Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++

Cinderella...
She was never my favorite Disney princess. In fact, if anything, I found her to be annoying as all hell. Maybe because I always felt closer to the evil stepsisters. I mean, I could understand them. I wasn't pretty, I wasn't particularly smart either and I knew full well there would never be a rich and handsome prince charming waiting for me at the end of the rainbow.

So, when a couple of years ago I saw a brand called "Cinderella Time" at the drugstore,  I thought to myself, "No bitch, you ain't winning this time. Oh no!"

And then Miss Y gifted me a Cinderella Time sleeping pack. And because it was free (I would have never bought it myself), I used it. And I saw that it was good. And on the morning of the sixth day, I was a reluctant Cinderella Time fangirl.

Fast forward to a year later. Summer was over and Ainz & Tulpe was clearing out their sunscreen stock for real cheap. After intently digging in the discount bin, I triumphantly uncovered a 1000 yen bottle of sunscreen that I had never seen before.

And that's how I met Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++.



"Cinderella White?" I thought to myself? Only in Japan... After all, this is the country that gave us HABA's "White Lady" vitamin C serum. I shouldn't be surprised.

This is how I found out that True Nature, the makers of Cinderella Time, also have a whitening / brightening line with tranexamic acid, called Cinderella White.
And then I realized that this sunscreen, despite belonging to the Cinderella White lineup, does not actually contain any tranexamic acid. I guess, since it's sunscreen, and sunscreen is supposed to keep us... no, hell no, I'm not going there... is supposed to keep us from tanning, True Nature decided to stick it into the "White" lineup instead of the "Time" one (which is all about getting enough sleep, or somesuch).

Ok, fine by me.



So, what do I think of this Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++?

It's a decent sunscreen.
What you are seeing in this post is my second bottle. And that already should tell you a lot. I very rarely repurchase the same sunscreen over and over. Why? There's just so much to choose from in Japan, why would I want to stick to the same SPF product? I mean, it's just a sunscreen, not a husband (and even then... stuff happens).

So yeah, all you need to know is that I actually repurchased it and paid the full list price for it.



Ok, let's get this ball started. Put on your glass slippers and keep on reading...


Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ is a typical Japanese sunscreen. It's alcohol-free and a notch above your standard rock-bottom drugstore fare.



I have dry and sensitive skin and Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ nicely moisturized and did not irritate my skin. I used it during winter when the conditions are dry, dry, dry, so dry my skin wants to crack and bleed.



With Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ there was zero cracking and zero bleeding. And, most importantly, zero breakouts. In addition, this sunscreen milk did not aggravate my rosacea. I was afraid of that, because that happens frequently with chemical UV filters.



As you can see, this sunscreen is a milk and has a slightly pinkish-beigeish tint to it. It's supposed to color correct and even out your skin tone. On my NC? NW? 10 skin it does not leave a white cast, but I have no idea how it's going to look on a darker skin tone.

Unfortunately, Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ is not waterproof, nor sweat- or sebum proof. Sad. They should really do something about it, because the way it is now, I really don't think this is a suitable summer sunscreen when we sweat buckets. Yes, even indoors.

Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ ingredients:



Ratzilla has the ingredients in English here - link. Seriously, this woman should be nominated for sainthood. I was procrastinating with this review for a few months, and suddenly - boom! She does all the heavy lifting and posts about it on her blog.

I just took the easy way out and plugged them for you into CosDNA - link.

As you can see, Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ uses these UV filters and blockers:

  • Octinoxate
  • Uvinul A Plus
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Tinosorb S

which means it offers full UVA1 and UVA2 and UVB protection.



What else?

Oh yes, that serum-in thing.
Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ is loaded with plant extracts, which are supposed to be good for your skin. It also has the standard duo of soluble collagen and hyaluronic acid to keep you nicely moist.

This is supposed to be a product for all skin types. Well, I must disagree. I'd say it's fine for dry and normal skins. Maybe for combinations. But oily folk will be unhappy.

