My Favorite Korean Sunscreens

American sunscreen is held back from using the latest greatest ingredients by the FDA.  European sunscreens, which are banned in the USA, have the latest technology in ingredients. Be sure to buy some from a farmacy next time you're in Europe. The FDA hasn’t approved any new UV filters since 1999.  Korean sunscreens use different chemicals as UV filters than Western brands and are classified as  functional cosmetics with skincare ingredients by the FDA which is why they are allowed to be sold in the USA. Korean sunscreens tend to be lighter in consistency since they are not using antiquated thick ingredients and don't leave a white cast on your skin. Everything on this list is a chemical sunscreen, without zinc, instead they use Tinosorb M - a commonly used sunscreen oversees and other next generation chemical filters. They all give a lightweight moisturizing feel with adequate spf protection.

I didn't discover these sunscreens on my own, these four Korean sunscreens are viral on social media. I bought them from Stylevana which is based in Hong Kong but delivery is super fast. I've been using these since 2022 and finished each tube but still can't say which is my favorite. The PA rating system, primarily used in Asia, is a method to measure the level of protection against UVA rays in sunscreens. The PA rating ranges from PA+ to PA++++, with PA++++ being the highest level of protection. They are all lightweight lotions with zero white cast.

With any sunscreen it's important to apply it 20 minutes before sun protection (so it doesn't melt off in the sun) and reapply every 2-3 hours. Here's a video tweet from AOC on how USA sunscreens are behind the rest of the world. 

Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotic SPF50+ PA++++

Beauty of Joseon  SPF50 is a fragrance free sunscreen and is moisturizing while still lightweight. The active ingredients are all next generation chemical filters including uvinul, tinosorb and uvasorb. It has a tons of amazing inactive ingredients like niacinamide, green tea, rice ferment, pumpkin ferment, sugarcane extract,  centella asiatica, niacinamide, and glycerin.

Beauty of Joseon Ginseng Moist Sun Serum SPF50+ PA++++

This was made for people who don't like sunscreen as it has sun protection and skincare benefits without the typical sunscreen drawbacks.  Ginseng extract is rich in saponin and provides anti-aging effects, helps improve wrinkles, and nourishes the skin. The formula also includes niacinamide.

The moisturizing serum formula has a texture that lightly absorbs into the skin and provides gentle UV protection effect without stressing the skin.

Tocobo Bio Watery Sun Cream SPF50 PA++++ 

A sun cream in a chemical formula that leaves a natural, white cast-free finish. It contains 1,000ppm of mung bean extract to soothe irritation and tackle blemishes, along with 1,000ppm of bio-hyaluronic acid to boost skin moisture. It also contains niacinamide. This vegan and cruelty-free formula is hypoallergenic. It works well under makeup. 

Isntree Hyaluronic Acid Watery Sun Gel SPF50+ PA++++

This can double as a lotion as it has hyaluronic acid as well as centella asiatica, niacinamide, glycerin, ceramides and a lot of other beneficial ingredients. This felt more gel like than the others.

American Tinted SPF

Kosas DreamBeam Mineral Sunscreen SPF 40 with Ceramides and Peptides

In the color Sunlit, this zinc sunscreen also contains Hyaluronic Acid. It gives off a subtle glow with a light suntan tint. Last year they only released one shade, the white one, and I found the glow disappeared immediately. My issue with other sunscreens that provide a tan is the color was always too dark for me and this is just perfect. Kosas recently had an influencer trip to Cabo to release that tan shade, not sure why both shades couldn't come out at the same time? On the trip all the women got seriously sunburnt so I do wear my Korean sunscreen underneath this. 

Kopari Rose Gold Sun Shield Body Glow Sunscreen SPF 45

For my body I use Kopari SPF body gel made from macadamia oil, hibiscus oil, vitamin E, avocado and coconut oils. It has a sweet coconut milk scent. It gives your skin a radiant glow plus has a little gold shimmer from mica (but not glittery). I have this in the rose gold color and it makes my tan skin look so pretty. It is an oil by the way, and you should not put it on the underside of your arms because you will then see it on any wooden table you put your arms on. Sunscreen does expire in one year so since I've had this for a year I'm excited to switch to their new Amber color! It's also sold at Nordstrom

If I ever have a beach trip I'm going to pick up their Sun Stick and Body Mist.

Related posts:

Sunscreen Tips

Supergoop Sunscreen

Natural Makeup Look for Glowy Skin

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