Sunscreen reminder and my current favorite for dry skin

My sunscreen recommendations post has been long overdue since I first talked about the importance of sunscreen. I did feature my 3 top Asian sunscreen picks in my skincare empties post, but since then a couple of them have since been reformulated. Now when Summer has arrived the Northern hemisphere, I thought a quick reminder of the importance of sun care would be necessary - alongside my favorite sunscreen to date.

Sun care check list

  • Sun protection tends to be overlooked by many, and thus deserves extra attention
  • Two main concerns from being in the Sun: skin-ageing and skin cancer. UVA (long-wave) causes the ageing and UVB (short-wave) causes the burning.
  • A tan is a sign of DNA-damage caused by UV-light; a result of a chemical reaction when your body tries to protect itself from UV-light.
  • "Physical" sunscreen (such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) reflects the UV light where as "chemical" sunscreens absorb the light.
  • Don't waste money on expensive moisturizers with SPF as the sunscreen may overtake the other beneficial, active and expensive ingredients in the moisturiser. Invest in a good solid moisturiser and apply a good budget sunscreen on the top as the last step.
  • Purchase a fresh sunscreen every year as sunscreen degrades. Also, no sunscreen is totally waterproof (only water-resistant max).
  • Applying SPF as your last skincare step every morning is perhaps the best anti-ageing "trick" you can do. Don't be afraid to reapply your sunscreen, do it if you can.

My favorite spf: Innisfree Perfect UV Protection Cream

  • Broad spectrum SPF50+ PA+++
  • $16 / 50ml (1,69oz)

I've used Korean Innisfree sunscreens for years. It recently got reformulated and I would gladly compare side-by-side the old (previously called Eco Safety sunscreen) and new sunscreens, but unfortunately I took scissors to the old tube and used up every last drop of it. Innisfree does currently have a variety strengths of sunscreens, personally I've stuck with Perfect UV Protection Cream Long Lasting (for dry skin) SPF50+ PA+++

Many Asian sunscreens, such as Biore, are light, watery lotions that sink in instantly. This Innisfree sunscreen is somewhat "traditional" sunscreen and close to a Western formula as the consistency is creamier and whiter. If you apply a heavy layer without blending there is a slight chance of a white cast. Personally I haven't had this issue as I make sure to spread the cream evenly and my dry skin 'drinks up' all the extra moisturization. I don't find the cream greasy, sticky, heavy or leaving a film on the skin. If I went swimming I wouldn't rely this sunscreen alone, but the formula is long-lasting and water-resistant so I don't feel the need to reapply many times a day. When I do, I haven't found the sunscreen disturbing my make up. You don't need to shake the bottle before applying.

Ingredients

WATER, ETHYLHEXYL METHOXYCINNAMATE, ETHYLHEXYL SALICYLATE, BUTYLENE GLYCOL, C12-15 ALKYL BENZOATE, HOMOSALATE, DIETHYLAMINO HYDROXYBENZOYL HEXYL BENZOATE, OCTOCRYLENE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, CYCLOMETHICONE, 1,2-HEXANEDIOL, POLYMETHYLSILSESQUIOXANE, POLYACRYLATE-13, HYDROXYACETOPHENONE, PROPANEDIOL, ALUMINUM STEARATE, POLYISOBUTENE, GLYCERIN, POLYHYDROXYSTEARIC ACID, BIS-PEG-15 DIMETHICONE/IPDI COPOLYMER, SORBITAN OLEATE, FRAGRANCE, OCTYLDODECANOL, SACCHARIDE HYDROLYSATE, BEHENYL ALCOHOL, POLYACRYLATE CROSSPOLYMER-6, ALUMINA, INULIN LAURYL CARBAMATE, POLYSORBATE 20, ETHYLHEXYLGLYCERIN, SODIUM STEAROYL GLUTAMATE, ECHIUM PLANTAGINEUM SEED OIL, CURCUMA LONGA (TURMERIC) ROOT EXTRACT, SALVIA HISPANICA SEED EXTRACT, PORTULACA OLERACEA EXTRACT, CENTELLA ASIATICA EXTRACT, PHENOXYETHANOL, t-BUTYL ALCOHOL, CAMELLIA SINENSIS LEAF EXTRACT, CARDIOSPERMUM HALICACABUM FLOWER/LEAF/VINE EXTRACT, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL UNSAPONIFIABLES, TOCOPHEROL, HELIANTHUS ANNUUS (SUNFLOWER) SEED OIL, HAMAMELIS VIRGINIANA (WITCH HAZEL) LEAF EXTRACT, CAMELLIA JAPONICA LEAF EXTRACT, OPUNTIA COCCINELLIFERA FRUIT EXTRACT, CITRUS UNSHIU PEEL EXTRACT, ORCHID EXTRACT, CITRIC ACID, POTASSIUM SORBATE, SODIUM BENZOATE

Active ingredients: Octinoxate, Homosalate, Uvinul A Plus, Octocrylene, Titanium Dioxide

According to COSDNA analysis and EWG's Skin Deep bulk of the ingredients are moderately safe side. Some preservatives do raise minor concerns, but personally I've had no issues with using this sunscreen. Of course, always with new sunscreen I recommend patch testing first. If you have very combo to oily skin, a lighter sunscreen formulation might be more suitable for you.

