First Impressions & Swatches: Make P:rem Blue Ray Sunscreen

Good all-physical UV filter sunscreens are hard to find. "Physical" filter (also known as "inorganic") sunscreens  are sought by people with sensitive skin and/or reactions to chemical UV (also known as "organic") filters, such as yours truly. The most common recommendation request from phys-only sunscreen hunters is for a high protection rated sunscreen with no white cast.

Sadly, with phys-only sunscreens, that just doesn't exist. One of the two options, Titanium dioxide, is literally used as white pigment. Think back to your trusty tube of Titanium White in art class. That's your sunscreen filter bro giving your paints the "whitest white" and also making your sunscreen search hell.

When my former favourite all-phys sunscreen was possibly reformulated (it's not, but more on this later) and I was blown away by a chemical sunscreen I could actually use from Make P:rem, I needed to get my ass in gear and test out some new all-physical options, stat. But I can't review the (orange cap) one I've been using. More on that later too.

So here's a first impression of the Make P:rem UV Defense Me Blue Ray Sun Cream SPF50+ PA++++. That's right, four PA ratings.

Make P:rem Blue Ray Sun Cream physical filter sunscreen
Our backyard wild bunnies were displeased that I plunked this down in their bun buffet patch.

(Incidentally, if you'd like to see one of the bun patch bunnies in action, I tweeted a short video of one that visited during this post here.)

In this post:

  • Why this is a first impression instead of a full review, aka I'm lightly brined by unfortunate developments
  • Differences between the orange (Natural) and blue (Blue Ray) cap versions
  • First impressions of the Blue Ray Sun Cream
  • White cast swatches on NC10 and NC30 skin tones
  • Is it worth it & where to get it

I was initially put off buying this version because I'm highly suspicious of anything "cooling" because that usually means either 1. massive amounts of alcohol, or 2. added menthol, which can be highly irritating.

Just give me a high-rated sunscreen with physical (inorganic) filters that's pleasant to wear, doesn't break me out, and has minimal white cast. So how does the Make P:rem Blue Ray Sun Cream stack up?

Weekend Travel Essentials For Lazy Summer Skincare

I don't travel well. Or rather, I don't prepare for travel well. I always feel stressed out of proportion about the packing stage, and having a multi-step skincare routine complicates even a simple weekend trip by car. Rather than fuss with what skincare to bring, I just grabbed necessities off my sink.

Does anyone else have issues with the sudden appearance of skin troubles during travel? It's like one's cycle; always picks the worst possible time to visit. With that in mind, I prepared for a skin rebellion just in case. They say that what you prepare for doesn't happen, after all.

K-Beauty skincare
I managed to snap these in between intermittent summer showers.

It fit in a ziploc, at least. A large one.

In this post:

  • Sunscreen
  • Double Cleansers
  • Clear Pores & Soothe Skin
  • Brighten & Moisturize
  • Nullify Blemishes
  • Cushion and Concealer
  • Mist because it's @#^$# hot out and heat makes me crabby

Also, these photos will not only feature "Skincare I Brought With Me to My In-Laws' House" but also "Random Items I Pilfered From My Bemused Mother-In-Law's Decor For Photo Props" and "Gifts Of Quirky Things She Correctly Thought I'd Like, Such As Old Books And Shiny Things" because hey, you work with what you have on hand when you're travelling. It's ... a metaphor. Something about necessity, or something.

Anyway, here's what I brought to keep me safe, sane, and with as few surprise pimples as possible.

Feelin' Fancy: Sulwhasoo Hydro-aid Mist Review

Summer skincare usually consists of cleanser, chilled sheet masks, maybe a BHA chemical exfoliant to battle my oily and sweaty pores, and mists. Lots of mists. 'Tis the season for mists, because it's hot and humid and everyone is miserable, and mists are light and most importantly, refreshing.

Sulwhasoo Hydro-aid Mist Review
Benefit of photographing a mist: you can use it in between shots to cool off. Which I dd. A lot.

Although this is a fancy full size bottle, I've actually used (and emptied) a travel size of this mist before. You might recognize the travel size from posts such as K-Beauty & Portion Control: Why Sometimes Good Value Can Be a Bad Idea, and Winter is Coming: Plotting My K-Beauty Skincare Routine for Colder Weather.

In this post

  • Product details
  • Ingredients
  • 4 ways I use mists
  • Where to get full and travel-sizes
  • Final thoughts

Unfortunately, I have no idea where my travel size bottle has gotten to; it's probably sill buried in an unpacked box somewhere, like 99% of my post-move beauty stash. However, during the recent snail rout in NYC, I received a gift bag of goodies from Amore Pacific and conveniently a full size of this mist was in it.

So while bottle in these photos is from Sulwhasoo, it's a product I've already purchased and used on my own. It's no longer sold on their US site regardless. I haven't opened this one yet, but I'll happily commandeer it for photos.

Chemical Love: Make P:rem Capsule Sun Gel Review

Yes, the Make P:rem UV Defense Me Capsule Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++ is an all-chemical/organic sunscreen. This is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill: this a chemical sunscreen review, on my blog.  I know, I can scarcely believe it either.

If you told me two months ago I would be writing a review on a chemical sunscreen with anything to say but "it made my face break out into burning pimples of angry rage" I would never have believed you. All my life, chemical sunscreens have made me want to claw my own face off. It's been all-physical/inorganic sunscreens or bust for me.

Make P:rem UV Defense Me Capsule Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++
When you're that friend who brings a tray and their camera to Sunday afternoon dinners because they need to take photos while the light is still good. #bloggerfriendproblems

It's fitting that the combined enabling powers of the HolyFan duo from The Snailcast are to blame for this unexpected development. During our first ever live snail rout in NYC, we converged on Fanserviced-b's HQ loaded with travel-friendly sample sizes and decants.

