Saturday, May 4, 2019

DHC Lip Cream Star Wars Edition

I've realized that reviewing Korean cosmetics is, for the most part, pretty much pointless. Many brands are here today, gone tomorrow and products are constantly changed and discontinued. That is good from a marketing point of view, but sucks when you like something, wrote about it and then want to buy it again.

Today's post will be about a product that has been around for ages. It's still the same (or with minimal changes), because if something works, why mess with a good thing, right? Right.

Fortunately, DHC is that rare breed of companies that keeps the formulations of its hit products pretty much constant. If there are changes, they are not affecting the product's key properties and most users don't even notice that anything is different. And this is what I like about DHC. It's not the most exciting of brands and it's not rock bottom of the drugstore shelves. It's a solid, quality brands churning out solid, quality products. And sometimes they have a brilliant idea of adorning their packaging with Disney characters. In the past we got Alices, Winnie the Poohs, Ariels and other cuties that appeal to the prepubescent crowd (or to grown Japanese women).

This time DHC decided to take a more inclusive approach (probably realizing that you can shove only so many Disney princesses down customers' throats) and slapped Star Wars characters on one of its most popular products - the one and only DHC Lip Cream.

And since today is May 4th a.k.a. Star Wars Day, it's a perfect excuse to finally tell you about why DHC Lip Cream is the only lip balm I keep repurchasing.

So... what makes DHC Lip Cream (what a stupid name, btw) special?
It works. Bring me your chapped, dry, sunburned, peeling, swollen lips, apply a swipe of DHC Lip Cream, then another one a couple of hours later, and then again before going to sleep. Wake up to healed, soft, amazing, kissable lips.

Seriously, this stuff works. It works because the ingredients are carefully formulated for it to work. It works because it has zero stupid irritants, like menthol, or flavor, or other additives so beloved by Japanese high school girls who can't wear makeup to school.

DHC Lip Cream is boring (hence the Disney princesses to make it more appealing to the younger crowd), it's more expensive that a typical drugstore lip balm, it holds only 1.5 gram of product (seriously, f*ck you, DHC), but it works.

And now it works even better (at least for me), because the tubes are adorned with my favorite Disney characters: Darth Vader and stormtroopers, the droids, and Master Yoda. Yes, Star Wars is a Disney franchise now. And yes, I will buy anything, literally anything, with Star Wars on it. It's an addiction, I know... But I'm quite happy being a Star Wars addict.

Yes, that's me. You have a problem with that?

Anyway, back to the DHC Lip Cream. What's in it that makes it work?

  • Lanolin oil
  • Olive oil
  • Squalane (from olive oil)
  • Aloe barbadensis leaf juice, and 
  • Ginseng root extract.
The last two are there just for vanity purposes at the very end of the ingredient list. They don't really do anything useful in such tiny concentrations.

But mainly lanolin oil. And I just love how some sites, like for example even DHC's own UK website tries to pretend that olive oil is the main ingredient. LOL. It's not. It's lanolin.

Lanolin is basically stuff secreted by sheep to keep their wool waterproof. Sounds scary, right? No worries, no sheep are killed in the production of lanolin. They need to be alive to secret it. And unlike what some bloggers claim, lanolin is not a fat. It doesn't contain glycerides, hence it can't be a fat. So what is it? It's more like wax.

Image: Wikipedia

The wool is coated in lanolin and this substance is removed during a washing process using centrifuge separators. About 200ml to 300 ml of lanolin can be recovered from the wool of one sheep. Fun times.

This lanolin is then purified to produce lanolin esters in their natural state. All impurities (environmental and otherwise) are removed and the result is white, odorless, hypoallergenic lanolin. The sensitivity to lanolin is highly exaggerated, mainly by bloggers who don't understand that "lanolin possesses a number of important chemical and physical similarities to human stratum corneum lipids; the lipids which help regulate the rate of water loss across the epidermis and govern the hydration state of the skin." (from "Investigations into biomechanisms of the moisturizing function of lanolin" from Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Chemists (1993))

Anyway, there you have it. Pure lanolin (which is used in cosmetic products) is very similar to our own human lipids that keep our skin from drying out. And that is exactly what lanolin does to our lips. It keeps them from drying out. It keeps them moisturized. It keeps them healthy and soft. Just like the lipids keep our skin healthy and soft.

