Tried, Tested and (mostly) Rejected: Sun Protection

Posted by Lipglossiping On August - 1 - 2011

I owe you an apology for the sun protection series that never happened.  I planned my posts, split the topic down into the main aspects I wanted to cover but then a few things happened that prevented me from seeing things through…

1).  Turns out there are only 24 hours in a day.  Who knew.

2).  I wanted professional input but one contact went silent halfway through the process and the other replied to my questions with single word answers and I was frankly too aware that they were both doing me a favour to push my luck.

3).  I may have also got the mega wobbles about doing such an important subject justice.

So basically, I failed but I can honestly say that I failed with the best of intentions.

Still, all the ‘homework’ that I put into the series hasn’t entirely gone to waste as it has given me understanding and knowledge that has left me far better prepared to comment on some of the sun protection I’ve discovered this Summer and I’ve needed this time to use, compare and decide on my favourite facial sun protection products on the market today.

Let’s start from the top shall we?

1.  Dr. Brandt UV SPF 30 PA+++* is an an advanced broad spectrum UV protectant that contains ‘dry touch’ technology.  It wears exceptionally well under makeup and provides a satin finish with no white cast.  Packaged in an airless pump, it refused to dispense for me on a few occasions leaving me pumping nothing but air until I swore at it and it behaved again.

I wasn’t hugely keen on the scent but it deserves top marks for leaving a practically naked finish.  Medium-textured and water resistant for 80 minutes.

Price:  £30.00 for 30g at SpaceNK

Repurchase?:  Probably not, it contains Oxybenzone and I don’t like the scent.

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2.  Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser SPF 50+ is an incredibly light-textured solution blended with antioxidant Vitamin E, calming Aloe Vera and pure Honeycomb extract for hydration aswell as sun protection.  This is another superb sun cream to wear under makeup leaving no white residue and providing a dry finish without a hint of greasiness.  Claims water resistance of up to 4 hours.

Price:  £21.82 for 50ml at QVC

Repurchase?:  My heart says yes but my head says no.  Again, this contains Oxybenzone.

.

3.  Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA+++ is a fluid-textured solution that feels cooling to the skin when applied.  It leaves no white casts and a slightly dewy (but not greasy) finish.  Perhaps better for normal/dry skins though as it lacks the immediate touch-dry feel of the other two.  It sets after a couple of minutes, which is how long I usually wait before applying makeup over it.  No claims of water resistance.

Price: Around £12 for 50ml from eBay

Repurchase?: Again, probably not.  It’s great value but contains Octinoxate.

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4.  Avon ANEW Solar Advance Sunscreen Face Lotion SPF50 PA+++* similar in finish to the Biore but with a heavier texture.  This is definitely more cream than fluid but the most pleasant smelling of all sun creams trialled.  Packaging is a frustration because the bods at Avon decided it would be a good idea to print orange text over a yellow bottle, cue much squinting.

Again, this works best if you leave it a couple of minutes before applying make up but again, it left no white casts on my skin and once ‘set’, I experienced no issues with products that I used over it.

Price:  Currently £8.50 for 75ml at Avonshop – an absolute bargain!

Repurchase:  Unlikely, it’s another one to use Oxybenzone as a UVA/UVB filter and is a little heavier textured than the others.

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5.  SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense SPF50* is an all-mineral sunscreen that employs physical UV filters Zinc Oxide and Titanium Dioxide to protect the skin from the sun.  You would usually expect to be left with a white residue as these ingredients sit on the skin’s surface, physically deflecting the UV rays but SkinCeuticals Sheer Mineral UV Defense uses micronized particles to provide a sheer, non-chalky finish.  The texture is extremely fluid and needs a good shake before applying as it does separate in the bottle.

Paraben-free and contains plankton extract to increase the skin’s defences against UV and heat stresses.

Price:  £26.99 for 50ml at Dermacare Direct

Repurchase:  Possibly, though I found the mattifying effect a little drying for my combo/dry skin.

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6.  Neals Yard Remedies Wild Rose Daily Moisture SPF 30* is the first sunscreen to be certified by the Soil Association (it’s 56% Organic) and contains only one active ingredient: Zinc Oxide.  Naturally scented (as you would expect), the tube dispenses a heavy-textured cream that takes a bit more effort to massage into your skin compared to the others on trial.  Once rubbed in, it dries to a velvety finish with no white residue.  It feels more comforting for my dry skin than the SkinCeuticals but otherwise, very similar once set.

Also contains antioxidant-rich wild rosehip oil and milk thistle, is paraben-free and wears beautifully under makeup.

Price:  £23.50 for 50ml at Neals Yard Remedies.

Repurchase:  Absolutely.  100% mineral, matt-finish but with the added benefits of moisturisation makes Neals Yard Remedies my winning choice.

