Empies: Sunscreen aka the Super Important Skincare Step!

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Happy 2020 everyone, and hope you are keeping well in this time of pandemic! It's been awhile since I've posted, and everything's fine on my end, other than that I'm doing my best to adhere to the COVID-19 measures in place, such as wearing a mask when in public places, observing social distancing, working from home, etc. - we all need to do our part!. Life has just been busy and that's why I haven't been posting. I'm still active on Instagram as @musicalhouses however!

Anyway, since the last time I blogged about my empties (in 2018 too, can you believe that!), I've been accumulating a fresh new batch of empties, so here's a rundown of what I've been using since then! And as you can tell from the below photo, I'm starting with the sunscreens first, because sunscreen is one of the most important parts of a skincare routine, and everyone should be using a good sunscreen that works for them!

Sunscreen empties - from the past couple of years so they've been piling up!

So without further ado, let's start going through these empties, as well as my thoughts of each individual product! (And yes, I do plan to move on to the other categories of skincare and makeup empties when I do have time, haha!)

Sunscreen empties, all Bioderma: Bioderma Photoderm Spot SPF 50+, Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF 30, and Bioderma Photoderm Max Aquafluide SPF 50+

First up, my three Bioderma sunscreens that I've recently used up, the Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF 30, the Bioderma Photoderm Spot SPF 50+, and the Bioderma Photoderm Max Aquafluide SPF 50+. While Bioderma, being an European drugstore brand, doesn't have all the aesthetics of Asian (particularly Japanese and Korean) brand sunscreens, their sunscreens are still nevertheless pretty good all-arounders for me - while the textures might not be as lightweight or as watery as the Japanese / Korean style of sunscreen, the sunscreens are generally pretty good in terms of actual performance, by which I mean that they last for quite awhile (even when I don't reapply), they don't trigger any of my skin sensitivities, and the formulas are usually pretty good as well.

In terms of wear, the textures of all these sunscreens were basically white creams that weren't overly-heavy on the skin, and they all worked well under makeup for me - they may not dry down as quickly as the Japanese/Korean-style sunscreens do, but they also did not irritate my skina t all (which sometimes the Japanese/Korean-style sunscreens due, which I in turn guess is due to the alcohol content in the sunscreens). As far as I can recall, all 3 of these are alcohol-free, which makes their texture pretty nice for an alcohol-free formula. The Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF 30, in particular, actually does indeed dry down to a nice matte finish that wears well under makeup and would be good for oily skin. Lasting power was pretty good as well.

Finally, they're not particularly expensive, so I can slaaaaather my skin in these and not feel guilty that a few dollars is going down the drain each time. (Remember, the recommended amount of sunscreen to apply is 2mg of sunscreen per cm2 of exposed skin area, or, for a more convenient shorthand, a quarter of a teaspoon for your face and neck.) I would definitely consider rebuying these sunscreens.

Sunscreen empties: Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++ and La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Sunscreen SPF50+

Next up, the L'Oreal group brand sunscreens, which in this case are the Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++ as well as the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Sunscreen SPF50+. I've probably mentioned this before on my blog, but L'Oreal group does tend to have pretty nice sunscreens, thanks to the R&D that the group does, so I'm not surprised at how much I liked these two sunscreens. The Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++ was a very nice sunscreen - it is a white fluid, with a very thin, spreadable texture, and dries down nicely, and wears well under makeup. The formula is nice, too - I've previously done a review on the Kiehl's Ultra Light Daily UV Defense SPF 50 PA++++ back in 2015, but my best guess is that the formula has since been updated. I think the only drawback to this is that the product is a bit pricey, as Kiehl's is a fairly upmarket brand.

For the La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL Ultra-Light Sunscreen SPF50+, this is pretty much a cult product. It's one of the more popular products from the brand, and for good reason - for what you can get in a drugstore, this is a pretty nice formula. Like the Kiehl's sunscreen, the product dispenses as a white cream, with a watery texture, and doesn't leave a white cast. It does last the whole day and wears well under makeup too. The formula also boasts the L'Oreal group exclusive Mexoryl XL and Mexoryl SX ingredients, so if you're into sunscreen innovation this is pretty up there. I would probably rebuy this as well!

Sunscreen empties: A'Pieu Pure Block Aqua Sun Gel, Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV SPF 50+ PA++++ and Astalift Lunamer UV Protector SPF40 PA++

Next, some Asian brand sunscreens! We have the A'Pieu Pure Block Aqua Sun Gel, the Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV SPF 50+ PA++++, and the Astalift Lunamer UV Protector SPF40 PA++. As you can imagine, these are pretty different from the Western brand sunscreens.

First, the A'Pieu Pure Block Aqua Sun Gel. A'Pieu is a kbeauty brand, and if you've been around the kbeauty space, you'll know that people like this sunscreen. And on the aesthetics side, it's a win - it's clear, very lightweight, basically has the texture of water, absorbs fast, dries matte, all that jazz. But it does have alcohol in the formula, and as the second ingredient, too, right after water and before all the UV filters. I know there's a trade-off to be made when you're formulating for a sunscreen to be as light as possible texture-wise, but I tend to not like products with high amounts of alcohol. Other than that, this is perfectly reasonable as a sunscreen. I suppose if you don't mind alcohol in your skincare, this wouldn't be a problem for you.

