Just restocked my supply of the trusty Allie Extra UV Protector Perfect Alpha, which has been reformulated again earlier in the year into Extra UV Protector Perfect Alpha N, with the "N" differentiating the 2012 from the older 2011 formulation. I probably won't review this 2012 formulation unless there's a significant change in texture and/or finish. I probably won't get to this sunscreen till a while later anyway, as I'm determined to try out a few new things before retreating back into my good ol' familiar turtle shell.
One of those new things I'm trying is this Extra UV Gel Mineral Moist N SPF50+ PA+++. Hell, I'm trying something new for the body, the Nivea Sun Protect Water Gel SPF30 PA++, so why not try something new for the face too, right? It seems Allie has been trying really hard to push the Body UV Mist SPF26 PA+. There are tons of these gift sets with a mini bottle of Body UV Mist going for only 2,058yen with tax, and although I'm not too thrilled with the mist myself, I'll use it on a cloudy day for a trip to the groceries if they're so hell bent on giving it to me. I sure wouldn't go buy a full size though, not when it hasn't been reformulated and is still not photostable!
Allie Extra UV Gel Mineral Moist N and Extra UV Protector Perfect Alpha N Gift Sets with mini bottle of Body UV Mist SPF26 PA+, each 2,058yen with tax.
First about packaging. The Extra UV Gel Mineral Moist N comes in a hygienic squeeze tube with a twist off cap. Unlike the milk version in the bottle, you don't have to shake, just squeeze and apply. Secondly, this sunscreen "gel" is really not a gel at all. It's actually a very thick cream that comes out of the tube firm with a glossy sheen (see picture below). It does go on my skin with a gel-like cooling sensation, but it applies with an almost paste-like texture, way thicker than the milk version and is probably the thickest sunscreen I've used thus far. It's also very moisturizing, and of course the thicker texture and higher moisture content mean it takes much longer to absorb and dry, especially in this humidity.
Allie Extra UV Gel Mineral Moist N 60g tube
I experimented wearing this sunscreen "gel" first without any makeup on top. Makes sense, right? The stuff is already so thick and heavy, why pile more makeup on top? While the milk version dries to a dewy semi-matte finish, the "gel" dries to just a dewy finish, that is, after taking its sweet a$$ time. It leaves behind a slight white cast with a dewy sheen, coming off like a soft focus glow even. The problem is that in the heat and humidity, this soft focus glow quickly breaks down to just being...shiny. The sunscreen gel is water, sweat, and sebum resistant, so it didn't get all melty or anything like that by the end of the day. Still, I prefer my face to *not* shine ^.^ So unfortunately, for this season I do think it's way more moisturizing than I need it to be, and I'm saying that having dry combination skin!
See how thick this "gel" is?
And then I had the crazy idea of applying makeup over this "gel" sunscreen anyway. It claims to function as a makeup base, so I figured why not test it out? I was skeptical (and lazy :P), so I stuck with just light application and minimal products, as in translucent/setting powder (Lavshuca Face Powder Glow on the eye area, Lucent everywhere else), cream blush (Jillian Dempsey for Avon Professional Multi-Pencils), sheer wash of eye shadow (Excel Glossy Shadow), and eye liner pencil (Stila Kajal Eye Liner). What I didn't expect was for this extra layer, regardless how light or heavy handed, to make such a huge difference with this sunscreen gel! The moment I applied translucent powder my jaw dropped. The dewy sheen instantly transformed into this luminous glow I've only seen on other people but could never achieve for myself. Even better is that the slight white cast actually provided some coverage and I looked like I was wearing a really natural looking bb cream or foundation! Wow! Granted, I've always been more of a matte or semi-matte gal, but hell, I'll take this luminous glow any day, especially when it makes my skin looks like a million bucks!
So I think I finally get why some women swear by a certain foundation, bb cream, or makeup base. No, I still won't wear foundation, bb cream, or makeup base. For me, between a good sunscreen that will protect my skin and a good foundation/bb cream/makeup base that will cover up my imperfections (and I have plenty!) and make my skin look gorgeous, the sunscreen still wins hands down. And now with this Allie sunscreen gel that will give me that luminous glow and coverage with just a single layer translucent powder, why on Earth would I even consider any foundation, bb cream, or makeup base out there? I do realize foundations, bb creams, and makeup bases aren't going anywhere anytime soon, and I do acknowledge that every year they do come out with a higher SPF. But having a higher SPF still doesn't turn a foundation, bb cream, or makeup base into a water, sweat, and sebum resistant sunscreen, at least not for me. Seriously, wear your sunscreens, folks! Your skin will thank you later!
Allie Body UV Mist freebie in a 30mL spray bottle
Anyway, I think I will put away this Allie Extra UV Gel for use in the winter after all. In my humble opinion, the thick texture and the moisture content are altogether much more appropriate for the dryer and colder months. That's when my skin most needs the extra boost, looking all washed out in addition to being cranky, flaky, and super dry. The milk version works really well for me in the summer, and why fix it when it's not broken, right? Plus I'm still in that experimental mood and there are a few other sunscreen candidates I'm lining up to try ^.^ And I'm soooooo looking forward to using this sunscreen gel again come the drier months - with makeup on top xD