One of my most requested posts, ever, is always about sunscreen. Every time I mention sunscreen, inevitably, someone will pop up and say “Is there a cheaper option that’s just as good at the Shiseido one you recommend?” and inevitably, I’ll say “I’m afraid I have not found one.”
Well, now I have. Almost.
Ladies and gents, may I present to you the Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster SPF50+ PA++++ that steps up to the plate as a more affordable option to the sunscreen that, in an Apocalypse, you’ll have to pry from my stiff dead fingers.
There is one snag – there always is – us poor sods here in Malaysia have no local access to it. (UPDATE FEB 2018: The Shiseido Anessa sunscreens have been spotted in selected Watson’s stores in Malaysia. Keep your eyes peeled!) Cue a cacophony of wailing and beating of breasts in anguish 😀
I’d heard of the Shiseido Anessa sunscreen for a while but had never tried any, for the simple reason because it was not available locally. It is however, available in neighbouring countries and in most other Asian countries. This bottle was kindly gifted to me by a reader, Liz, whom I met earlier this year. I must say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting readers over the months, some of whom have become friends 😀
Liz was a girl after my own heart, for she knew I was a sucker for sunscreen, and she told me she enjoyed using this one, and wanted me to see if I liked it. Well Liz, I do and now, I’m bummed that it isn’t as easily available here haha 😀
Anessa is a subsidiary brand of skincare giant, Shiseido, and there are a few different types of sunscreen available. This Annessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster comes in a gold bottle, with yellow plastic packaging, and boasts SPF50+ PA++++ UVA/UVB protection. I believe this is the highest protection in the brand.
Like most Japanese brand sunscreens, the texture is light, like a lotion. However, if you prefer watery type textures, then you will not like this one, for this has a heavier milky-lotion texture. Compared to the Shiseido Perfect UV, I find this texture a little heavier. It is rather comparable to the Shiseido Perfect UV Hydrofresh formula, although that one is heavier. So, this sits somewhere in the middle.
You may notice how it is a little runny. If you click over to the Shiseido Perfect UV Hydrofresh review, you can see that that one is thicker. This one reminds me a lot of the Shiseido Perfect UV Face & Body (Europe version) in terms of texture.
You must shake it up before use, and it feels comfortable. While the creamier texture will lead you to believe that only a little is required to cover your face, I must disagree with this notion. Unlike a face cream, where this statement might hold true, this is NOT TRUE with sunscreen. With sunscreen, you need enough to protect your skin. A THIN LAYER OF SUNSCREEN IS NOT ENOUGH! And I’m frankly tired of people who spread this disinformation.
I use a very generous amount all over. My gauge is very simple. One finger’s length of sunscreen for EACH section of my face i.e. cheeks, forehead, nose and chin, down to my neck and chest. Not one tiny dollop to cover my whole face. That said, having had to battle pigmentation problems, I am probably more aware than most of how reactive my skin can be to the sun, and so I take greater pains to protect myself.
I find the texture comfortable. But I do have drier skin, which might explain why. But more importantly, I find that this Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Aqua Boost sunscreen offers me sufficient protection from the sun. How do I gauge this? By the fact that my skin does not react by heating up when I’m out in full sun, and by my not developing more pigmentation spots caused by the sun unlike this useless P.O.S.
Is it as good as my holy grail Shiseido Perfect UV Protector? Well, it’s close. I do still think the Shiseido Perfect UV makes a better primer, and texturally, feels better on the skin. It is not as heavy as this Anessa Aqua Boost sunscreen and it doesn’t smell as strongly of alcohol.
Comparing the ingredient lists side by side also throws up a lot of similarities between both the formula, which is encouraging. I will observe that this, like the Shiseido Perfect UV Protector, offers both physical (zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) and chemical (octixonate, octocrylene, uvinul A plus, tinosorb S) UV protection. I always go for a formula that offers both, or at the minimum, physical UV protection, as I have little faith in only chemical UV filters.
I hesitate to call this a “cheaper option” to the Shiseido Perfect UV Protector, but it is more affordable and comes in a 60ml bottle. You can get it in Singapore at Watson’s for S$39.90, and also in Thailand Watson’s (THB859), Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, if you’re heading there. Look in the pharmacies (drugstores).
For us sad sods in Malaysia, your best bet will be to travel, or have family or friends buy it for you when they travel. You have the option of buying it online of course (there always is). I have seen it on sites like Lazada and 11 Street but I have no confidence in these sort of sites, and no confidence in their sellers when it comes to beauty products. Buy at your own risk, but I personally will not. Personally therefore I will not recommend them. I will also suggest sites like Sasa or Cosme-de, both of which I have better faith in as I’ve purchased from them before. Sasa in particular, is big enough to be trusted.