Again, it was a perfect moisturizing sunscreen during winter.
I have no idea how it's going to perform now, during the sweaty season.

What I liked about it was how it dried to a satiny matte finish and moisturized without feeling greasy. But then again, it was on my dry skin. Your mileage may vary.



Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ is also supposed to work as a makeup base and yes, I can confirm, it performed very well under my minimal daily makeup. But then again, I don't wear a lot of makeup, so your experience might be different. However, in my case there was no rolling or pilling.

As always with Japanese sunscreens, the bottle is on the tiny side. All you get is 45 ml of product. It will cost you 1800 yen plus tax. Not the cheapest, but neither prohibitively expensive.



And oh yeah, the best part...
Cinderella White Esthetic Serum-in UV Protector SPF50+ PA++++ has minimal fragrance. And I mean, really minimal. There's something there, but it's hard to tell what it is exactly. It's that faint.

What else do you need to know?
It's a solid product and the only thing that I'm not happy about is that it isn't waterproof.



And holymotherofBatman... Did I just write a nearly positive review? With pretty much nothing to complain about? I must be getting soft in my old age...

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Biore UV Milks (Face, Perfect and Bright) SPF50+ PA++++

I bet you never thought you'd see such an entry on this blog. Don't worry, neither did I.
But since summer is almost upon us, it means the inevitable sunscreen questions keep piling up in my mailbox. And it seems that to nearly all Western fans of Asian beauty products, "sunscreen" is synonymous with "Biore".

Yeah... Even though Ratzilla regularly writes about Biore; even though everybody, their mother and her pet chihuahua have already reviewed all things Biore a few million times; apparently when it comes to Biore sunscreens, enough is never enough.

So it must be the sign of times and surely the Apocalypse is near, because a dedicated Biore entry is appearing on this blog.



Why I am doing this? Because YOU asked for it. And because I was curious if I still felt about Biore the same way as always.

You see, Biore is an OK line of products. The same way that McDonald's is an OK choice of fast food if you are hungry and there's nothing else available in the nearest vicinity. Once in a while it's perfectly acceptable. It's cheap, it's literally everywhere, and it gets the job done.

Biore is exactly the same. It's cheap, found in practically every store, even in the deepest countryside in the middle of Hokkaido nowhere, and it offers solid UV protection. What more could you want?

Personally, I'd like a freshly-made salad with locally grown organic vegetables, fresh mozzarella cheese and homemade basil vinaigrette dressing. I'm not going to find it at McDonald's.
It's the same for my sunscreen. I'd like something that is a bit more skin-friendly than the bare-bones Biore lineup.

But who knows, Biore might still surprise me. You never know until you try it.



Today's first contestant is Biore UV Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++, or actually, Biore UV Perfect Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++ (white bottle).

This is confusing, because it only says "Biore UV Face Milk" on the front of the 2017 version bottle in English. However, on the back of the bottle, the full Japanese name still has the word "perfect" in there written in katakana. Actually, it says "Biore Sara Sara UV Perfect Face Milk t" on there.
So, what's the official name? What the hell? I guess, the Japanese one.

Why do Japanese companies do that? To confuse the enemy, I suppose.



As most Japanese sunscreens, Biore UV (Perfect) Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++ comes in a tiny bottle. There's just 30 ml of white liquid inside, along with a mixing ball. The scent is very faint, a vaguely sunscreeny chemical alcoholy type of thing. It's not very offensive at all. Compared to some other sunscreens out there, this scent is a non-issue even for sensitive noses like mine.


On the back of the package the explanations talk about using a "suitable amount". The blurb suggests a drop of 2 cm in diameter to be applied little by little to the skin.

I don't know about you, but I always use more. I guess my face is larger than a typical Japanese face. I find that for me a drop of 2 cm will be just enough for both cheeks and the nose. I need another drop of about 1 cm for my forehead. What can I say? I have a huge face, it seems.

