Hello, my lovely beauties! Today I’m coming to you with a review of my first ever sun stick! When I started my journey with k-beauty not only were k-beauty products largely unavailable in the part of the world where I live, that is, Europe, but there was no sight of face sunscreen in any other form than a cream. I’ve been keeping an eye on sunscreen in a stick for quite a while but I decided to purchase one only fairly recently. Why? The sun sticks have been relatively expensive in comparison to many sun creams and they have largely been made with chemical sun filters which don’t work very well with my skin- that’s why I always opt for sunscreens with physical filters (I ordered a few new physical sunscreens this week so keep an eye on this space as I’ll post reviews of them this month). But! I finally found a sunscreen stick that contains only physical filters (The Face Shop Natural Sun Eco Inorganic Sunscreen Stick SPF 50+ PA +++) and I’m just about to share my thoughts on it with you. ❤
About the product
The simplest way to describe this product is to say that it’s a sunscreen that comes in a stick (wow). And I could actually stop here. But, according to the packaging in which my sunscreen came, this The Face Shop Natural Sun Eco Inorganic Sunscreen Stick not only ”features inorganic [that is, physical] UV filters but also Calamine powder which helps to calm the skin” and ECOCERT certified Sunflower Seed Oil (for moisturization, I suppose). It doesn’t contain animal-derived ingredients, parabens and was dermatologically tested. But that’s pretty all about the product.
Ingredients and Texture
Ingredients: Butylene Glycol, Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Ceresin, Synthetic Wax, Triethylhexanoin, Phytosteryl/Isostearyl/Cetyl/Stearyl/Behenyl Dimer Dilinoleate, Polyhydroxystearic Acid, Aluminum Stearate, Ethylene/Propylene Copolymer, Diisostearyl Malate, Alumina, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Calamine, Dimethicone, 1,2-Hexanediol, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Quaternium-18 Bentonite, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Parfum/Fragrance
In terms of the ingredients, the matter is more complicated. To this post, I usually approached the ingredients lists of the products I bought in the way that I would approach any other European food/beauty product where the ingredients are placed in the order of their predominance in a product. So when I saw something as a fourth/fifth/sixth ingredient, I would think that there’s quite a bit of it in the product. However, recently I came across a few posts, fanserviced-b.com and theklog.co among them, that talk about the differences between the US and Korean ingredients lists. I’m not going to go deeper into that topic now, because that’s not what the post is about, but the key takeaway is that anything in 1% or below in a Korean skincare/beauty product can be listed on the ingredients list in ANY order. Which means that, although the first three or four ingredients (probably) may predominate in the product, anything from half down to the bottom of the list may come in various amounts and if something is higher up on it doesn’t mean there’s more of it in the cosmetic. This is something I learnt only quite recently and it makes me feel like a fool, to be honest with you. There were so many times when I bought a Korean skincare product only because the ingredients list looked really well. I suppose, those products’ formulations weren’t something I thought they were. But, there we go- we can only learn from our mistakes (PS. European skincare/beauty products have to list all the ingredients in a descending order of their concentration in a product- so what’s the last is the least (source here)).
But getting back to the ingredients of The Face Shop Natural Sun Eco Inorganic Sunscreen Stick- I can only be partially certain that the first few ingredients at the beginning are in the highest concentration in the sun stick and those are: Butylene Glycol, Dicaprylate/Dicaprate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide. The last two are physical UV filters that effectively deal with both types of UV rays- UVA and UVB. The rest of the ingredients may be placed in any order and God only knows how much of each ingredient in the stick- including the ECOCERT certified Sunflower Seed Oil and Calamine powder. So even though the product’s description stresses the product contains those two ingredients, it’s certainly possible that there’s less than 1% of each of them in the sunscreen, making me think that whether or not the sun stick contains them, doesn’t really matter- their ”positive” effect on my skin would be so minuscule that I would see no difference. (◔_◔)
According to CosDna and Skincarisma, the ingredients list as the whole is relatively clean and safe. There’s one silicone (Dimethicone) and Butylene Glycol that have a comedogenic rating of 1 (quite low) and there’s also Fragrance in it. Skincarisma also adds that the Sunflower Seed Oil can trigger fungal acne so I’m really not convinced that this ingredient should be so praised in the product’s description. (〜￣ △￣)〜
The sunscreen’s texture is interesting, though. It’s white and very solid with a kind of floral scent. The sun stick is quite small (20g half of which is probably the weight of the packaging itself) but very convenient to hold. To get it out there’s a thingy at the bottom (for the lack of a better word for it) to turn. The stick’s surface is rectangular with rounded corners, relatively wide. The surface’s shape, however, makes it quite difficult to apply the sunscreen in places where precision is needed such as around the eyes. And the texture of the sun stick makes it really difficult to glide at the beginning- once there’s one layer of it the stick rolls easily but to get there, you have to be careful not to stretch the skin too much (again, especially around the eyes). Upon application, the sunscreen leaves only a slight white cast but it does have a shiny finish which drove me crazy- my face shined as if it’d produced tons of sebum. But, but, all of the ranting in the section below.
And now, finally, here comes the time for my ranting. Let’s start off with the positives, though, because I feel like this The Face Shop Sunscreen Stick deserves that. What I liked about it is the hands-off experience you get with it. No need to make your hands dirty with the sunscreen (or a beauty sponge if you’re like me and apply a sun cream with it most of the time) and no need to make your hands clean before you can make them dirty. Which saves time, water (you have to wash your hands before and after the application) and doesn’t put you off when it comes to the sunscreen re-application. I loved that aspect of this product. I could just grab the stick, roll it out and put it on my face. What I also liked about it was that it contained ONLY physical/inorganic UV filters. Which meant broad and solid UV protection and my eyes didn’t sting which often happens when the chemical filters start to come off my face when I use chemical sunscreens. However! That’s where the good ends.
The bad. Oh, the bad. First, let me say that the ingredients list wasn’t anything impressive. Although it doesn’t reflect the ingredient concentration, it does reflect what’s in the product. And apart from the two UV filters and the Calamine powder, there’s really nothing skin-enhancing in it (I don’t think the Sunflower Seed Oil is good, especially not for my sensitive skin). I’ve tried much better sunscreens in that respect.
Another thing, the application process, although partly extremely convenient, was at the same time nightmarish. The stick didn’t want to glide easily at the beginning so I had to put multiple layers of it to be sure I spread it properly- I didn’t want to stretch my skin too much so every time I started the application process very gently and always thought I didn’t cover my face with it evenly. After the first application in the morning, there’s wasn’t much of a white cast left and no white streaks either. Just the shiny effect (which, by the way, made my skin imperfections more prominent). But upon first, second, third re-application my face looked worse and worse. Whiter, with more shine and more and more streaks with every re-application, so that at the end of the day I look as if I saw a ghost and sweat like a pig. Sorry for such a comparison, but that’s the only one that came to my mind. To add to all of that, I love the idea of a having a sunscreen in a stick, but I don’t think it’s very hygienic unless you wash your face before every application- I noticed a variety of pollutants stuck on my stick (nothing major but visible nonetheless) which I think, in the long run, would break me out. But that long run probably won’t happen since after 1.5 I used quite a lot of it. I stopped using it for a while but as I return to it, in the next one or two weeks I should be run out of it.
Those would all my thoughts (at the moment) on this innovative The Face Shop Natural Sun Eco Inorganic Sunscreen Stick. I liked some aspects of it but I disliked the rest which, to be honest, were in the majority. I certainly won’t repurchase this particular sunscreen stick but I’m in love with the idea of using a sun stick in general, so I’ll keep looking for a better sunscreen in this form. Till next time!
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