Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Don't Leave Home Without It: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++

Without a doubt, my holy grail find of 2008 was Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++. It is my sunscreen, primer, and everything in between. And, I WILL NOT leave the house without it.

Here's why it is my holy grail product:
  • High SPF 55: These days lower SPF sunscreens will not cut it for me. I'm fair, live in Southern California, and both of my parents have had multiple instances of skin cancer. I'm not taking any chances here.

  • No irritating Avobenzone/Oxybenzone active ingredients: Most everyone one with sensitive skin knows that all sunscreen ingredients are not created equal. Since broad spectrum sunscreens often contain multiple active ingredients (usually a combination of chemical and physical) , it can be a nightmare to pinpoint which ingredients work, or don't work, for you. From my own process of elimination, I've found that I cannot tolerate avobenzone or oxybenzone. Instead, I seek out products containing zinc oxide and octinoxate. (On a side note, titanium dioxide also works well for me, but it is not part of the Shiseido formula.)

  • No visible white residue or shine: I need my suncreen to provide a smooth matte finish so that I don't look as white as Casper the Ghost or turn into an oil slick several hours later. And it must play nice with my makeup and moisturizer. Nothing is worse than using a sunscreen that balls up after application. I find that the Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion offers a similar consistency to most primers. When used under my foundation, it provides a great shine-free base for my makeup!

  • Extremely water and perspiration resistant: While I don't think there is a true "water proof" sunscreen on the market, this is about as close as you'll get. I find that I can wear the Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion even in the most humid environments without any problems. Although it is recommend to reapply throughout the day, especially if you are at the beach, lake, etc. That is just common sun sense!

  • Readily available at most department stores: I want a sunscreen that I easily find in my local mall.
Note: For drier complexions and those who prefer a creamier formula, Shiseido offers Ultimate Sun Protection Cream SPF 55 PA+++.

Purchase info: Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 55 PA+++ is available at local Shiseido counters and Sephora. It retails for $38 (3.3 oz bottle).

Editor's note: The SPF 55 product was discontinued in early 2010. The new version is SPF 60. Read my review of the latest product.

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