One of the biggest news to rock the beauty industry in 2020 was undoubtedly the Purito sunscreen controversy. The Centella Green Level sunscreen was revealed by an independent test to only have an SPF rating of 19 instead of 50 as indicated on the packaging. Once a cult-favourite sunscreen, Purito’s fall from grace was swift and sudden.
Months later, other popular Korean sunscreens from well-loved brands, such as Dear, Klairs, KEEP COOL, and Krave Beauty, were discontinued in view of lower SPF ratings. The news casted doubts on the actual level of protection provided by lightweight, elegant formulas – a quality that Korean sunscreens are known for.
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Headed by Ahn Insuk, the Korea Institute of Dermatological Sciences has tested and shared the sunscreens that have met their SPF claims and are now officially certified. Some brands have also launched reformulated products with third-party tests that have verified the advertised SPF values.
Ahead, we’ve gathered the approved Korean sunscreens and split them up into three categories: chemical, chemical and mineral hybrid, and mineral sunscreens. Read on to find your new holy grail.
Related read: More Korean sunscreens under scrutiny for SPF that’s lower than what’s indicated
Chemical Korean sunscreens
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF50+ PA++++
Isntree’s Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel is one of the most talked-about Korean sunscreens right now, and for a good reason. The gel-cream formula feels lightweight on the skin and it’s praised for its dewy finish.
It boasts niacinamide and adenosine, anti-ageing ingredients that brighten the complexion and even out skin tone. The sunscreen also contains eight types of hyaluronic acid to prevent dehydration, keeping your skin hydrated and moist all day long.
Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF50+ PA++++ retails for S$21.90. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
Dr.Jart+ Every Sun Day Waterproof Sun Milk SPF50+
Besides shielding your skin from harsh UV rays, the Dr.Jart+ Every Sun Day Waterproof Sun Milk is brimming with skin-loving ingredients. Ceramide NP keeps your skin barrier healthy and resilient, while adenosine and niacinamide offer brightening benefits as well as protection from environmental stressors.
Dr.Jart+ Every Sun Day Waterproof Sun Milk SPF50+ retails for S$17.50. Click on the link below for the most updated price.
SCINIC Enjoy Super Mild Sun Essence SPF50+ PA++++
This moisturising sunscreen from SCINIC keeps your skin protected and hydrated for hours. It has an essence-like texture that spreads and absorbs easily without leaving a greasy after-feel and white cast.
Green tea, bamboo, and centella asiatica extracts are natural antioxidants that are able to soothe irritated or damaged skin. Plus, the sunscreen claims to be waterproof and sweatproof, so they’re perfect for extra humid days out.
SCINIC Enjoy Super Mild Sun Essence SPF50+ PA++++ retails for S$17.45. Click on the link below for the most updated price.
Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream SPF 50+ reformulated!
Following the SPF controversy, Round Lab reformulated its sunscreen with another manufacturer, and they’re back with an increased number of UV filters to keep you fully protected under the sun.
The Korean sunscreen is still as lightweight and hydrating as before, infused with birch sap and hyaluronic acid to lock in hydration, making it ideal for most skin types.
Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream SPF 50+ retails for S$18.23. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
Neogen Daylight Protection Airy Sunscreen SPF50+
Neogen’s lightweight sunscreen not only provides intensive defence against UV rays, but also leaves your skin brighter and more even-toned with continued use.
It contains 20 plant extracts, such as aloe vera, damask rose, and coptis chinensis root extract to soothe, moisturise, and control sebum production. Its airy texture doesn’t leave a greasy after-feel on your skin, and you won’t be left with a ghastly white cast either.
Neogen Daylight Protection Airy Sunscreen SPF50+ retails for S$19.99. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
Chemical and mineral hybrid Korean sunscreens
CosRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++ most popular!
One of the most popular Korean sunscreens on our list, the CosRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream is a cooling formula that effectively shields the skin from UVA and UVB rays with its SPF50 protection.
The sunscreen is loved for its elegant formula, which soothes redness and irritation with aloe leaf extract as it deeply moisturises dry skin with vitamin E. There’s also licorice extract that helps to regulate sebum production, making this an ideal sunscreen for those with oilier skin.
CosRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream retails for S$21.90. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
Round Lab 365 Tone-Up Sun Cream SPF50+ PA+++
Go foundation-free with Round Lab’s 365 Tone-Up Sun Cream. On top of providing effective sun protection, the sunscreen doubles up as a makeup primer. Its pink tinge comes from calamine, a soothing ingredient that brightens your overall skin tone.
Users have raved about how easy it blends and wears under makeup – you won’t get a white cast or cakey finish with this one. The formula also contains panthenol and allantoin to calm redness and irritation. There’s also vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your skin from free radicals.
Round Lab 365 Tone-Up Sun Cream retails for S$27. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
Nature Republic California Aloe Daily Sun Block SPF50+ PA++++ most affordable!
Back with a brand new look and an upgraded formula, the Nature Republic California Aloe Daily Sun Block brightens the complexion while providing excellent protection against broad-spectrum UV exposure.
It contains aloe vera extract to soothe the skin and boost moisture levels to prevent dryness. Adenosine in the formula also helps to prevent early signs of skin ageing, such as fine lines and wrinkles.
Nature Republic California Aloe Daily Sun Block SPF50+ PA++++ retails for S$11.20. Click on the link below for the most updated price.
