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May 2, 2018

Ask the Squad: What Are Your Top Korean Sunscreens Right Now?

Got an issue? Have a quandary? Ask the K-beauty Squad! The beauty of K-beauty is everyone’s got a different way of approaching almost everything. There’s rarely a right or wrong answer (except, maybe, wearing sunscreen every day), so ask away! Here, the Squad shares their top Korean sunscreens right now. (Hint: There’s one new sunscreen that’s got everyone impressed.)


We test a lot of products here at Beautytap — sometimes we just don’t have enough skin to test it all! But one thing we never tire of testing is sunscreen because a good, even great sunscreen is such an elusive creature in the skincare world, and it’s something that’s non-negotiable in our routines every day.


Some things a good sunscreen must (or must not) do:


1. Never pill

2. Never leave the dreaded white cast

3. Not leave us shiny or sticky

4. Offer good UVA/UVB protection

5. Sink in well


So we asked the K-beauty Squad what top Korean sunscreens they’re loving right now. Get ready to *add to cart*!


ASK THE K-BEAUTY SQUAD: What are some of your top Korean sunscreens you can’t live without right now?



top Korean sunscreens


Coco (dry skin, sensitive & reactive)


I had skin cancer removed several years ago; it is not a pleasant experience! My favorite Korean sunscreen right now is definitely The Saem Eco Earth Power Aqua Sun Gel. It doesn’t leave a white cast, and it doesn’t burn my eyes.


Non-Korean, I like Rohto Skin Aqua Gold UV Super Moisture Gel and the Bioderma spray sunscreen.

top Korean sunscreens


Michelle (combination skin, sensitive):


I use both the Missha All Around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk and Eclado Natural Perfect Sun Cream. I use Missha on my face since it really does have a soft finish, and it doesn’t affect my base makeup at all. I use Eclado on my body. It has a thick, creamy texture, but it absorb into my skin perfectly without stickiness, which is pretty important to me.

top Korean sunscreens


Sheryll (oily T-zone/normal, acne-prone)


I love the lightweight gel texture of Earth’s Recipe Waterful Sun Gel SPF50+/PA+++! It wears perfectly under makeup and doesn’t leave that dreaded white cast.


Miranda (dry/combo, pores & redness)


Earth’s Recipe is a total game changer — it works so perfectly under makeup and is completely lightweight. If I want color, Banila Co.’s It Radiant CC Sun Base works wonderfully for my skin tone. In terms of body, I really like IPKN’s Lite Daily Sun Gel.


top Korean sunscreens


Jude (normal, hyperpigmentation)


I’m with Miranda and Sheryll on the Earth’s Recipe sunscreen. I’m beyond impressed with it. That watery texture disappears into my skin at near light speed! I am still using the A’Pieu Pure Block Aqua Sun Gel when I need to skip moisturizer, but when I do moisturize, I always reach for the Earth’s Recipe these days as it is so weightless on top of skincare. Plays super well with makeup, too.


Ruth (combination skin, sensitivity & redness)


I have to also chime in about the Earth’s Recipe Waterful Sun Gel — I actually look forward to applying sunscreen with this one! Echoing everyone else that the gel sinks in SO fast and feels so lightweight under my makeup. It’s my new fave sunscreen!


Other solid sunscreen favorites that I always have stocked up are A’Pieu Pure Block Natural Daily Sun Cream SPF 45 and Eclado Oil Free Sun Cream SPF40 PA++.


top Korean sunscreens


Jane (dry, sensitive)


I actually don’t have a favorite Korean sunscreen yet >_<.  My skin doesn’t seem to like the ones I’ve tried so far. I don’t think my skin likes ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate.


The Blanc & Eclare sunscreen, however, worked well for me for a few weeks (until it started to irritate my skin recently). So right now I use Thinksport Everyday Sunscreen.

Blanc & Eclare Serein Essential Sun Cream top Korean sunscreens


Anna (combination, acne-prone)


I’m obsessed with so many amazing Korean sunscreens since my last story on Korean sunscreens over six months ago. All of the following sunscreens have absolutely no white cast, broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection, go on super-light and/or feel moisturizing, and are totally more affordable than so many Western sunscreens. I wear them year-round and basically tailor the sunscreen based on my skin’s condition that day.


Right now, my top Korean sunscreens in my rotation are:


Earth’s Recipe Waterful Sun Gel SPF50+/PA+++: I KNOW! It’s getting repetitive, but that’s how good this sunscreen is! Its milky serum-like texture is such a joy to use because it’s so silky and watery at the same time and melts in so softly. It leaves me with a satiny finish, and though I’m not crazy about fragrance in my skincare, this one has a fresh, “blue” scent that I don’t mind too much. The adorable packaging doesn’t hurt, either (don’t judge). And don’t be fooled by its apparent diminutive size — it’s the same 50ml that most Korean sunscreens are.


COSRX Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50+/PA+++: No scent, a slightly more substantial, creamy texture, but melts in oh-so smooth. Of course, no white cast. I love this for when my skin is feeling a bit irritated or overwhelmed from all the product testing! Yes, it’s got alcohol in it, and I really try to avoid skincare with alcohol, but it’s midway down the ingredients list, and I haven’t had any irritation from it at all.

