Japanese Goodies: first experience with Rakuten + a friend shops for me in Japan!

This week's post is also going to be about Hauls, but this time heavy on the photos and light on the philosophies!

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
Korean beauty products are taking the world by storm, but there's one area of Asian beauty product fans' hearts that Japan has staked a (thus far) unshakeable claim to, and that's sunscreens.

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!
Also, Korean beauty products are famous for their packaging, but the Damascus rose mist I purchased from Rakuten is no slouch in the eyecandy department!

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
Her indexing of sunscreens and search system makes it so much easier to look for sunscreens with specific criteria (such as alcohol- or fragrance-free.)  Finding physical-only UV filter sunscreens is really challenging in general, so I go to her first when I am researching what my options are.

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
Now, obviously flash + my old grumpy camera is doing ridiculous things with the white balance contrasting with my skin tone vs my husband's skin tone (I'm pale, but I'm not that pale!) but you can see that two of the three sunscreens blend fairly well into my skin and only the centre one is really obvious on me.

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
Even then, you can see that the fade from freshly blended to the above isn't much of a jump for me.

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
The white base can also throw off the undertone, turning your base more pink and clashing with the tone of your neck.  You can try to compensate for the whiter base by fixing it with makeup, but there's a danger in that too, so the second  consideration is how well it plays under makeup.

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!
Woah up there, sailor!  SPF 50 PLUS? PA FOUR?!!  Do my eyes deceive me?!  That kind of rating for a non-chemical sunscreen is rare.  My eyes grew bigger as I read her description, which was filled with things like:
  • "for dry, delicate skin"
  • "additive-free"
  • "alcohol, paraben, fragrance, dye" free
  • Herbal extracts and other skin-conditioning goodies
  • "Non-greasy, non-sticky" and supposedly "invisible"
  • "Doubles as a makeup base"
Ok, my body money is ready!  WHERE DO I GET IT?  Luckily, RatzillaCosme also links places you can get it, but my heart sank when I saw it's only available on Rakuten, a global Japanese marketplace sort of similar to eBay or Amazon.  Speaking of which, everywhere else that carries it had a price tag of $30, whereas it was around $16 on Rakuten.   The difficulty rating of Rakuten was higher than I was ready for, though.

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.
She let me know that she was able to find a physical-only makeup base featuring rose water that I had been ogling on Ratzilla's site, but that physical-only sunscreens were hard to find.

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!
Cue excited boiling-kettle noises as I unpacked everything:

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!
So what's in the mystery package?

I am going to pass out.
O Saint Snail save me; I can never use these sheet masks because they are too gorgeous!

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?
Incidentally, I am now hauling some Korean items for her, now that she is stateside, along with my next order; #enablingmodeactivated!

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.
When I unwrapped the mist, I was amazed to see the detail on the label; it has a raised/embossed pattern which not only makes the bottle less likely to slip in damp hands and shatter the glass bottle.

I had hoped this would smell like roses without being artificial; I am happy that it is not a strong smell.
Here's a close-up of the lovely pattern detail:

So pretty!  I don't expect a lot from mists, but I appreciate the aesthetic of this packaging.
The beauty of the bottle is definitely Skincaretainment all over; if you haven't read fanserviced-b's post on the concept of Skincaretainment, definitely check it out!

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!
Gah, if you are also one of those people whose skin loathes chemical sunscreens, erupting in blemishes, itching, and swelling, within hours- the words 'NON CHEMICAL' are a welcome sight.

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.
 And then here it is immediately after being blended into the skin; the leftmost half of my hand is bare, the rightmost half has the sunscreen freshly blended:

Clearly I should have applied some body lotion before taking these pics.
Not too bad!  Definitely an improvement over the other physical-only sunscreens I own.  I'll most likely be doing a full review of this sunscreen later in the summer after I have a chance to test it thoroughly.

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.


  1. Those masks! I'm ready to beg my sister for those right this very minute on the packaging alone, but I'm using a lot of restraint. I'm waiting for your review on those (for when you get enough courage to cut that gorgeous packaging) and see what you think of them. :)

    1. I am actually hunting around for where I can get more, because if I have duplicates of them, then I can bring myself to use them! Right now, though, they're being stashed at the very back of my sheet mask box because they are just too pretty to use! :)

  2. Yay! The sunscreen and mist look terrific...and those masks! <333 I'll be interested to hear how the sunscreen works for you.

    I asked my friend vacationing in Japan to get the Shigaisen Yohou for me, but I don't know yet how much she got from my (longish) shopping list. I basically asked for all these sunscreens and eye makeup. So nice to have friends traveling to Asia :)

    1. I am pretty excited for the long-term effects, because I've been able to wear it two days in a row without developing dry flakes. And yesssss on the friends travelling in Asia! :D

  3. This sunscreen looks very promising! Please update us soon on your experience :)

    1. I'm using the sunscreen daily, so I'm planning on review it in approximately a month, unless I react to it or something untoward happens. :)

  4. Rakuten is scary! I did my first order recently and it was hard... but now I'm hooked. Who did you get the Shigaisen and mist from?

