Canmake Mermaid Skin Gel UV SPF 50+ PA++++

After trying an unsuccessful string of physical and chemical American sunscreens, I decided to start looking for sunscreens featured on the AsianBeauty subreddit, particularly those that did not contain benzoyl or isopropyl alcohol. It turns out, a ton of chemical sunscreens have those ingredients… but Canmake Mermaid’s Skin Gel did not, so I went ahead and made the $10 purchase to try it.

To start, 10/10 on the packaging, with the silvery blue beach decals scattered throughout and the pink label. So cute! The sunscreen itself is quite thin, and comes out of the bottle easily. So, despite the bottle’s small size, a little of this product goes a long way. The white coloration of the sunscreen will sink in pretty quickly. Despite the easy absorption, it does leave a little white cast, and might lighten your foundation shade half a step. This occurs even with the “clear” version, and the effect of this is intensified in the white version of Mermaid Gel. Fortunately, the product spreads consistently over the skin, so it’s easy to blend in with makeup.

Speaking of makeup, this plays very well with other products. For me, personally, this is imperative. The drawback to this product is that it does cause a little bit of skin irritation. It doesn’t make me itchy or break-out, necessarily, but any redness that may have been leftover from old acne scars will be noticeably more pronounced.

Besides the redness, there’s really no additional “side effects” with this sunscreens that many others tend to exhibit. This won’t dry out your skin over time, or have the whitecast become worse over the course over the day. The sunscreen is odorless. It also doesn’t pill. You can safely wear a layer of foundation over this for a full day with no issues. Oh, and, the important stuff: this has an extremely high SPF rating (50 spf, PA++++), so this is great to wear all year round.

If you are a sensitive skin user and you’ve been around the block with sunscreens, I would recommend you give Mermaid Gel a try (as well as Rohto Moisture Milk, which has relatively similar properties to this sunscreen). Finding a HG sunscreen is a difficult task for even clear skin users, since the sunscreen ingredients themselves, like zinc oxide, can be known irritants. But I think some trial and error for the sake of sun protection is worth it! ~A

Perceived efficacy: 5/5

Longevity: 5/5

How much I actually like this product: 3.75/5

Recommended for sensitive skin: Maybe

Sunscreen and Sensitive Skin

Now that the sun has made a guest appearance in my otherwise cold and snowy part of the world, I’m back on the hunt for a good face sunscreen. Here’s my criteria:

  • At least SPF 30
  • No whitecast
  • No drying alcohols

Not too crazy, right? Not even a chemical vs physical sunscreen stipulation! Unfortunately, the “no alcohol” clause rules out at least half, in both the US and Asian beauty markets! Goodbye, Biore UV Watery Gel! (too bad because I love that stuff).

Here’s a quick run down of sunblocks I’ve tried in the past, on a pass/fail basis:

Biore UV Watery Gel: Awesome. Dries fast and clear. Has alcohol. Fail.

Cerave Facial Moisturizing AM 30 SPF: No alcohol, but breaks down makeup, pills like mad, and makes my skin itchy, thus made me break out. Come on, Cerave… Fail.

Innisfree No Sebum SPF 35: No alcohol. Fruity smell might not be everyone’s taste, but I don’t mind it. Whitecast can be a little much and it will break your makeup down after it’s been on all day, but the longevity is certainly better than most! So actually… pass, but not on work days.

Avene Mineral Ultra-Light SPF 50: Absolutely not. Crazy amounts of white-cast, itchy, destroys makeup, pills with every single product, WAY too much money considering this has ZERO cosmetic elegance. Also made me break out. Fail times one million.

Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Face SPF 30: I want to like this stuff so bad because I love Hawaiian Tropic brand for some reason (probably the beachy packaging…) but this basically burned my face off. Smells good, though… Fail. ­čśŽ

Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry-Touch SPF 50: Another “burned my face off and made me break out”. Fail.

Its Skin 2pm SPF 50: I’ve talked about this one a million times but it’s the only sunscreen that’s a 95% pass for me. Applies smoothly with very little whitecast, smells freakin’ amazing, doesn’t break down makeup or other product, and it’s 50 SPF. It DOES give me little tiny break outs, though. They’re tolerable, but ugh. Still, pass.

So there you have it, my quick review and rant of just some of the sunscreens I’ve tried in the past year. I’ve got Canmake Mermaid Skin on the way to my house right now, and I’m tempted to try Cetaphil’s 50 SPF. Readers, do you have any sensitive-skin friendly sunscreen options? I’d love to hear if you do!