According to the descriptions on the package, Biore UV (Perfect) Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++ can be used for incidental daily exposure, such as during daily commute, or during leisure activities, and it also doubles up as a makeup base.
It claims to be super waterproof with resistance to water, sweat and sebum. Waterproofness tests were conducted for 80 minutes and the sunscreen still provided UV protection. How they tested it? I don't know, don't ask me. But as with all waterproof claims, it's better to err on the side of caution.



Ratzilla, bless her heart, has the ingredients on her site - Biore UV Perfect Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++ ingredients are here. Click on the link to read the listing for the 2015 formulation, which is what the 2017 version is. The ingredients are the same, only the packaging is different. Sorry, unlike other bloggers, I don't have time to translate the ingredients that have been translated by a pro already.

I'm just going to say that according to the UV blockers:

  • Zinc Oxide
  • Octinoxate
  • Uvinul A Plus
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Tinosorb S

Biore UV Perfect Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++ should provide full UVB, UVA1 and UVA2 protection.



Now, let's talk about skinfeel...

Hmmm... Here is where it gets interesting. You see, I've been testing Biore UV Perfect Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++ (white bottle) on one half of my face, with Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF50+ PA++++ (blue bottle) on the other half.

Both of them felt pretty much the same - horribly drying, silky smooth, powdery to the touch. Perfect for 100% humidity and wet and sweaty days. Or for oily skins. For oily skins with no skin problems.

Both aggravated my rosacea to the point that my face ended up looking like a red balloon. In addition, Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF50+ PA++++ (blue bottle) broke me out like there was no tomorrow. There were no breakouts on the Biore UV Perfect Face Milk SPF50+ PA++++ (white bottle) side. Just very, very tired, red and dry skin.

They both worked beautifully as makeup bases. I know some people complain that these milks pill and roll when worn under makeup, but it didn't happen in my case.
There was no white cast at all.
Both sunscreens were easy to remove using a cleansing oil followed by a normal face wash.

~~~

And since we've already started talking about Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF50+ PA++++, we might as well continue.
I hope this abomination will burn in hell, because that's where it belongs.


Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF50+ PA++++ bottle (which is blue) is bigger by 10 ml, which means you get 40 ml of product.

Again, we have the familiar issue with the name. On the bottle it says "Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF50+ PA++++" in English, but in Japanese on the back of the package and bottle it's written as "Biore Sara Sara UV Perfect Milk t". Whatever. I'm so over these name differences.


Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF50+ PA++++ can be used both on the face and body and according to the descriptions (look at the three pictures on the back of the package if you can't read Japanese), it's suitable for outdoor use.

Again we have the claim of Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF50+ PA++++ being superwaterproof (80 minute test), and resistant to sweat and sebum.



Again, Ratzilla has the ingredients ready for your reading pleasure - Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF50+ PA++++ ingredient list.

We have the same UV blockers are before:
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Octinoxate
  • Uvinul A Plus
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Tinosorb S
which means Biore UV Perfect Milk SPF50+ PA++++ should give us full UVB, UVA1 and UVA2 protection.

Skinfeel is lovely. There's no white cast, it's very lightweight and invisible. It's also horribly drying and it broke me out like I was back in my teens.
It aggravated my rosacea and made my face red, red, red.




There is a very slight fragrance of something fresh and flowery trying to hide a heavier scent of something chemical and alcoholic. However, even a sensitive nose like mine was fine with it.

As you can see in the last swatch photo, this sunscreen took the longest to absorb of all the three Biore milks. It still wasn't completely absorbed when I took that photo. It's like it was trying to tell me that we would not get along.

Meh... I should have gotten a frappuccino instead of this blue bottle crap.

~~~

And finally, our last Biore contestant today - Biore UV Bright Milk SPF50+ PA++++, or as it is also known - Biore UV Perfect Bright Milk SPF50+ PA++++.


Yo, it's pink. I like pink. We're off to a good start already.

Again, the English name on the bottle "Biore UV Bright Milk SPF50+ PA++++" is different from the Japanese name in katakana written on the back of the package - "Biore Sara Sara UV Perfect Bright Milk". Again, whatever.


