Friday, July 10, 2015

Privacy UV sunblocks - UV gel BB and UV face powder

I had a completely different intro to this post all ready already, but then something caught my eye. And then caught it again. And again.

And to be honest, I don't really understand it fully. So help me out here, please.

What I want to know is why so many beauty bloggers talk about "cream with sunscreen" when they clearly mean "sunscreen cream" (as opposed to sunscreen gel, sunscreen milk, or sunscreen spray, for example).

I was always under the impression that "cream with sunscreen" is just a regular day cream with some pitiful level of SPF added, mainly for kicks and giggles. Because I really doubt that anyone out there would take SPF 15 seriously enough to consider it an adequate level of sun protection. And if you do, you're an idiot.

(It's really sad when idiots, who take it seriously, are none other than Elle UK. But hey, maybe wrinkles are in in Europe. You never know...)

So yes, cream with sunscreen.

Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Day Cream SPF15 is a cream with sunscreen.
Clinique Superdefence SPF25 is a cream with sunscreen.

And Shigaisen Yohou UV Cream is "sunscreen cream". Meaning its main function is to provide sun protection. Everything else plays second fiddle.

I always thought that "sunscreen cream" is just one of the many forms of sunscreen available. Gel is another one. Creamy gel is a hybrid of the two. But sunscreen can also come in the form of milk, or spray, or even loose powder.

When sunscreen is labeled as "BB gel", things can get really funky. Because is it a BB cream with a high SPF? Or just a tinted sunscreen gel? To me, these two are different.
Try to put enough BB cream on your face to get adequate sun protection and you'll see what I mean.

And how much do you need to be fully protected from the sun?

According to the experts, that much:

"To achieve the Sun Protection Factor (SPF, which protects against the sun’s UVB radiation) reflected on a bottle of sunscreen, you should use approximately two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin. In practice, this means applying the equivalent of a shot glass (two tablespoons) of sunscreen to the exposed areas of the face and body – a nickel-sized dollop to the face alone."
source: Skin Cancer Foundation

What is a nickel? It's a 5 cent coin in the US.
And how big is it? 21.21mm in diameter.
Yep. Over 2 centimeters across.

That's how big your dollop of sunscreen for your face alone should be in order to give you proper sun protection.

Do you apply that much of your favorite BB cream? I guess if you're going for the wall spackle look, yeah, sure.
Do you apply that much of your favorite BB cushion that touts its high SPF? I highly doubt it.

Now, can you see the slight problem we have here?
There is simply no way in hell that you will ever put on your face enough BB cream, or cushion, to be adequately protected from the sun.
The high SPF in those products is mainly just a vanity selling point for the crafty manufacturer.

And that brings us to today's contestants.

  • Privacy UV Gel BB SPF 50+ PA++++


  • Privacy UV Face Powder 50 SPF 50+ PA++++

They are made by Kokuryudo, the company responsible, among many other things, for Hipitch cleansing oil (not my favorite) and Point Magic Pro face powder (incidentally, I quite like it).

The spray a.k.a. Privacy UV Face Mist SPF50+ PA++++ is missing from today's lineup, because it is just too vile for words.

I tried it at the store and promptly put it back on the shelf. Greasy, sticky, disgusting, leaving a white cast, ugh!

Both the gel and the face powder, as is typical for Japanese drugstore cosmetics, come packaged in tacky plastic boxes. I honestly don't know which is worse - paper boxes, or plastic boxes. I try to recycle, but I know not everybody does.

Privacy UV Gel BB SPF50+ PA++++ made its debut a couple of years ago. Above you can see the most recent (2015) box design.

The gel claims to offer UV protection and skin color correction all in one.

The tacky looking tube holds 25 grams of product.
The price is listed as 1500 yen plus tax, but most stores sell it somewhat cheaper. I paid around 1000 yen, tax included.

As this is a Japanese product, and most Japanese skincare companies are not quite aware yet that flip tops are very common in other parts of the world, we get a standard, old fashioned screw cap here.

What comes out of the tube can be called a "gel" only if you have no clue what a gel should look like.

This is a heavy, thick pasty cream. Or a creamy paste. Take your pick.

These photos are unedited, in natural light and with no filters applied.

I found the color to be quite interesting.
What seemed to be a neutral beige at first, turned out to have pink undertones after all.

