I have been using the shiseido sun protection line for five years and never questioned my decision on using it. They say "you can't hit'em all" when it comes to makeup and skincare products, but this is THE holy grail sunscreen for me. You may not like it due to personal preferences but definitely test it out at a shiseido counter if the PROs and CONs you see at the bottom meet your requirements!! =)
WHY I LOVE THIS PRODUCT:
-very light, incredibly smooth when applying
-watery texture and leaves a minimal amount of white cast
-my skin has not broken out NOT EVEN ONCE using this product
-high spf protection
-has a pleasant scent (I don't hate it, very tolerable)
-quite waterproof and sweatproof (which means you must cleanse with some sort of oil cleanser to remove it off completely)
-because it is very light and sheer, it's perfect to use under makeup. Some of the thicker cream-like texture of sunscreens I tend to have a huge problem with the foundation moving around my face because sunscreens do not get absorbed into your skin unlike a lotion or a moisturizer. The sunscreen sits on the surface of your skin so if it's a heavy cream-like texture, the foundation almost always moves around the face. THIS SUNSCREEN MINIMIZES ALL OF THAT!
When it comes to the cons, it is quite pricy for a sunscreen for 100ml. Shiseido is not a drug store brand (of course), but it really is worth the price in my opinion. You really can't find a sunscreen at the level of this quality for $20 at a drug store. Also, there is no marked expiration date on the bottle for this sunscreen. From my years of using this product, it's usually two years from the day you open it OR once the scent has diminished sigificantly inside the bottle, it's time to chuck it and buy another one.
Lastly, I want to mention the difference between Shiseido sunscreens sold in Asia (Anessa) and the ones sold in the U.S. and Canada. They are different products and some ladies prefer to use Shiseido Anessa sunscreens because it is literally 'like-water' and leaves NO white cast (even less than the product I'm reviewing now). The watery fluid gets absorbed into the skin very nicely, can be used as a makeup base under foundation, matte finish, etc. BUT - Shiseido Anessa sunscreen is a CHEMICAL SUNSCREEN, not a PHYSICAL SUNSCREEN. There is a difference and there are pros and cons in using a chemical sunscreen.
The ingredient in sunscreens that leaves the white case is zinc oxide which is a physical ingredient that protects your skin from the UVA&UVB rays. Since a chemical sunscreen doesn't contain any zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, it does not leave a white cast. Also, chemical filters in chemical sunscreens are a better protection against FULL SPECTRUM UVA rays whereas physical ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide does not provide protection against full spectrum UVA rays. It provides partial UVA protection but just not full spectrum. UVA protection is so so SO important because the damage it causes to your skin isn't immediately visible to the eye and it is a slowly and gradual damage deep inside your skin, destroying collagen and elastin which will cause ageing. So it's not the redness that you can visibly see on your skin after going out in the sun so it's more disguised and hidden damage which will show up one day. And chemical filters are a better protection against such full spectrum UVA rays.
HOWEVER! There is almost twice as MUCH chemical ingredients replacing the zinc oxide and titanium dioxide in a chemical sunscreen that may cause irritations, allergic reactions, breakouts, etc. Also chemical sunscreens almost always has alcohol as an ingredient (check the box), used as a solvent to thin-out the solution to achieve that watery consistency for easier and smooth application.
Personally, I am not allergic to any ingredients in chemical sunscreens and tolerate it very well but I prefer to use physical sunscreens with minimal white casts. Only because I don't think anyone in this world has used chemical sunscreens long enough (30-40 years) to really know what side effects those chemicals bring to an individual. Short term, yes - chemical sunscreens may sound like the answer to all our prayers (no white cast, easy application, full UVA/UVB protection) but I don't want to risk any additional complications further down my life (30-40 years later) by introducing a greater range of chemicals to my skin. That's just my personal opinion and preference. I cannot possibly protect my skin 100% of the time from the sun so I don't even bother being picky about full spectrum UVA protection that the chemical sunscreens offer. For me, the UVA protection that the physical sunscreen offers is plenty and will live on in peace :)