I have extremely oily skin and this sunscreen exacerbated that unfortunately. After applying it, it left a greasy feeling on my skin and after a few hours of wearing it, my face was a shiny oil slick. I am using the Shiseido sunscreen for babies (in blue bottle) and the formula is much more agreeable with my oily skin.
After finishing a bottle of sticky Yes to Cucumbers sunscreen this felt like the most luxurious thing to apply to my skin. It's moisturizing, sinks in quickly, and doesn't smell offensive. Since I finished this bottle I've tried Shiseido's 50+ SPF Ultimate Protection Cream (blue tube). That was a bit too much, smelled strongly of glue, paled my face, and eventually confirmed my appreciation for the Urban Environment formula. However, I don't think it is appropriate for dry skin because it seems to highlight flakiness. Also, it is rather expensive for a mere 2 oz. The bottle only last me two months with daily use. Regardless, I like this sunscreen a lot and will be repurchasing.
This is a nice sunscreen with a reasonable price, it feels comfortable to wear (doesn't drying my skin out and doesn't clog my pores) and gives enough protection in an urban environment (as its name suggests). What else can you expect from a sunscreen?
This is an excellent sunscreen, one of the best out there - IMO its the second best right behind La Roche-Posay Anthelios SPF 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen (#1 in my book). Since La Roche Posay is not readily available (I have to order it online as opposed to running to the mall), I often opt for Shiseido instead and do not notice much of a difference between the two (Shiseido is a little thicker with slightly more noticeable fragrance whilst LRP cost a couple bucks more as well).
Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 40 for Face/Body is a pretty comprehensive sunscreen; lots of UA & UV protection, extremely moisturizing, and anti-aging all in one. Its thick enough to lock moisture in and block out those damaging rays and pollutants, yet not so thick it ends up a sticky mess like drugstore brands often do. Supposedly its got lots of antioxidants and such but I kinda roll my eyes at any beneficial claims where that's concerned considering those ingredients are too low on the ingredient list to really make any difference. Even so, its moisturizing, kicking much ass in the UA/UV protection department, and has the skin cancer Foundation seal of recommendation so I cannot ask for much more.
The only issues I have are A) price for amount and B) that I wish it were scent free. Still, the scent is not overpowering at all so that is not too much of a biggie, certainly not enough to be a deterrent. But $30 for less than 2 oz?!? That's just cray-cray nutty pants to me. I mean, let's think about this: If a brand was made of the exact same ingredients and claims yet targeted to men, it would be half the price I am sure. Be that as it may, it is what it is: most similar non drugstore sunscreens us ladies purchase are all the same size and price range as Shiseido is so given that, out of all of those this is still by far one of the best to purchase. Considering Shiseido does work hard at proving their usage of cutting edge anti-aging technology and the like, again this one tops the list. Some reviewers have complained about a white cast BUT this is always going to be somewhat/sorta an issue where zinc oxide is concerned. However, I have never noticed this BUT to be fair, I only use this on my neck, decollate, and hands when wearing foundation bc my foundation has SPF- I do use this on my face when running errands and such sans foundation (using powder though) and I still/even then never noticed any washed out effects. All that said, I highly recommend this product.
As the lotion version of this sunscreen was too drying/harsh for my dehydrated oily skin, I looked to this one. But if you're oily, this isn't the best match because it might be a bit too rich, even if it is mattifying in the beginning. It does, however, sink in easily and leave a nice semi-matte finish.
ETA: One issue I forgot to add is that this seems to emphasize or bring about flakiness I never even knew I had! I have no idea why but it does this every time without fail on skin that would otherwise stay smooth with other products =/
Oil-free? Yes. White cast? Yes, though it can be less noticeable if you let the sunscreen sink in. Flash photography? Not with this on. Removal? Use an oil.
As of now (summer 2013), the following Shisiedo sunscreens are available in the US (these are the basic sunscreens, not including anything like lip protection, tinted products, etc.):
Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream/Lotion N SPF 38 (Broad spectrum)
Ultimate Sun Protection Cream/Lotion+ SPF 50+ (Broad spectrum)
Urban Environment UV Protection Cream SPF 40 (Broad spectrum)
Urban Environment Oil-free UV Protector SPF 42 (Broad spectrum)
All of these products were recently reformulated and I have to admit I've very disappointed :( As someone with (dehydrated) oily skin, none of them work for me, including the urban enviro lotion, which is both too drying and lacking in oil control.
Although only the urban enviro lotion claims to be oil-free, from what I can tell looking at ingredient lists, none of these sunscreens contain oil. (But check anyway if that's important to you).
According to Shisiedo, extra smooth is best for drier skin types, ultimate is for activities that involve lots of sun exposure, and urban enviro is for everyday (though the lotion is targeted for oilier skin types).
The formulas are white, with the lotions on the runnier side, and the creams a little thicker. Both the extra smooth and ultimate formulas feel a bit greasy and leave my face with shine -- lotions and creams. Only the urban enviro lotion feels like nothing, though the urban enviro cream is a little mattifying in the beginning.
All of the sunscreens have some form of alcohol, but I don't think they would be considered drying for most. That is, except the urban enviro lotion, which my dehydrated oily skin cannot handle due to the high alcohol content. (Interestingly, even when I was very oily, I could not use this lotion, but for a different reason: little oil-control. So either I find it too drying initially, or not mattifying enough.)
