It’s no big secret that the environment can be a girl’s worst enemy when it comes to skin care. Pollution, sunlight, heat or cold or dryness, you name it – we all have a gripe or two about nature’s ways of wreaking havoc upon our skin every so often; hence the need to take precautionary steps.
One of our skin’s biggest enemies? Undoubtedly the UVA and UVB rays that come free of charge with every dose of sunshiney Vitamin D. Having lived in Australia, the Land Down Under (with the large hole in the ozone layer hanging overhead) and seen the effects of excessive sun on my skin – mild spotting and tanning on a good day and painful, bright-red, reptilian-like peeling sunburn on a bad one, I decided it was high time to invest in a top-quality, high SPF sunblock to protect my face.
After much perusing and pondering, this product is what I selected:
I bought a 40ml tube of Clinique’s Super City Block Oil-Free Daily Face Protector with SPF40 to see how it would work. My favourite feature of this product is its very high SPF, or sun protection factor (for more information about SPF, click here) and its broad-spectrum formula that blocks out both UVA and UVB rays, both of which are harmful to the skin and speed up the skin’s ageing process. According to recent studies, UVA rays contribute significantly to the development of malignant melanomas (yes, that’s right – skin cancer), so keeping them at bay is a definite positive. It’s important to note that only broad-spectrum sunblocks or sunscreens keep both UVA and UVB rays out – regular varieties only keep UVB rays out – so if you’re thinking of buying sunblock, get a broad-spectrum type!
Clinique does not make tinted moisturisers, but Super City Block is very lightly tinted so it goes on a little bit fair, but ends up blending quite well with the skin and helps even out skin tone. Clinique also suggests that this product be used as a primer before makeup application, and it works fairly well for that purpose too.
This sunblock boasts a nice, light texture. When applied to the skin after the cleanse-tone-moisturise routine, it absorbs quickly. But be warned – if you live in a hot and humid climate, absorption takes a fair bit longer and I’d suggest application in an air-conditioned environment so your face doesn’t feel sticky afterward. When I used it in Australia, however, it went on like a dream and felt smooth, not at all sticky – so dry air helps this product perform at its peak.
Also, I have rather sensitive skin that has reacted badly to sunscreens before. I’ve used heavy, creamy sunscreens that left my skin gasping for air, fragranced sunscreens that left pink blotches all over my face (never again!), so-called lightweight sunscreens that caused minor flaking – but this product has spared me all those unfortunate consequences and left my skin content and protected.
Pour conclure, I am pretty happy with this product. It blocks out both types of harmful rays, absorbs well, and has a nice consistent colour that blends nicely. It’s something I will always go back to for good, solid sun protection – never mind that it’s a little sticky in tropical weather (nothing a little mineral powder foundation and a facial blotter can’t fix! And for those of you who really find it a bother, Clinique has a lighter SPF25 version called City Block). I bought this tube in Australia for AUD36, which is very reasonable for a good quality sunblock. It retails for about RM90 in Malaysia, but only sells for USD17.50 in the United States – to my great chagrin. I suppose I will have to load up on a few tubes on my next trip there!
PS: To all you ladies who have ever used facial products with sun protection and then taken a photo with flash and was left mortified at your face being several shades fairer than your neck/rest of body, it’s because the SPF in your facial products deflects the bright light of the flash, thereby protecting your skin from light exposure and creating a bright whiteness that shows up in photos. Mystery solved – so next time around, if you’re going to attend a photo-heavy function or party, go easy on the SPF or don’t use your flash function when happy snapping!