However, I have my reservations about buying sunscreen online (although I have before). Unless there is an indication, you do not know how close to expiry a product is, or how old their stocks are, and how they are stored. With some skincare, it may not matter. With sunscreen, it is very important that the product is fresh, because the ingredients that protect your skin will break down over time. The closer it gets to expiry, the less protection it gives your skin. 2 years from manufacture is a recommended cut-off period for optimum sunscreen ingredient preservation. So, buying online is an option, but do so at your own risk. Because I am so particular about my sunscreen, I no longer buy online, nor do I hoard product, and now suck it up and buy at counters for freshest product, even if it means paying top dollar for a good one.
IN A NUTSHELL
The Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster SPF50+ PA++++ is a more affordable sunscreen, as compared to my regular recommendation from the same mother company. I find the texture more creamy than the Shiseido Perfect UV Protector, but lighter than the Hydrofresh option. It is a creamy milk-lotion texture that might suit drier skin types better, due to the amount you should use for best UV protection. I do like this formula very much. It is comfortable on my skin, and it offers my skin the protection I need and is supposed to be water resistant. My skin does not heat up even with intense sun exposure, and my skin seems to be well protected from reacting to UV exposure (I don’t develop new sun spots). It is not cheap in the truest sense of the word, but it is more affordable than the department store option. If I had better access to it, I will be happy to switch over. For Malaysians, you can buy it online, but read above, my thoughts on shopping for sunscreen online. You decide for yourself. As for me, I’ll buy whatever I can get close to hand at any given time.
PROS: Comfortable hydrating formula, High UVA and UVB protection, Mix of chemical and physical UV filters, Fairly affordable, Portable size, Protects my skin well from the UV rays
Not available in Malaysia at time of writingPricey for a pharmacy/drugstore brand, Strong scent of alcohol
WHO WILL LIKE THIS: Anyone who wants a more affordable but good quality sunscreen with high SPF and UVA/UVB protection
PRICE: S$39.90 | THB859 | US$30 or US$40 for 60ml depending on where you look
WHERE TO BUY: Watson’s in Singapore and Thailand, Sasa stores in Hong Kong and online, pharmacies (drugstores) in Taiwan, China, Japan etc but not in Malaysia at time of writing, Online at Strawberrynet, Cosme-de, YesStyle
For those interested, this is the ingredient list for the Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster.
Dimethicone, Water, Alcohol, Zinc Oxide, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, Polymethyl Methacrylate, Isopropyl Myristate, Talc, Isododecane, Octocrylene, Polybutylene Glycol/PPG-9/
1 Copolymer, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Titanium Dioxide, Glycerin, Diisopropyl sebacate, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Dextrin palmitate, Xylitol, Bis-ethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyl triazine, PEG/PPG-14/7 dimethyl ether, Sodium chloride, 3-o-ethyl ascorbic acid, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Angelica Acutiloba Root Extract, Thymus Serpillum Extract, Rosa Canina Fruit Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Curcuma Longa Root Extract, Isostearic Acid, Aluminum hydroxide, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Stearic Acid, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Distearyldimonium chloride, Trisodium EDTA, Butylene Glycol, BHT, Sodium Metabisulfite, Fragrance
I may be critical about Japanese skincare in general, but there is one thing they do very well, and that is sunscreen for which I place my trust in few others. (Well, some of them anyway. Senka is also by Shiseido and look where that led me!) Well, except for makeup as well, for which Japanese base products, powders, blushes and brushes cannot be surpassed! 😀
UPDATE: Is the Shiseido Anessa sunscreen better than the Shiseido Perfect UV Protector?
I have been using the Shiseido Anessa sunscreen for a while now. I also bought a few bottles when I was in Bangkok because they were on sale, and at the time, unavailable in Malaysia. What I can say after extensive testing, is that my preference still lies with the Shiseido Perfect UV Protector. The texture is more refined, and the scent of alcohol is not as strong. It makes an excellent makeup primer, and feels more comfortable on my skin. More importantly, I feel like it protects my skin better. Having stopped using it for a while, I have noticed an odd pigment spot or two developing. As someone who battles hyperpigmentation, this is a big deal. For this reason, I will be reverting to the Shiseido Perfect UV Protector. This one will do in a pinch, and perhaps for use on my body where I can be more lavish.
Have you tried this Shiseido Anessa Aqua Booster sunscreen?
Do you like it? Not like it? Wish you could get your hands on it? 😀 I have very strong views about the online options available, but if you trust them more than I do, then I suppose you can go there. I wouldn’t, so once I’m done, I will go back to my Shiseido Perfect UV Protector, until the opportunity arises for me to get my hands on this one again 🙂