Consumption, Cosmetics, Health

A Tale of Two Sunscreens

Or, the Battle of the French Brands…

As I mentioned, my foray into using body+face sunscreen on my face has not been going well. I was mulling either repurchasing a non-oil cleanser, or buying a new facial sunscreen, in the hopes that one of these two issues were causing my closed comedones.

That debate was settled when E came home with extra sunscreen that was a gift at the French Open. The Nuxe sunscreen, pictured above, essentially solved the problem of doing my research and going out to buy a sunscreen. I could use this sunscreen, let my skin clear up, and buy myself some time to get into the different ingredients used by different brands!

My delight lasted approximately five minutes once I started applying the sunscreen. It contains a noticeable fragrance and it is so greasy. I read more about this particular product, and it’s apparently designed to promote an even tan… I don’t know about you, but my main goal when wearing sunscreen is to remain as untouched by the sun as physically possible. I know the French love a good tan, but come on!

While someone recently advised me to never try a new makeup or skincare product on a work day, I like to live dangerously. Greased up and nearly running late, I patted on some of my Laura Mercier translucent powder and went down to the train. The feeling when I caught sight of myself in the metro window… my floral backpack, a checkered shirt, and my shining face… I genuinely looked like a camp counsellor!

I blotted once I got to work and readjusted my checkered shirt (definitely a major contributor to my Earnest Camp Kid look). Back at my desk and still gently glistening, I quietly bemoaned the fact that I had managed to find a more obnoxious and possibly more problematic product than the face and body sunscreen I’d been using earlier.

Despite my annoyance, I didn’t go out to buy a replacement sunscreen. Or rather, I didn’t intend to buy a new sunscreen. A few days later, I got a text in the early afternoon for a surprise going-away party down by the river. I was excited, and I left work early so as to arrive in time for the surprise. While I waited, I found myself wandering around Invalides, searching for shade; I could feel myself crisping and I panicked. There is almost no shade on the quai of the river at that time of day, and I was going to roast.

Determined not to ruin my skin in the pursuit of using up my products, I went down to the closest pharmacy for some Biotherma sunscreen. I’d heard great things about their matte formula, so naturally, the pharmacy didn’t stock any Biotherma sunscreen. C’est la vie!

Undeterred, I went for my backup sunscreen. While my unsatisfying face + body sunscreen is from La Roche Posay’s Anthelios line, I’d heard at least some good things about their matte facial sunscreen. I checked out a couple of the different offerings while chatting with the woman at the pharmacy about the sunscreen. Was it truly matte? Would it leave a white cast?

She was so helpful, and we deliberated between two tubes before I ultimately selected the Anthelios XL Dry touch gel-cream. I later found out that there is also a version without perfume, which I would have preferred, however I haven’t had any problems yet. I slathered it all over my face, legs, and arms in one of the nearby mirrors, much to the pharmacist’s amusement. She wished me a good picnic, and I was on my way!

I’ve worn the Anthelios a couple of times now and it lives up to a lot of unrealistic sunscreen expectations. It is quite matte for a sunscreen, almost shockingly so. I’m at a very greasy moment in my life right now, and this keeps things under control without powder for most of the morning.

Now that I’m happy with the Anthelios, I plan on passing on the Nuxe sun cream to a friend. I feel like I should put some “DANGER” sticker on the bottle because a sun cream that helps you tan seems like it’s not doing what it’s supposed to do… But again, the French love a good sun tan, so I have plenty of people in my life who might actually be interested in whatever deal with the UVA/UVB devil the Nuxe cream has made!

The one downside of the Anthelios sunscreen is that it is just 50ml. The recommended amount of sunscreen for maximum protection is about 1/4 tablespoon for your face. That’s about 1.23 ml, not including what I use on my neck and chest. Considering that I also reapply once a day (or at least, I try!), that means this tube will last me about 25-28 days.

While 50ml is a common volume for most facial sunscreens I’ve seen, it’s not exactly amazing considering the price I paid. Still, I think the price was artificially high considering the neighbourhood I was in when I bought the sunscreen, so I’ll reinvestigate at the truly amazing pharmacy just near my house to see if it’s any cheaper there.

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