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!

Just as a quick reminder: this blog uses both affiliate and non-affiliate links, and if you choose to click the former before you shop, your purchase may contribute a tiny amount to the maintenance of this blog. See full details at the end of this post! #receipts

Goodal Mild Protect Natural Sun Fluid 

Goodal Mild Protect Natural Filter Sun Fluid SPF50+ PA++++
Mmm, that 4th PA rating.

Full name: Goodal Mild Protect Natural Filter Sun Fluid SPF50+ PA++++

Filters: Physical/inorganic only. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. 

White cast: Unreal. I didn't subtitle the review "When You Need to Express Your Inner Mime" for nothing.

Initial thoughts: The white cast makes this otherwise lovely sunscreen tragic. I'm an NC10, and I can't wear it. It spreads evenly, dries down nicely, is super comfortable to wear. Except I can't wear it anywhere other than in my backyard.

Reviewed: Yep. Click here for full review including swatches on my NC30-ish spouse: Goodal Mild Protect Natural Filter Sun Fluid SPF50+ PA++++ Review: When You Need to Express Your Inner Mime

Where to get it: Amazon | eBay | Jolse | VutyDesign

Goodal Sensitive Relief Sun Cream

Goodal Sensitive Relief Sun Cream SPF35 PA+++
Bonus for easy squeeze tube packaging.

Full name:  Goodal Sensitive Relief Sun Cream SPF35 PA+++

Filters:  Physical/inorganic only. Titanium dioxide. 

White cast:  Surprisingly strong for only being SPF35 (not as bad as the grey AF Missha sunscreen that Fiddy reviewed, but noticeable) but it faded after about 15 minutes. Definitely need to commander  spouse for further swatching.

Initial thoughts:  This is only SPF35, which is fine for an indoor sunscreen/limited exposure. I'd prefer 50+. Considering how strongly frgranced Goodal sunscreens usually are, this is almost unscented.

Reviewed:  This is still a ways away on my testing schedule.

Where to get it: Amazon | eBay | Jolse | Club Clio US | VutyDesign

Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream Triple Care

Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream Triple Care SPF50+ PA+++
The similar packaging of Innisfree's sunscreens makes it easy to accidentally order the wrong one.

Full name:  Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream Triple Care SPF50+ PA+++

Filters:  Physical/inorganic only. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. 

White cast:  This is actually tinted! Surprised. It's fine on me, but needs real swatching.

Initial thoughts:  It has a strangely sharp smell that reminds me of ... patchouli? Very unexpected for a K-Beauty product.

Reviewed:  Also farther down the testing schedule list.

Where to get it: Amazon | eBay | Jolse | KoreaDepart

Make P:rem UV Defense Me Natural Sun Cream

Make P:rem UV Defense Me Natural Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++
This is a squeeze tube with a sturdy base to keep it from toppling over.

Full name:  Make P:rem UV Defense Me Natural Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++

Filters:  Physical/inorganic only. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. 

White cast:  Surprisingly minimal! I swatched it on Dr. Mr. The Pear, and while it does have an initial white cast, it's much more subtle than any other physical filter sunscreen I've tried, and it softens after a while. I think this could stealth under makeup quite nicely even if you have a skin tone deeper than NC20.

Initial thoughts:  Unless this breaks me out during long-term testing, I love it. It goes on smoothly and is super comfortable to wear. Smells pleasant, isn't too oily or too drying. I'm not sure how it performs under makeup yet, but I'll include that in my eventual review.

Reviewed:  Long-term testing is currently underway!

Where to get it: Amazon | eBay

Note: I bought both Make Pr:em sunscreens in a 2 pack for $36 from Amazon, because it was a better deal. 

Make P:rem UV Defense Me Capsule Sun Gel

Make P:rem UV Defense Me Capsule Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++
I can't believe I have a chemical sunscreen.

Full name:  Make P:rem UV Defense Me Capsule Sun Gel SPF50+ PA+++

Filters:  Hold onto your sheet masks, kids. This has chemical/organic filters. Chemical! Specifically: HomosalateEthylhexyl salicylate, and Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane. Colour me shocked.

You know what it doesn't contain? Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, aka The Blistering Sweat From Satan's Balls That Destroys My Skin. It's also known as That Chemical Filter That's In Every Damn Sunscreen.

White cast:  None. Nada. Zip. Perks of chemical sunscreens.

Initial thoughts:  I tested this via a decant that fellow Snailcaster Chel of Holysnails brought with her on our first-ever live snail rout in NYC. I expected flaming face death per usual, but a full day passed without incident, and she let me take it home for further testing.

After a solid week of use, I bought a full size for further testing. It's pretty moisturizing, so it may be too rich for some skin types.

