If your #skingoal for 2020 is achieving clear and bright skin, the one product you can’t do without in your skincare routine is sunscreen.
The Japanese are big on sun protection for brighter skin, and KOSÉ SEKKISEI is one of the leaders in this aspect. Well-known for using oriental herbal ingredients to create beautiful translucent skin, SEKKISEI has taken sunscreen to the next level by adding greater skincare benefits while making it more comfortable than ever before: think protection against dryness, roughness, and dark spots, all while leaving a non-sticky feel on the skin!
A key Asian herb that is said to make these sunscreens a cut above the rest is Job’s tears: the seeds are used for their moisturising and brightening effect, whereas the ferment filtrate encourages the production of ceramides while providing antioxidant benefits so that your skin stays well-protected and nourished at the same time.
Other Oriental herbs that the brand has incorporated into the sunscreens include the Angelica acutiloba extract, which has antibacterial, brightening, and moisturising effects, as well as Melothria heterophylla (white lotus), which inhibits the growth of melanin, the key behind skin pigmentation.
However, being beauty junkies that have pretty much seen it all, the Daily Vanity team is naturally sceptical of sunscreens that claim to be so comfortable on the skin, yet manage to provide so many different skincare benefits at the same time.
The only way to find out, of course, was to test them out for ourselves, so four of us with different skin types and lifestyles tried out these SEKKISEI sunscreens for a week to let you know how they fare!
Psst, stay tuned till the end and you might walk away with free KOSE goodies and other attractive promotions!
1. SEKKISEI Skincare UV Milk review
Reviewer: Wan Kee, 27
Skin type: Combination-oily
Skin problems: Dull skin tone
About this product: This is a smooth, high-coverage sunscreen that comes in a comfortable milky texture and can withstand sweat & oil.
As we are constantly exposed to UV rays, it’s always good to have a layer of sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful rays, so I will apply sunscreen everyday.
My first impressions of the SEKKISEI Skincare UV Milk were good: it was so easy to spread and apply all over my face and body without feeling sticky and had a light, pleasant fragrance to it. The nozzle also allowed control over the volume of product to be dispensed, which I thought was really user-friendly.
For one week, I used the UV Milk as the last step of my skincare routine. It also doubled up as a makeup base, so I go on to do the rest of my makeup afterwards. This was possible because the sunscreen had a light texture (which I like!) that didn’t make my skin feel heavy and oily before makeup.
I was impressed to find that this sunscreen was not only very moisturising, but also as waterproof as it claimed to be – it stayed on even after a long day out in the sun, but was still easy to remove using my usual facial cleanser and body soap!
After applying this daily for a week, not only did I get the sun protection required, I could see that my skin on both my face and body looked less dry and also brighter. This convinced me that the skin-loving ingredients in this sunscreen (oriental herbs like Job’s tears extract) really did provide the skincare benefits promised!
If you are always outdoors, I would recommend this to you as you don’t have to worry at all that your sunscreen will lose efficacy even if you sweat. Those with oily skin will also love this sunscreen as the UV milk has a light and non-oily texture that doesn’t clog pores.
SEKKISEI Skincare UV Milk retails at SGD36.
2. SEKKISEI Skincare UV Gel review
Reviewer: Melissa, 24
Skin type: Combination-oily
Skin problems: Dehydrated skin, pigmentation, dull skin tone, sensitive skin
About this product: The moisture-rich sunscreen promises no stickiness or heaviness, only comfortable hydration that keeps sun spots, dryness, and roughness at bay.
To provide some background, I believe in using sunscreens regularly as it prevents more skin pigmentation.
I feel that it’s good having one more layer on top of my moisturiser to prevent further moisture loss. I also think that it may help with reducing my skin’s sensitivity to the surroundings in general – basically forming a ‘barrier’. That being said, some sunscreens that I have tried made my skin very oily.
On the other hand, I found that the UV Gel had a smooth texture that was pretty lightweight. The gel was easy to spread and got absorbed very quickly, and I really liked the gel texture as it was not too thick – great for oily skin that is also sensitive, especially since Singapore’s quite hot. In addition, my skin did not feel so greasy after I started using this sunscreen.
Despite the light texture, I was still able to feel that the sunscreen provided enough hydration, so it is probably suitable for dry skin!
I also noted that it came with a slight fragrance – I was a little worried at first, as sensitive skin should never come into contact with fragrance, but thankfully, this product didn’t really affect my sensitive skin.
As I would already have makeup on at midday, I just applied the SEKKISEI Skincare UV Gel once a day, right after my moisturiser and before my makeup. While I can’t imagine myself reapplying it at midday – since I’ll need to take off my makeup and then reapply it again – on days that I’m not wearing makeup, I think reapplication is not a problem, as the texture was not as sticky as most sunscreens and didn’t leave an ugly white cast.
After applying this gel sunscreen daily for a week, I could see that my dehydrated and dull skin improved in terms of hydration levels and brightness.
