Hello everyone! Goodness, it’s been ages. An entire season has turned over since I last posted, and now that winter’s chill has made way for spring’s showers and sunshine, I thought it was as good a time as any to share some of my impressions on a new sunscreen I’ve been testing recently. The LabNo 4SP Safe Tone Up Sun Block Cream SPF50 PA++++, which I will be referring to as the LabNo Safe Tone Up Sun Cream from now on in the interest of sparing my fingers the inevitable cramping, claims to be a “customized prescription for skin troubles due to seasonal changes from spring, summer, autumn to winter!” and promises “intensive care with a protein complex all year long!” Um, how about filtering UV rays? Anyway, I guess this product’s gimmick is that it is gentle enough to provide “both mother and baby with healthy UVA/UVB protection” according to the front of the tube. Let’s see how it holds up.
As far as packaging goes this is your standard 50ml tube. Nothing exciting but it’s just sunscreen, I’m not expecting any real bells and whistles here. The packaging notes that this filters both UVA and UVB, and with an SPF50 rating this sunscreen has one of the highest amounts of recommended protection currently available on the market, as far as I know. I couldn’t locate the ingredients in English anywhere online, but funnily enough they’re printed on the inside of the box! Don’t say I never did anything for you guys, as I took the time to type ’em up all nice and neat for you fine folks:
Ingredients: Water, Dibutyl Adipate, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Titanium Dioxide, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Butyloctyl Salicylate, Polysilicone-15, 1,2-Hexanediol, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Silica, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Echium Plantagineum Seed Oil, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Portulaca Oleracea Extract, Centella Asiatica Extract, Squalane, Houttuynia Cordata Extract, Curcuma Longa (Turmeric) Root Extract, Salvia Hispanica Seed Extract, Cardiospermum Halicacabumflower/-Leaf/Vine Extract, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Camellia Japonica Flower Extract, Prunus Serrulata Flower Extract, Acer Saccharum (Sugar Maple) Extract, Rose Extract, Soluble Collagen, Alumina, Glyceryl Stearate, Cetyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Propanediol, Octyldodecanol, Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Polyglyceryl-2 Caprate, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Saccharide Hydrolysate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/Sodium Acrloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Sucrose Stearate, Xanthan Gum, Stearic Acid, Ethylhexylglycerin, Glyceryl Caprylate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Unsaponifiables, t-Butyl Alcohol, Tocopherol, Arginine, Ceramide NP, Elastin
That’s quite a handful. I’m going to run through these to the best of my knowledge, but please bear in mind that I’m not a cosmetic chemist and my understanding is limited at best. At first we have a few ingredients that are various texture and conditioning agents, followed by a variety of sunscreen actives. The first is titanium dioxide, a broad spectrum sunscreen active, alongside Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, otherwise known as Uvinul A, an organic UVA filter. (For more detail on inorganic and organic sunscreen actives, please see the brilliant Kind of Stephen article on the differences between “physical” and “chemical” sunscreens and how those designations aren’t really accurate). Polysilicone-15, otherwise known as dimethicodiethylbenzalmalonate, and ethylhexyl triazone, aka Uvinul T 150, are other UV light absorbers that are included.
These UV filters are followed by several texturizing ingredients and then we are plunged headfirst into a slew of various plant extracts and oils. Jojoba oil is always a nice inclusion, but I question why bergamot oil was included since it is known to have photosensitizing properties — the exact opposite of what one would want out of a sunscreen. These extracts are a mixed bag in general: Portulaca Oleracea (purslane), centella, turmeric, and Salvia Hispanica (chia) have known skin benefits, but there are also several sensitizing oils, like geranium and patchouli. After the extracts are several emollient alcohols and miscellaneous ingredients. Nothing about the ingredients concerns me outside of the potentially volatile oils; my guess is this is overall a very safe product. However, my advice is to go through the ingredients yourself to determine whether there is anything that worries you or not.
First things first: the LabNo Safe Tone Up Sun Cream smells absolutely incredible. It’s warm, it’s spicy, it’s herbaceous. There’s a bit of a hanbang quality to it and I ain’t mad. I think it’s a very mild fragrance but it does have certain assertive notes, almost like a sharp ginger. I guess it could best be described as vaguely medicinal, but in a good way? I’ve been unable to stop sniffing my arm since I spread some of the cream on it for photo purposes, if that gives you any indication as to how freakin’ amazing it is. I reward myself with a whiff every few sentences to motivate myself to keep typing.
Moving on to the cream itself, it honestly resembles more a paste than it does a cream. The texture is thicker than other sunscreens I’ve tried in the past, but it still maintains a good amount of spread. I do find I need to give the cream a lot of patting to get it to start absorbing into my skin. Once absorbed this sunscreen has a slight mattifying effect, and it leaves a very faint residue on the skin that fades gradually over time. It’s fairly rich and luxurious for a sunscreen, particularly compared to the more watery formulations I’m used to, and I do find it somewhat moisturizing although I have always paired this with an actual moisturizer while using it.
While I like the fragrance and texture of this product very much, it is not without its problems. The main issue I have with this sun cream is that it leaves a terrible white cast, even on my ghastly white skin. I’m pretty sure I could not possibly be any paler but this sunscreen still manages to make it look like I caked my face in a clown’s foundation. Here’s a shot of it absorbed into the skin of my arm, indoors with natural lighting:
And a shot (mostly) outdoors with natural lighting:
I know the photos are far from great quality but hopefully it’s enough to demonstrate the problem with the white cast. It’s also a sneak preview of the other big issue I have with the LabNo Safe Tone Up Sun Cream…
The sunscreen has an infuriatingly bad pilling problem. I pat my products in, I don’t rub, and even so you can see the sunscreen has completely pilled up around my nose, mouth, and chin. This photo is without me touching my face any more than was necessary to get the LabNo Safe Tone Up Sun Cream to absorb. It did this with moisturizers of varying textures underneath, and the only way to seemingly prevent it is to use less sunscreen — and even then you’re still likely to get some pilling. The photo above was after I’d reduced the amount I used by around a third and I still experienced all that pilling. Also, I worry that using less sunscreen to avoid the pilling and the white cast ultimately means I have less protection. That seems to entirely defeat the purpose of using sunscreen in the first place.
All in all, these two drawbacks are pretty damning. As much as I enjoy the fragrance of the product, the fact of the matter is this sunscreen just has too many issues to justify its continued use in my routine. It’s a nice idea and concept but it fails pretty hard when it comes to the pilling and white cast problems. Perhaps this sunscreen will play a little nicer with your skin, but for me I can’t really recommend it unless you’re very curious about this sunscreen in particular. If you are interested in checking it out in person you can pick this up from BBCosmetic, one of my favorite AB shops out there and the lovely people who sent me this sunscreen to review. Did you know I made my first Asian Beauty purchases from their site? Ah, nostalgia. If you’re interested you can get an 8% discount with my code A5488Z969O5. While this sunscreen didn’t work out I will say that it increased my interest in the LabNo brand in general, so I might pick up a few of their other products to see if I like those more!
Disclaimer: this product was sent to me for reviewing purposes by the amazing people over at BBCosmetic, but the opinions stated in this post are completely my own.