Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Mentholatum Skin Aqua UV Moisture Milk SPF50+ PA+++

This Mentholatum Skin Aqua UV Moisture Milk SPF50+ PA+++ is waaaaay overdue for a review! I've been using it daily since more than a month ago, after I ran out of my Allie Comfortable Sunscreen EX WaterTouch.

Mentholatum Skin Aqua is a fairly new line of sun screen products, introduced only about a year or two ago. I've been dying to get my hands on these, but my usual online sources didn't carry them for the longest time. only started stocking them recently, albeit under the wrong name. The product page calls it Mentholatum SunPlay (another Mentholatum sun screen product line), but the accompanying picture shows Skin Aqua instead and the descriptions says "UV Mosture Milk SPF50 PA+++." Whatever, my sister brought me this bottle on her trip home this past summer, but I will probably get it from next time. Someone's clearly confused and needs to fix either the picture or the product page/description, but for $10.80 for 40 mL, I think I'd buy it anyway and hope I'll end up with the right product :)

See the list of ingredients translated from Japanese.

Anyhoo, so why is this sunscreen so special? Because it's one of those super rare Japanese sunscreen that has NO alcohol in its ingredients. The Allie Comfortable Sunscreen EX series does, Sofina Perfect UV does, Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection does - let's just say the vast majority of Japanese sunscreens have alcohol in them, and it's usually one of the top 10 ingredients too! Why? Because alcohol is what gives most Japanese sunscreens their cosmetic elegance (fast absorption, mattefying, etc.). The problem is that alcohol is also the very culprit that dries out and/or irritates your skin!

My skin don't really react badly to alcohol or anything, it just gets really really dry. I have used other skincare products with alcohol in it, but I generally try to avoid stuff with alcohol whenever I can. Sunscreens with alcohol, in particular, deep fry my skin even more so than other skincare products with alcohol. But since sunscreens are also indispensable for me, the alcohol in it is sort of a "necessary evil" I put up with. Thankfully, I think the sunscreen makers in Japan has begun to catch on that people are in the market for a cosmetically elegant sunscreen without alcohol, and to think that this Skin Aqua UV Moisture Milk is one of the few attempts to satisfy this demand, there must be hope for humanity, after all.

Yes, I'm saying this Mentholatum Skin Aqua UV Moisture Milk is freaking awesome and you should be all over it, like, right now. It is fast absorbing, very cosmetically elegant and semi-mattefying. Best of all, it doesn't deep fry my skin! The description on says it's "moisturizing," but for me it's more like "non-drying" and my skin still need very light hydration underneath it. I tried it on cleansed, bare skin very early on in the morning and by the late afternoon, I had some shine on my nose and forehead, which means it was not balance enough for my dry combo (and sometimes dehydrated) skin, hence the dry cheeks and chin were kept matte but the t-zones were free to go to town with oil-production. Then I tried it over my favorite moisturizer, the Cetaphil Moisturizing Cream, and that proved to be too moisturizing and my face was all melty by the end of the day. Finally, I tried it over my go-to hydrator, the Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief, and wah-lah, it worked out excellently!

The next hurdle for me would be trying this Skin Aqua UV Moisture Milk during the hot and humid summer. I will probably try it again on bare skin to see if there are any changes, and if not, I'll skip right to the layering over the hydrator. Will update again during the summer sometimes.


Citrine said...

No rare! (Since Japanese put alcohol in practically all skin care items...I remember I had a Mentholatum sunscreen a few years ago, I has a really cute hot pink packaging and it didn't seems to be too drying, but I sniff the alcohol in it.

It's so nice to have a sister in Japan! (My mom travel to Japan sometime but she refuses to deal with my custom purchase order because she hated it when I buy a load of cheap stuff and clutter our home with those...)

Dalenna said...

Hey Citrine!

Yep, a Japanese sunscreen with no alcohol, that's like eating fries full of omega 3 fatty acids, so I just had to jump on it!

And yeah, it's super nice to have a sister in Japan :D well, at least until I realize how much money I owe her for buying cosmetics for me LOL!!! Then it's like, okay, time to step on the brakes.

Anonymous said...

I love your sunscreen reviews!!! No alcohol, how lovely. Is this waterproof/sweatproof? Do we still need an oil-cleanser?

Dalenna said...

Hi there anonymous!

Thank you for reading and I hope you find my reviews helpful!