We're back to 30 ml here.
As you can see from the pictures on the package, Biore UV Bright Milk SPF50+ PA++++ is a sunscreen for daily use.
It's primary purpose is to brighten the skin tone as a makeup base. In that respect it works just like fancy makeup bases that are four or five times as expensive.

Seriously, if it was right for my skin type, it would be my ideal budget-friendly sunscreen-makeup base combo.

Biore UV Bright Milk SPF50+ PA++++ feels silky smooth and super light on the skin. Despite "brightening" claims, there is no typical white cast. Instead, the skin just looks brighter with smaller pores and smoother texture.

In addition, we have the familiar claims of it being super waterproof, resistant to sweat and sebum.


Even though the liquid is pearlescent pink in color, the finish is actually quite matte. See what it did?It blurred my skin and made it perfectly smooth. I used quite a lot for this swatch to show the final effect.

When I used Biore UV Perfect Bright Milk SPF50+ PA++++ on my face, it did not break me out. It worked wonderfully as a makeup base. Seriously, if it was right for my skin type, I'd use it daily. Of the three milks, this one seemed the gentlest on my skin. It might have been just an optical illusion, but the "Biore rosacea redness" wasn't as harsh as with the other two milks.

The scent was minimally chemical, same as with the white bottle milk.


Biore UV Perfect Bright Milk SPF50+ PA++++ ingredients can be found over at Ratzilla's - link.

We have the familiar set of UV blockers:
  • Zinc Oxide
  • Octinoxate
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Uvinul A Plus 
  • Tinosorb S
which means Biore UV Perfect Bright Milk SPF50+ PA++++ should should come with full UVB, UVA1 and UVA2 protection. Titanium Dioxide moved up on the list, no doubt for its "brightening" properties.

So, yeah, there you have it. All three Biore milks in a row.


And believe it or not, I still have more Biore to blog about. Because you asked for it. And this is the kind of stuff I'd do for your clicks. Heh...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++

