My Favourite Sunscreens: 2021 Update (with video)

sunscreen connoisseur

As a sunscreen connoisseur who tries out a lot of sunscreens, it always feel premature to make a list of my favourites. I try a lot of sunscreens but I feel like I can never get through as many as I’d like, because unfortunately I have just the one face. I did a list of my favourites at the end …

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Video: My Top 6 Favourite Sunscreens

As you might know, I have a spreadsheet of sunscreen reviews to keep track of sunscreens I’ve been trying, and I’ve finally collected 6 sunscreens that have achieved holy grail status. So I thought I’d film a video review of these 6 of my favourite sunscreens, with my updated thoughts on them! I’ve also included some honourable mentions that didn’t …

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Sunscreen Reviews: Canmake, Natio, Ultraceuticals

Sunscreen Reviews: Canmake, Natio, Ultraceuticals

I’m a big sunscreen devotee, as you might know if you’ve seen any of my many posts and videos on chemical vs physical sunscreen, wearing sunscreen with makeup, what SPF means, why you shouldn’t DIY your own sunscreen, and how much sunscreen you need for your face. Recently I’ve landed a few sunscreens that I’ve been really pleased with, here they are!

A refresher on my wants:

  • High UVA protection: Australia doesn’t allow brands to show their exact UVAPF values (only “broad spectrum” is allowed), so I usually just look at the filters to try to gauge this. I prefer the newer filters (Tinosorb S & M, Mexoryl ingredients, Uvinul A Plus).
  • White cast: Needs to be minimal. My skin is NC20 for reference.
  • Ease of application: It has to feel nice on my skin.
  • Eye comfort: I need to apply sunscreen near my eyes since that’s where I can see the wrinkles gathering. My eyes are pretty hardy thanks to years of wearing contact lenses, but they’ll still water a bit with some sunscreens.

Canmake Mermaid UV Gel

Canmake Mermaid UV Gel SPF 50+ PA++++¬†(around $11 for 40 g) was an impulse buy for me. I swore I’d stop buying sunscreens until I used up my stash, since I’m paranoid enough to only use unexpired sunscreen, but curiosity got the better of me.

I personally really dislike silicone-heavy sunscreens. I don’t like how they feel like they don’t sink into your skin and you can’t apply a generous amount of sunscreen, and I hate that they make my skin look matte for about 15 minutes before suddenly turning 20 times more oily than before. Unfortunately most of the “cosmetically elegant” Asian face sunscreens have tons of silicones, but Canmake Mermaid UV Gel has them quite far down the ingredients list. I’d also seen a bunch of good reviews (like this one from Vanity Rex), so I had to try it!

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My Emergency Routine for Treating an Irritant Breakout

My Emergency Routine for Treating an Irritant Breakout

A couple of weeks ago I had an irritant breakout reaction from testing a product, and I posted about it on Instagram. I’m still not 100% sure which product it was, but I used an anti-breakout routine that flattened my pimples in about 24 hours, and they were almost completely gone in around 3 days. I had a lot of …

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Video: My Routine for Fading Acne Marks (Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation)

Video: My Routine for Fading Acne Marks (Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation)

New video! I’ve had a lot of questions about how to fade post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (aka PIH). I’m of East Asian heritage so I’m naturally pigmentation-prone, plus genetically I’m screwed – my dad’s face is basically one giant freckle. Sun, acne, scratches… all of these will leave pigmented dark marks that last for weeks. While I’ve done a post on pigment …

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Combination (Acid+Enzyme+Scrub) Exfoliant Review: Pixi, Kate Somerville, Ultraceuticals

Combination (Acid+Enzyme+Scrub) Exfoliant Review: Pixi, Kate Somerville, Ultraceuticals

As you may know from my guides to exfoliation, I’m obsessed with helping my skin desquamate. Unlike a lot of other skincare addicts, I don’t have a favourite type of exfoliation – I’ve found that my skin responds best when I have all three of the major exfoliation types (physical, chemical and enzyme) in my routine. That’s why I’ve been really excited about the appearance of more combination exfoliation products on the market, and today I’m reviewing three of them: Pixi Beauty¬†Peel & Polish, Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Exfoliating Treatment, and Ultraceuticals Ultra Dual Microfoliant.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of combination exfoliants?

There are a few benefits to having all the different types of exfoliation in the one product:

Firstly, it’s a massive time saver, especially since the individual products tend to be formulated for use at different stages of your routine: scrubs and enzymes are usually wash-off products that you use after cleanser, while chemical exfoliants are usually leave-on products that you use under moisturisers. These combo products are all rinse-off.