I understand that basic science is hard, advanced science is even harder. So, no sweetheart, you are not allergic to lanolin. You probably tried a product with lanolin that contained a number of other known irritants, like color or fragrance, for example.

Speaking of fragrance, DHC Lip Cream does not smell like sheep. In fact it doesn't smell like anything. People who complain that their DHC Lip Cream stinks probably bought an old product past its due date, or one that was stored incorrectly. That is actually very common when you buy imported stuff in Europe or the US. A clean, fresh product should not smell at all.

What else? In Japan DHC Lip Cream is considered a quasi-drug which means it has been approved by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare to be recognized and labeled as "medicinal" and permitted to show certain efficacy and effects. In this case, the effects of liquid lanolin.

DHC Lip Cream ingredients:
lanolin oil, caprylic/capric triglyceride, euphorbia cerifera (candelilla) wax/candelilla cera/cire de candelilla, beeswax/cera alba/cire d’abeille, lanolin, stearic acid, squalane, paraffin, olea europaea (olive) fruit oil, pentylene glycol, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol, stearyl glycyrrhetinate, panax ginseng root extract, aloe barbadensis leaf extract

And that's pretty much it.
We have a great product with a listed price of 700 yen (without tax), but most drugstores sell it cheaper. I usually buy mine at a cheap supermarket and pay around 500 yen.
These Star Wars ones I was forced to buy at a DHC counter in a local shopping mall and I paid full price. I usually have about 4 of these lip balms around. One in my purse, one in my other purse, one by my computer at home, and one in the bathroom. I do not overuse. They are so tiny that the product literally disappears with normal use in no time. That's the only thing I hate about it.

But, on the other hand I understand. It will go bad fast when exposed to air and sunlight, and it's meant to be used quickly. I just wish it was a bit cheaper... But, hey, I'm not complaining. If it works, it works. And I'm happy.

May the fourth be with you!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Base SPF50+ PA++++ and Translucent Base N SPF30 PA+++

You wouldn't know it was still spring according to the calendar. The weather has been silly hot the past few days and it feels like the middle of summer already. Crazy!
That means we are bombarded daily with new sunscreen releases and it seems that there are more and more of them every season.

But today, I want to tell you about two products from last year. One of them got updated packaging and very slight ingredient changes for 2018, the other is still exactly the same (at least according to what I could find online).

It's Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE time! And no, don't ask me to pronounce it. I don't do French.

Sorry, but that name drives me up the wall. I mean, who has the time to type it out every single time? If there was ever a perfect occasion to employ ctrl+c, this is it. Definitely. "Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE" copypasta all the way to the end of this post.

Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE is known for its makeup, or rather, for the packaging and visuals of its makeup. Rose petal blush, anyone? It's NOT normally a brand that comes to mind when talking about skincare. And especially not when talking about sun protection.

But first things first.
As you can read on the company's website, Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE started as a patisserie making "edible jewelry" in Paris (hence the very French name) back in 1862. The idea was to make innovative, beautiful sweets, and the same idea was later transferred to cosmetics.
That is how we ended up with blushes shaped like rose petals packaged in gaudy plastic baubles.

It looks very impressive, but as always, looks can be deceiving. The petals are not as realistic in real life as they appear in pictures. And the packaging is nothing but cheap, tacky plastic.
Yeah, but I still regret not buying one when I was shopping duty-free at Haneda.

Last year, when I was flying to Dubai, I found myself at Haneda. I rarely fly out of Haneda. I'm a Narita kinda gal. My flight was delayed, and then delayed some more and suddenly, I had buckets of time and absolutely nothing to do. I did what every self-respecting skincare addict would do in the same situation. I went shopping.

While most big skincare and makeup brands are sold both at Narita and Haneda, some smaller names can be found only at Haneda. Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE is one such example.

The rose petals were very tempting, their price - not so much. To stay on the safe side and not blow my entire shopping budget on a plastic egg filled with pink rose shreds, I went with my usual standby option. Sun protection.

