Thursday, June 18, 2009

Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++

After I finished my tube of Clinique Derma White Super City Block SPF 40 PA++, I was looking for a lighter sunscreen with higher UVA protection. The first product that I definitely wanted to try was the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++. As far as brand name sunscreens go, it is one of the most economical since you get more product for your money. It is also one of the consistently most top rated sunscreens.

The Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion comes in a 3.3 oz plastic bottle that's fairy light weight. There is a cartridge inside the bottle to help evenly mix up the sunscreen when you shake it before each use. The snap-on cap flips up very easily but is durable so you don't have to worry about it spilling out into your purse or bag. This product is made in Japan which means it is definitely quality.

This sunscreen is also:
- water resistant, perspiration resistant (notice it says resistant rather than I don't think it's meant for actual heavy water or sweating activities)
- extremely concentrated, protects against UVA and UVB (3 +'s means you get the maximum UVA protection there is out there, and UVA rays are the ones that cause wrinkles)
- highly nourishing, contains "Xylitol" to "retexturize, counteract roughness, and keep skin looking soft" and the "antioxidant Thiotaurine" (I have never heard of these ingredients being used in other products so I don't know much about their effectiveness)
- can be used on face and body.
- can be applied repeatedly and still be invisible on skin
- no sticky or filmy feeling

I think many beauty bloggers have probably already tried this sunscreen before. Although I'm relatively new to trying out high-end sunscreens (remember my disastrous bout with MAC Prep and Prime SPF 50 last year?), I have pretty high standards for what I consider a good sunscreen. I want one that has all the lightness and consistency of a SPF 30 or under sunscreen, but with SPF 40 or higher and maximum UVA protection.

When I first started using this product, I was amazed that it actually had the consistency of a liquid. I had not known it was possible for a high SPF sunscreen to come in this form at all! In terms of spreading over the face, I found it much easier than the sunscreens I had previously tried. It's not heavy, dries quickly, and doesn't leave a greasy or oily feeling. Within the first couple days, I definitely thought this sunscreen was "holy grail" material and I immediately stocked up on an extra bottle when Sephora had a 15% off sale.

However, I don't really find that this sunscreen is as "non-sticky" or "non-filmy" as it claims to be. Though it's pretty light and has a whitish color, and dries to a matte finish after applying it over my skin, I can still definitely feel it covering my skin in a liquid-powdery sort of film, if that makes sense. The finish is not very different from MAC's Prep and Prime SPF 50 in actuality, so some people might not really be bothered by it. However, I don't think it absorbs as well as a sunscreen with less protection. Like many sunscreens, it does help a bit with concealing redness and blemishes on your skin before makeup, but I think this is only because it has a slight whitish cast. Over a month ago, when I was at school, my skin was going through a dry, dehydrated phase and this product did not help at all. It probably made my skin even drier. Thus, I developed a habit of putting on a lighter, more moisturizing SPF underneath it (Clinique Superdefense SPF 25 for Dry-Combination skin was amazing). Since I don't have naturally smooth, patch-less skin in the first place, that made it even harder for me to apply foundation or powder over the sunscreen. Since the finish already created a film on my skin, it wasn't that great to reapply over makeup. By the end of the day, I felt like I had a layer of sunscreen cake on my face and I couldn't wait to wash it all off with cleansing oil.

I am not trying to dissuade any of you from buying this product because I really do think it is quite good, and a lot of people like it, but it just simply falls short of my expectations. I want a sunscreen that feels more moisturizing, is more fluid, but still maintains the same high level of protection. I think this sunscreen is great for extremely hot days where you know you'll be sweating a lot, or a day at the beach (if you won't spend too much time in the water). Whether or not it works for you just really depends on your lifestyle. For someone like me, who spends most of her time running around between work, school, and home, it's a bit unnecessary as a daily sunscreen. So I'm currently debating whether I should return my extra bottle and try out a different sunscreen. I'm considering the Clarins UV Plus SPF 40. Have any of you tried it?

Anyway, here are the Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++ ingredients.

Active ingredients: Octinoxate (7.4%), Zinc oxide (13.9%)
Inactive ingredients: Water, cyclomethicone, butylene glycol, dimethicone, polymethyl methacrylate, trimethysiloxysilicate, polybutylene glycol/PPG-9/1 Copolymer, dimethicone copolyol, dextrin palmitate, xylitol, methyl gluceth-10, glutathione, zinc myristate, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, thiotaurine, scutellaria baicalensis extract, ectoin, cyclopentasiloxane, glycerin, acrylates/dimethicone copolymer, aluminum hydroxide, isostearic acid, stearic acid, disteardimonium hectorite, silica, alcohol, trisodium edta, BHT, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, ethyparaben, fragrance, titanium dioxide

With the impending summer, more people are getting concerned about sun protection. A couple weeks ago, I was surfing the internet on some downtime and came across these articles. Hope you find them as equally interesting as I did.

Daily Green - Reformulation of European Sunscreens to meet new UVA standards

Newsmax - Broccoli Juice as a Natural Sunscreen?

Also, there quite a few summer contests going around! Luluchinadoll is holding a giveaway in celebration of her 100 followers--there is still a little time to enter!


Tina { Luphia Loves... } said...

another great review!! good sun block in the summer is a must :)

Anonymous said...

I tried the Clarins UV Plus HP SPF 40 PA+++. At first I was delighted about the texture. It's light and filmy. It dries up fast so if your face is dry you may want to moisturise your face first. (But I read that this may affect SPF protection?) Later, I found more spots on my face. Was pretty upset about that. I read some reviews later and found that it doesn't offer as much protection as Shiseido's Ultimate Sun Protection.

Anonymous said...

By the way, the Sephora website states that the cream version has 13.9% zinc for the cream version and not for the lotion if you look at the ingredients lists. Which leaves me wondering which one offers better protection 'cos the last time I asked a salesgirl, she said both were the same, just a matter of which texture you like. Anyway, both the lotion and cream won awards (if you check out the Shiseido website).

Tammy said...

Hi, great blog.
Regarding sunscreen, I share your thoughts on the Shiseido sun lotion. I am looking for a good sunscreen that got high protection and matte finish as I have oily/acne prone skin. In my research, I came across La Roche Posay Athelios lotion as being a 'top rated' product of this category and wondering if you ever tried that one?