This product is one of the most popular sunscreens in Japan, but a lot of people outside of it love this product as well. I had wanted to love it too, but it failed to win my heart.
This sunscreen provides SPF 50+ and PA++++ (4), the highest possible ratings in Japan. It also includes a revolutionary technology: ‘Aqua Booster Technology, which enhances the UV ray-blocking film when exposed to sweat or water, has been evolved even further, making it more resistant to rubbing by towel, etc.’ (anessa.shiseido.co.jp)
Even though this may give the impression that the sunscreen has a dense texture, Shiseido promise us a sunscreen that is lightweight and water-resistant, yet easily removable with soap. The sunscreen also can serve as a primer and is ‘sand-proof’; sand is not supposed to stick to it.
The formula includes a mix of mineral (both zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) and chemical filters. There is a bunch of hydrating ingredients such as Shiseido’s super hyaluronic acid (acetylated hyaluronic acid), marine collagen, plus extracts of aloe vera, rosehip, green tea, cherry leaf, and tormentil. There are great humectants like hyaluronic acid and collagen. The plant extracts provide excellent antioxidants, which help to soothe the skin and fight UV-induced damage. There are fragrance (not potent) and alcohol in the formula. Oh boy, there’s a lot of alcohol in it, because it burns after shaving like no other sunscreen, and I like alcohol in my sunscreens.
I understand why people like this product. When you apply a layer or two, it looks pretty decent, as if you used powder on your face; it appears fairer. The product is lightweight; it applies smoothly and dries down quickly. Also, it works well under colourful stuff, so far so good. The only predicament is that it can sting on freshly shaven skin. However, if you apply a decent amount of the product, about half a teaspoon, it is no longer the same sunscreen.
When you apply half a teaspoon of this sunscreen on your face, it leaves a white cast, and you look ashy, not a very elegant look at all. Shiseido make no claims about any brightening effect that this sunscreen is supposed to give, so it’s a standard white cast. I assume the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide aren’t micronised, hence the ashy face. Besides making you look as if you dipped your face in a bag of flour, it gathers around your nose, creases of your eyelids (if you have oily eyelids especially), and folds of your neck. Also, avoid getting it around any facial hair, especially eyebrows because it’s hard to get it out of there before it dries down and makes you look unattractive. Though, the weirdest experience with this sunscreen was whenever I sweated. For me, my sweat production is provoked quite easily – by merely walking into a warm building from a cold outside. The sunscreen doesn’t slide down, and supposedly it reinforces itself when you sweat, but it made me look ridiculous. When I sweat and have this sunscreen on, even a thin layer, it changes the droplets of sweat into white, powdery dots on my face. It is the most eye-striking thing that can happen, and it simply looks comical. I don’t know why this sunscreen does it, but even mineral-only sunscreens don’t do that. I think it must be the Aqua Booster Technology film that causes it to happen. Lastly, the sunscreen can be drying, and it emphasises patches of dry skin, even if your skin is oily.
People love this sunscreen though, for me, it was a rather disappointing experience. I’ve tried it, and most likely, I won’t return to it. I can say that it will work in humid climates, as it’s light, and people with normal to oily skin won’t have difficulties with it. I think it leaves too much white cast, so I am not inclined to recommend it to anyone.
Shiseido’s Anessa Perfect UV Skincare Milk retails for about €30 (60ml) from Yesstyle.com[aff].