I picked up these two sunscreen bases:
  • Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++
  • Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE Translucent Makeup Base N SPF30 PA+++.

Why both of them? No idea. I was curious. And they were probably the cheapest products in the entire Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE lineup.
So, how much?
They were both conveniently priced at 3800 yen plus tax (that means 4104 yen total) for 30 ml of product.

Long, skinny boxes were hiding long, skinny tubes.

Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++ got a makeover for 2018 and currently looks like that:

The tube is shorter and bulkier, but the volume and price stayed the same. It's still 30 ml and 3800 yen (plus tax).

I admit, I was very skeptical. Les Merveilleuses something something UV protection? So when I busted the SPF50 out of its box in Dubai, I didn't expect much. In fact, I expected the opposite of much. I was ready to be disappointed and very vocal about my complaints.

And guess what?

Hot damn, I liked it.
Yeah, the scent was annoying and it lingered a bit longer than I would like, but overall, I liked it. Let me say it again... To my shock and horror, it was actually a great sunscreen base.

Here's the summary.

Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++

It's a serum-like makeup base that is incredibly light and slightly moisturizing. It goes on smoothly, gives beautiful satin finish and works with any and all skincare layers you put under it, as well as any and all makeup you put on top of it.

Though colorless, it somehow manages to give the often talked about "blur" effect obliterating pores and turning the face into the smoothest of canvas.
It does all that while being totally lightweight and feeling like there is absolutely nothing on your skin.

Of course, it's not all roses and rainbows. The major drawback is the scent. It's strong, it lingers and it can be quite irritating and annoying. Despite roses and lavenders among the ingredients, Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++ smells like vanilla and almonds with a dash of spice. You know those liquid essences you use when making cakes? This smells just like that. A bit of vanilla, a bit of almonds, and a lot of rum. If you want to smell like an overly flavored cheesecake, this one's for you.

Ingredients (old version - BEFORE 2018) - Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++

Ingredients (2018 version) - Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++
センチフォリアバラ花水 (Rosa Centifolia Flower Water)・水 (Water)・エタノール (Alcohol)・メトキシケイヒ酸エチルヘキシル (Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (Octinoxate))・イソノナン酸イソトリデシル (Isotridecyl Isononanoate)・ジエチルアミノヒドロキシベンゾイル安息香酸ヘキシル (Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus))・ジカプリン酸PG (Propylene Glycol Dicaprate)・ポリシリコーン−15 (Polysilicone-15)・BG (Butylene Glycol)・ジメチコン (Dimethicone)・ビスエチルヘキシルオキシフェノールメトキシフェニルトリアジン (Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (Tinosorb S))・センチフォリアバラ花エキス (Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract)・ダマスクバラ花エキス (Rosa Damascena Flower Extract)・ハチミツ (Honey)・ヒアルロン酸Na (Sodium Hyaluronate)・ラベンダー花エキス (Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract)・BHT・EDTA−2Na (Disodium EDTA)・PEG−30フィトステロール (PEG-30 Phytosterol)・PEG−5フィトステロール (PEG-5 Phytosterol)・(アクリレーツ/アクリル酸アルキル(C10−30))クロスポリマー (Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer)・(ビニルジメチコン/メチコンシルセスキオキサン)クロスポリマー (Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer)・カルボマー (Carbomer)・グリセリン (Glycerin)・ジラウロイルグルタミン酸リシンNa (Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine)・ステアリン酸グリセリル (Glyceryl Stearate)・セテアリルアルコール (Cetearyl Alcohol)・水酸化K (Potassium Hydroxide)・フェノキシエタノール (Phenoxyethanol)・メチルパラベン (Methylparaben)・香料 (Fragrance)
The translation is mine, so I do apologize for any mistakes. If you see any, let me know. That's why I'm including the Japanese list, as well. I don't trust any blogger (of unknown language skills) who posts only the ingredient translations and does not provide the original language version. That, in my opinion, is useless.

But, back to Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++.
What I loved about it the most is how it made my makeup appear absolutely flawless. Mind you, I suck at makeup. And it shows. My skin revolts at the very idea of foundation. Which sucks, because with the leftovers of my melasma, base makeup is a necessity if I want to look vaguely human.