Streszczenie po polsku pod tekstem angielskim.
~~~

Paul and Joe?
What the heck? The name alone would always make me stay away from this particular brand. 
My personal history with Pauls and Joes did not bode well.
I've met a few Pauls in my life and they were all assholes. And the only Joe that crossed my path turned out to be a scam artist and just an all around creepy guy.

Enter Paul & Joe Beaute, which despite its trailer trash quasi-French name and female French origins, is actually a Japanese cosmetic brand. With a name like Paul and Joe it sounds like it should be selling deodorant for truck drivers in the Midwest, or something. But no... Add a fancy French sounding "beaute" to the name, throw in cute visuals designed to appeal to kawaii-obsessed women, add cats to the mix, and you have a successful mid-range cosmetic brand. 


CATS???

You heard me right.
Just look at this 15th anniversary makeup collection.


This is what finally roped me in.
I went in looking for cats. I left with a new sunscreen. And then I got another sun-something gifted to me (thank you Ms Y!) for good measure.


So, without any further ado, let me introduce today's, sadly cat-free, contestant.

Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++
It's the one on the left.




Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ was launched in Japan on April 7, 2017 and it's the brand's best sun protection offered within its collection to date. Or somesuch.

This is what Paul & Joe says about Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ :


So yeah, I wanted cats. Instead I got this.
It's been almost 3 weeks and I think it's long enough to present my thoughts.

Let's keep it short. 
I like the idea of this sunscreen. And the texture. 
I hate everything else.

First, ohmyfreakingod, the smell. The scent of this thing makes your eyes water and your nose drip. It can also make your domestic pets want to commit violent acts of crazed destruction. 
The brand calls it "sunshine bouquet" with fresh fragrance of bergamot and lemon and whatever else.
I call it low-end trailer trash perfume. It smells like a small town shopping mall in the Midwest. And it lasts. And lasts. And lasts... It lasts pretty much all day until you wash it off. 
This is probably the longest lasting fragrance in a sunscreen that I have ever experienced. And trust me, I've experienced plenty of sunscreens.


It seems that Paul & Joe didn't quite know what to call this sunscreen. Because, let's face it, the Japanese sunscreen market is very crowded. We have literally everything you can think of. And probably a few things you can't. It's a very competitive scene and what's a brand to do in order to stand out and make a statement?

They should have gone with cats, if you ask me.

Instead they called this thing "gel milk".
Yep. It's a gel. It's a milk. It's a gel milk, you people.



But, as it usually happens in such cases, Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ is neither.

Here, take a look.


It feels more creamy than gely and definitely not milky. It does turn into something resembling watery gel when applied and spread out on the skin. However, even then the skinfeel is of a cream, not a gel. And definitely not of milk.

Having said that, I really like the texture. It's creamy but light, and I actually prefer creamy products.


As you can see, the tube is quite big. Considering the usual size of Japanese sunscreens (around 30 grams), this thing is double the size at 75 grams net weight.


The price? 2800 yen plus tax, which comes to 3024 yen total.

Sounds expensive, until you do a little math.
This tube is 75 grams. 
So here, we basically get 30 grams for 1120 yen pre-tax. Suddenly, we are firmly in the lower end drugstore category. 

The explanation for it is very simple. The ingredients are very basic and no-frills.

Here, take a look.

Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ ingredient list:


Looks like your garden-variety no-name basic Japanese sunscreen, doesn't it?
I plugged them into CosDNA for your reading pleasure - link.

Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ is a chemical sunscreen with the following UV absorbers:
  • Octinoxate
  • Uvinul A Plus
  • Tinosorb S
  • and Parsol SLX.

It covers the whole range of UVA1 and UVA2 and UVB. Nothing to complain about here.
And as most Japanese chemical sunscreens, it also contains alcohol (ethanol).

I am pretty sure that the violent "fresh" fragrance is there solely to mask the stench of ethanol. The alcohol can be felt on the skin, no doubt about it. But, unlike the fragrance, it evaporates pretty quickly. And even though I usually dislike formulations with ethanol as the second ingredient, this one does not bother my skin. At least it did not bother me on the days when I actually managed to wear this this thing for the whole day. 


Testing Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ was an exercise in self control. I had to get my mind into that zen state of higher consciousness to be able to ignore the stench. I mean, the smell. I mean, the fresh bouquet fragrance. I managed to accomplish it by not taking my hay fever medication and becoming a mouth breather. No worries, I wore a mask in public.

Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ swatches:



Despite its lovely texture and the company's assurances of moisturizing properties, it isn't moisturizing at all. It absorbs to a slight sheen, which disappears after an hour, or so (if worn without makeup). The feeling of freshness lasts a couple of hours at the most. I suppose it would work great for oily or normal skin, but for dry skin it's a no go.

Here is what the leaflet that was in the box says:


All standard, garden-variety sunscreen claims. No bells and whistles here.

Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ does seem to work as a makeup base, but then again, I don't wear that much makeup. 

I couldn't find any claims of sweat- or sebum- or waterproofness anywhere on the box or the leaflet.


Time to summarize.

Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ pros:
- texture
- stable, full UV protection
- skinfeel
- price per gram (yes, I am putting it in the "drugstore category")

Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ cons:
- fragrance
- smell
- stench
- ugh, the stink of this thing
- everything else.



And that concludes my review of Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++.

Now let's quickly take a look at this limited edition abomination - Paul & Joe Suncream.
Ms Y got it for me, so I would have the whole set. I would have never bought it on my own, because I just can't figure out the purpose of a "suncream". 


Sorry, but only a total idiot thinks that tanning can be safe and is good for our skin.
There is no such thing as "safe tan". 
Tan means your skin is burning. Tan means skin damage.  There is absolutely nothing "perfect" about it.


The overpowering scent we all know and love hate is still there.
The consistency is indeed creamy.
But the best part? It is a lot more moisturizing than its SPF50+ brother. Here, we have alcohol further down the ingredient list. 

I'm using Paul & Joe Suncream as a hand cream. My hands are far enough from my nose that the smell doesn't slay me. 

So there you have it.
Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ and Paul & Joe Suncream.



Final verdict? 
Meh. You might as well buy Biore Watery Essence. Or a couple of frappuccinos.