I found the cream formulas a bit too rich for my oily skin, and none have the initial mattifying effect of their past formulations (except the urban enviro cream, but it's not that great anyway).
The ultimate cream was a favorite for the oily-skinned because of its mattifying abilities, but I can't say the same for the new formula. It leaves a shine after application (rather than a semi-matte finish) and it does not control oil.
As for a white cast, I find that I do see one with most of the formulas, particularly the ultimates. However, with the extra smooth and urban enviro formulas, I don't have a problem when I let them sink in. For the ultimates, I try to blend them in well and also give them some time to sink in.
In terms of photos, however, there is a ghostly face effect.
One thing to keep in mind with these sunscreens is that you really need to remove them properly -- preferably with an oil. They are known for their tenacity so if you experience any breakouts, consider your removal methods too.
My medication causes itchy red patches on my face if I'm exposed to the sun too long so sun block with some physical ingredients is imperative and I need one that does the job without irritating my skin, breaking me out or looking greasy. Although I really like the Elta MD sunscreen I currently have it doesn't protect as long as Sheseido's old Extra Smooth Sun Protection Cream (now discontinued) which was my HG sunscreen. I've yet to try the reformulated version but I've heard that they reduced the amount of physical sunscreen and that doesn't thrill me. Chemical sunscreen is more likely to irritate my face. I could put the old stuff on in the morning and go to one of my kids softball tournaments and not worry about reapplying all day. This past weekend I forgot to reapply my Elta and while I didn't burn I did break out in a rash on my chin where I tend to get oily and the Elta wore off quicker. If you've ever had this type of rash I can tell you it sucks. It itches and takes days to go away. I spotted a bottle of the Urban Environment at TJ Maxx for under $15 and liked the combination of ingredients. When I tested it on the back of my hand it blended in quickly and left a satin almost matte finish similar to the Extra Smooth maybe a bit more matte. When I got it home and did a full face application it went on really white. Not wanting to give up on it I added some Dr Hauschka's Bronzing lotion and problem solved. Once I rubbed this in well and it absorbed this left a fairly matte finish with no white residue, no greasiness or breakouts and makeup goes over it beautifully. If I want to skip the make up I can add a little extra bronzing lotion and some powder and go. I'll probably reserve this for the days that I'm outside in the sun and use Elta for day to day use. Glad I found it cheap but I won't hesitate to pay full price when it's gone. Even my kids prefer this sunscreen when playing ball because it lasts all day through profuse sweating and doesn't cause breakouts or eye irritation.
Pretty package, I like the white tube thingy.
It goes on nicely, has a very silky feel. But you only get 1.7 oz for 30$ . That's very pricey to use the recommended 1/4 tsp face and neck each day
9/2/2013 Final update: Loved this for several months, but I've had to stop using it on a daily basis. I think the alcohol and zinc in it kept my skin dehydrated, and it got worse with continued use. My skin had a crepey texture, and my pores were enlarged. No amount of hydration seemed to help until I stopped using it. I've since moved onto Elta MD UV Clear, and my skin has improved a lot.
3/17/13 Update: Really loving this! I use a couple drops of Trilogy's Rosehip Oil pressed into my skin before applying this and experience no dryness whatsoever. I have noticed it does leave a slight white cast on my, fair olive-toned skin--around NC 15-20, which is bummer but not a deal breaker. I wish it came in a bigger bottle for the price, but as someone who has very reactive skin that doesn't like most sunscreens, I'll repurchase regardless of price. ----- Original review: I've been using this for a few weeks, and it is the best sunscreen I've tried in a while. Most sunscreens I've tried clog my pores/cause breakouts or are too irritating. I have very sensitive (reactive), clog-prone skin that is oily but dehydrated (lacking water). This hasn't caused any breakouts. Texture-wise, it's on the thicker side, but it blends/smooths beautifully and dries down to a velvety matte finish. The matte finish may be a bit much for dry skin types, but it works well for my oily skin. I like that it easily removes with a daily cleanser (my skin doesn't tolerate oils/oil cleansers). The alcohol, zinc, and/or something else can be a bit dehydrating for my skin type (loses water easily), so I have to use a hydrating serum first to help prevent dehydration and flakes. It does have the usual Shieseido sunscreen scent, which may be bothersome to those who are sensitive to fragrance. It's 1.9 oz. and lasts me about a month and a half when using the recommended 1/4 tsp daily on my face. INGREDIENTS- Actives: OCTINOXATE 2.9%, OCTOCRYLENE 3%, ZINC OXIDE 10.6%; Inactives: water, isododecane, cyclomethicone, dimethicone, butylene glycol, sd alcohol 40-B, polymethyl methacrylate, laurel peg-9 polydimethylsiloxyethyl dimethicone, glycerin, disteardimonium hectorite, xylitol, methyl gluceth-10, peg/ppg-14/7 dimethyl ether, thiotaurine, scutellaria baicalensis root extract, arginine hci, onions spinosa root extract, ectoin, sodium pca, hydrogenated polydecene, hydrogen dimethicone, isostearic acid, benzophenone-3, trisodium edta, silica, polybutylene glycol/ppg-9/1 copolymer, alumina, triethoxycaprylylsilane, bht, syzygium jambos leaf extract, tocopherol, phenoxyethanol, fragrance, titanium dioxide