Sunscreen experiment #20

Here’s another inane sunscreen experiment to break up the heavier content in my last four posts! Kinda like one of the Hulu commercial breaks while I’m watching episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” I wanted to have this post ready for National Sunscreen Day on 5/27, but I wasn’t able to pull it together in time. Better late than never!

I was torn on whether to publish this post under the header of “sunscreen experiment” or “retail therapy” since I purchased this sunscreen along with a number of other beauty products from the e.l.f. website on 3/25. I really just wanted to buy one item (Hydrating Under Eye Primer), but in order to qualify for free shipping I threw some other things into my cart that seemed promising. I’m sorry to say that most of the products I purchased aren’t working out as well as I’d hoped, but luckily the order wasn’t a complete loss. The e.l.f. Active Stay Out & Play SPF 50 is one of the items I bought on a whim and now I’m so glad I did. It’s similar to a much more expensive product I used a while back (Bare Minerals Mineral Shield Daily Prep Lotion SPF 50, which I think has been discontinued), but with surprisingly superior qualities. This SPF 50 has a liquid texture and feels powdery after it is applied. I was surprised to discover that it also has a light tint and it somehow works perfectly with my fair skin tone. That is not usually the case with tinted products considering how pale I am. I covered my face and neck with this lovely sunscreen last Friday and it got me through a full day at Disneyland with my friend and her daughter. And isn’t Disneyland the real test of any sunscreen? It’s really fantastic. So glad I gave it a chance!

Many forms of self-care (with a sunscreen addendum)

“So this is the foundation for my internet diary – searching for the truth and seeing what else comes along on the way.”
5/19/99 webpage post

I’ve been thinking about self-care a lot lately and how it comes in many forms. I’ve written so much about beauty products in 2018 due to my retail therapy obsession (or rather my mental health coping technique), and the biggest benefit of those impulsive purchases is that they helped me pamper my skin when I needed comfort the most. My beauty routine has proven to be a very restorative ritual and I still employ it as my daily outward form of self-care. (And with all of the Buzzfeed articles I keep reading about promising new products I don’t expect to run out of retail therapy subjects anytime soon.) The other day I started a called “Blogging is my self-care” (to be shared soon) because of how much writing helps me feel whole. Not that I’m a particularly prolific writer, but I have been maintaining my online presence in one form or another for the last 19 years (my first post was May 19, 1999!) and the feeling of publishing a well-written post (at least by my own reckoning) fills me with a sense of pride. But on the outside I think it’s pretty obvious from a lot of my posts this year that taking care of my skin is also an important part of my self-care. It’s mostly motivated my vanity, specifically trying to keep the acne and wrinkles and sun damage at bay, but also the simple routine of doing something beneficial for my body brings me peace. Maintaining some semblance of youth as I approach my 40th birthday is a nice bonus too.

If you live in Los Angeles you’ll understand how important it is to moisturize regularly in our arid, desert climate. If I skip any of my face or body moisturizers for more than two days my skin gets very uncomfortable. Due to that fact I wanted to write a quick post about my newfound appreciation of a sunscreen that I’ve had in my medicine cabinet for years, but have sadly underutilized. But after spending time in very dry locales I appreciate my Olay Complete All Day Sensitive Skin Moisturizer with Broad Spectrum SPF 30 so much more. I’ll admit that it’s not good under makeup because it’s thicker and stickier than my everyday products, but it’s great for weekend sun protection. Two days in Las Vegas last month and my face was so dry that it hurt. Thankfully I was smart enough to pack this Olay sunscreen in my bag and it made all the difference. So even though I sometimes despair at how many different SPF products I have in my bathroom, I’m so glad that this one is still with me. And my skin is happy too!

P.S. My first ever blog post is also where I wrote about “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.” It premiered in May 1999 just like my blog!