If you have sensitive skin, it means you only have to find one product that your skin can handle.

It’s also good for when you’re trying to play catch-up with your exfoliation and you want to blast your skin with everything at once without crossing over into the frustrating realm of overexfoliation. Having an all-in-one product means you don’t have to try to remember how much of each exfoliant your skin can handle when paired with other products. This is always a doozy because the number of combos you can make increases exponentially with more products. If you have 3 products it gives you 7 possible combinations, if you have 4 products you have 15 combinations… if you have 7 products (which sounds like a lot, but isn’t all that unusual if you count things like washcloths and sponges) it gives you a headache-inducing 127 combinations. And that doesn’t include other considerations like application order, other skincare treatments you might use them with, and the state of your skin before treatment.

The biggest downside to having a combination product is that it limits your ability to customise your skincare routine. For example, you can’t choose to use enzymes without using the acid at the same time, and you can’t choose to leave the acid on for longer (excluding the scrub isn’t usually an issue since you can just move the product around less).

It also makes it harder to work out which type of exfoliation your skin likes the most (though chances are it’s the whole package).

Onto the reviews:

Combination (Acid+Enzyme+Scrub) Exfoliant Review: Pixi, Kate Somerville, Ultraceuticals

Pixi Peel & Polish

Exfoliating ingredients:

  • 6% lactic acid (chemical – AHA)
  • polylactic acid (physical – microbeads)
  • beraclay light red (physical – clay)
  • papaya extract (enzyme – papain)
  • sugar cane extract (??? I though this would be glycolic acid, but the packaging suggests that it’s physical)

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Video: Favourites/Empties July 2017

I’ve done another video! It’s becoming quite addictive, I’m liking the change of pace. This is my first review video. I talk about five products I’ve actually managed to finish, so they’re the cream of the crop when it comes to favourites. I try out a stupid amount of products for reviewing (way more than what actually turns up on …

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My Ultraceuticals RVR90 Skin Brightening Experience

My Ultraceuticals RVR90 Skin Brightening Experience

Ultraceuticals is an Australian cosmeceutical skincare brand with a strong focus on scientifically-backed, effective products. I was invited to take part in their RVR90 program where I had to commit to using their products and treatments for 3 months (fellow beauty bloggers will know how crazy this is). I’m excited to share my results with you today!

Ultraceuticals was founded in 1998 by Dr Geoffrey Heber, a cosmetic physician was the first to bring alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) to Australia. As well as take-home products, they offer in-clinic treatments at a variety of spas and salons around Australia.

RVR90, which stands for Real Visible Results in 90 Days, involves 3 steps. First, you discuss your skin concerns with a skin technician and decide what you want to work on. Next, you receive an RVR90 starter pack for your skin type, containing cleanser, lotion and sunscreen, plus an appropriate serum ($199). Finally, you’re prescribed a treatment and homecare plan to address your specific concerns. Ultraceuticals believes that 70% of results are achieved through homecare while 30% is from in-clinic treatments, so if you don’t like in-clinic treatments you can still get most of the benefits.

I decided to target my hyperpigmentation, since I have some pigmentation happening on my cheeks (yay Asian genes), and the treatment would also help with congestion and acne as well. I was prescribed the Oily/Normal pack (surprise!), and was given the Ultra Brightening Serum to start with, then the Ultra A Skin Perfecting Serum a bit later on.

My Ultraceuticals RVR90 Skin Brightening Experience

I was given three 30 minute Radiance Plus+ in-clinic treatments over the 90 days by Tracey Beeby, the Head of Global Training at Ultraceuticals. This consisted of:

  • Double cleansing with the Ultra Balancing Gel Cleanser and Pre Peel Skin Preparation, using the UltraSonophoresis machine
  • 15 min mask using the Ultra A Skin Perfecting Concentrate and Ultra Brightening Accelerator Mask, which contain 8 skin brightening agents that act on hyperpigmentation, dark spots and blotchiness
  • After removal of the mask, application of Ultra Protective Antioxidant Complex and sunscreen

I was initially a bit skeptical that I’d see much of a difference in 90 days since my skin was already pretty good and the treatments were pretty painless (slight prickling and heat but nothing close to burning), but when I saw my before-and-after photos and skin analysis I was very impressed.

Here are the photos, with Day 0 on the left and Day 86 on the right (I couldn’t make it in on Day 90). I look a bit like I’m going into surgery with the hair net…

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