    Also would love to see the Shigaisen swatched on your partner's hand in your full review! I'm NC25-30 and desperately need to find a physical sunscreen that doesn't give too much of a white cast.

    1. I got both from the Rakuten seller that Ratzilla links on her product page; if you click the link on her listing, it will take you right there. :)

      Also, I will definitely be swatching it on my husband; I did so today just to see how the whitecast looked and it's definitely less than the others I have used, although I need to see it in better light to comment on how visible it is.

    2. Thanks! I just received notification of a parcel waiting for me at the post office so I really shouldn't be looking at Rakuten right now... but it's just research, right? :p

    3. Ah yes, research ... you're not buying anything after all, right? (Yet.) ;)

  5. I recently tried out a CC cream that has 100% Physical Sunscreen and although the color was a good match, I was wondering why it made my skin look so darn pink! Now I know why~

    Thanks for this great post! Learned a lot today :D

    1. Yeah I have no idea why physical sunscreens tend to blue out on the skin, cancelling the yellow in my skin and turning me pink, but it's quite annoying! I am going to be experimenting with green primers as well to see if I can cancel out the pink effect. I am glad you liked it! <3

  6. By far the best and still affordable physical sunscreen out there is NOV EX shield for sensitive skin.

    1. Is it easily available for international purchase? I need to know for ... reasons. >_>

    2. The Rat lists it here:
      and provides links to some sellers.

      Just be careful, many places still sell the old old version with only 3 pluses.

    3. Ouch, $20 for a 30g. Japanese sunscreens, why are you so fabulous and expensive? ;___;

    4. The more fabulous the more expensive they get. You should look up Acseine. Now THAT is expensive.
      Or the alcohol-free POLA.

      PS.I'll send an email tomorrow. Now it's time to sleep...

  7. And those ukiyoe masks, you can get them in bulk in Shinokubo (Tokyo's K-town) for about 380 yen per 10. But you need to know where to go to get the wholesale price. If you need to refill, I'm happy to help :-)

    1. Do ... do you mean you have the means to get more of those gorgeous masks?! O_O Uh, if so, care to shoot me an email at snowwhiteandthepear@gmail? *tries not to drool all over keyboard*

  8. I swear by that UV sunscreen! It's one of my all time favorite products. Yay for finding Japanese goodies!

    1. How do you deal with the whitecast? I measured out a full 1/4 tsp per recommendations but it's SO much. It's intensely whitecast when I apply the right amount, and if I apply it in thin layers, I still have the same issue. Cannot win. :( Love how gentle and non-drying it is though!

    2. I usually mixed it with foundation but I know what you mean. But I love the brand and realized they have a makeup base with SPF 50 and that works much better. They also make a UV spray for under and over makeup as well.

  9. As an FYI, my understanding is that it's impossible to get higher than SPF 30 using only physical filters - to get up to 50 requires some chemical thrown into the mix. I will look for the reference to share it with you.

    Alternatively have you ever looked at the Pratima Rose Face SS? It has a great % of ZO (18%) and feels light on the skin. I also don't find it to be clogging at all. It's a bit hard to get a hold of, but not as hard as the one you just purchased - I admire your dedication! :-)

    1. So, this is a spray-on physical only sunscreen? Is it safe? I know there are safety concerns about sunsprays in general and also about powder sunscreens, but I am intrigued. How is the whitecast?

  10. Hi cat! Glad have found your blog!can I send u an email ?about my acid toners,or shall I proceed on here😊?

    1. Go ahead and shoot me an email, happy to help! :)

  11. I've seen a few powdered sunscreens in my wanderings lately--the kind that come in a puff-top pot. I make one of my own and it's completely sheer, because I use micronized zinc and titanium dioxide, which are the ingredients that cause whitening in sunscreen lotion formulas. The packaging is important because you can't safely use loose micronized mineral formulas--they're small enough to breathe in and do damage in your lungs. So if you see a powder sunscreen, and it's NOT in a puff-top jar, the minerals are probably not micronized and you'll still get whitening. Most have some tint, but usually not enough to really show up on skin. It's usually there to keep you from noticing how dirty the puff gets when you apply it regularly on skin that is not freshly washed. Jane Iredale makes one, but I know I've seen them in Korean brands as well...just not sure where. https://janeiredale.com/us/en/mineral-makeup/mineral-makeup-foundation/powder-me-spf-dry-sunscreen.htm?gclid=Cj0KEQjwkv-rBRDwoMLav-2l9KIBEiQAUTkDUwP-7CTNpgzyoWKjiQwkxymxJM75vYEuwkdYqa0dIj0aAie38P8HAQ#13704

    1. The tricky thing about powdered sunscreens is the level of coverage you can get from them. There's an image floating around (that (I cannot find) of how much powder sunscreen you would need to use to get the same coverage as the recommended amount of regular sunscreen. Sadness!

  12. Sorry for commenting on a post that is months old, but have you heard of the Atopita sun screen? http://www.ratzillacosme.com/sun/atopita-moisture-uv-cream-50/

  13. Hi, does this sunscreen contain nano particles? Seems to tick all the other boxes. Love ur blog!