. Let’s hope for all of us Beauties, that Shiseido’s sunscreens become more easily available to all! 😉
Catch you next time Beauties,
P.S. If you would like to read more about SPFs and how sunscreens work, check out an old post of mine, Sunscreen 101, written in 2013 – yikes! 😛