After wearing this sunscreen on my neck and chest without incident, I was willing to risk it. Drunk on the spirit of yolo (or maybe it was the White Girl Rosé) I patch tested it on my face, expecting the usual burning, itchy reaction. Nothing untoward happened, unless you count our decision to try freezing the dregs of the wine in an adult novelty mold. Which I don't. 🍆

In this post

  • Product details
  • Ingredients & UV filters
  • My theories on why this isn't destroying my face
  • Swatches
  • Final thoughts, wear time, and how it plays with makeup

On the final day, I recklessly wore this sunscreen all over my face, determined to test it as much as possible in the time we had left. To my amazement, my skin didn't protest and I made it to my PM routine without incident.

HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE?! A chemical sunscreen! On my face! I have some theories on what might be going on, and after chatting with a few others who have the same sunscreen woes, there may be hope for us yet.

Sulwhasoo Golden Bird 2017 Limited Edition Cushion

Forget what I had planned to review, my Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Brightening Golden Bird 2017 Limited Edition beauty is here! It's time for photos, swatches, more photos, and also photos. Because rawr.

Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Brightening Golden Bird 2017 Limited Edition
I'm such a sucker for metallic accents like this. The shinier, the better! #magpiethings

There are two Limited Edition versions of the Perfecting cushions, the regular Perfecting and the Perfecting Brightening; this is the latter. They're both gorgeous though, it was hard to choose. You all know I'm forever a ho for fan of all things Sulwhasoo and their Peony 2014 Limited Edition Cushion is one of my prized K-Beauty possessions.

Sulwhasoo releases Limited Edition cushions and powders every few years, but the last few have left my enthusiasm flaccid and my wallet happy. When this magical baby showed up on my Instagram feed (courtesy of enabler Julie of @pdxbeautful) my skincare boner sprang to attention and I set out to get my hands on it stat.

In this post

  • Photos of the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Brightening Golden Bird 2017 Limited Edition
  • Where to get the Limited Edition cushions
  • What cushions fit into this case for more shade options
  • Swatches of #11 and #13 vs Mac NC10 and NC15

I've reviewed the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion #13 and I've been using the Sulwhasoo Perfecting Cushion Brightening #11 for a while. I'll be doing a full review of it in the future, but right now, it's all about this cushion case.

First Impressions: 5 K-Beauty Sunscreens for Summer

I get asked "what makes Korean beauty products better?" all the time, and the answer is always the same: they're not somehow magically better, because you can find good, bad, and mediocre products anywhere. They are quite innovative however, and where Asian cosmetics (including Korean beauty) really shine (in my eyes) is sunscreen.

If I could send a message to myself 10 years ago, before I moved to the US and into the desert, I'd tell myself about Asian sunscreens. I used to think I couldn't wear sunscreen, period! It gave me terrible skin reactions and felt unbearable. I got away with skipping sunscreen due to the relative weak sunlight in my region of Canada, but when I moved far south to an area of Texas that gets sandstorms, premature aging from epic sun damage happened fast.

Korean sunscreen
I've rudely plunked my tray in the middle of the local wild bunny buffet

If I'd known there existed cosmetically elegant sunscreens that wouldn't cause my skin to erupt in painful breakouts within hours, I'd still be enjoying the same wrinkle-free smoothness the women in my family normally have until their 40's. Not to mention a lowered risk of, y'know, skin cancer.

In this post

  • First impressions of 5 sunscreens from Goodal, Innisfree, & Make P:rem

I have reviewed one of these already, and I'm currently testing some of the others. Full reviews will come in the future, but after people on my Instagram expressed interest in a first impressions post, here they are!

Balancing Ethics, Originality, and Sustainability: Thoughts for New K-Beauty Bloggers

So you think you might want to start a K-Beauty blog, because you're passionate about the products, you've learned so much during your personal journey, and you want to connect with others like you; and you should. Those are all great reasons to start a blog in our little Asian beauty product niche, and there are such a staggering number of products (even if you were to stick to just K-Beauty) that there's an endless supply of new products to review and discuss.

Maybe you imagine yourself drinking tea in a bright but cozy corner of your home, feverishly writing about how much you loved (or hated) a largely unknown product, so that other enthusiasts can benefit from your experience.

Beauty blogging tools, laptop, tea, sheet mask
Laptop, tea, sheetmask, check. This is not what my workspace really looks like; it's missing me curled up in my chair, sans pants, balancing my laptop desk on my knees while I forget to drink my tea until it's cold. This is why I use tea cups with lids.

The truth is, writing posts claims only a small percentage of blogging time. The vast majority of the time required to run a blog is filled with behind-the-scenes tasks, and this has lead to the burn out of many a developing blogger.

Earlier this year, fellow The Snailcast podcaster Tracy of Fanserviced-b wrote a no-holds-barred daily breakdown of A Week in the Life of a Beauty Influencer, which made me exhausted in empathy just to read it. This post is about what pitfalls I've encountered in the last 5 years, and my advice to new bloggers on how to dodge them.

In this post:

  • Originality: find your voice
  • Sustainability: feast and famine
  • Ethics: shops, brands, and monetization
  • Upkeep: photography, webhosting, and social media

Why am I writing this post? Since we're talking about behind-the-scenes transparency here, it's because: 1. I've been tinkering with this post in my drafts for months, 2. I was inspired to write it by Tracy's post, 3. I am working on several product reviews that are still in the testing phase, 4. I have a product I want to drag back to hell but I don't want back-to-back negative reviews, and 5. because I see a lot of new bloggers falling into avoidable hazards out of inexperience.

I'm learning constantly thanks to the kindness of others, and I want to pay it forward.