Ahhh, another Asian beauty favourite, the Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV SPF 50+ PA++++. This has such pretty packaging for a sunscreen (as do Canmake products in general). Like you might expect from a Japanese sunscreen, this is a watery, light, gel that absorbs fast. The only thing is, I also suspect this has alcohol in the formula. But, again, if the alcohol doesn't bother you, and if you have oily skin / no skin sensitivities that would be aggravated by the alcohol, why not?

Lastly, the Astalift Lunamer UV Protector SPF40 PA++. Honestly I don't think I used this too much - my fam stole my tube and ended up using most of it - but, I do vaguely recall that this was much less alcohol-laden than the other two products. That could probably be because Astalift is geared towards a slightly older audience, and you might not want products to be too drying if that's your target audience. It was a good sunscreen otherwise though, based on my memory.

Sunscreen empties: Fancl SunGuard 50+ Protect UV, The Face Shop Natural Sun Eco Sunscreens Long-Lasting and Dr Benjamin Yim Sunscreen SPF50

Last few sunscreens - more Asian brand sunscreens! Let's start with the Fancl SunGuard 50+ Protect UV. This is a little pricey, but it's pretty good in terms of staying power - the formula really STAYS ON ALLDAY ERRDAY for me, and it starts off as a white cream that dries down kind of matte-ish. It did leave a bit of a white cast upon application, but that didn't bother me too much (I was layering tinted face powder over it anyways), but I imagine that for those with deeper skintones, it could be an issue. Also, I did like the formula - it's alcohol free, and generally formulated to be usable by sensitive skins (as is generally the case with Fancl's skincare products). So despite this being a little pricey, and despite the white cast, I would use this again, if I was feeling spendy.

I have mixed feelings over the The Face Shop Natural Sun Eco Sunscreens Long-Lasting, which I reviewed back in 2015 (yes I am a skincare hoarder who hoards skincare products and then has trouble using them up, why do you ask?). I liked the formula (no alcohol, woo!) and the tinted formula was not too bad for me - it didn't give a match with my skintone, but after applying the rest of my makeup it wasn't an issue for me (again I imagine this might be an issue for deeper skintones). But, despite the "long lasting" tag, it didn't quite live up to the name - I did find that this wears off throughout the day, and you do need to reapply. Still, other than that, I liked the product.

Lastly, the Dr Benjamin Yim Sunscreen SPF50. Dr Benjamin Yim is a local aesthetics doctor, and when I visited him a few years back for a retinol prescription as well as a chemical peel (which was also when I got the sunscreen), he was very helpful, and super skilled at applying the chemical peel. I mention this because chemical peels really require a qualified doctor to do it, because that stuff can seriously burn your skin if you're not careful, and is not something I would ever DIY, so it's a testament to his skill that it was done well indeed. The sunscreen is one product in his line of products that you can buy from his clinic. The products are a bit pricey, but the sunscreen wasn't bad - it is a more European-style formulation than a Japanese-style formulation, and I recall it having a slight tint, but not anything that bothered me. I believe his clinic has since merged with IDS (another aesthetics clinic in Singapore), so I'm not sure if this line of products is still available.

So that's it for the sunscreen empties - whew! I still have a bunch of other categories to go - serums, lotions, moisturizers, etc., and my next posts will be focused on going through each category's empties!


  1. Glad to see I'm not the only one who cuts tubes open to get every last drop out. My Dear Husband thinks I'm a bit obsessive when I do that. He brought the Canmake sunscreen back from his last business trip to Japan for me. Took me a few wears to get used to the application texture, but I like it once it dries down. Since we're not allowed into any Asian countries right now (thanks to the poor response to Covid in this country) I worry that my sunscreen stash is getting low.

  2. Wonderful blog post. I love those cosmetics. Thanks for sharing 😊

  3. Glad to see that you posted again. It's been a while. :)

  4. I guess it's irresponsible, but I don't use any sunscreen. However, my skin tans nice and evenly. I know it's for protection, but somehow I always forget. Besides, sunbathing on the beach is not my favorite activity.

  5. hello, thanks for your great reviews, im currently trying to improve my routine but because i live in the middle of nowhere i want to do my research on products first before getting them to my country. I saw your post about the face shop sunscreens, i think they got new packaging, they say natural sun ECO and one even says something along the line of "eye safe". have you looked into their new ones yet to compare formulas or the new versions?

    also have you ever tried the ISDIN sunscreens? i think they're from spain, i used them while i lived in mexico and i loved it but it's so hard to get to my current country so im looking for similar suggestions. I'd appreciate any input!

  6. If there is one bit of advice I give to my 'non-skincare- friends who ask about their skin, it is always to apply sunscreen! Prevention of skin damage is so much easier (and cheaper!) that trying to repair damage once it is done. Sunscreen rules! :-)

  7. I liked the formula and the tinted formula was not too bad for me and i didn't give a match with my skintone, but after applying the rest of my makeup it wasn't an issue for me


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