~~~

Streszczenie po polsku...

Poniewaz kosmetyki Paul & Joe sa dostepne w wielu krajach Europy, dodaje opinie po polsku.

Po pierwsze, ta nazwa. Gdyby jakas polska firma kosmetyczna nazwala sie "Pawel i Jozek" i zaczela sprzedawac wcale nietanie kosmetyki, to nie bardzo moge sobie wyobrazic jak zostalaby przyjeta przez publike.
Nazwa Paul & Joe mnie odrzuca, ale skoro mialam okazje sprobowac Paul & Joe Sun Protection Gel Milk SPF50+ PA++++ , to nie chcialam tej szansy zmarnowac. Szczegolnie, ze filtry SPF wszelakie to moja wielka milosc.

No i jak wyszlo nam z Pawelkiem i Jozkiem? Ano, niezbyt dobrze.
A wszystko przez okropny perfumowy zapach tego specyfiku. On nie pachnie. On po prostu zajezdza tanimi perfumami jak pani od katechizmu na odpuscie.
Sam filtr ma kremowa konsystencje (prosze nie wierzyc slowom "gel milk", bo to nie jest ani zel ani mleczko), nie bieli, ladnie sie wchlania, na skorze zachowuje sie wysmienicie, nadaje sie pod makijaz i oferuje pelna ochrone UV (UVA1, UVA2 oraz UVB).
Nie jest nawilzajacy, wiec skory suche nie beda go lubialy. Natomiast normalne, mieszane w kierunku tlustych nie powinny miec z nim problemow.

Jest to filtr chemiczny i niestety ma etanol (alkohol) na drugim miejscu w skladzie.
Jak na filtr japonski (tak, jest on produkowany w Japonii), tubka jest gigantyczna, bo zawiera az 75 gramow produktu. Cena per gram jest przecietna jak na warunki japonskie.
Jesli ktos nie jest wrazliwy na zapachy i nie przeszkadza mu fakt, ze bedzie zalatywal wonnym bukietem rodem z jarmarku, to prosze bardzo, bedzie z Pawelka i Jozka bardzo zadowolony. Biale kozaczki do kompletu i pelen szyk.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Ravissa UV White Protector SPF50+ PA++++

  • UPDATED with the company's response at the end of this blog post.


This is probably the first time ever that I've been terrified of a product. Not just terrified to use it, but terrified in general. You know the feeling... When you are about to bungee jump and you are standing on the railing of the bridge and keep wondering if the bungee cable is properly attached and you're going to be OK instead of smashing your head on the rocks below.

I used to bungee jump a lot when I was younger. Smashed my hand during one jump, so I know the risks. And I know that the fear is not baseless.



This is how I feel about this Ravissa UV White Protector SPF 50+ PA++++ made by Alen International in Mie prefecture (yep, that's still Japan).

But let's start at the beginning...

I have heard about Ravissa sometime last year. My friend gave me a sample of... serum... I guess... I don't really remember now. It felt nice enough on my skin that I wanted to know more about the brand.



After a bit of googling I learned that this was a spa-only line sold at beauty salons and such. I said "whatever" and forgot all about it.

A few weeks ago I was in Tokyo getting a haircut (yes, I really spend close to 3 hours on the train, one way, just to get a haircut). I got out of the subway at Omotesando and proceeded to the exit. While I was busy proceeding, I noticed a small cosmetics shop (I think it was MS Style), still inside the ticket gate area. And of course I went in to check it out.



There, occupying very prominent shelf space was none other than Ravissa.
I saw the prices and promptly saw myself out. But not before testing the sunblock.

I went to get my haircut, had lunch, and then when I was going back to catch the Ginza Line, I saw that shop. Damn... I went inside.
And like a good Pavlov's dog that I am, I bought that damn sunscreen.



