Update Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Revisited this Mentholatum Skin Aqua UV Sara Sara Milk SPF50+ PA+++ after SunPlay Super Block failed me and I grew tired of having to take second measures around the eye area when using Skin Aqua UV Sara Sara Essence. I mean, putting on sunscreen every day is one thing, but having to put on two different sunscreens, one for the face and one for around the eyes? What a pain in the a$$!
So I dared another experiment with this dreadfully drying UV Sara Sara Milk, though this time I'd learned my lesson (or not, after all here I am trying this stuff again...) and was being super careful about layering adequately underneath it (Caudalie VinoSource S.O.S Thirst-Quenching Serum, will review next). Interestingly enough, I can't seem to find this UV Sara Sara Milk in Taipei! I've seen plenty of its alcohol-free sister Skin Aqua UV Moisture Milk in the blue bottle at Watson's, but not Sara Sara Milk in the pink bottle. Not sure why.
Anyway, this was totally unexpected, but this Sara Sara Milk turns out to be just perfect for the crazy humid Taipei weather! Even better is that together with SK-II Facial Treatment Clear Lotion, it's been really helping with my pore clogging problem ever since I came to Taipei, perhaps because it's just that drying and it gives my skin no chance to get oily and clogged. Also, there is a reason I gave this sunscreen and SK-II Clear Lotion the credit for helping to clear up my skin and not Avene TriAcneal, but I'm not going to get into it until I actually review that product.
So there, I brought my partially, well, more like 2/3 used bottle from Japan to Taiwan on a hunch and it rewarded me handsomely. In fact, it worked out so well that when my sister came to visit in late October-early November, I asked her to bring me an extra bottle from my stash. Even then, I doubted this extra bottle. At the time, I was only about 2 weeks into the trial and I, nah, I probably won't even touch the new bottle because it would deep fry my skin before I finish up the current bottle. Well, I'm so so glad I was wrong, and that I have this new bottle to use, because it's been almost 7 weeks now and my skin thanks me for it!
Update Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Okay, so after 3 weeks of continuous use of this Mentholatum Skin Aqua UV Sara Sara Milk SPF50+ PA+++ sans moisturizer underneath, it totally dried out my skin. Damn, I was so convinced I would get away with it given how hot and humid it is outside! Guess not :( The alcohol is probably too much for my skin to handle and I've been getting dry and flaky patches on both cheeks, chin, and on the area around the mouth T.T
Time for damage control, and after spending more than 10 days layering moisturizer underneath (Mamonde Moisture Emulsion or HABA Lift Up Serum - finally ran out of both and currently using Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminee Anti-Wrinkle Fluid, will review soon), the dry and flaky patches improved but haven't gone away completely. So unfortunately, this sunscreen is definitely a big no-no for me during the winter. I mean, shoot, it's already giving me dry flakes now when my dry-combination skin requires only light to no moisturizer. What havoc will it wreck during the colder months when my skin goes into crazy dry mode? Eeeps!!! I guess there's no replacing my trusty all-star year round Allie after all. Ha.
This Sara Sara Milk is strictly for summer use, I concluded, and with adequate moisturizer underneath for sure. If your skin is super oily, that's an entirely different story, but if your skin is just plain dry, really, stay away!
Original post Sunday, July 15, 2012
Having decided to put away Allie Extra UV Gel Mineral Moist N, I was eager to give this Mentholatum Skin Aqua UV Sara Sara Milk SPF50+ PA+++ a try. There are 2 sunscreens available in the Skin Aqua UV Milk range, a Moisture Milk I tried a few years ago that's alcohol-free, aiming to maintain moisture as most Japanese sunscreen are full of alcohol and can be drying, and this Sara Sara Milk released spring of last year that contains powder for a smooth finish. I ignored it then, thinking powder is rather an unnecessary ingredient, only to change my mind in the spirit of trying new things and gave it a chance recently. And besides, trying a different product from the same brand/range is not really that "new" or particularly adventurous in anyway.