Price

Another thing I love about the Innisfree sunscreen is the price: ~$16.00. I rarely find a sunscreen I like that has both good ingredients and also affordable price. Although I believe investing in good skincare, sunscreen is something I go through quickly a bottle after a bottle... Using a high-end sunscreen gets pricey quite quickly. There is no point in saving your protection: the more one uses and reapplies sunscreen, the better.

I hope this reminder about sunscreen was useful to you. I'd gladly hear how diligent are you with sunscreen application? What's your favorite suncream? 

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NIOD Flavanode Mud review

NIOD is a Deciem (main-company of Hylamide and the Ordinary) sub-brand I was first very impressed by, but after testing most from the line I noticed I wasn't too keen on some of the products. Not because they were necessarily bad, but just didn't do it for me. I was dubious if I would have enough to say for publishing a proper review of this mask, but weeks after starting the draft I decided to bite the bullet and finish typing. I hope the review of this mask, FM aka Flavanone Mud, appeals to your interest. 

NIOD FM

Flavanone Mud is a wash-off mask – or like NIOD defines it: "a three-phase rinse-off decongestion system" with a purifying, protective and responsive phase. I'm openminded to the results of this mask, but I must admit the description sounds a bit like 'science-washing' to me. You can read the lengthy description of the approach on the NIOD website, but basically what I've understood the benefits of the mask is removing surface impurities (oil, sebum, pollution, cosmetics etc), creating a physical shield against external buildup and promoting health and longevity by fighting against environmental congestion.

Using FM

FM should be applied as a thin layer on cleansed face and rinsed off after ~10 minutes. The mask starts to tingle within one minute after the application. It's a stronger tingle than I've used to, but not an unmanageable burning sensation like I've experienced with some exfoliants. It's more like a very, very cooling feeling. As if I was having a facial massage with needle thin icepicks. I let the mask dry for about 10 minutes and rinse it off. After washing my face does feel slightly cooler and the tingling continues for another ~10 minutes. After multiple uses the tingling feels significantly lessened, at the 3rd application it was barely noticeable. I find "if it tingles it's working" as a common misconception: redness, tingling and burning sensations are all signs of irritation. However, FM doesn't feel that harsh to me, but does raise some minor concerns.

Packaging

There are a couple of cons in this mask: first, the packaging. It's a glass jar with no spatula, what I'm supposed to do - stick my finger in it? Yikes. I don't consider myself as a bacteria phobic, but even I have my limits and it's sticking my fingers into a jar. Secondly, it's mud. Mud dries. Every time I open the jar I'm letting in some unwanted air inside and any product near the jar's rim starts drying, which worries me. Wouldn't a tube packaging would be potentially more effective and clean? It might ruin NIOD's glass bottle aesthetics, but I'd convenience over pretty packaging.

Smell

My second issue with this masks. To me it smells like green olives and salty brine. I detest olives. Fortunately the scent isn't strong, but takes getting used to.

Ingredients

Aqua (Water), Montmorillonite, Kaolin, Bisabolol, Silica Cetyl Silylate, Isodecyl neopentanoate, Panthenyl Triacetate, Glucosyl Hesperidin, Potassium Azeloyl Diglycinate, Argilla, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Resveratrol, Naringenin, Arginine, Alteromonas Ferment Extract, Perfluorodecalin, Simmondsia Chinensis Seed Oil, Glycosphingolipids, Propanediol, Xanthan Gum, Carrageenan, Acacia Senegal Gum, Mica, Quartz, Sucrose Palmitate, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

According to COSDNA analysis, most of the ingredients are safe and non-comedogenic. Many of the ingredients are viscosity controllers and preservatives with a couple of solvents. To name a few: kaolin clay is a colorant and bulking agent - I would imagine it gives NIOD FM its clay-like consistency. There is a couple of moisturising ingredients, which make NIOD FM not very drying despite having a lot of kaolin. Bisabolol is anti-inflammatory ingredient and isodecyl neopentanoate a synthetic ester and emollient. If synthetic or preservatives ingredients are a concern to you, then Flavanone Mud might not be a product for you.

Result & overall thoughts

After a couple of uses I couldn't tell if my skin looked much different, but it felt. Very smooth, clean and balanced - as if I had just had a small facial. No signs of extra redness or irritation, except my usual redness on the cheeks and around my nose. No tightness or feeling of drying either, which I've experienced with most mud or clay masks. FM is on the nicer side compared to similar masks and a potential pick-me-up for your skin. However I didn't find the results too significant each time so I doubt I would repurchase it. Also the packaging might give a headache to fellow bacteria phobics. 

What's your favorite mud mask? Would you be intrigued to try the NIOD FM?

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