I brought it home, read the ingredient list and scratched my head.
Then I read it again. And scratched my head so hard I was afraid it was going to start bleeding.

I went to the company's website - Alen.co.jp (yes, Alen with just one "L"), read everything there was to read there and, if anything, felt even more confused than before.
Huh??? Say, what?

Here's a sunblock with practically no sun blocking or sun absorbing ingredients? And you want me to put it on my face?

But, of course, I was curious, so I did put it on my face.
I started slow. At home. In the evening. On my arm.



My arm felt good, and I proceeded to put Ravissa UV White Protector SPF50+ PA++++ on my face.
At home. In the evening. Just to see how it felt.

My face did not explode.
In fact, Ravissa was an excellent makeup base.

It felt amazing going onto the skin. When dispensed from the airless tube, it has the consistency of mousse.



Then it sinks in and your face starts feeling like it's covered in bulletproof film. It's not an unpleasant feeling, actually. Just strange. And about an hour later it feels like you have a special effects latex mask on your face. You run to the mirror to take a look, but you still look fine. Completely natural. There is no latex mask at all. Your makeup stays on like a champ. There is no pilling, no patching, no dryness, no white cast. You skin feels perfectly natural to the touch.



Just that nagging feeling that there is SOMETHING on your face. You can't see it. You can't touch it. And after a while you start to doubt whether you've perhaps imagined that initial feeling of SOMETHING.

Make no mistake, this is one heavy duty makeup base. It blurs, it smoothes, it just makes your skin look great. If not for that nagging feeling of SOMETHING, it would be one of the best makeup bases I've ever tried.



But, but...

What about them UV protecting???
Well, here's where it gets funky.

Take a look at the ingredients.

Ravissa UV White Protector SPF50+ PA++++ ingredients:

I hope there are no typos in there. I suck at typing in Japanese. I retyped what's printed on the box. If you see any mistakes in the translation, please let me know. 

See what I mean?
No? Ok, here, I plugged them into CosDNA for you - link.
Can you see it now?

Ravissa UV White Protector, despite having SPF50+ and PA++++ rating, has only trace amounts of UV blockers. Not enough to be effective as sun protection at all.

If the amount of oxides is insufficient to protect from the sun, then what the hell is "protecting" in this sunblock?

The company's website does not offer any answers. It just says this:


I highlighted the UV protector part in the screenshot above.


But that's not enough, so I started to do my own research.
I did find a couple of papers about plant-based photo protectants, and yes, one of them was apple-based. But is this what we have here? No idea...

I emailed the company asking for details and, of course, haven't heard back.

In the meantime, I've been reading all the PR blurbs about Ravissa that I could find.

Here are some in English:


This is from the Tokyo Cosme Expo PR materials.

Reduction hydrogen water? Yep. Apparently, it's a thing. And apparently, it's good for us.
Here's a research paper published in Trends in Food Science and Technology back in 2012 - link.

And this is what we have on Alen's website:


So far, so good. We have the trifecta of dryness, spots and anti-ageing. Standard run-of-the-mill skincare claims.


Apples! I told you there were apples in it.
Stem cells? Do they use stem cells as UV blockers? I'm confused.
Or is it that vitamin C derivative that's doing the blocking?
Or perhaps, something else entirely?


Peptides? I love peptides!
But I'm not a cosmetic chemist, so the rest is lost on me...



This I'm familiar with. Yeast extract sounds positively pedestrian next to stem cells and peptides.

And instead of what's in this skincare, here you have what's NOT in it:


The fear mongering and claims that these ingredients are "irritants" is more than just a little off-putting. But hey, it's their brand. They can say whatever they want, right?



And we're back to the magical water, which in the ingredient list is listed simply as "water".



In summary, after reading all this, I still have no clue what is doing the UV protecting in this sunblock.

The TEST!

There was only one way to see if this sunblock really works. To actually test it in the sun.