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A note on my personal choice to avoid some synthetic UV filters:  I’ve made the decision to avoid some UV filters that have been linked to possible hormone disruption.  The jury is still out on the validity of studies that have flagged these safety issues but whilst there are good alternative choices available, I’m pleased to be able to make them.

* press sample


Sometimes, it takes a little bit of hindsight to fall in love…

Posted by Lipglossiping On May - 8 - 2011

I can sometimes be a bit slow on the old review lark… I get excited about a new product and throw myself into full-on playing, sniffing, painting, daubing and general testing but it has come to my attention that I’m not a conveyer belt of product analysis.

Like every other human being on this planet.  I’m fallible and I didn’t see this one coming.  Well, I kinda did because I gushed about it to a friend 6 weeks ago.  She had also tried it but didn’t like it and her impressions made me doubt my gut instincts, so I cooled my passions a little and tried to inject a touch of devils advocate into the situation.  Receiving gratis products to play with and review is undoubtedly completely awesome but with it comes a degree of responsibility in not wanting to let anyone down by being anything other than ‘spot on’ with my reviews.

With that in mind, I’d been mulling over the results I wasn’t sure I was seeing… at odds with the simple truth that I loved how the product applied/felt/moisturised etc.  But then I saw a before/after photo that wasn’t even relevant to the product I’m talking about and my doubts were blown sky high.

By now, you probably know I’m rabbiting on about the eye cream I mentioned on Friday.  A couple of you pointed out that you could detect a visible difference and in a world of disappointing anti-aging products that claim to offer the world, a visible difference (even slight) is a little beacon in the night.

Skinceuticals A.G.E Eye Complex* gives a pretty understated impression when it comes to kerb appeal.  Even more so when you consider the price tag of £78.00.  I’ve paid more for an eye cream precisely once in my life and after finishing the pot, I chided myself and said I’d never do it again.  Well, never say never…

The simply styled packaging contains 15ml of product that promises to diminish dark circles, puffiness and effects of glycation.  I don’t really understand what glycation is other than at the base level of it causing premature signs of aging because of degrading body tissue… but this product claims in the long term to reduce the effects of this glycation and in the short term, help mask the appearance of dark circles and puffiness.  Still with me?  Have a read of what they say…

…Immediately, optical diffusers improve radiance and minimize the appearance of dark circles and capillaries. Within four to twelve weeks, a complex of flavonoids and synergistic peptides improves lymphatic drainage and eliminates accumulated hemoglobin’s colored degradation end-products to dramatically improve dark circles and puffiness.

By twelve weeks and beyond, blueberry extract interrupts the formation of advanced glycation end-products (A.G.E.) and Proxylane restores water and nutrient content to the dermal epidermal junction (D.E.J.) to increase skin elasticity and thickness for dramatic improvement of wrinkles and crow’s feet.

Well now that I’ve managed to baffle myself with the science-y bits… let me tell you the things that I do understand about this eye cream.

It’s intensely hydrating without being heavy or too rich and I haven’t experienced any problems with milia since using this.  I began testing it at a time when I was very dry under my eyes, scaly dry even.  The Skinceuticals cream took charge immediately and within a matter of days my skin was back to normal.

Within a couple of weeks, I felt that the shadow around the edge of my eye socket had a lifted a little but I wasn’t 100% sure if I was imagining it.  As for fine lines or crepiness?  Well, I didn’t notice any differences at all.

This is the same impression I was left with after 8 or so weeks.  Amazingly hydrating, beautiful to apply, cooling on the eye area and simply lovely.  But a £78 spend demands a bit more than that for me.  My demands were coming closer to being met the other day when I was editing a before/after for my UD Lush Lash post.  Here it is again…

To my mind, my eyes look less puffy and the fine lines seem shallower (particularly the one on the right) in the 2nd photo.  OK, it’s not groundbreaking… it hasn’t erased all imperfections or tightened up any droopiness on my eyelids.  Neither is this a hugely scientific experiment but I’m TOTALLY feeling vindicated in an “Oooh I knew I liked this product for a reason!” kinda way.

I’ve been using SkinCeuticals A.G.E Eye Complex for around 11 weeks (once a day) and I estimate that I’ll be finishing my pot in around another 8 weeks.  I’m currently undecided about a repurchase.  If it were £30/40 cheaper, I’d be on it like a recovering alcoholic on a Lambrini.  But let’s wait and see what another 8 weeks bring… if it makes my undereyes smoother than a baby’s bum, I’ll be sure to let you know about it!

Skinceuticals A.G.E Eye Complex is priced at £78 and available to buy online from BeautyExpert.

* Press Sample

What’s the most you’ve ever paid for an eye cream (and was it worth it?)

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