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I’ve always been rather lazy with sunscreen, saving it only for prolonged periods under the sun. Ever since I started working at YesStyle though, it’s been repeatedly drilled into me that SPF is so important – even if you’re indoors. Since so many non-essential establishments have been closed this summer, I’ve also spent a lot more time roaming the great outdoors. I’ve been looking for a sunscreen that can offer strong protection when I’m out hiking under the intense mid-day sun, while also being lightweight and comfortable enough for everyday wear at work or home. When I saw that COSRX released two of its most popular sunscreens with revamped packaging, I thought this would be a good chance to find my go-to sunscreen for the summer – and beyond!
Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreens
Before we dive into a breakdown of the two sunscreens, it’d be useful to take a look at the differences between physical and chemical sunscreens, as Shield Fit All Green Comfort Sun is a physical sun cream while Shield Fit Snail Essence Sun is a chemical one. Familiarizing yourself with these differences will help you find the best sunscreen for your skin type and lifestyle.
Physical sunscreens contain active mineral ingredients that sit on the skin’s surface and work as a physical barrier to reflect UV rays. They protect skin from the sun as soon as applied, last longer under direct UV light, and are less likely to irritate skin and clog pores, making them ideal for sensitive and acne-prone skin. However, they can easily be rubbed off, meaning more frequent reapplication is necessary for outdoor use. In contrast, chemical sunscreens, which contain organic compounds, absorb UV rays as they attempt to enter the skin, convert the rays into heat, and release them from the body. Their formulas tend to be thinner, easily spreadable, and water- and sweat-resistant, but require 15-30 minutes to absorb before they start to work.
The All Green Comfort Sun is marketed as a 100% physical sun cream that offers UV protection of SPF50+ PA++++ without leaving a white cast. It’s formulated with chamomile flower extract to strengthen and protect skin against external aggressors, artemisia capillaris extract to care for troubled skin, and centella asiatica extract and nymphaea alba flower extract to soothe, relieve and cool down skin that’s been exposed to strong sunlight. Tested by the Korea Dermatology Research Institute, it’s non-irritating and safe for sensitive skin.
First things first, this sunscreen comes in a gradient turquoise tube that’s smaller and flatter than most family-sized sun care products. It’s cute, chic and fits perfectly into the palm of your hand or even in a tiny purse, so you have no excuse to not bring it everywhere you go! I was intrigued by its herbal scent, which differs from the typical Banana Boat sunscreen fragrance. It reminds me of a cross between a relaxing essential oil and delicious Earl Grey tea, which is probably due to all its natural flower extracts. In terms of texture, I loved that it was thin, lightweight and easily spreadable, and that it left a matte finish – a godsend for my oily skin. It also had a subtle concealing effect, reducing the redness of my acne and scars even before I applied concealer.
On one of my outings with this sunscreen, I was on a highly exposed hike with no shade and the sun was particularly harsh. Reapplying the sunscreen helped soothe and cool down my skin quickly. Because my face doesn’t sweat too much, the fact that physical sunscreens tend to be less resistant to water and sweat wasn’t too much of an issue.
This hypoallergenic chemical sun cream is described as having a smooth, refreshing watery cream texture that absorbs into skin with no white cast and leaves a light moisturizing finish, prepping skin before makeup. It protects against UVA and UVB rays and is suitable for outdoor activities. Enriched with 60% snail mucin, it hydrates, strengthens and soothes skin while restoring elasticity and delivering rich nutrients.
The Snail Essence Sun comes in the same compact, sleek tube as the All Green Comfort Sun but in gradient yellow. Unlike the All Green Comfort Sun, the Snail Essence Sun does have that typical Banana Boat scent – not that I’m complaining, as it’s a comforting classic! Interestingly, although chemical sunscreens are supposed to be thinner and more easily spreadable, I found the formula to be thicker and harder to spread compared to the All Green Comfort Sun, leaving a somewhat sticky feeling and shiny finish on skin. Luckily, the finish dries down after five to ten minutes, and then you can go ahead and apply your makeup without any issues. It definitely lived up to its promise of being moisturizing, as my skin felt plump and supple after application.
Although not typically sweaty on my face, I’m prone to perspiration on other parts of my body like my arms and neck. This is where the Snail Essence Sun worked its magic, staying on and soothing skin for a long time no matter what physical activity I was partaking in. Pools are still closed at the moment, but I predict that this will be an absolute lifesaver when I can finally get back to outdoor swims.
Both sunscreens are incredibly versatile and lived up to their descriptions as being mild and non-irritating. I didn’t experience any reactions on my skin, feelings of clogged pores or new breakouts. They’re both suitable for outdoor activities, as they offer long-lasting wear and strong UV protection without the need for constant touch-ups. The formulas are also great for applying under makeup, as they absorb fully into skin without leaving a white cast and help my foundation go on more smoothly. Even with an extra layer underneath, my base makeup never looked cakey or flakey at the end of a long day!
I prefer the All Green Comfort Sun for my face because of its mattifying finish, and the thicker, more moisturizing Snail Essence Sun for slathering on the rest of my body. If I have to choose just one, I’d probably go for the All Green Comfort Sun for its relaxing, unique scent, as well as its comfortable texture that feels less heavy and creamy than other sunscreens I’ve used in the past. It just suits my oily, acne-prone skin better, but those with dry or sagging skin will appreciate the moisturizing, firming effects of the Snail Essence Sun. As they both boast skin-loving benefits, you really can’t go wrong with either!