Sunscreen experiment #19

You’ve probably noticed that a lot of my purchases this year have been beauty products. This is what happens when you listen to an over-the-top self-care podcast, don’t budget your disposable income well enough, and are still searching for the “perfect” products (which might not actually exist). It’s a dangerous and expensive combination, especially when you’re not feeling great about yourself and retail therapy is a major source of comfort. And on a lighter note, if you’ve ever visited my blog before you are familiar with my ongoing search for the perfect sunscreen. At this point I have accepted that this could be a lifelong mission. So here’s my 19th sunscreen review that no one cares about but me!

It’s about time that I took the plunge into Korean skincare. As a general rule we don’t embrace paleness here in the United States, but other parts of the globe actually do! Thus the need for adequate daily sun protection – something that isn’t the easiest to find in our “you look better with a tan” culture. I should have made the switch to Korean brands years ago! I think the first time I learned about MISSHA Sun Milk was from a Buzzfeed article. (This is becoming a trend. I should stay away from Buzzfeed if I want to save money, but then I’d also miss out on some great products. It’s a mixed bag.) Then I heard a favorable review of it on the Forever35 podcast where I’ve gotten so many good recommendations. After doing a little research on my own I ordered a bottle of MISSHA All Around Safe Block Essence Sun Milk (SPF 50) on Amazon. This is the moisturizing variety (there are also matte and waterproof versions) which I definitely need because my skin is generally very dry due to the arid Los Angeles climate. So what’s the verdict? I love this stuff! It’s just fantastic. It’s my new daily moisturizer and sunscreen that I wear under my makeup. And the SPF 50 is a big step up from the Olay SPF 15 lotion I’ve been using for so many years. I can’t say it’s the best primer, but I’m making it work with some new moisturizing concealer as well (Benefit Cosmetics Boi-ing Hydrating Concealer). The combination of the concealer and the Sun Milk keeps my makeup from settling into the lines around my eyes – a plus for a woman who is almost forty years old. Bottom line: I finally found a winner. I am very happy I purchased this sunscreen and I have a feeling I’ll be using it for years to come.

Sunscreen experiment #18

I know that basically no one cares about these reviews except me, but I am going to continue writing them anyway. I just wanted to add this note here because I realize that I expounded on the pros and cons of this sunscreen product quite a lot more than I expected!

Buzzfeed strikes again! Surprisingly, this particular purchase wasn’t motivated by a need for retail therapy, but by my seemingly neverending search for the perfect sunscreen. I’ve been documenting my sunscreen experiments for nearly four years, but I’ve been trying out different products for about two decades. These days I’ve found a lot of products that I love and am loyal to, but when I see new, potentially superior products I jump at the chance to give them a try. For example, my daily facial moisturizer from Olay is fantastic for many reasons, but it’s only SPF 15. I’ve been looking for one with better sun protection that meets all of my specifications, but I have not been successful yet. I admit that I am incredibly demanding when it comes to sunscreen, and I’m lucky that I have so many options to test, but it’s still frustrating. The SPF 30 version of my favorite Olay face lotion is pretty good, but it’s just too sticky to be used under makeup. Still good for the weekends when I spend more time outside, though. In the last couple of years I’ve tried several higher SPF primers from Bare Minerals and Coola, but they aren’t moisturizing enough for my dry skin (thanks, Los Angeles).

So when I saw IPKN Big Apple Sun Cream (SPF 50) on a list of recommended beauty products I was intrigued. I hadn’t ventured into the world of Korean skin care products before this, but I had heard that they are beneficial for pale women such as myself. And fortunately the Big Apple Sun Cream wasn’t too expensive so I didn’t feel guilty impulsively some from Amazon. You can definitely drop a lot of money on beauty products if you’re so inclined. Without going into a massive amount of detail about all of the times I’ve used this sunscreen over the last week, let’s just say that I still haven’t found the perfect product for me. On the plus side, the Big Apple Sun Cream feels moisturizing without being sticky, practically a miracle, but just doesn’t work as a primer. My makeup settled into the lines on my face very quickly. I even tried two different concealers to make sure that wasn’t the culprit. Unfortunately it was terrible both times. Dang. I will definitely be using this sunscreen on the weekends when makeup is so this sunscreen won’t go to waste. Unlike so many others, I do not regret this purchase!