The texture and overall condition of my skin is pretty decent these days. My only problems are pores (huge on my nose) and pigmentation. Even redness can be kept at bay with a proper skincare regimen.

Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++ took care of the pores. And I mean, literally, took care of them. As in "obliterated them". When followed with a basic foundation, my skin appeared pretty much poreless. Which is no small feat, because my pores are indeed yuuuge.

It also made my foundation (be it either liquid, cream or cushion type) last all day and look immaculate at the same time. Magic, I tell you. Simply magic.

Despite having alcohol (ethanol) high up on the ingredient list, Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++ is not drying. And trust me, I KNOW drying. And this isn't it. There were no breakouts or other unwanted skin sensations. In fact, I was reaching for this base especially on days when other products gave me pizza face.

In short, I am very pleased with this SPF50+ PA++++ sunscreen base from Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE. It's not love, because it's not a perfect product (the smell, the smell!), but all things considered, it's a very good product. So good in fact, that if I'm going to be at Haneda duty-free, I plan to pick up the new, updated 2018 release.


Now, let's take a look at its less powerful sister.

Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE Translucent Makeup Base N SPF30 PA+++

Where the SPF50+ PA++++ version was primarily a sunscreen doing magnificent double duty as a makeup base, Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE Translucent Makeup Base N SPF30 PA+++ is just that. A makeup base.

It's a basic, no frills, entry level makeup base. If you've never used a makeup base, this will be a good first intro. If you've had horrible experiences with makeup bases in the past, this is a good re-introduction to this step.

Relying on it as your only means of sun protection would be monumentally stupid. SPF30 PA+++ is not going to cut it when you're out in the sun. Don't be that (wo)man. You'll only hurt your skin. Use a sunblock with higher SPF. And then use Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE Translucent Makeup Base N SPF30 PA+++ as your makeup base. Your pores will disappear, your complexion will be evened out and your makeup will look great and stay on longer.

The downside?
The smell. Yep, it's there again. And it lingers. And lingers... And seemingly, doesn't want to go away. However, if you're into that type of scent, then you'll be in heaven.

Ingredients - Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE Translucent Makeup Base N SPF30 PA+++

This one I would not repurchase, but I can see why women may like it. It's a solid makeup base.
Again, despite the high alcohol content, this base was not drying, there was no redness, no irritation, and no breakouts. The serum-like consistency goes on like a charm and keeps the skin lightly moisturized. It gives wonderful silky finish and works with any and all skincare and any and all makeup. In other words, it does exactly what a high(er) end makeup base should do.

Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE makeup base swatches:

On the left - Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE UV Protection Makeup Base N SPF50+ PA++++
On the right - Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE Translucent Makeup Base N SPF30 PA+++

So there you have it. My first official experience with Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE. I can only hope that there will be others.

So, what do you think of Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE?
And what should I get next? Suggestions?

Friday, March 30, 2018

How House of Rose lost a fan

I used to love House of Rose. It's a Japanese skincare and beauty brand that this year will celebrate its 40th birthday. House of Rose prides itself on providing cosmetics that are "friendly for the skin." Its products are based on plant extracts and milk derived ingredients. House of Rose wants the customers to fall in love with its skincare and become loyal, long-term users.

Despite being "natural," House of Rose skincare is ridiculously cosmetically elegant, mostly expensive, and dare I say, effective. The Refining White (with tranexamic acid) line is pure gold.

The only thing that House of Rose does not have is a solid SPF50+ sunscreen. Sad. That was one of the reasons why I didn't visit their counter at the local mall more often.

Apart from Refining White, another reason why I loved House of Rose was the fact that it had a licensing agreement with Disney. If you buy a character hand cream at Tokyo Disneyland, you are buying a House of Rose product.

Yes, I'm a huge Alice fan. I can't help it. All these cute Disney goodies are made in Japan and are available exclusively at Tokyo Disneyland. I'm going there next week, actually. Yay!

The exception seems to be Winnie the Pooh, as you can find Pooh's image on honey-based products sold at regular House of Rose counters.