Cosrx Aloe Soothing Sun Cream SPF50 PA+++ top Korean sunscreens

Blanc & Eclare Serein Essential Sun Cream SPF50+/PA+++: This is a thicker, richer sunscreen, but STILL no white cast. It feels more like a face cream and is super moisturizing, so if you have dry skin, this is a must-try. I feel like this makes a great primer under makeup as well, and I love that it has niacinamide, one of my fave ingredients for hyperpigmentation.


A’Pieu Pure Block Natural Daily Sun Cream SPF45+/PA+++: Jude got the entire Squad obsessed with this sunscreen. We now all buy it in bulk. I love that it has botanical extracts, it melts into skin so quickly, and the price — $10??? ’Nuff said.


Neogen Day-Light Protection Sunscreen SPF50/PA+++: Super watery and just disappears so quickly, even with the giant glob I pat on my face every morning. Those who don’t like strong scents may not do well with this because it smells strongly of citrus (I suspect it’s the lemon and orange oils in the ingredients list), but I don’t mind it.


(P.S. Still good for me is the Swanicoco Bio Cool Mint Sun Gel SPF 50+/PA+++ — read my full review here.)


What are your top Korean sunscreens that you’re loving right now? Tell us why we should add it to our carts rn!


She may have started her career as a lawyer, but Anna found her true calling long before that, while poring over the beauty editorials and skincare how-to’s in teen magazines. Sure, the ladies at the Estée Lauder counter may have scoffed at her when she asked for an eye cream at the age of 16, but hey, she was just ahead of her time. Today, Anna is a beauty editor, obsessing over skincare ingredients and the Oxford comma. Follow her travels on Instagram at @annanymity.




I'm a little late to the sunscreen party, but since I'm in love with my sunscreen, I have to announce it to beautytap world... Missha all-around Safe Block Soft Finish Sun Milk is an HG for me. I left my long term relationship with elta MD for Missha. Everything about this sunscreen is amazing! I've been tempted by the hype around Earth's Recipe, but if it ain't broke don't fix it, as the saying goes. A few highlights about Missha: light, creamy consistency; dries in a couple of minutes into soft matte finish; provides... Read more


Ooo, and elta MD is a pretty popular sunscreen. Now I'm curious. Missha has so many different versions of their sunscreen, but I haven't tried this one yet. And alcohol is not that high up on the ingredient list. Thanks for the reco!


JMSolution's Marine Luminous Sunstick is the BOMB! The light version makes my combination oily skin baby-smooth and doesn't smell like chalky bleach on my face. And it's not even white so forget about the white cast.

I may or may not have 6 boxes of it sitting in my shelf right now after an attack of itchy-finger-itis when it was buy 3 get 3 free in Myeongdong. Ahem.


Whhhaaa? How do I not know about this magical sunscreen??? Where did you buy it?


There's a store in Myeongdong next to Olive Young (the one near Boots). I found some mentions of it online but couldn't find it where I live :P I personally can't stand oily/sticky/overly white sunscreen since it makes my skin quite irritated (and messes up my previous skincare steps). And now I'm more inclinced to apply it on the go now since it's so portable :P There's a mist form too!


Ooooh, I love mist sunscreens for reapplication. The Re:cipe Crystal one is my fave right now, but it's soooo big (it's like a can of hairspray) that it makes it hard to carry around.

I'll have to put JMSolution on my shopping list the next time I go back! (lol I just got back and I'm dying for more)


Oh yeah the JMSolution mist is quite huge as well :P I actually wanted the mist at first, but now that I've fallen in love with the sunstick, the mist is just sitting on my shelf LOL #ficklelove


I'm still kind of unfamiliar/confused about the PA rating system for UVA protection. I've read that PA+++ is about PPD 8-16, while PA++++ is about PPD 16 or greater. Does this mean you can't really know what exact level of UVA protection you get with the PA rating system? Is something that's PA+++ or PA++++ enough protection if you're walking for a while outside in the sun? PA+++ (AKA PPD 8-16) sounds low to me, but I'm not sure if it's like SPF where they recommend using at least SPF 30. If anyone can explain this better or has any... Read more


I just reordered the A’pieu, but I want to try the Earth’s Recipe next!

firstly, mega congratulations for defeating skin cancer! that is absolutely amazing!!

I've been looking for a good high-protection sunscreen...after doing a skin map my dermatologist concluded that I had very high-risk of developing skin cancer..especially with sun exposure...

so this article is top for me! I've been using the MAKE P:REM Blue Ray Sun Gel. It just sinks into the skin immediately no matter how much you put on, and doesn't ruin makeup application

But now I need that earth's recipe sunscreen...can never get enough sunscreen.... :|


I've heard great things about the Make P:rem sun gel. I really want to try it. I'd love to know how it compares to Earth's Recipe once you get it!


Am also adding Earth's recipe sunscreen to my next order. Sounds like a winner to me! Thanks for this review and all the others.


Ooooh I'm going to try the Earth's Recipe Sunscreen next


At the moment I'm loving the A'Pieu sunscreen and with its low price point makes it even more loveable! haha I've got the Swanicoco Bio Cool Mint Sun Gel in my cupboard for when the A'Pieu runs out. Now that everyone is raving about the Earth's recipe one I'll have to add that to my list to try.


I love the Neogen Day-Light Protection Sunscreen!


omg i looove that sunscreen! so light and even though i thought the citrus scent was a bit too strong at first, i don't mind it now


Recently started using the A'Pieu Pure Block sun cream because of Jude's glowing review and I'm loving it ♥


one of my holy grails too! Thanks @judechao!