You need to be very pale and either neutral or pink toned to be able to wear it. Otherwise, you'll end up like so many Japanese women - pink faced and yellow necked. Seriously, I sometimes wonder if there's an epidemic of color blindness in this country...

Here is how it looks all blended out:

It's not dewy. It's not satin. Next to an average Korean BB cream, you can call this "matte".
But wait! Is it even a BB cream? BB gel? Or just a simple sunscreen with a copious amount of tint thrown in to mask the white cast it would have otherwise produced?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Next up is Privacy UV Face Powder 50 SPF 50+ PA++++.

Now, this fella, according to them innernetz, was supposed to be as good as it gets. It's a loose powder! It's a sunscreen.
It's a sunscreen loose powder. With SPF50+ PA++++ no less. Oh my!

It was supposed to be very fine and very translucent. It was supposed to be light, and fluffy and all around great. After all, @cosme said so, so it must be true.

Indeed, it was very fine. And very light. And very fluffy. In the same way that a bag of cornstarch is very fine, light and fluffy. But you wouldn't want to walk around with cornstarch on your face, now would you? Especially since cornstarch is about as translucent as this powder.

There's even a handy euphemism for it - "not very cosmetically elegant". Which, I suppose, does sound a lot better than "early morning shift at the flour mill again, eh?"

The manufacturer did not bother to put the weight of the product anywhere on the packaging. To get that info, you need to look on the internet. It's 3.5 grams, by the way.
Instead, the package tells us about hyaluronic acid, and collagen, and vitamin C.

The price? It's listed at 1200 yen plus tax, but most drugstores sell it for a bit less. I paid 980 yen, tax included.

As most Japanese powders, this one is also slightly pink. If you have yellow undertones, you risk looking quite ridiculous. But maybe the pink face yellow neck thing is the new look this season and I simply didn't get the memo. In Japan anything is possible.

I am pale, but even on my pale skin you can clearly see that it's, well... not very cosmetically elegant.

Here you can see it layered over Privacy UV Gel BB:

Pale skinned matte finish fans should be overjoyed. We have matte. We have soul crushing, brain numbing matte. Doesn't get any matter than this.

The instructions very helpfully advise you to reapply it every 2 hours. There's a reason for it. This matte finish turns really ugly really fast.

So there you have it.
While I might find some use for the BB gel, the powder is a total dud. I am considering mixing it with some Laura Mercier loose powder, or Chacott. Or use it for Halloween, especially if I want to go as an aging, chewed up club hostess who's trying to reinvent herself as a kabuki actor. The possibilities are endless.

Here are the ingredients and their analysis, courtesy of cosDNA:

Privacy UV Gel BB SPF 50+ PA++++
Privacy UV Face Powder 50 SPF 50+ PA++++

And yes, as you can see, Privacy UV Gel BB is indeed alcohol (ethanol) free.

Available from Amazon, eBay and Rakuten. Prices may vary.

And a reminder: 
If you haven't entered the Hera UV Mist Cushion giveaway already, there is still time! Link in the top bar! Good luck!


  1. Thanks for saving me some money because I'd been eyeing the powder. Not any more though. Agree with you about the mist, too. I bought that and am demoting it to a body sunscreen. --Angela

    1. This was a major disappointment. And it came so highly rated, too. Figures....

  2. Aniu, a cóż to za fantastyczna łąka, na której prezentowane są filtry, widzę, krótkie pociągnięcia pędzla - czyżbyś zdjęła ze ściany, którego z francuskich impresjonistów ? C. Monet? - pozdrowienia Ewa.

  3. It's such a shame for the powder and mist....
    While I do wear sunscreen everyday I still struggle with the reapplication. I put on BB Cream when going to the office and stay there for around 8 hours. After lunch we always take a walk (about 10-15 minutes) and I would like to reapply sun protection since the sunscreen from the morning routine probably already wore off/lost its effectiveness. But I have no idea what product to use without having to smear sunscreen over my BB Cream (which sounds disgusting and probably not very effective). I thought maybe mist or powder could help a bit but after your review I'm not so sure anymore. Guess there's no other choice than to become a vampire, huh?!

  4. I really wish you'd stop sugar-coating your opinions and say what you really mean! lol

  5. Crossing these off my list of Japanese sun products to try. :(

    Keep these reviews coming! They're super useful!


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