TIAM My Signature Vita Red Sunscreen SPF50+ PA+++
Formulated with aloe leaf extract, this mild sunscreen from TIAM soothes irritated skin caused by UV exposure as it protects with SPF50+ PA+++ protection. Vitamin C in the formula amps up your complexion’s radiance while diminishing dark spots. It’s also enriched with vitamin E to hydrate and revitalise delicate skin.
TIAM My Signature Vita Red Sunscreen SPF50+ PA+++ retails for S$15.81. Click on the link below for the most updated price.
Mineral Korean sunscreens
Toun28 B1 Sunscreen HEV+UV Protector For Dry Skin SPF50+ PA++++
One of the pricier Korean sunscreens in our roundup, the Toun28 sunscreen comes in two versions: one for dry skin and one for oily skin. The B1 contains jojoba oil, baobab seed oil, olive oil, and rosehip oil to deeply moisturise dry skin, so air-conditioned environments won’t be able to rob your skin of hydration.
This fragrance- and essential oil-free sunscreen is extra gentle on sensitive skin. Plus, it features 63.4% of organic and naturally-derived ingredients to nourish the skin.
Toun28 B1 Sunscreen HEV+UV Protector For Dry Skin SPF50+ PA++++ retails for S$61.01. Click on the link below for the most updated price.
Toun28 B2 Sunscreen HEV+UV Protector For Oily Skin SPF50+ PA++++
Like the B1 formula, Toun28’s B2 sunscreen provides broad-spectrum SPF50+ PA++++ protection, which helps shield the skin from UV rays and blue light. Likewise, it is free of fragrances and essential oils, so it’s perfect for those with sensitive skin.
The B2 version for oily skin has a lightweight texture that adheres to the skin without leaving a trace of greasiness or stickiness. It’s enriched with anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial green tea, which is great for oily, acne-prone skin, as well as balancing jojoba oil.
Toun28 B2 Sunscreen HEV+UV Protector For Oily Skin SPF50+ PA++++ retails for S$61.01. Click on the link below for the most updated price.
Benton Mineral Sun Stick SPF 50+ PA++++
Fitted with SPF50+ PA++++, this mineral sunscreen comes in a convenient stick form, which makes it great for reapplications throughout the day. It’s formulated with hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to nourish the skin while protecting it from free radical damage.
Its balm-like texture glides on the skin smoothly without leaving a hint of white cast or stickiness. If you’re using this as your main sunscreen in the morning, you’ll want to swipe it on your skin multiple times for optimal protection. Since you can’t really measure the amount you’re applying, we recommend a few layers to be safe.
Benton Mineral Sun Stick SPF 50+ PA++++ retails for S$26.51. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
Round Lab 365 Derma Relief Sun Cream SPF50+ PA++++ best for sensitive skin!
Formulated sensitive and sun-damaged skin, Round Lab’s 365 Derma Relief Sun Cream helps to heal as it protects your skin from harsh UV rays. It contains a wealth of hydrating, soothing, and wound healing ingredients, such as centella asiatica, panthenol, and houttuynia cordata extract.
The watery cream is also infused with skin-strengthening ceramides to supply and lock in moisture. Users have also confirmed that it works well on oily, sensitive skin and doesn’t sting the eyes.
Round Lab 365 Derma Relief Sun Cream SPF50+ PA++++ retails for S$27. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
Nature Republic California Aloe Waterproof Sun Block SPF50+ PA++++
A waterproof sunscreen with high sun protection, Nature Republic’s California Aloe Waterproof Sun Block lets you enjoy outdoor activities without a worry.
Infused with aloe vera extract, the formula soothes the skin and replenishes moisture. Plus, it’s suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, dry, and acne-prone skin. However, this sunscreen can leave a bit of a white cast, so those with darker skin tones may want to consider other Korean sunscreens on our list.
Nature Republic California Aloe Waterproof Sun Block SPF50+ PA++++ retails for S$21.35. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
SCINIC Enjoy All Round Airy Sun Cushion EX SPF50+ PA++++
With an SPF50+ PA++++ rating, this physical sunscreen from SCINIC comes in a cushion format, which makes touch-ups incredibly easy. The lightweight, cooling formula protects the skin from UV rays without leaving a sticky residue on the skin.
It’s infused glacial water, centella asiatica, and other plant-based extracts to hydrate the skin and soothe any irritation. You can even use this cushion formula on the body. It’s one of the most convenient Korean sunscreens on the market, if you ask us.
SCINIC Enjoy All Round Airy Sun Cushion EX SPF50+ PA++++ retails for S$25.17. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
CKD Green Propolis All-Mild Sun SPF50+ PA++++
A mild sunscreen that addresses skin irritation, the CKD Green Propolis All-Mild Sun boasts its Triple Block™ technology. It protects the skin from UVA and UVB protection, keeps sweat and sebum oil, as its zinc oxide layer shields the skin.
One thing to note is that the formula contains rosemary leaf oil and lavender oil, so if you’re particularly sensitive to these essential oils, consider other Korean sunscreens on our list.
CKD Green Propolis All-Mild Sun SPF50+ PA++++ retails for S$29.90. Click on the links below for the most updated prices.
Dr.Jart+ Every Sun Day Mild Sun SPF 43 PA+++
Using zinc oxide and titanium dioxide filters, Dr.Jart+’s Every Sun Day Mild Sun is one of the most weightless Korean sunscreens around. Its nectapure complex comprises of glacial milk and organic plant extracts from Switzerland, which makes your skin more resistant to short-term temperature change.
Dr.Jart+ Every Sun Day Mild Sun SPF 43 PA+++ retails for S$52. Click on the link below for the most updated price.
Featured image credits: @naturerepublic_kr and @neogen_global on Instagram