Stitch Fix Part 3: My Summer Fix

I just got my third Stitch Fix in the mail today, just in time for summer! I actually postponed the fix a month from the original interval I set; I figured I had enough spring/transition items and wanted a true summer fix. Like I mentioned before, I really hate shopping (and shopping for giantesses is pretty slim pickings in Japan) so this Stitch Fix box was a really terrific surprise (especially hot on the heels of my birthday — happy birthday to me!). So … how was my hot summer fix? Did I keep all the things? Keep reading to find out! Continue reading “Stitch Fix Part 3: My Summer Fix”

Hall of Shame: Missha All Around Safe Block Sebum Zero Sun SPF 50+

Let me preface this: this is a product that gets a lot of love amongst K-beauty lovers. So, your mileage may vary. That being said, this is a hall of shame post and this Missha sunscreen has made my list. Why so harsh? Read on … Continue reading “Hall of Shame: Missha All Around Safe Block Sebum Zero Sun SPF 50+”

Mini Review: K-Palette 1 Day Tattoo Lip Oil

I was perusing the beauty section of a local Aeon department store recently with some out-of-town family visiting when I saw a pop-up display for a product I hadn’t seen before: a K-palette lip tint, called 1 Day Tattoo Lasting Lip Tint, which is from a brand that happens to make the best eyeliner pen ever. (Side note, if you like winged liner even a little, and want all-day wear with no smudging, that’s something you need to buy like yesterday).

K-palette lip tint comes in a handful of colors and has the same long-lasting promises on the package that the ridiculously good eyeliner pen does, so my mom and I both picked one up (I believe the price point was similar to the eyeliner, a little over 1000 yen).

Did we try it on in the car? Of course we did. Who doesn’t? Continue reading “Mini Review: K-Palette 1 Day Tattoo Lip Oil”

Cosme Shopping: What to buy when you’re in Japan

We’re spoiled now in the age of e-commerce and especially Amazon … most of the world is at our fingertips, ready to buy with just a credit card number and a click. Still, that convenience can come at a price (or not at all). Often imported items, thanks to duty and availability, come at a big price increase. Other times, lesser-known items aren’t available outside their home country at all. So a savvy beauty shopper (ahem, you) will take advantage of their travels, stocking up on the best their destination has to offer. And here, my humble opinion of some of the best cosme shopping that Japan has to offer.

Continue reading “Cosme Shopping: What to buy when you’re in Japan”

All About SPF: UVA, or how to avoid premature aging and skin cancer

The first installment in this mini series on sunscreen covered UVB rays, which if you remember, can be easily recalled by ‘B is for burning.’ These are the rays that the SPF number on your tube of sunscreen warn you about (and protect you from). But, these are not the only ultraviolet rays to reach the earth (and YOU!). Longer in wavelength than UVBs, but shorter than visible light, UVA rays can be remembered by ‘A is for aging.’ Ain’t nobody got time for premature aging, but unfortunately aging isn’t the only gift these long rays bring.

It’s the longer wavelengths that make UVA rays so damaging to our skin. These rays penetrate to the deepest layers of the skin (UVBs aren’t so insidious), causing photo aging (premature aging) and are now thought to cause skin cancer as well.

The longer wavelengths also penetrate clouds. This means your ‘I don’t need sunscreen today, it’s cloudy’ excuse to not put on sunblock is leaving you exposed to the most dangerous UV rays. Yes, you may not get burned … but you remember Magda, right?

UVA
Great looks AND cancer! Yassssss.
UVA: How to protect yourself from these rays

So, apart from hiding indoors, how do you protect yourself from UVA exposure? ‘Easy,’ you say, ‘I just wear sunscreen. Duh.’ And yes, you’re right, it’s that easy. Except, it’s not.

It’s not that easy because, unlike the SPF system for UVB rays, there is no standardized system that quantifies how much of these rays a sunscreen blocks. In North America and Europe, a manufacturer can write “broad spectrum” on the label in addition to the SPF number, which indicates it blocks UVAs. How much of the UVA rays that reach your skin are blocked? Well, they have to block at least 1/3 the amount of UVBs they block. That’s the only requirement, and they don’t tell you what the actual percentage is.

It’s a little better in Asia. Most Asian manufacturers use the PA+ system. It ranges from PA+ to PA++++. And as you may have guessed, mo plusses are mo bettah. Except … the system isn’t numerical and transparent like the SPF scale is. It’s just … better coverage with more plusses. The consumer is left in the dark on exactly how much better.

UVA: What ingredients block UVAs?

In the U.S., the FDA approves a few active ingredients that protect against UVA rays, including the following: zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, avobenzone, and ecamsule (or Mexoryl SX, which is patented by L’Oreal).

Outside the U.S., there are other (more effective, but that’s info for another installment) active ingredients that protect against UVA rays: Tinosorb S, Tinosorb M, Uvinal A, and Mexoryl XL. To simplify things, a smart consumer should look for more than one of these ingredients; some of these protect against UVA-1 rays and some against UVA-2. And no–of course, the “broad spectrum” or “PA+” designations do not mean they protect against both types of UVA. Because that would be helpful.

That’s about it for this super brief overview on UVA rays. Just remember: UV-Burning and UV-Aging, and if you are using a chemical sunscreen (which again will be a topic for another day), looking for more than one active ingredient generally means you’re getting truly broad spectrum coverage (i.e. covering both types of UVA).

The following are affiliate links to fully broad spectrum sunscreens. They cost you nothing extra to buy from but can provide me with some dinero.