Specifically, Japanese beauty product hauls; although I purchase and review a lot of Korean beauty products, I'm always interested in products of note from elsewhere in Asia. It can be a little more tricky to find them, however, which is why I enlisted the aid of a friend travelling in Japan and then took my courage in hand to try shopping at a new-to-me Japanese shipping venue called Rakuten.
Is there anything quite like the thrill of getting an international box in the mail?
|One of the two boxes of Japanese goodies I have received lately, to my grabby-hands delight|
Oh man, Japanese sunscreens. For more on how Japanese sunscreens cured me of a lifetime loathing of sunscreen, click here for my post on my sunscreen struggles and a comparison review of 3 physical-UV-filter-only sunscreens.
However, even though the sunscreen breakthrough allowed me to wear sunscreen without wanting to shred the skin off my face, I am still searching for that Sunscreen Of My Dreams: physical-only UV filters, gentle, non-drying, and with minimal white cast. A tall order indeed!
In this post:
- Why RatzillaCosme is a sunscreen-hunter's best friend
- My search for a mythical sunscreen
- A friend's attempts to find it + what she got me instead
- I face down my fear of Rakuten & the sunscreen is mine!
Why RatzillaCosme is a sunscreen-hunter's best friend
If you're looking for a Japanese sunscreen, whether it's physical-UV-filter-only, alcohol free, SPF50 PA++++, fragrance-free, or any other special requirement, your best place to start is at RatzillaCosme's site:
|Screen capture of RatzillaCosme's site, my favourite place for all things sunscreen: RatzillaCosme.com|
If you're not sure what I mean by 'physical only', it means that the sunscreen uses only Titanium Dioxide and/or Zinc Oxide to block UVA and UVB, as opposed to any of the chemical blockers, like Avobenzone and Octinoxate. You can read more here: Skinacea Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreen.
Since my skin cannot handle chemical sunscreen filters, physical-only sunscreens are my friend. Thankfully, RatzillaCosme makes finding these elusive creatures easier to find. Even when you find one you want to chase down, though, they are quirky and not suited to everyone.
My search for a mythical sunscreen
The problem with physical-only sunscreens is that the two filters options can leave a really strong white cast, especially if you have anything deeper than a fair-medium skin tone. Here's where my otherwise annoying skin tone comes in handy; I can get away with a bit of white cast without it looking ridiculous on my skin, even if it's glaring on deeper tones.
Here's an example:
|Image from Sunscreen Showdown: Battle of 3 Physical-Only Sunscreens|
Conversely, his NC30 skintone would not be able to wear any of these sunscreens without having a noticeable white cast. The white cast does fade down a little bit after about 20 minutes, and looks like this:
|Image from Sunscreen Showdown: Battle of 3 Physical-Only Sunscreens|
Nonetheless, it's like applying a completely white primer under your makeup; even though your base makeup itself matches you, once you add the white cast sunscreen under it, you may look like a runaway kpop idol:
|Poor Taemin; what are those coordinoonas doing to you? image 1 source, image 2 source, image 3 source|
Physical sunscreens are literally creating a physical barrier between your skin and the sun, which means if you wipe them off, you are unprotected. They can be quite drying as well (they're mineral, after all, even if suspended in a cream base), and they can turn even the most delicately-applied makeup chalky and cakey when layered over sunscreen that relies on them. At least, this has been my experience.
So finding a non-drying, low-white-cast, high-SPF/PA sunscreen has been a challenge. Then I spotted this physical-only sunscreen featured on RatzillaCosme's site: Shigaisen Yohou UV Cream SPF50+/PA++++.
|Look at all those plus signs!|
- "for dry, delicate skin"
- "alcohol, paraben, fragrance, dye" free
- Herbal extracts and other skin-conditioning goodies
- "Non-greasy, non-sticky" and supposedly "invisible"
- "Doubles as a makeup base"
A friend's attempts to find it + what she got me instead
A benefit of connecting with fellow Asian beauty product fans on social media is you get to know people who are just as nerdy about skincare as you are, and you can form friendships around the world. Then when they vacation in Asia, they message you with the offer to grab you some goodies while they're there. Uh, yes please!
|I tried to take a picture before ripping into it. It didn't turn out, and I did not have the strength to wait to take another.|
I told her I'd take any stray physical-only sunscreens that she managed to stalk and kill in the wild; along with sheet masks and/or anything else she managed to bring down from the herds of beauty products roaming the shops of Japan.
She did an excellent job:
|Yes, yes that is an LJH Tea Tree Essence and a Propolis essence too!|
|Clockwise from bottom left: Heroine Make Lasting Base, sample of Sulwhasoo, LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule, Mystery package, and LJH Tea Tree Essence as I was down to my last bottle! Cue panic!|
|I am going to pass out.|
Here's everything opened; note how tiny the LJH Vita Propolis ampoule is:
|Why hello there, LJH Vita Propolis Ampoule, won't you step into my testing schedule?|
While she was Hong Kong, she mentioned that she could get me the LJH essence + ampoule for $38 because the LJHs expire next year? They both go for about $40 each and I tear through the LJH essence bottles like a terrier on a steak, so my answer was hell yes!
But she wasn't able to find the elusive Questing Beast: the Shigaisen Yohou UV Cream SPF50+/PA++++ sunscreen. It was time for me to gather courage in hand and shop! (I know, what a burden, eh?)
I face down my fear of Rakuten & the sunscreen is mine!
Rakuten really deserves a full review/guide of its own, but until then, I will say that the process was slightly painful and required a lot of hand-holding from people who had bravely gone where I had yet to go. Also Google Translate. Lots of Google Translate. *shudders*
There's no denying the exciting results, though:
|The packing paper is pink. Is it standard, or because my purchases show I might be a pink-receptive person?|
Due to a limited-time coupon that was available + order thresholds, I ended up purchasing both the sunscreen and a Damascus Rose mist from the same seller:
|I think the envelope is the most classy presentation of an invoice I've ever received.|
The mist box packaging is beautiful as well, and folds open once the external sleeve is unwrapped; even the external sleeve is lovely:
|The mist was an afterthought to meet minimum order requirements, but I was liking it more by the second.|
|I had hoped this would smell like roses without being artificial; I am happy that it is not a strong smell.|
|So pretty! I don't expect a lot from mists, but I appreciate the aesthetic of this packaging.|
Okay, mist aside, here's the star attraction, the Shigaisen Yohou UV Cream SPF50+/PA++++ in all it's physical-only glory!
|This tube is tiny. Like, the size of a large lip gloss tube tiny. Only 30g of product!|
So, how is the white cast? Well, two layers are definitely noticeable and I haven't had a chance to wear it under makeup yet, but here's the initial swatch:
|Standard bright white of a physical-only sunscreen, but creamy and smells of oranges.|
|Clearly I should have applied some body lotion before taking these pics.|
And that's that! Do you have sunscreen challenges too? Have a physical-only sunscreen to recommend? Drop me a comment below, or hit me up on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!
All the best,
**Disclaimer: All products reviewed/mentioned are 100% purchased with my own money and my opinions are entirely my own. This blog contains both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and clicking the former before you shop means that this blog may receive a small commission to assist in this blog supporting itself. Please see my Contact Info & Disclaimer policy for more information.