I’m always excited to try a new sunscreen. I run through sunscreen like water, so it’s always easy for me to flit about, even if I always find myself coming back to roost with my Holy Grail sunscreen. (Incidentally, I’m told that the new catch-phrase is ‘Ride or Die’ vs ‘Holy Grail’ vs ‘Desert Island’ – I’d rather be a little holy than ride or die so you won’t see me use that phrase any time soon! Oops, I just did didn’t I?)
The newest I put to the test was what the people from The Body Shop excitedly told me was their first ever sunscreen product. First ever! I didn’t realise that TBS never had a sunscreen before this, did you?
Except they didn’t call it a sunscreen or a sun protection. This is The Body Shop Skin Defence Multi-Protection Essence SPF50 PA++++! I was so enamoured by the high SPF and PA (UVA blocking) rating that I think I overlooked one thing. TBS did not call this one a sunscreen.
Note that it is a Multi-Protection Essence, and the texture of the product hammers this home, by being a lightweight, watery texture. Yet the promise of SPF50 and PA++++ rating really had me by the short and curlies. I HAD to know if this might be my new favourite sunscreen? Would you like to know too? 😉
Short answer: No. Not by a long shot. Not even by a short shot. This is as far from a Holy Grail as that jewelled chalice was from the clay cup in Indiana Jones The Last Crusade <- Please tell me I’m not talking to myself. Anyone else knows what I’m talking about? 😛
First the good stuff. I like the packaging. The slim, compact tube is very handy and portable. The texture of the product is also very lightweight, just like the name promises it to be – an essence. It feels like a light lotion going on skin, and here’s an interesting thing I noticed.
On contact with skin, the product breaks down a little to a more watery texture. When you rub it on your skin, it kind of breaks into water droplets. Very strange. You can see from the image, how it is already starting to break down around the edges of the product swatch.
This makes this sunscreen very lightweight, and absorbs quite easily into skin. I do find however, that it leaves a sheen on my skin, which isn’t terribly flattering. I do have to wait for it to settle before I apply makeup on, but I don’t find that it messes up my base very much as it isn’t oily. The texture also means I find it hard to use my usual amount, which is this as I showed here:
Incidentally, that product in the photo is this The Body Shop Skin Defence sunscreen, and it is a challenge for me to use that much on each part of my face. It does then feel a little heavy.
But I must point out one very important fact. I live near the equator, where the sun shines for most part of the year. Despite what the detractors say, I do not use any sunscreen of less than SPF50 PA+++ protection. I have a pigmentation problem, I don’t deny, but for the most part, diligent and regular use of my HG sunscreen has kept it under control, so I haven’t turned into one giant freckle.
So, when product does not work for me, I know immediately. This manifests itself in a few ways. First, my skin will turn warm and red if I’m exposed to the sun or heat. You might be thinking “Duh! Of course your skin will turn warm under the heat, doofus!” But this isn’t regular warmth. It’s the warmth of lightly toasted skin. If you’ve experienced it, rather like a mild sunburn, you’ll know what I mean.
That means UVB rays because that’s what makes your skin feel warm and turn red. Secondly, my sun spots or pigmentation increase in density and darkness. Unfortunately, I experienced that with this The Body Shop Skin Defence sunscreen. When exposed to the sun e.g. while driving, my facial skin would feel lightly toasted, even under my foundation. This is not something I experience with my regular sunscreen, so I noticed the difference almost immediately.
To truly test this further, I took only this sunscreen with me to Bangkok. I walk a lot in Bangkok, and I’m outdoors a lot, where the sun shines brightly and hot down on me. Much to my consternation, this did not pass my personal sunscreen test.
Even with regular reapplication, which was easy due to the lightweight texture, my skin still felt burnt at the end of the day. I also returned with I swear, a tan and more sprinkling of sun spots, which I’ve been working at to lighten ever since with my Vitamin C serum.
Now, if you read around, you may notice that this product comes highly raved and recommended by many bloggers who like it for its lightweight texture. But really, the Japanese brands do super lightweight textured sunscreens that actually WORK at protecting the skin! This is well documented online. So, what’s their excuse at not discovering it earlier? 😛
My friend Romana has a similar complaint about this product. That it did not protect her skin as well as the Shiseido Perfect UV sunscreen does. Really, this has taught me a lesson. When it comes to sunscreen, don’t play play – just stick to what works! I’ve gone back to my Shiseido Perfect UV and I’m not straying anymore. Sure, it is expensive, but so is this one, and really, for just a little extra, I’d rather have something that actually WORKS!
I’m not saying however, that this is a P.O.S (Ok, maybe I am, for me 😛 ) but if you stay indoors all day (and away from the windows) or live where the air is very dry, or live where you don’t get a lot of sun e.g. Autumn, Winter and Spring, then you might like this one because of how it feels. The high SPF50 PA++++ rating will also make you feel like you’re doing something to protect your skin from the ever-present damaging UV rays, rather than not wearing any sunscreen at all. But I’ll also suggest that you look to Shiseido – they do AMAZING sunscreens that are just as light in texture, and on top of everything else, makes a wonderful primer so you don’t even have to wear makeup base!
IN A NUTSHELL
I don’t like this. The lightweight texture that seems to break into a watery lotion on skin is comfortable, but I feel that it leaves a sheen on my skin that I don’t like. Also, I don’t find that it protects my skin as well as other sunscreens I’ve used do. This is important for me where I live. I think this one might appeal more and perhaps be better for someone living in a cooler climate, where the sun isn’t as strong and perhaps where you don’t get a lot of sun. For those who do, try something else. Oh and there’s a floral scent I dislike. But scent is a personal thing. I’m harsh with sunscreen because it’s very important to me. If it makes my skin feel hot or makes my sun spots worse, I bin it in more ways than one.
PROS: Lightweight texture, Absorbs into skin easily and quickly, Not heavy or greasy, High SPF and PA rating on paper
CONS: Scented, Pricey, Does not seem to protect my skin as well as other sunscreens I use, Strange watery texture on contact with skin, Leaves a strange sheen on skin resulting in a “glow”
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who does not need very strong sun protection as the SPF and PA rating belies its actual efficacy
PRICE: RM125 | £16 for 40ml
For those interested, this is the ingredient list for this TBS Skin Defence sunscreen.
From what my limited knowledge tells me, this is a chemical sunscreen. I have not used fully chemical sunscreen in a while (prefering to pick one that has a combination of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide for some physical protection) so it might be why I feel the difference? I don’t know. But I just don’t like this one. Sorry TBS, try again next time.
Have you tried this sunscreen offering from The Body Shop? Like it? Hate it?
I’m still a HUGE fan of the Shiseido, which I know some people like and some don’t. It’s ok. Use whatever your skin tells you it likes, even this one, if you like it. JUST USE SUNSCREEN! 😀