I wouldn't say this sunscreen is water/sweat-proof, but rather water/sweat-resistant. And yes, I do believe it still has to be removed with an oil cleanser. The only Japanese sunscreen I know (so far...) that doesn't need an oil cleanser for complete removal is Allie Comfortable Sunscreen EX WATERTOUCH (

tiffanyfung said...

thanks for yr review, i am slways hunting for good sunscreen!!! thank you:)

D. said...

Hi tiffanyfung,

You're very welcome. Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

I been using this product. It does contain alcohol. But, still works great tho.

D. said...

Hi Anonymous,

This product does *not* contain alcohol. You can read the translated list of ingredients here -

Either way I'm glad it works well for you. Thanks for reading!


Anonymous said...

Whoa! I love your blog--I've been searching so long for great reviews on this!

Concerning the category difference between US and Asia, how would you know if a sunscreen is both UVA/UVB protected? Would you just have to look at the ingredients list to determine the whole thing, or does the PA+++ indicate broad spectrum?

D. said...

Hi Anonymous!

Thank you for reading and commenting!

The PPD (PA) rating is the UVA protection and the SPF is UVB. Here is a more detailed post about sunscreens in general. Keep in mind too it is dated, so things might have changed (for the better) now.

As of 2012 Japan revised their PA rating system, and you can read about that here:

I hope this helps!


Jay said...

Your blog contains a lot of good reviews. Probably the blog with the most sunscreen reviews.

I have this sunscreen and there are 2 versions in Asia. One with Sunplay in front and Mentholatum Co at the back of the bottle (Made in China) and another one called Skin Aqua (Made in Japan)by Rohto. The ingredients of both versions are different too.

Over here in Malaysia it's quite confusing. Skin Aqua Sara Sara Milk was released mid of 2013 over here and its made in Japan.On the back of the packaging the Sara Sara Milk came in there is a big sticker in English indicating product features, directions for use and ingredients. However it is stated that Sara Sara Milk can be removed with regular cleansers.

In your Sara2 Milk reviews u mentioned that a cleansing oil is needed to remove it. I want to buy a bottle but I want to know if an oil cleanser is needed for removal.its just so confusing.

D. said...

Hi Jay,

Thank you for reading and leaving a comment!

I understand your confusion. Here's the first step to sort things out: what color is the bottle of Skin Aqua sunscreen you are looking to buy?

- BLUE: Skin Aqua UV Moisture Milk, it's moisturizing, alcohol-free, and DOES require an oil cleanser for complete removal. I reviewed this sunscreen above in 2009. It has since been repackaged but is still in the same BLUE bottle. It has *not* been reformulated to the new Japanese PA rating system.

- PINK: Skin Aqua UV Sara Sara Milk, it has powder for a silky finish, lots of alcohol, and DOES require an oil cleanser for complete removal. See the link below for my review and subsequent updates. It has since been repackaged but is still in the same PINK bottle. It has *not* been reformulated to the new Japanese PA rating system.

Does this answer your question?


Jay said...

Thank you for the detailed explanations and yes my question has been answered.

I have one more question.

How effective are cleansing creams in removing water, sweat and sebum resistant sunscreens compared to cleansing oils ?

I do use a cleansing oil daily but it's not very cost effective as a 200ml bottle lasts me about 2 months. I am thinking of switching to a similarly priced cleansing cream (Kanebo Freshel Cleansing Cream) which comes in a big 250g tub.

D. said...

Hi Jay,

I'm glad I answered your first question. In regards to using cleansing cream for sunscreen removal, in short the answer is no. One exception is that it's a cream-to-oil cleanser. There are probably other exceptions, depending on the product.

I would not rely on the Freshel Cleansing Cream for complete sunscreen removal, but I haven't tried this product so it's just my bias. If you find that it does remove sunscreen completely, let me know! I'll try it too ^.^

The Naive brand (Kanebo Kracie) and the Softymo brand (Kose Cosmeporte) both make very affordable and effective oil cleansers, but really any cheap oil cleanser will do. Just follow up with another mild cleanser, foaming or not. If you wear heavy eye makeup, remove the eye makeup first before using the oil cleanser.

If you really really want to be economical, go with the Oil Cleansing Method (consult "the google" first for your preferred concoction ^.^). OCM does remove sunscreen and makeup completely, it's pure oil after all! I would still take heavy eye makeup off first though, just to be sure. You do not need a follow up cleanser with OCM. The big huge trade off is time and effort, versus money with the quick and easy oil cleansers.

Hope this helps.


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