Reviewed:  Long-term testing is currently underway, because I need to see how it plays with makeup, and high humidity.

Where to get it: Amazon | eBay | Bisou Beauty Bar (currently sold out)

Note: I bought both Make Pr:em sunscreens in a 2 pack for $36 from Amazon, because it was a better deal. You can buy the Make P:rem UV Defense Me Capsule Sun Gel from a few other shops, but it's $$$$.

Have you tried any of these sunscreens? Hit me up on Facebook or Twitter and let me know!

Have something you'd like to share with me in general?  Snap a pic and tag me on Instagram at @snowwhiteandtheasianpear because I'd love to see it!

All the best,

**Disclaimer: All products mentioned in this post were purchased with my own money. Personal gifts from friends & family will also be identified. 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. Have you tried the MAKE P:REM UV defense me Blue ray version? Do you know what is the difference between the blue and orange? Thanks.

    1. I haven't tried it, but it appears that it contains Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, which is my nemesis. I'll be testing the all-physical version, but dodging the heck out of the chemical version.

    2. if i am not wrong, the blue ray sun gel contains Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamat but the blue ray sun CREAM (the one i am currently trying out) doesn't.

  2. Hi, Cat!
    Is Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate bad for the skin? Which ingredients should I have to avoid when shopping sunscreens?

    Thanks ^.^

    1. That's totally dependent on your skin, mine just happens to really hate it! D:

  3. Have you tried any of etude house's physical-only sunscreens? I'm currently using the sunprise mild airy finish (spf50 pa+++) and really liking it - hasn't broken me out (so far), minimal white cast, matte finish, wears well under makeup. I also have the sunprise mild perfect relief to test (although it's only spf30/pa++ so not the best. But I thought it might be good for me soon as winter is nearly here (it's so cold already it might as well be Winter!) and I spend 90% of my day inside studying lol

    1. Not yet, but I keep hearing good things about them! With all the fuss about the novelty masks and cutesy items, solid skincare products never seem to get much press! :\

  4. Glad you're back...I had stopped looking. You devoted a post to my perennial question: KB/AB physical/mineral sunscreens. Not sure which chem sunscreen was the problem, as the product that brought me down had 4, but always suspected ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate. (sp?). I avoid 'em all, as temp drops to 93 and I have to sleep it off for 3 hours, in addition to flame face. Thanks, rather have BCCs removed. Virtually every cushion I have cosdna'd has had chem sunscreens. The Sulwhasoos do not?

    1. I find that the amount of SPF in cushions is so minimal that my skin doesn't react, thank goodness. Also a good reason not to rely on them for sun protection, aish.

      I know someone else who thought that they couldn't do any and all chemical sunscreens, and then discovered that Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate was the culprit. The problem is, it seems to be the gold standard sunscreen filter, so it's in *everything*. Urgh.

      Have you had any luck with physical filter sunscreens?

    2. Yeah, but....I only use them without m/u. Blue lizard, baby white cast and grease farm. Nothing as elegant as these. I always suspected ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (that does have synonyms on Cosdna) was the culprit, but then good old Benzyl salicylate effed me up in mufe waterblend. Not quite such a great foundation for you, when your inner lobster peeks through and you go all diaphoretic. Cosdna gave BS (and I think it IS bs) a whopping 7 on the safety rating. That is used as a fragrance modifier almost more often than a sunscreen. Lots of lines use it extensively, like By Terry. Good to rule out the costly stuff. I'm here to see what you said about Mediheal, bec they're on Hautelook with hefty discounts.

  5. I have acne prone skin and using sunscreens with high SPF usually leads to breakouts. Is this different for Korean skin care sunscreens?

    1. Have you investigated whether it's chemical/organic UV filters, or physical/inorganic UV filters, that are breaking you out? The only two physical filters are titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, so any filters that you see that aren't those two will be chemical. My skin definitely breaks out from some chemical filters and it's a very common reaction

      I use Cosdna to check the ingredients of the Korean sunscreens I use, they flag what are UV filters. I would start there, and see if you can puzzle out which filters you are reacting to.

    2. I have acne prone skin and I using Innisfree Forest no sebum sunblock and it's really suit for my skin

  6. Looks like the P:rem Sun Cream is now longer available on Amazon or Ebay! D:

  7. Cat, Lisa Eldridge explained why other places' sunscreens (in her example, European ones) are better than American ones - it's because FDA consider them OTC medications, not beauty products, and in order to have the most recent technologies available on the market , the companies would need to pay a lot of money on medical-grade testing . It's not that they aren't tested on Europe or Asia, but the quantity of money needed to pass FDA regulations is high because of the scope of testing.

    That said, it explains why USA sunscreens are not as good as Korean ones - they are with older technologies. I use European ones (from Avene) and they're good as well.