Despite having similar texture as other gel sunscreens, I find that it provided better hydration and also retained moisture in my skin better than other sunscreens. My skin now feels less dehydrated at the end of the day even though I have been in an air-conditioned environment for almost 8 hours straight.
I would recommend the UV Gel to those with oily and dehydrated skin as it addresses the issue that people with this skin type would face. Most of the time, skincare products that provide enough moisture tend to be thick, which may clog pores and cause breakouts. This sunscreen, on the other hand, isn’t too thick but does help to keep your skin hydrated.
SEKKISEI Skincare UV Gel retails at SGD32.
3. SEKKISEI Skincare UV Tone Up review
Reviewer: Alyaa, 22
Skin type: Combination-dry
Skin problems: Dehydrated skin, dull skin tone
About this product: This protects and colour corrects at the same time so that you get instantly radiant skin.
I usually don’t apply sunscreen because it’s another step in my skincare routine – I’d rather just do what I can ASAP and leave the house. However, when I do have a little more time in my day, I’d use sunscreen.
I skipped my moisturiser, sunscreen, and makeup and just applied this after applying my hyaluronic acid serum, then jumped straight into my makeup.
Let me just say that I am a fan of this sunscreen’s texture: it was very lightweight, so my skin didn’t feel irritated or ‘thick’ with product, which is one problem I tend to face when using sunscreens. It had such a smooth texture so it got easily absorbed and I found it super (and I really mean super) easy spreading it on my skin. I don’t even have to wait for my skin to absorb the product.
The lavender colour of the sunscreen made my skin look instantly clearer and brighter, and with consistent usage over one week, I could also see that my bare skin itself looked less dry and more radiant.
I’ve always wanted to be more persistent in my sunscreen usage. I’ve just been turned off by the humidity in Singapore which makes my skin feel irritated, tacky, or greasy after wearing sunscreen. Since this sunscreen doesn’t give me any of the usual side effects of wearing sunscreen, works great under makeup, and acts as a moisturiser, sunscreen, AND makeup base, I’d be happy to use this time-saver everyday.
Personally, I’m just slightly turned away by the fragrance which resembles your typical sunscreen, but the ease of application and comfort as I wear it through the day wins my heart! I’d confidently say it’s one of my top three sunscreens – maybe even #1!
I’d recommend this to people who have normal skin with dry patches because it doesn’t accentuate them. I suffer from dry spots around my mouth area which are super embarrassing, and this sunscreen does a good job at hydrating it. If you’re a makeup-lover, you’d want to consider this too, since it comes at a wallet-friendly price and wears nicely in spite of Singapore’s humid weather.
P.S. I also love how compact and portable the packaging is – perfect if you’re travelling!
SEKKISEI Skincare UV Tone Up retails at SGD23.
4. SEKKISEI Skincare UV Stick review
Reviewer: Nicole, 19
Skin type: Dry
Skin problems: Sensitive skin, dehydrated skin
About this product: This is a stick-type sunscreen that promises zero mess and zero fuss.
Although I use sunscreen, I usually don’t reapply it because I don’t want to have to touch up my makeup, and I use the traditional liquid type sunscreen that can feel heavy on the skin, so I don’t want that inconvenience twice a day.
I commute to and back from work via public transport every day so there’s quite a fair bit of exposure to the sun. I would apply this once in the morning before makeup and then keep it in my bag to reapply throughout the day, since the guideline is to reapply sunscreen every two hours.
There was a pleasant but non-artificial floral fragrance to the SEKKISEI Skincare UV Stick which faded after blending it out, and after blending, the feeling of having applied sunscreen actually disappeared from the skin! It was almost weightless and undetectable so it really looked like there’s nothing on the skin (no James Charles white cast!), while leaving a natural matte finish that wasn’t powdery.
While I don’t wear any base makeup other than a concealer, I saw that as I continued to use the UV Stick over one week, there were fewer creases in my face caused by dryness. In addition, my concealer actually stayed on pretty well despite me reapplying the sunscreen throughout the day, but was easy enough to remove using my regular facial cleanser!
I liked that this was really easy to carry around because of its small size. It also helped me to save time in the morning, because this can be applied in a few broad strokes and required a lot less blending as compared to liquid types. It was also very convenient for me to carry this around and use on the go, so I feel reassured knowing that I’m getting the necessary sun protection I need.
I think this UV Stick from SEKKISEI is quite versatile and anyone can use it, but I’d especially recommend it to people who are always busy/travelling since it is fast to apply and spill-proof. Sportspeople who don’t want sunscreen reapplication to be messy and a hassle would also love this stick sunscreen. Skin type-wise, this is good for people with oily, combination, and mildly dry skin types.
SEKKISEI Skincare UV Stick retails at SGD28.
All four KOSÉ sunscreens are available at major Departmental Stores, Welcia, Don Don Donki, and Lazada.