I had an hour to kill today, and thought, hey, why not. Beats doing the laundry, right?

This is how I prepped my arm:



The picture is self explanatory. The top bit of exposed skin was covered with HABA UV Cut Milk SPF50+ PA++++, a non-chemical non-alcohol sunblock which is nearly bulletproof. One of my favorites.

The next bit of naked skin was covered with Ravissa UV White Protector SPF50+ PA++++ and left exposed in the sun for 60 minutes.

We have Ravissa one more time, this one was exposed for only 30 minutes.

And for control purposes, we have skin that was left unprotected.

The skin on the sides of the testing area was covered with Evermere UV Gel SPF50+ PA++++ (one of my favorites).

I know that HABA and Evermere work. I trust them. I was curious whether Ravissa will work.

I put on a hat, got a book and sat on the balcony.

This is after 30 minutes:



The covered patch is where Ravissa after 30 minutes was. You can see the unprotected skin getting pinkish in the above photo.

And this is after one hour.
Are you ready?
I increased the contrast, so you can see the results better.



Yep. Unprotected skin is clearly sunburned.

But that damn Ravissa UV White Protector somehow worked.
How? Don't ask me. I don't know.

I am really hoping that the company emails me back and explains what they use as UV blockers.

So yeah.
We have 35 grams of something in a shiny airless pump, which is supposed to protect our precious faces from the sun, which, surprisingly, it does.

It also claims to be anti-everything (wrinkles, spots, aging, dryness...).

In addition Ravissa UV White Protector SPF50+ PA++++ is:

  • mineral oil free
  • artificial fragrance free
  • synthetic color free
  • UV absorber free
  • paraben free
  • phenoxyethanol free

and

  • alcohol free.


It's an excellent makeup base, but at 5184 yen (tax included) it should be.
I'm just terrified to use it as an actual sunblock. Even after today's test, I am still scared...


So that's Ravissa UV White Protector SPF50+ PA++++ for you.



Now, if you excuse me, I have to pack. Going to Karuizawa tomorrow. And yes, I am taking a different sunblock with me (Evermere UV Gel).



UPDATE as of April 5, 2017

After back and forth with Alen International via email regarding this Ravissa UV White Protector SPF50+ PA++++, I still don't know anything. 
First of all, dear Alen International, if you have an English language version of your website, it is only natural that you would respond to emails written in English. I mean, that is common sense, or so I thought. Apparently Alen's version of common sense does not match mine, because my email in English went without answer. 
I wrote again in Japanese, where I actually pointed out that this was my second time contacting them, as my inquiry in English had been ignored. The company didn't even bother to apologize in their response. 
In their response to me they just quoted the standard PR spiel about not including in their products "ingredients that burden the skin". Dear Alen, I am not illiterate, I read that the first time around on your website. In both languages. 
The question as to what provides the SPF50+ and PA++++ level of UV blocking in Ravissa UV White Protector was not addressed. It was simply stated that it contains sunblocking ingredients. 
I pressed harder. I wanted to know what these ingredients were. I asked about Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide and wanted to know the concentration of both. I explained that in non-chemical sunscreen products if these two oxides are the only UV blockers, they are usually within the top ten ingredients on the list. I wanted to know how can they offer SPF50+ PA++++ if in Ravissa UV White Protector they appear after the (+/-) sign in the ingredient listing. 
The company response was very blunt, devoid of any pleasantries and went like this (translation): 
The proper blending of all the ingredients is responsible for the effect of the product. iI doesn't mean that any ingredients are specifically for UV blocking. Please be assured that the product contains enough sunscreen. If you use it in the appropriate way, you will be satisfied. Thank you very much.

Well, excuse me for being stupid, but if you are saying there is enough sunscreen, then tell me what that sunscreen is. Otherwise fuck off.

Final verdict:

Use Ravissa UV White Protector SPF50+ PA++++ at your own risk.
I'm tossing mine in the garbage.
And currently have exactly zero interest in trying other products from their lineup.


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