Sunday, August 18, 2019

SunPlay Clear Water SPF50+ PA++++

Some time last fall I started browsing Rakuten Global in English, finally. I've known about it for years, and I'd stayed away for just as long because, truth be told, the site sucks balls. Rakuten basically cranks its whole Japanese website through a translation engine, and a sh*tty one at that (to be fair, Japanese isn't exactly an easy language to translate). This sh*tty translation engine then goes on to trash the whole search function, because it translates Japanese product names into gibberish English and vice versa, often with some kana still intact.

Take this disaster, for example: erhhh...UV what now? O.o
***Screencap courtesy of Rakuten Global in US English. Feel free to replicate your own search if you're skeptical. The actual victim product, Biore UV Athlizm Skin Protect Essence, was well-reviewed by Citrine.

With the search engine rendered unusable, the only option left is to browse by category and the wade through the thousands and thousands of products listed page by page. They don't make it easy for you (or me!) for sure. Perhaps the interweb user-friendliness hasn't gone mainstream in Japan yet. Ha.

Anyway, knowing I'd have to restock my sunscreen supply for use this summer, I started browsing early, just to get acquainted with the website and its kinks (pun intended :P). That was when I started seeing these "tinted" sunscreens, and by tinted I meant blue or lavender and often with micro-shimmers. Since I've used and liked Biore SaraSara UV Perfect Bright Milk which was tinted pink, I was open to the idea of blue and lavender and ended up with two 26mL/30g bottles of SunPlay Clear Water SPF50+ PA++++ (and its sister Skin Aqua Tone Up UV Essence too, will review later).

All below pictures taken in natural light without flash.

So I bought 2 bottles, but received one made in Japan and the other made in Vietnam. It seems SunPlay, actually, it's really Rohto the parent company, has followed in the footsteps of other Japanese brands and have their products made abroad in Southeast Asian countries where both the labor and ingredients are much cheaper, like Omi Brotherhood (some products are made in Vietnam and Thailand), Aqualabel (majority are made in Vietnam), Herbal Essence (technically *not* a Japanese brand, majority of products made in Thailand). I have absolutely nothing against these countries. What I do have are strong preference for cosmetics and skincare, especially sunscreens made in Japan, because I've been using them for 12+ years after all.
Back to SunPlay Clear Water, right now I'm using the bottle that's made in Vietnam, so despite my reluctance I'm still open to giving the product a chance and trying it. So far, so good, which is a relief, I guess? This is a blue-tinted sunscreen to color-correct any sallow or yellowness in the complexion, and it has micro-shimmers to give a healthy glow. Sure enough, the sunscreen comes out of the bottle a sky blue milk that's not totally opaque and is slightly translucent. I honestly can't see any shimmer at all with my naked eye in natural light. When I scrutinize it under direct sunlight or flashlight, I can see a subtle pearly sheen and that's it. In comparison to this, Sisley Instant Eclat Instant Glow Primer was more like a liquid highlighter!

All that said, I don't use this alone on my face. I mix it into a sunscreen cocktail as I usually do. Yes, there's a learning curve with each new sunscreen I introduce into the mix and it takes several tries for me find the right balance I like. I started out mixing 20 drops of Clear Water with 25 drops of Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Aqua Booster Mild. This mix took a while to set and even then, it was slightly sticky.

So I added a third sunscreen, 10 drops of Nivea Sun Protect Water Milk Mild because this stuff is super mattefying, 20 drops of Clear Water, and 20 drops of Anessa. This mix turned out really well, set much faster to a dewy matte and stays on all day, so I kept using it.

Since then, I've experimented further with a base/primer underneath this sunscreen mix. I first tried Maquillage Dramatic Skin Sensor Base EX, which set the sunscreen even faster but left my skin slightly dry by the end of the day. So I moved on to Paul & Joe Sparkling Foundation Primer (will post soon) and loved the result. Not only the sunscreen set faster, by the end of the day my skin was still plump and not at all dry. On a different day, I even applied makeup on top, starting with Beauty Protector Finishing Powder. Loved that result also--my skin was even and glowy yet at the same time didn't look overly made up. I totally see why these P&J primers are bestsellers now! Count me smitten!

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