Image Courtesy of Me!
I am one white woman. I mean very white. I'm that girl who always has to get the lightest color foundation...and sometimes even that's too dark. My skin is blinding in the sunlight. It can be frightening. To make matters worse, I can't even tan well. I used to try, but I finally gave up the ghost on that whole disaster back in college. So for the last 20 years, I've avoided the sun almost as pathologically as a vampire. In addition to avoiding the sun, I also always wore moisturizer with sunscreen in it, and I thought that should be enough until the last couple of years, when I began reading all sorts of articles where dermatologists began insisting that we must, must, must wear sunscreen at all times, even if our only exposure for the day will be a short ride in the car.
After making the earth-shattering decision to follow their advice, it came time to start shielding my skin from the sun. I started with basic drugstore brands, only to end up with my makeup sliding off my face by the end of the day. Then there were the thick white concoctions that looked like diaper ointment and left even my pale face looking ghostly. After a couple of those disasters, I began to research products before purchasing by learning about ingredients and reading online reviews. I still had a ton of fails, but at least by that point I knew something about each product I tried.
Finally, over the last two years, I've begun hitting the jackpot with sunscreens. First, I found the outstanding Chanel UV Essentiel Multi-Protection Daily UV Care SPF 50, which truly changed my life. However, at $52 an ounce, it became prohibitively expensive fast. So once again I hit the streets in search of the perfect UV protectant.
As usual, I stopped by my local Shiseido counter. Shiseido has always treated me very well, and I've always been exceedingly impressed with most of their products. I'd also read review after review of Shiseido's entire sun care line, and had been personally told by many women that it couldn't be beat, so I felt that was a logical place to start. Unfortunately at my Macy's the Shiseido and the Clarins counter share a bay and the Shiseido SA is never there, so I had to ask the Clarins SA for help. She wasn't exactly helpful and actually tried to sell me Clarins' version of what I wanted. But--yay me!--I persevered and got what I went in for.
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 PA+++.
Let me tell you all about this amazing cream. First, let's discuss how effective it is. It contains 3 ingredients to protect you from UVA/UVB rays: Octinoxate 7.4%, Titanium Dioxide 2.2%, and Zinc Oxide 16.3%. Octinoxate is a chemical filter, Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide are physical blockers. The current belief in the scientific community is that the most effective sunscreens contain both types of screens in them because they each work in different ways and therefore complement one another. I'm not going to get into all that, but trust me when I say I did a ton of research and I'm fairly confident in their reasoning. So I'm pretty impressed with the actual active ingredients...plus they've added Rose Apple Leaf extract to add antioxidant benefits.
So now you know you have excellent protection. But that's not really what you want to know, is it? You want to know if you're going to be dealing with a greasy mess, a thick, white, goopy mess, or a thick, white, goopy, greasy mess, right? I know that's how I roll. Because let me tell you, there are some seriously nasty sunscreens out there. I've dealt with sunscreens that apply no better than Desitin ointment would, and stay nearly as white on the skin despite 5 minutes of vigorous rubbing. Not so with Shiseido!!!
Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face is admittedly a thick, white lotion. You'll probably freak out a little when you first see and feel it, and if you are in the store when you do so, please don't let it deter you from buying it. Rub it into the back of your hand or something so you can see how easily it blends into the skin. It's very rich coming from the bottle, yet it's so elegant that it spreads perfectly evenly across the skin with virtually no effort. I use 1/4 teaspoon on my face every morning and only rub it in for a moment, then do my eye makeup while it sinks in, and by the time I'm ready to apply foundation the Shiseido has dried down to a clear, semi-matte finish. It makes a perfect base for makeup, holding it like glue all day. It has never, not even once, given me a shiny forehead. It simply outperforms nearly every sunscreen I've ever tried. Best of all? It costs a mere $19.50 for 1 oz!
This has become my newest Holy Grail sunscreen. I'm currently on my 3rd bottle, and will get the 2 oz size next time. I never, ever by 3 or 4 of anything, so that should tell you just how much I love this. Love, love, love.
So for those of you out there who are learning to embrace your paleness the way I have, rejoice! Help has arrived, and it is Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Cream for Face SPF 55 PA +++.
Overall Grade: A