Safely Sun-Kissed : A Review of Emina Sun Protection SPF 30 PA+++

My obsession with sunscreen is no secret. I wear sunscreen outdoor and indoor. I am that person who would rather be late than leave home with not-quite-dry layers of sunscreen. I am that one friend who would creep behind your back and whisper,”More sunscreen. Mooooaaar!” if you are not applying enough.

I always strive to use the recommended amount of sunscreen (2mg/cm2, which more or less equates to half a teaspoon) every morning, let it dry, and then apply a second layer. I also reapply more or less 2 hours after that. On the day when I am being extra-paranoid, I would reapply another 2-3 times. Thank God I wear hijab, otherwise I would probably be broke due to my sunscreen expenses, LOL.

Still, I am not rich (yet), so naturally I gravitate towards cheaper alternatives of everything. Including sunscreen. Particularly sunscreen. Yet, I do not want to compromise the quality of sun protection.

What better place to look for, other than the hip-and-chic Indonesian brand, Emina?

Why I choose Emina

Emina Sun Protection SPF 30 PA+++
Pardon my cellphone camera…

I am a big fan of Emina make up; they are so youthful-looking and not intimidating for make up noobs like yours truly. Their skin care line, however, is a bit lacklustre for my needs (case in point : Emina The Bright Stuff Face Toner, which I have reviewed here). Still, I give Emina Sun Protection a chance, because :

  1. It is an Indonesian brand. Local pride, yo!
  2. I only have limited choice of dedicated local sunscreen products. Seems like a lot of moisturizer and base make up products has SPF in it, but I prefer my SPF to stand on its own. It is easier to ensure that I really apply the recommended amount and get the promised level of protection
  3. It provides SPF 30 for protection against UVB, and PA+++ against UVA, which I think is minimum for predominantly outdoor activities, but decent for indoor and short-period outdoor use.
  4. SPF testing is no joke. It is a complicated and meticulous process, to ensure that the stated level of protection is correct and consistent, provided that it is applied correctly. Since it is an expensive process as well, I trust bigger brands more for this (Sorry, smaller brands, I still trust you for a lot of other things though)
  5. Have you seen the price? You should see the price. My wallet very much agrees with the price.

INGREDIENTS

(Click here for list of CosDNA analysis)

This sunscreen is categorized as “chemical” or “organic” sunscreen. The sunscreen filters used are Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate and Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate.

According to Cosdna, Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate provides some UVA protection, but the Skin Cancer Foundation only list this ingredient as protector against UVB (also Paula Begoun’s Ingredient Dictionary). There are some safety concerns since ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate is absorbed by skin, but the studies has not been conclusive so far.

The UVA protection is mainly provided from Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate. According to Skinacea it is compatible with a lot of other sunscreen filters, and might fight free radicals as well.

Other than the sunscreen filters, the main ingredients are not really exciting -which is fine, this baby just needs to protect my skin from the sun well, and I am a happy customer. You got water, ethanol (probably to make it dries quicker and leave slight cool/fresh sensation), moisturizer such as butylene glycol, and emollients such as glyceryl stearate and dimethicone, for spreadability and even-layering purposes. Everything after phenoxyethanol (which is a preservative) is probably there for just a drop so I would not worry nor hope too much about their effect. That includes the “star” ingredient Aloe barbadensis leaf extract.

Performance

Emina Sun Protection SPF 30 PA+++ before after
(LEFT) Texture before spread, (RIGHT) Spread evenly. Very invisible

The texture is a light cream, which is easy to spread and dries in record time (probably due to ethanol). No white cast at all, as the sunscreen filters are organic. No stickiness even on my oily skin. Appearance-wise, I cannot say anything bad about it. Fragrance-wise, though, it assault my nose with some kind of plastic-floral smell, which I got used to after a while. This is really YMMV, because I have some friends at work who actually loves the scent.

Assessing the performance of sunscreen is a bit tricky for me. This is because under intense, unprotected sun exposure, I don’t burn; I tan. I tan subtly and gradually, until it reaches the point of no turning back. So I can’t really test the protection by comparing skin protected by sunscreen vs skin unprotected.

All I can say is, during my daily (and quite obsessive) usage of this sunscreen, neither I nor people around me notice any darkening on my skin/occurrence of any new sunspots. Soooo probably it is sufficient for my daily activities, which mainly consists of sitting near a wide-glassed windows and typing my life away at the office. I would be wary of relying on this sunscreen if I am doing an outdoor activity, though.

If you prefer your sunscreen to be really elegant and invisible, and you are not intensely exposed to sunshine, I would recommend this sunscreen. For me, though, the finish of this sunscreen is not really my favorite. Because it is so clear, I tend to use more, which is probably a good thing. However, I also feel…less protected? I just prefer stronger sunscreen, perhaps with “physical” filters such as zinc dioxide, which provides more comprehensive protection against UVA and UVB.

The conclusion : would I repurchase? Yes, because of its price point, but I would not say that this is my favorite sunscreen. I can see why this is an attractive choice for a lot of people, though.

Price and Availability

In my Morning Routine Post I said,

“Emina Sun Protection SPF30 PA+++ is a cheaper alternative and easier to get compared to Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50. This was the main reason I used it as my day-to-day sunscreen staple, particularly when I used up my Biore Watery Essence and do not have enough patience for online orders.”

WRONG. SO SO WRONG.

It is frequently sold out in its brick and mortar outlets (at least in Bandung) and online stores. It has been…how many months since the last time I saw it available on Sociolla? I don’t know anymore (BTW I assume Sociolla is Emina’s authorized seller, since if you click “BUY NOW” in Emina official site, it is linked to Sociolla)

I don’t know if it is because people really buy this sunscreen right at the second a new batch is produced, or just to create an impression of exclusivity, or it is just my darned bad luck playing tricks on me. All I know is, looking for this sunscreen is a total pain in the ass.

But hey, perhaps you are luckier than me, so if this Emina sunscreen seems appealing to you, go and try to find it! This sunscreen is available(-ish) online on Sociolla, or offline in any Emina outlets nearest you. In additon to dedicated Emina outlets, I have seen Emina stands in personal care shops such as Watsons, and cosmetic aisle in supermarkets/hypermarkets such as Borma and Lottemart.

At the time of this review publication (August 2017), the retail price is Rp 27.500


Have you ever tried Emina Sun Protection SPF 30 PA+++? Also, if you have any suggestion on affordable sunscreen with “physical”/mixed filter, please do share below~

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