Sunday, May 21, 2017

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

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. 


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.
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