Sunscreen reviews: Klairs, Mecca

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I’ve tried a couple more sunscreens that I’ve been really happy with! I’ve been on a pretty good streak with sunscreens so far, with some nice ones from Coles and Woolworths, and from Natio, Ultraceuticals and Canmake earlier in the year. This time I’m reviewing some sunscreens from Klairs and Mecca Cosmetica.

Sunscreen reviews: Klairs, Mecca

Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50 PA++++

Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF 50 PA++++ ($23 USD for 80 mL, Wishtrend) is a light water-based sunscreen. It has a really pleasant texture, much like Canmake Mermaid UV Gel, but a tiny bit heavier so it doesn’t feel like it’s quite as insubstantial.

Like Ultraceuticals Daily Moisturiser, it’s based on dicaprylyl carbonate. I’ve found that products with this ingredient have a silky silicone-like glide without the siliconey film that you’d get with an actual silicone product. It feels really lightweight, but it’s alcohol-free which is great news for dehydration-prone skin. There’s a very light scent.

The UV filters are DHHB (Uvinul A Plus), a photostable UVA filter, and octyl triazone, which protects against UVB. I’ve had a few people ask me if two UV filters are enough for full protection in a sunscreen. It appears to be:

  • SPF and PA ratings are measured using the finished product, on human volunteers. This means the results of SPF and PA testing will be more relevant than any theoretical predictions, since the formulation of the sunscreen makes a huge difference to how the sunscreen filters will be spread, and how effective they are.
  • DHHB and octyl triazone do actually cover the full spectrum of UV. Their absorbance spectra are in the graph below. Keep in mind that these aren’t the concentrations used in the sunscreen (there’s more DHHB than octyl triazone), and the “dip” at around 325 nm is actually covered by both, so the absorbance will be the absorbance of both filters added together.
  • DHHB is a UVA1 filter. There are a few sources online that say that it only blocks UVA2, but that’s incorrect – if you look at the absorption curve, its UV absorption is at a maximum at 354 nm, which is squarely in the UVA1 region (340-400 nm). BASF market it as a UVA1 filter.

Uvinul Absorption Spectrum Uvinul

Since Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence is based on organic UV filters, they’ve managed to make it lightweight in texture and without any white cast.

Aside from the UV filters, there are a few skincare ingredients in the sunscreen as well. It contains seabuckthorn oil, which has lots of antioxidants (lycopene, carotenoids). There’s also soothing allantoin and beta-glucan, and niacinamide which is a jack of all trades in skincare.

Interestingly, it’s also “preservative-free”, in that it doesn’t contain any ingredients listed in regulations like the one from the European Union. But it does contain other ingredients that act to preserve the formulation (1,2-hexanediol and caprylyl glycol).

Water (Aqua), Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Butylene Glycol, Dibutyl Adipate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Silica, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Panthenol, Beta-Glucan, Disodium EDTA, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Adenosine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Allantoin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil.

Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen SPF 50+

Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen SPF 50+ ($40 AUD for 75 mL, Mecca) is an incredibly popular Australian sunscreen sold in the slightly more upmarket version of Sephora in Australia, Mecca.

It’s a little heavy compared to the Klairs sunscreen, but really not that heavy compared to every other sunscreen – I think it just suffered in comparison because the Klairs is so darn light! It works great under make-up and doesn’t feel sticky.

I personally don’t love silicones in moisturisers, but I like them in foundations, and this product felt fine (possibly because it was right under make-up). It’s mildly scented.

Filter-wise, unfortunately there aren’t any of the newer photostable UVA filters, although avobenzone is combined with octocrylene which should help stabilise it (I talk more about sunscreen combinations in The Lab Muffin Guide to Basic Skincare, which has a free sample from the sunscreen chapter – check it out here).

Active Ingredients: Octocrylene 7%, Oxybenzone 3%, Avobenzone 2.5%, Ensulizole 2%
Inactive Ingredients: Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Glycerin, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Sodium Chloride, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Silica, Ubiquinone, Fragrance, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Butylphenyl Methylpropional, Sodium Hyaluronate, Benzyl Salicylate, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Limonene

Weirdly enough, the SPF 30+ version (same filters at different concentrations, lower price) didn’t seem to feel as nice as the SPF 50+ sunscreen – it’s possible that the sample I got (dispensed from the in-store tester into a little tub) might not have been a good reflection of the properly stored product.

Overall score

These two sunscreens ended up getting 5+ and 5 respectively in my sunscreen mini-review spreadsheet. The SPF 30+ Mecca sunscreen got 4.

Reference

Osterwalder U & Herzog B, The long way towards the ideal sunscreen – where we stand and what still needs to be done, Photochem Photobiol Sci 2010, 9, 470-481. DOI: 10.1039/b9pp00178f

These products were provided for review, which did not affect my opinion. This post also contains an affiliate link – if you decide to click through and support Lab Muffin financially (at no extra cost to you), thank you! For more information, see Disclosure Policy.

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16 thoughts on “Sunscreen reviews: Klairs, Mecca”

  1. I really enjoy the klairs SPF (my blog post just went live), but I am curious to know: How do you feel about the added Citrus essential oil? I know that this specific one does not contain fuorocumarine, but it caused quite a stir on Instagram in the comments that any essential oil was added.

    Anne|Linda, Libra, Loca

    Reply
  2. Thanks for the endlessly awesome sunscreen reviews and no BS skin advice. Can you please review the Hada Labo UV White Gel? I’ve heard good things 🙂

    Reply
  3. Thanks for this! I’ll have to check out the Klairs if I can get it in NZ.

    Did the SOF30 get a lower review because of the texture? I actually much prefer the SPF30 – I’ve been using it for 4-5 years now. I do have the SPF50 but it’s a lot thicker/stiffer so I find it harder to apply – and because of that (and the increased price, I’ll admit) I tend to not use it as liberally as the SPF30.

    Reply
  4. I just ordered the Klairs and the Canmake Gel, and am excited to try them! I’ve been looking for a sunscreen with a nice light texture that does not contain avobenzone – hard to find! My daily uniform consists of oxford shirts with the collar turned up, usually white. I’ve had problems with avobenzone-containing sunscreens staining (yellowing) the collars of my shirts, or any part of the fabric that comes in contact with an area where I applied sunscreen.

    Thank you for doing such extensive sunscreen reviews, and all the science-based education about sun exposure. Reading another post of yours, I realized I’m getting sun exposure all day every day, just by virtue of the fact that my desk is located next to a big sunny window. Yikes! So I’m giving daily sunscreen another shot. Fingers crossed!

    Reply
  5. I’ve been using the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence for a few weeks now and I have to say it’s probably the best sunscreen I’ve tried so far. I was a bit undecided but reading this review made me more convinced to try it out. Thankfully they were selling this sunscreen at Hikoco here in NZ. Thanks again so so much!

    In one of your videos I remember to be a bit careful with layering different sunscreen ingredients, especially with Avobenzone. Seeing as the ingredients in this Klairs sunscreen are a bit newer, are there other sunscreen ingredients (e.g. Avobenzone, Zinc Oxide, etc.) I should be avoiding to combine as well?

    Reply
  6. Hi! Can you please confirm that the Klairs one is really 50? Asking as it turned out that the famous Purito one spf 50 is actually 19. Thank you.

    Reply

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