The next step in my quest to get everyone I know to start using Asian sunscreens instead of western ones! Meet the Kanebo ALLIE… oh forget it, meet the Kanebo ALLIE UV Protector Gel (Mineral Moist) 50 SPF. Fine, that’s not much better. Most Asian sunscreens have the most amazingly long names, but hey, they’re also reasonably priced and high-quality so bear with it.
Here’s the CosDNA ingredient list (and ‘safety ratings’). The ingredients most relevant to a sunscreen (pasted from a Skin and Tonics review, which is more in-depth than mine) are these: Zinc Oxide 9.2%, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate 7.5%, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate 2.5%, Octocrylene 0.2%. The presence of Zinc Oxide means this is a physical sunscreen, which doesn’t break down throughout the day – meaning you can, in theory, apply this just the once instead of every 2-3 hours. The rest are chemical sunscreen ingredients.
There’s a decent amount of silicones in there, and the texture is more watery than most sunscreens I’ve used. It’s got considerable slip and smells strongly of alcohol (so if you’re allergic to either ‘cones or alcohol, keep that in mind!). I find it lightly moisturizing, but my skin doesn’t react at all to alcohol and I do use other skincare products prior to putting on the sunscreen; I wouldn’t trust a product that’s primarily a sunscreen to do enough moisturizing to keep my face comfortable and I suggest you don’t either. Nothing against combining both moisturizer and sunscreen in one product, but if your skin is dry it’s not going to cut it most of the time.
Finish-wise, this leaves my face fairly shiny – not greasy shiny, but shiny nonetheless. Not an issue for me; applying powder or semi-matte foundation deals with that. There’s no gray cast that I can notice and, unlike Skin and Tonics, I don’t find this affects the texture, feel or lasting power of any makeup applied on top of the sunscreen (but, again, your mileage will definitely vary there).
A cool, but unexpected, side-effect is that this proves surprisingly good at controlling sebum: by late afternoon, my face hasn’t gotten shiny and oily at all – and it stays that way throughout the rest of the day, no blotting sheet or blotting powder required. Undocumented feature, and very appreciated for me. Having said all that I do vastly prefer sunscreen that dries to a matte finish, but there we are. I experienced no irritation or breakouts.
- Easily available. At least, wherever you can get Kanebo, you can probably get this.
- Physical sunscreen. Meaning you don’t need to reapply every 2-3 hours, in theory.
- High SPF and PA++++.
- Wears well under makeup.
- It’s slightly pricier than The Face Shop’s sunscreen, by the ML, but not by much.
- High alcohol content, if your skin is sensitive to it.
- Some have reported gray/white cast.