Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Few Sunscreen Reviews

About a month ago, I bought a few different facial sunscreens from Sephora in order to use up my 2011 FSA balance.  In case you didn't know, FSA is a flexible spending account that the government allows you to contribute money from your paychecks to pre-tax and get reimbursed on qualified expenses you made during the year.  The qualified expenses are usually medical expenses, and used to include over the counter medicine.  But due to the healthcare package that was passed, you now have to have a prescription even for OTC drugs in order to get FSA reimbursement.  Well of course I did not know that, so when I tried to spend my money from my 2011 balance I was told that I could not just go buy a bunch of Advil.  I way over estimated how much money to contribute last year, and ended up with about $250 left over.  Since it's use it or lose it, I had to find some stuff to spend money on.  My employer allows a catch up period so I could still spend my 2011 money this year during the first couple months.  I did some research and found out that sunscreens that are over SPF 30 (that does not include SPF 30) are eligible!  Oh, and so are condoms.  But not OTC drugs.  How silly!

Oh well, so it was time to get busy shopping on  $250 sounds like a lot of money to spend on sunscreen, but really it's not, if you are shopping at Sephora.  I decided to try a few different brands.  I'll start with my favorite.

Shiseido Extra Smooth Sun Protection Lotion - SPF 38:

This was the first time I had tried the Shiseido brand.  I was really pleasantly surprised by how nice this sunscreen is!  It goes on super smooth, gets absorbed quickly, does not leave any residue, and smells great (not like sunscreen at all)!  It feels so light on, you would never know that this was sunscreen.  I like the high SPF as well.  It works great under makeup, and does not make your face shiny at all even after wearing it all day.  I really love it!  This bottle is 3.3 oz, and it costs $34.  It's a little bit runny consistency, but you do not need to use a lot each time and I think it will last a long time.  It also comes in higher protection, like SPF 60.

Shiseido Sun Protection Eye Cream 32 SPF:

Another winner from Shiseido.  This eye cream is amazing.  I only wish the protection was higher, like 50 SPF??  It feels similar to the facial lotion, but it does not sting your eyes at all if it accidentally gets in.  My eyes are super sensitive to sunscreen, and if any gets in my eye I will be tearing for hours.  I've done sweaty workout sessions after putting this on and have not felt any discomfort whatsoever.  The lotion above though, does sting my eyes.  I found out the hard way while doing hot yoga and could not keep my eyes open half way through class.  

I put this eye cream on both my upper eyelid as well as the areas beneath my eyes and around the corner of my eyes.  The tube is quite small, at only 0.507 oz for $32.50, but you really only need a tiny bit each time so I think this one will last a while too.  I put it on under my makeup every morning after I apply eye cream.  So I guess each morning I have 5 layers on my eye area... a serum, a moisturizing eye cream, this sun protection eye cream, my BB cream, and a little bit of powder to finish off.  LOL... it's a process.

This is a very nice sunscreen.  It's very similar to the Shiseido one, and I think I may like it even slightly better than the Shiseido.  But it just comes down to cost.  This one is only 1 oz for $45, compared to Shiseido's 3.3 oz for $34.  SPF 40 and SPF 38 are pretty much the same, so you do the math.  I like it ever so slightly better, that it does not justify the big difference in price.  What I like better about it is that it makes my skin super silky feeling after putting it on.  And it may control shine a little bit better throughout the day.  Otherwise it feels very similar to Shiseido.  The consistency even looks exactly the same.  

Ok just for the record, this was not FSA reimbursable since it is not a pure lotion.  FSA doesn't allow reimbursement for foundations or powders with SPF built in.  Only strict sunscreen lotions.  Plus this one is only SPF 30, FSA will reimburse only if it's at least SPF 31.  Haha.

I was actually mainly curious what this BB cream was like compared to my Nanoce.  It costs quite a bit more, at $37.  I think all of Sephora's BB creams are over priced actually.  I ended up returning this after using it a couple times.  The color was not right for me to begin with.  I got the lightest color since the other one was out of stock.  And it is too light for me.  It's very white, almost ghostly.  But you can spread it out and it looks better.  This BB cream is extremely dry, which from what I heard about BB cream is kind of an oxymoron.  BB creams are supposed to make your skin look supple and moist.  This Clinique BB cream feels just like any liquid foundation.  The coverage is not bad though.  I actually liked the color when I put it around my eye area.  But it's not worth it to keep around just for my eyes.

I love my On the Go Cleanser and Walnut Complexion Scrub from Ole Henriksen, so I had high hopes for this sunscreen.  But it is just ok.  This is the only sunscreen out of everything I bought that actually smells like sunscreen.  It's also a lot drier than the Shiseido and Laura Mercier ones.  So it feels a little bit heavy to wear under makeup.  It's not bad, and if I didn't have the other 2 to compare, I would probably like it fine.  But it's just a little underwhelming, nothing to write home about.  At $35 for 1.7 oz, it's not really worth it.  Once again, the Shiseido one is a much better value and nicer product.

And that's all!  I actually just noticed that Shiseido now has another product - the Urban Enviornment Oil-Free UV Protector SPF 42.  I love the fact that it's oil-free and am intrigued by it.  It does cost a lot more than the one I have, at $30 for 1 oz.  I wonder if it's an even more amazing product!  Might give it a try a little later, since I do have 2012 FSA balance as well... LOL!  So I guess every year from now on I will just contribute a couple hundred bucks into my FSA account and buy lots of sunscreens with it.  


  1. I have tried almost all of these. I think the Laura Mercier is the best one. It always sells out at Neiman Marcus here. I love one by Skinceuticals and if I am visiting a really dry climate La Roche Posay has a great one. Clarins has a nice one, too...very similar to the Laura M. I tend to be on the oily skin side, so picky about my sunblocks. I also have sensitive skin. Thanks for the review!

    1. Sounds like you've tried lots of sunscreens! I almost bought the Clarins one too... thanks for letting me know! I might get it later to try out. I do really like the LM one, but it sure is $$$!

  2. I use Shiseido when I surf & it works so well! Smells so fresh too

  3. So the FSA approved the extra smooth sun protection lotion?


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...