to pamper / spf update (mizon, eltamd, mentholatum, dr. wu)

Facial sunscreens (l to r, clockwise):

  • Mizon Ultra Wonder Power Jelly Sun SPF 35 PA++. 100 ml (3.38 fl oz) tube. Purchased from the Peach and Lily sample sale. The sale was chaotic and skincare sold out really fast. I managed to find 3 tubes of these after walking around and looking for cast-offs. After finding out that it was $10/per tube at the cashier, I left with 2 of the 3 since I was buying sight unseen with no reviews. Overall, I like it. It has a light gel consistency, is moisturizing (hyaluronic acid and trehalose), but you have to be careful not to use too much or it leaves your face super shiney and is harder to absorb fully. Despite it being a physical sunscreen (titanium dioxide), there is no white cast. I also use it on my neck, hands, and arms. The PA rating system is from Japan and addresses UVA only. The PA++ rating indicates that this has moderate UVA protection. I’m not sure if I would go out of my way to find this, but it’s a nice size/consistency for $10.
    • Retail is $28-32. MizonWorld sells it and they apparently ship within the US but I’ve never purchased from them before. An Amazon third-party seller has it for less. I’m not sure if Peach and Lily will be carrying it in the future but Urban Outfitters did at some point. I think P&L distributes to UO. I prefer to buy skincare from a reputable seller.
  • EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46. 1.7 fl oz airless pump. The newest addition to my skincare routine and the only American one. This sunscreen is a physical (zinc oxide) and chemical (octinoxate) sunscreen. It is a lightweight white fluid, moisturizing (hyaluronic acid), and helps with blemishes (niacinamide/lactic acid). I’ve been looking for a physical sunscreen, so I’ll have to see how this physical/chemical combo fares. I would’ve tried it earlier but it’s pricey.
    • Retails for $32. Typically EltaMD is only available through a derm, but you’ll find it in other places such as Amazon (sold by Amazon and third-party sellers) and Dermstore (EltaMD is excluded from promos). I was lucky and got 2 for $40 from last week before it sold out.
  • Mentholatum Skin Aqua UV super watery gel SPF 50+ PA+++. 80g (2.8 oz). I always spend hours in Watsons when I visit family in Taipei. Mentholatum is an American company that was bought by a Japanese company. Similar to many other Western brands, the selection in the US vastly differs from the selection in Asia. Mentholatum is very popular in Taiwan. This gel has 4 types of chemical sunscreen: Octinoxate, Tinosorb S, Uvinul T 150, and Uvinul A Plus. With a rating of PA+++, it has high UVA protection. The consistency is slightly thicker than water and a little goes a long way. It also has hyaluronic acid, collagen, and amino acids so I did not need another moisturizer. My pale skin is very sensitive to direct and indirect heat. After using it through the early summer months, I realized I need to steer away from chemical sunscreens because they overheat my face. Unlike physical sunscreens that sit on top of your skin and block off sun, chemical sunscreens absorb or scatter the rays. Maybe I’ll try it again in the winter months on the face, but good thing I didn’t hoard too many of these. In the meantime, I will use it my arms and hands. Despite aggressive use from May-July, there is still a lot left.
    • Retails for a little less than $10 USD. If you or a friend is heading to Asia, this should be easily found in Taiwan, Japan, and HK drugstores. It also comes in a larger size. I prefer Watsons because they have nice sales, e.g. buy 2 skincare items and get another free. You can find it on Amazon through a third-party seller for twice the price.
  • Dr. Wu UV Hydrating Lotion with Hyaluronic Acid. Dr. Wu is a Taiwanese reasonably priced skincare line by a Dr. Wu. I’d visited his clinic before — healthcare in Taiwan is affordable, easily accessible, and fast compared to the US (and he speaks English). He’s expanded his product lines a lot in the last few years and the sales don’t lie (a LVMH PE fund is an investor). This sunscreen is a chemical one, MBBT, that absorbs, scatters, and reflects. It looks chalky and moisturizing and needs to be spread well. I’m still experimenting with this. E.g. a layered skincare approach doesn’t go well with it (or maybe it’s because I don’t have enough time in the morning to allow the toner/essence/serum layers to fully absorb). I got it for a good price through a Watsons promo (see above) but wouldn’t rebuy. I wouldn’t say Dr. Wu is known for its sunscreen products.
    • If you’re visiting Taiwan and looking for good skincare, I highly suggest researching this line (e.g., mandelic acid). There are two counters in the Taipei 101 area. Otherwise, I’ve found that you have to hunt and peck a bit to find which Watsons has the best selection.
    • Retails for a little over $20 and is available directly from Dr. Wu. There’s other items available through third-party sellers on Amazon.

Previously I really loved the Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair moisturizer but stopped because I no longer want retinol applied on the entire face.


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