Upon the very first application, I can't help but notice the alcohol content in this sunscreen. It reeks of alcohol, feels like alcohol, and when there is broken skin on my face, it stings like alcohol too. I took a look at the ingredients list and, what do you know, alcohol is the 2nd ingredient on the list. I'm still uncertain whether Japanese laws require cosmetics makers to list ingredients according to concentration, but this sunscreen does have a lot of alcohol in it and you should be aware. But other than the alcohol, this is actually quite a lovely sunscreen and, believe it or not, I like it way better than its alcohol-free Moisture Milk sister ^.^ Of course I can say this because my skin isn't sensitive against alcohol, so if yours is, I wouldn't recommend it.
Because of the powder content in this sunscreen, you will need to shake the bottle vigorously prior to dispensing. The couple of times when I thought I shook it hard enough, I didn't and the milk comes out with the powder and clear liquid still a bit separated. It has an emulsion-like texture but quickly turns into a thick milk, not runny by any means. It dries quickly, taking about 3-5 minutes for complete absorption, faster than the reformulated Allie Extra UV Protector Perfect Alpha milk (which has been reformulated again to Extra UV Protector Perfect Alpha N for 2012)!
Having used this sunscreen for the past two weeks, I'm going to do a complete reversal of my earlier thoughts that powder is an unnecessary ingredient in sunscreen - it's actually an ingenious addition, at least with this Sara Sara Milk it is! It dries to a beautifully translucent and elegantly matte finish that makes me look like I've just dusted on some translucent powder. And in a way I am, since the powder is already mixed in with it. I think what I love best about this sunscreen is how weightless it is on my skin. When I say weightless, I mean it feels like my bare skin with a light dusting of powder. I kid you not - the first time I wore it I kept running my hands all over my face. Ick, I know, but that was just how amazed I was. It literally felt like I had dusted translucent powder onto freshly cleansed and prepped skin and that was it, no traces of the actual sunscreen at all. No white cast, no heaviness, no grease, not even a hint, nothing!
I find that this Sara Sara Milk keeps its gorgeous matte finish well, more than 5 hours, if I were to skip moisturizer underneath. That means only the mister (Hadanomy AquaPlacenta Concentrated Mist), eye cream (Estee Lauder Re-Nutriv Ultimate Youth Eye Cream or BeautyMate Nano Eye Essence), and lotion (Mamonde Moisture Skin Softener or The Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner). And I can skip moisturizer right now only because it's so freakin' hot and humid outside and a moisturizer would be over kill. When I stay home all day and don't wear sunscreen, I still have to apply moisturizer because the AC dries out my indoor air. Anyway, even with the eye cream I have to be careful. If it's too moisturizing (Clinique All About Eyes, will review next), it will still melt the sunscreen on my lids and stains my contact lenses.
So yes, in the case of this Sara Sara Milk it's not the makeup but rather my moisturizers (Mamonde Moisture Emulsion or HABA Lift Up Serum) that plays a big role in how well the sunscreen works. When there is moisturizer underneath, the it dries to a semi-matte finish instead of a fully matte one. And while I also like this healthy glowy finish, unfortunately it doesn't last as long, only about 3 hours before turning into a sheen in the Japanese summer. If you live in a dryer climate though, I think layering moisturizer underneath shouldn't be a problem. I would recommend it even, due to all the alcohol contents in this sunscreen. This sunscreen does require an oil cleanser for complete removal, but an oil cleanser is already a fixture in my daily skincare routine so nothing new here for me.
Honestly, I'm going to have to keep using this sunscreen for much much longer to see if I prefer it over my trusty Allie milk, which I've been using since 2008. For now, it's excellent, if not even better because of the lovely matte and translucent powder-like finish. The other critical part of the test, however, comes with the dry winter months and who knows if all that alcohol will deep fry my skin then. We'll see, may be I'll go from relying on one sunscreen for all seasons to having a sunscreen for every season ^.^