I’ve tried out three more facial sunscreens lately, all of which originate from Korea. Asian sunscreens are known for their light textures and use of newer UVA filters, so I’ve reviewed quite a few of them before. (Note: Sunscreens aren’t approved in US/EU/UK/AU etc, but are approved in Korea.)
KraveBeauty Beet the Sun SPF 50+ PA++++
Beet the Sun ($20 USD for 50 mL, Amazon, KraveBeauty) is the first sunscreen from skincare YouTuber Liah Yoo’s KraveBeauty brand. I’ve reviewed their other products in the past, and I really enjoyed them, so I had high hopes for this sunscreen! It has a high SPF, and the exact UVAPF is a reasonable PPD 20 according to the company.
The sunscreen actives in Beet the Sun are all organic (chemical) filters: Uvinul A Plus, Tinosorb S, octyl triazone, amiloxate and polysilicone-15 (for a cheat sheet for the chemical names of common sunscreen actives, check out the free downloadable sample of my Skincare Guide).
Uvinul A Plus and Tinosorb S are newer photostable filters that give good UVA protection, especially against the longer UVA1 wavelengths. Traditional sunscreens tend to be a bit lacking in this region of the UV spectrum, hence the popularity of imported sunscreens in the US (luckily, they’re approved in Australia).
Tinosorb S is one of my favourite sunscreen ingredients – it’s photostable, so it doesn’t decompose over time, and it absorbs pigment-darkening UVA without giving a white cast. Beet the Sun has no white cast overall, and it’s fragrance-free as well (although it smells a little like sunscreen and alcohol).
The star plant extract here is beetroot extract, which has antioxidant properties. Free radicals are one of the ways that the sun causes skin damage and aging, and antioxidants are great at soaking up free radicals, although there haven’t been any studies on whether beetroot has this effect on skin (there are in vitro and dietary studies though).
I found that this sunscreen has a pretty oily texture that didn’t sink in too well into my skin, and stayed a bit greasy even after putting on make-up. It’s a particularly sweaty summer in Australia and I have oily skin, so I think it’ll work better if your skin is drier or you live somewhere less hot and humid.
The other your-mileage-may-vary issue I had is that it gave me a few clogged pores after a week of use, but almost all sunscreens do this to me – most people who’ve reviewed it didn’t have this problem.
I also don’t love Beet the Sun’s bottle cap. The rest of the packaging is great (squeezy bottle, skinny nozzle so you don’t squeeze out too much), but the cap’s thread is a bit hard to screw on correctly if you’re in a rush.
Beet the Sun isn’t available in the US yet due to its use of newer sunscreen filters. However, Krave Beauty do publicise that The Beet Shield, sold as an “antioxidant day fluid”, has the exact same formula but isn’t sold as a sunscreen. I have mixed feelings about the use of this strategy.
Water, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Dibutyl Adipate, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Alcohol, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Glycerin, Pentylene Glycol, Isoamyl p-Methoxycinnamate, Polysilicone-15, Inulin Lauryl Carbamate, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Tromethamine, Methylpropanediol, Isohexadecane, Caprylyl Glycol, Glyceryl Caprylate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, 1,2-Hexanediol, Polysorbate 80, Lithospermum Erythrorhizon Root Extract, Macadamia Ternifolia Seed Oil, Sorbitan Oleate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Allantoin, Epigallocatechin Gallate, Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Butylene Glycol, Resveratrol
Lagom Cellus Sun Gel SPF 50+ PA+++
Lagom Cellus Sun Gel ($27-46 USD / $39 AUD for 50 mL, Peach & Lily, Amazon, Franki and Seoul) is an organic (chemical) sunscreen. The sunscreen actives are octinoxate, octocrylene, octisalate, avobenzone and my favourite photostable UVA filter, Tinosorb S.