Sunscreen experiment #17

Considering I’m all the way up to experiment #17 it’s probably a foregone conclusion that I have a ridiculously large collection of sunscreen. I’d say I need an intervention, but I consider the pursuit of the perfect sun protection to be a noble quest! And my bathroom cupboards and medicine cabinet are a testament to my unwavering devotion to this journey. (Feels more like Mission: Impossible sometimes, but I haven’t given up yet!) One of these days I’m going to gather up all the different tubes, tubs, cans, and sticks of sunscreen I own and take a picture to share. The first step is admitting you have a problem, right? Anyway, on to today’s review!

Summertime at Disneyland requires sunscreen. Lots and lots of sunscreen. Because when you’re baking in the sun or standing in a crowded line for a ride it’s just too hot to be wearing long pants or long sleeves. And this situation requires a different kind of sunscreen than the sport variety. For my sunny weekend runs I need something ultra sweat proof (currently I’m using Anthelios products), but that also makes them difficult to wash off afterwards. While that’s a good quality mid-run when I’m sweating like crazy, it’s kinda gross to feel it still on my skin even after a shower. So for Disneyland days I’ve been trying moisturizing sunscreens instead, like the Aveeno Protect + Hydrate SPF 30 I reviewed back in sunscreen experiment #7 and sunscreen experiment #7 revisited. So I ordered some Coola Body SPF 30 Plumeria Moisturizer hoping it would not only protect me from the sun, but feel decent on my skin. I’ve had mixed results with Coola products so far, but the ones I’ve tried have all smelled wonderful even if I wasn’t a fan of their other qualities. I couldn’t care less what I smell like when I run, but the rest of the time I’d prefer to not be put off by whatever I slather on my skin to keep it from burning. Luckily the Coola Plumeria Moisturizer smells delicious! And it has lovely moisturizing properties too. It feels a little sticky when I first apply it, but it absorbs nicely after a little while and keeps my skin soft all day. Not only is it great for a Disneyland day, but also for occasions such as July 4th celebrations and outdoor birthday parties. This sunscreen is definitely a winner!

Sunscreen experiment #16

I knew the weather wasn’t going to be great for the Disneyland 10K and half marathon two weeks ago. Ever since we had a freak rainstorm in mid-July (thanks to a hurricane off the Mexican coast that wandered north) the weather has been less than ideal here in Southern California. Hot and really humid. I pretty much hate everything about it, especially since I don’t have air conditioning at home, and I’ve had to reluctantly make wardrobe changes accordingly. As much as I prefer to run in capri pants I knew I’d have to wear shorts and tank tops for both of the Disneyland races to keep as cool as possible. The problem with my favorite running tanks is that they have racer backs and I have a hard time properly applying sunscreen to the exposed areas of my back without help. So as an experiment I picked up a can of Bare Republic Kids Mineral Sunscreen Spray SPF 30 at Target to see if that made it any easier. And it did! I was able to get sunscreen in even the most hard to reach areas, although I wasn’t able to rub it in very well. But at least all of my skin was adequately protected. It always seems ridiculous to apply sunscreen at 4 AM for a race that starts when it’s still dark, but it’s definitely necessary after the sun comes up. I actually liked the Bare Republic spray sunscreen so much that I used it on my arms and legs as well. (I stayed loyal to my favorite Bare Republic Mineral Face Sunscreen Lotion SPF 30 (the untinted version) for my face and neck, though. That stuff is the best.) The spray version of the Bare Republic sunscreen isn’t greasy and doesn’t make a mess when you start to sweat. It was great! The only downside is that the actual application makes quite a mess. The spray goes everywhere and leaves a white residue wherever it lands. Not only did I end up with an abundance of white streaks on my running clothes, but I felt a little guilty about all of the sunscreen that ended up on the ottoman in my hotel room. I guess spray sunscreen is probably best applied outside where there isn’t anything that can be ruined. Lesson learned. I still plan to use Bare Republic spray sunscreen in the future, but I’ll be more careful when putting it on!