This is the shop selling Disney-branded House of Rose products at Tokyo Disneyland:

The name is La Petite Parfumerie and it's located in the Adventureland part of the park.

House of Rose was always my go-to place when I needed suitably fancy, but still (kind of) affordable gifts. And that is why last week I was standing in front of the House of Rose counter at a local mall. I stood there pondering which ones of the ready-made gift sets to grab. They included a hand cream, or a body butter, and a bath bomb. All beautifully packaged and ready for gift-giving.

The bath bombs had subtle and a lot more natural smelling scents than Lush next door.

I made my selections of sakura hand creams and bath bombs and body butters, paid, and the woman at the counter started to gift wrap my purchases.
I mean, you can't go wrong with a House of Rose gift, can you?

And then I picked up one of the bath bombs and looked at the back of the label carefully.
What did I see?

Made in China.

Made in freaking China.

Sorry, not sorry, but I do not buy beauty products made in China. The country can't get something as essential as a baby formula right, and I am supposed to trust it with cosmetics? No. Just no.

That is the reason why I do not buy L'Oreal or Maybelline products sold in Japan - they are made in China. Hardly anyone I know, except for foreigners perhaps, buys them, for precisely the same reason.

Now sadly, I will have to add House of Rose to the list of companies I am going to avoid. Why? If a drugstore brand makes its products in China, well, they are drugstore cosmetics sold at drugstore prices.

If a department store brand sells made in China beauty products, I have a problem with it.

I asked to cancel my purchase, removed all bath bombs from it, and settled on made in Japan bath salts instead.

This really saddens me, because House of Rose does have great skincare. However, I just can't support a "natural" and quite expensive brand that sells beauty products that are made in China.

I really wanted to buy some of this sakura line for myself, because it does smell divine, but in the name of principles, I didn't. I only bought the gifts. Then I tossed my loyalty card in the trash and went over to the next counter, to HABA, to buy skincare for me.

Bye bye House of Rose.
It was nice knowing you.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++

A couple of years ago, while reading various blogs written by foreigners living in Japan, I found one authored by a young woman from Eastern Europe. One day she posted something about her massive collection of Kanebo lipsticks. Her readers, mainly young, impressionable women in her home country, were suitably awed and amazed, and treated the blogger with all the reverence and respect that someone with a whole collection of Kanebo lipsticks deserved.

What the crafty blogger did not explain was that while Kanebo, her lipsticks were not from the global, high end department store brand. That part was conveniently left unsaid, or rather, unwritten. What she failed to mention was that her lipsticks came from the Media sub-brand, which is Kanebo’s super budget drugstore line. So while the readers assumed fancy, high end products with equally fancy, high end price tags, the blogger in fact had a collection of lipsticks that cost less than 8 dollars per piece.

That was not the first, and not the last time, when foreigners, either living in Japan, or shopping in Japan, intentionally misrepresented Media products on the internet. Heck, entire online stores based in Eastern Europe do the same. They know Kanebo has an immediate name recognition. They also know that it’s easy to trick the unsuspecting masses into believing that all Kanebo products are high end and expensive. The same has been happening to Shiseido. The number of Asian beauty fans that are unaware that both Kanebo and Shiseido carry a multitude of budget and drugstore brands is truly astounding. Google much? Apparently not.

Kanebo Media is a very hit or miss brand. I have some Media products, and while I am pleased with some, others are utter junk.

Kanebo Media misses - lipsticks! They are dreadful, old grandma formulas with horrible wear and feel. Lip glosses aren’t any better.

Budget Kanebo Media hits in my possession are: eyebrow pencils and loose powder. Ridiculously cheap and quite good.

What I remember fondly are Kanebo Media color bases. They were my very first foray into color base territory and while currently I use products that suit me better, I remember them as good, budget starter cosmetics.

So it was with great interest that I read that Kanebo Media was releasing an SPF50+ PA++++ makeup base. I went and bought it and have been using it for nearly all of March.

Yes, there is a bell taped to the package. Most drugstore cosmetics are equipped with this super low tech method of theft prevention. Because, yes, even in honorable Nippon people do shoplift. Imagine that! 