I really enjoyed using this sunscreen. The texture is very light and it sinks in easily – it feels more like a gel moisturiser than a sunscreen. Despite the high alcohol content, it also isn’t very drying. There’s no discernible white cast on me, and the scent is a mild herbal scent that might be lavender based.
Cellus Sun Gel comes in a squeezy bottle with a twist cap that’s easy to put back on and a narrow nozzle, although the bottle is a bit stiff so getting the last bits out may be an issue (it does stand with the nozzle pointing down though, so that might help).
The one thing I don’t like about this is, unsurprisingly, the low PA rating. According to Australian and EU standards, this wouldn’t count as a broad spectrum sunscreen. If high UVA protection is a priority for you, then this sunscreen isn’t ideal. Since I’m very hyperpigmentation-prone, this is unfortunately a deal-breaker for me.
Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Alcohol Denat., Octocrylene, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Propanediol, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Methoxy PEG/PPG-25/4 Dimethicone, Bis-PEG/PPG-20/5 PEG/PPG-20/5 Dimethicone, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Sodium Acrylate/Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Dimethicone, Isohexadecane, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Ethylhexylglycerin, Polysorbate 80,1,2-Hexanediol, BHT, Sodium Hydroxide, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Sorbitan Oleate, Disodium EDTA, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Rose Flower Oil, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Oil, Urea, Yeast Amino Acids, Trehalose, Betaine, Taurine, Inositol, Styrax Benzoin Gum, Commiphora Myrrha Oil, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate.
Pestlo Safe Recipe Sun Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
Pestlo Safe Recipe Sun Essence ($21.40-34 USD / $37 AUD for 50 mL, Amazon, Franki & Seoul) is an inorganic (physical) sunscreen that uses a mixture of zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to achieve its UV protection level.
The base of this sunscreen is quite moisturising, and includes star ingredients panthenol at 10 000 ppm and ceramide NP at 1 ppm. There’s also centella extract, which is good for skin repair, and antioxidant chia seed extract.
Related post: Skincare Ingredient Spotlight: Centella Asiatica
Texture-wise, it’s very light for a physical sunscreen and lighter than most chemical sunscreens too. It has a pretty strong herbal scent, which goes away after a bit.
The problem for me with this sunscreen is that there’s some white cast, which always tends to be an issue with me with inorganic sunscreens. It’s especially bad when there’s titanium dioxide. While I could apply it more sparingly, it does mean a decrease in protection, and I don’t tend to wear heavy foundation. If your skin is lighter though, or you’re willing to wear thicker make-up, this won’t be an issue!
Water, Cyclomethicone, Zinc Oxide, Propanediol, Titanium Dioxide, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Caprylyl Methicone, Cetyl Ethylhexanoate, 1,2-Hexanediol, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Magnesium Sulfate, Salvia Hispanica (Chia) Seed Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, C30-45 Alkyl Cetearyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Aluminium Hydroxide, Polyglyceryl-2 Dipolyhydroxystearate, Styrene/Acrylates Copolymer, Stearic Acid, Fructooligosaccharides (FOS), Saccharide Hydrolysate, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Pullulan, Pentylene Glycol, Ethylhexyglycerin, Octyldocecanol, Panthenol (10,000 ppm), Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Cardiospermum Halicacabum Flower/Leaf/Vine Extract, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil Unsaponifiables, Butylene Glycol, Dibutyl Adipate, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Undecane, Tridecane, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Phosphatidylcholine, Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Phenyl Trimethicone, Pinus Pinaster (Pine) Bark Extract, Ceramide NP (1 ppm), Glycine, Glutamic Acid, Serine, Lysine, Alanine, Arginine, Threonine, Proline, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
More about picking a suitable sunscreen and how to use it with maximum benefit in your routine: The Lab Muffin Guide to Basic Skincare
These products were provided for editorial consideration, which did not affect my opinion. This post also contains affiliate links – if you decide to click through and support Lab Muffin financially, thank you! For more information, see Disclosure Policy.