Usually when evaluating sunscreens, we want to look at the combination of sunscreen filters, as well as how photostable this mix of filters looks to be (if your read my sunscreen tips blogpost, you'll know that sunscreen filters can interact with and degrade each other, and if that happens, then your sun protection will fade over time). So let's take a look at what the Kiel's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense has to offer, and see how it stacks up!
Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50 PA+++ Ingredients: Broad spectrum protection
As you can see, the main sunscreen filters are Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (UVB protection), Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid (aka Mexoryl SX, a L'Oreal patented ingredient, and has UVA1 and UVA2 protection), Titanium Dioxide (UVA2 and UVB protection), Drometrizole Trisiloxane (aka Meroxyl XL, another L'Oreal patented ingredient, with UVA2 protection). I don't know the exact percentages of each of the filters, but suffice to say that this allows you broad-spectrum protection across all the necessary spectrums - UVA1, UVA2 (yes, there are two types of UVA rays, defined by wavelengths), and UVB. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate degrades overtime with UV exposure, but Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid, Titanium Dioxide and are all photostable, so I'd also say that you can expect the sunscreen to be pretty photostable. You can also expect any white cast to be at a minimum, seeing that the filters are mostly chemical filters and not physical filters (only Titanium Dioxide is the physical filter here). Lastly, you're also paying for L'Oreal's exclusive innovations, Meroxyl SX and Meroxyl XL, which are sunscreen filters exclusive to the brands under L'Oreal group (you'll also find it in brands like La Roche Posay). Both Meroxyl SX and Meroxyl XL have synergistic effect when used together in terms of sun protection, so that's a plus too.
Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50 PA+++ also has 2 exclusive L'Oreal group filters.
Other than the sunscreen filters, this contains pretty much the usual ingredients in skincare: Water, humectants (Glycerin), Propylene Glycol, which can also function as a slip agent and solvent), silicones (Cyclopentasiloxane), emulsifiers (PEG-100 Stearate) as well as other stuff like absorbents (Nylon-12), stabilizers and pH balancers (Triethanolamine, Aluminium Hydroxide). Alcohol Denat is also in there to thin out the mixture, and make it nice and not too thick to apply on the skin. So essentially you get a sunscreen in a nice base that doesn't feel too oily, dry, or heavy.
This was also borne out by my experience with the product. Having been familiar with their face creams, which can be on the thicker side (like their Powerful Wrinkle and Pore Reducing Cream or their less-thick but not-that-light Ultra Facial Cream)I was expecting the texture of the Ultra Light Daily UV Defense to be thicker than it was. I was expecting it to be similar to their facial creams, but it turned out to be fairly liquid in texture. It's not as watery as some of the Japanese-brand sunscreens (like the Sunplay or Biore ones), but as far as Western-brand sunscreens go, it's actually quite light, despite being a creamy textured liquid. You can see how liquid it is for yourself below.
Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50 PA+++: A light, cosmetically-elegant liquid.
Kiehl's recommends that if you want, you can use this with their own Actively Correcting and Beautifying BB Cream (which could work - the UV filters in the BB cream are Homosalate, Octocrylene, and Ethylhexyl Salicylate aka Octisalate, so I don't see any potential for degradation if you layer one on top of the other), but for my review, I was using it with my daily moisturizer, the Ultra Facial Cream. I found that even with somewhat thicker texture of the Ultra Facial Cream, layering the sunscreen on top wasn't a problem, and compared to my usual European-brand sunscreens, this blended fairly easily. It also didn't sting my skin or cause any skin reaction. I have skin. I do powder over my sunscreen to make it less shiny, though, so that my face doesn't look too oily. I found this combination to work for me. You can see below how it blends into the skin, without leaving a white cast.
Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF50 PA+++ blended in. It blends in to an invisible finish.
So, with all that said and done, would I recommend this product? I think why not? You get a cosmetically elegant sunscreen that has good broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays, includes some exclusive patented ingredients, and is photostable. It also blends into skin without leaving a dreaded white or grey cast. What's not to like? The only gripe I have is that at just 30ml a tube, if I were to use this everyday, I'd go through a tube in no time - I'd probably use it up at the rate of a tube a month or something, with my liberal application. For those wondering about why I bother applying so darn much sunscreen on my face, let me remind you of the 2mg/cm3 rule of thumb for application amount. Now I know most people by far don't apply anywhere near that much sunscreen on their face, so for the average person, one tube can probably last them a year or something (just think of how long a 30ml jar of face cream lasts you). So, for myself and my sunscreen-guzzling habits, much as I like this sunscreen, at 30ml for $52 it isn't a particularly budget-friendly option. There's a jumbo-sized version that's 60ml for $78, that will be available for a limited time only, so that appeals a lot more to me. But for everyone else (including both people who don't use sunscreen all the time, or people who don't apply much, or people for whom budget isn't an issue) this is well worth checking out.
|Recommended?||Formulation||Packaging||Ease of Use||Effectiveness|
|The Bottom Line: This broad spectrum, cosmetically elegant sunscreen is a great all-around sunscreen.|