Here is my story.

Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ (a.k.a. Media UV Protect Makeup Base, according to the English name on the back of the package) is a non-color type makeup base with high sun protection.

In case you are new here, I have dry skin (not dehydrated, just dry) that is prone to redness, outbreaks, zits and all sorts of horrible stuff. Rosacea with sensitive skin is no fun. Some in my shoes would avoid all products with alcohol, but in my experience, alcohol in a well formulated product does not bother me. What bothers me is the smell of alcohol. If a sunscreen reeks of ethanol, that is an automatic “no” from me.

Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ does have ethanol pretty high on the list, it’s the third ingredient, but based on my previous experiences with Media base products, I wasn’t overly concerned about what ethanol might do to my skin. Most likely it would do nothing, and I was correct in this assumption. It did nothing.

What I was concerned about was the stench of alcohol. Luckily, Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ passed the smell test. Despite the claim that it's fragrance free, it does have a faint scent of something, but it’s not the full-on “here comes the booze” stench of so many cheap sunscreens. The scent does not linger, which is a big plus in my book.

So far, so good.

And here is where it all gets very convoluted. You see, as a makeup base Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ is a total disaster. I know I should not compare it to more expensive products, like Albion, or Les Merveilleuses LADURÉE, both of which have magnificent makeup bases with SPF50+ PA++++. I know that Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ is a budget product, but c’mon now. If Kanebo is going to market it as a makeup base, at the very least they should attempt to make it act like a makeup base.

Unfortunately, as it is now, Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ fails miserably at being a base.

First, the consistency. It is not very gel-like. It’s quite tacky to the touch, and that is the feeling you get when you apply it to the face. It feels like a layer of glue. Is this what cheap makeup bases are like these days? I don’t know. And frankly, I don’t want to know.

Usually, when applying a makeup base first, and then foundation, you expect your pores to be minimized and the foundation adhering nicely and evenly to your face. Not in this case. The pores stay huge and very visible, and the foundation just kind of smudges and sits awkwardly on top.

The overall effect is quite disgusting, to be honest. Both visually and when it comes to wear comfort. Despite the manufacturer's claim that it's comfortable to wear, in reality it's not. At least not as a base.

The only way I could make Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ work as a makeup base was to use powder foundation on top. Then the gel’s glue-like properties showed what they could do. I also tried it with just a setting powder and the results were decent enough, as well. But that is not enough for a makeup base in my book. I want it to work with anything and everything else I might wish to apply to my face.

As a sunscreen, Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ has an impressive list of UV blockers and absorbers:

  • zinc oxide, 
  • Octinoxate, 
  • Uvinul T150, 
  • Tinosorb S 
  • and Uvinul A Plus. 
The formula gives full UVA and UVB protection.

Ratzilla has the ingredients here - Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ ingredient list - link.

I entered them into cosDNA for your convenience - cosDNA analysis - link.

The highly touted pearl protein (hydrolyzed conchiolin protein) is so far down the list that it’s there just for vanity purposes. Similarly with collagen. These two ingredients are third and fourth respectively - from the bottom of the list.

So, that’s what we have here. 30 grams of affordable, decent Japanese sunscreen and pretty crappy base.
The list price for Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ is 900 yen plus tax, but it can usually be found for less. I bought mine for 720 yen, tax included.

Swatch of Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++

Kanebo Media UV Cut Gel Base SPF50+ PA++++ dries to a transparent, but slightly tacky and gluey finish. You can definitely feel a layer of “something” on your skin. Personally, I don’t really like it, but I know many people are not bothered by it.

Final verdict?

  • good UVA and UVB protection 
  • affordable 
  • easily available 
  • minimal fragrance

  • crappy makeup base
  • poor wearing comfort
  • minimal skincare benefits
  • alcohol (if you care about stuff like that)

I’ll stick with more cosmetically elegant makeup bases with high SPF protection, even if they cost more. For me, the overall results are worth spending more money for a better product. A good base can make even a crappy foundation look good. But a crappy base… Well… you know what I mean…

In conclusion, it seems I grew up to be a base snob. But I will always remember Media fondly.
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