This article contains affiliate links* The new Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics SPF50+ PA++++ may just become your new favourite K-beauty sunscreen, with its super light texture and “barely there” feel. But, read my review before you decide!
Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics – the Endless Quest for That Perfect Sunscreen…
Despite the fact that a number of Western beauty vloggers dramatically declared Korean sunscreens to be dead to them from here on out thanks to the 2020 sunscreen scandal, Korean brands cared very little for said dramatics and managed to launch what could arguably be the best sunscreen formulas yet throughout 2021 and right into 2022. Because, contrary to popular belief, Western beauty lovers are honestly only a small, tiny-teeny fraction of the market that is of interest to Korean beauty brands. So, all of the blogger dramatics around the sunscreen scandal and their declarations of never trusting Korean sunscreens again were just that – dramatics, with little effect on what K-brands will or won’t do. And, well, sunscreens made in Korea are selling just as well as before Purito and co. were hit by scandal.
Now, that being said, the sunscreen scandal did cause a ripple effect in Korea, with influential beauty influencers such as Director Pi calling out brands that tried to sweep the whole thing under the rug. The two manufacturers that caused the whole damn mess were penalised (though, honestly, not as much as I would have liked to see) and the loophole that was used to sell a diluted, untested sunscreen formula is now closed. Most brands that had sunscreens involved in the scandal pulled them off market and either launched new sunscreens or reformulated and retested versions of previous sunscreens. The big winner of the scandal was manufacturing company Kolmar Korea, whose sunscreen formulas all survived SPF retesting rounds and passed with flying colours. Nearly all the popular sunscreens currently selling like hotcakes in and outside of Korea are made by Kolmar Korea, e.g. the Round Lab Birch Moisturizing Sun Cream. They really must feel so smug these days, with every (non-manufacturing) brand running to them to be spared from another shady manufacturing scandal!
One of the things that lovers of the disgraced Purito centella sunscreen bemoaned when it went out of stock is that there wouldn’t be another sunscreen that was fragrance-free, alcohol-free and had a light, lotion-like texture. It simply couldn’t be done, sigh.
Ah, but wait: I might have a solution for you Purito mourners! Behold – the new Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics with SPF50+ PA++++ (and yes, the awkward placement of the “:” is part of the product name and not a typo). This sunscreen became a new favourite of mine with such lightning speed that I even included it in my 2021 K-beauty favourites list, despite the fact that I had only used it for about two months at this point.
Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics – Yes, It’s Kolmar Korea Made!
Beauty of Joseon is one of those Korean beauty brands that, I believe, is mostly successful outside of South Korea. Here in the West they became popular when first gen K-beauty bloggers made the Beauty of Joseon Dynasty Cream* go viral, at a time when ordering such niche products was still quite the mission. For a long time, the Dynasty Cream was the main product from the brand, but in more recent years a whole range of serums, cleansers and a superb ginseng essence joined the brand lineup. I personally loved the Ginseng Essence Water, but haven’t really found any of the Beauty of Joseon serums I’ve tried very exciting, to be honest. I’m currently working my way through a jar of the famous Dynasty Cream, and the texture and feel are winning me over for sure. So, all in all – the brand has been a mixed bag for me, but the products that I like, I really like.
Which brings me back to the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics sun cream. I knew I had to try this sunscreen when a number of influencers wouldn’t stop talking about it. Sure, it seemed to be mostly paid campaigns, but then as an influencer myself (well, a very micro one), I don’t just blanket dismiss someone’s opinion just because they may have been receiving PR samples or are getting paid to do their job. The enthusiasm for the Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics sunscreen seemed genuine, and after checking the INCI list, I had a feeling that this one might be a great alternative to the disgraced fan favourite from Purito.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics sun cream:
“Water, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Extract (30%), Dibutyl Adipate, Propanediol, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Niacinamide, Methylene Bis-benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol, Coco-caprylate/Caprate, Caprylyl Methicone, Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Oryza Sativa (Rice) Germ Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Bacillus/Soybean Ferment Extract, Saccharum Officinarum (Sugarcane) Extract, Macrocystis Pyrifera (Kelp) Extract, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Fruit Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Monascus/Rice Ferment, Pentylene Glycol, Behenyl Alcohol, Poly C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Decyl Glucoside, Tromethamine, Carbomer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, 1,2-Hexanediol,Sodium Stearoyl Glutamate, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Ethylhexylglycerin, Adenosine, Xanthan Gum, Tocopherol, Lactobacillus/Rice Ferment, Aspergillus Ferment, Saccharomyces/Rice Ferment Filtrate.”
So, this is a long list, no doubt, with mainly an assortment of fermented plant extracts making up the bulk of the ingredients. Beauty of Joseon is marketed as an affordable hanbang line, so the addition of ginseng, green tea and fermented ingredients should not come as a surprise – it’s kind of their whole thing, you know. Korean beauty is also still very much dominated by probiotics as a universally added “panacea”, said to benefit a damaged skin barrier and keep your skin’s natural microbiome composition happy. I actually wrote about probiotics in skincare a while ago for Belle Kalista, so you can check that out if you need more information on this forever trending ingredient complex.
The main ingredient of the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics sunscreen is rice extract, another classic Asian beauty ingredient with a long history of being used to brighten skin and soften hair – the current rice water for hair craze on TikTok is an amusing retro trend for those of us who are old enough to remember first generation beauty gurus on YouTube such as Michelle Phan! Rice extract is rich in antioxidants, minerals, polysaccharides – humectant/water-grabbing sugar molecules – and omega fatty acids. It can help soften and nourish skin and is just an altogether beneficial skincare ingredient. Together with glycerin and sugarcane extract, it provides hydration and helps keep skin supple in the Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics sunscreen.
And now for the question that will most likely interest you the most: what sunscreen filters does the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun cream use, and how reliable are they? Well, I actually had to do some ingredient list deciphering, something that I, a humanities PhD without a science background am not always skilled at doing, because most INCI deciphering websites still only list the old version of this sunscreen. So, please kindly take this with a grain of salt, but – I did check the various to ingredients on INCI Decoder to, ahem, filter out the sunscreen filters, and from what I can gather, the Beauty of Joseon sunscreen uses four very reliable, modern sunscreen filters:
- Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate = Uvinul A Plus, a chemical filters that protects from UVA rays
- Ethylhexyl Triazone = Uvinul T 150, offers the highest protection from UVB filters known at this point in time
- Methylene Bis-benzotriazolyl Tetramethylbutylphenol = Tinosorb M, a hybrid sunscreen filter (so half physical, half chemical) that offers broad-spectrum protection (UVA + UVB)
- Diethylhexyl Butamido Triazone = Uvasorb HEB, a chemical filter that absorbs UVB and UVAII
As previously mentioned, this sunscreen was manufactured by sunscreen manufacturing giant Kolmar Korea, and this four-filter mix seems to be the standard for most of the new/post 2020 scandal made sunscreens, since the Round Lab Birch Sun Cream uses the same composition. The Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics is free from any drying alcohol or added fragrance, including no added essential oils. This is why I feel it could become the perfect Purito sunscreen replacement, given that so many of you want to avoid alcohol and fragrance, which is hard to find in sunscreen formulas.
The SPF rating of SPF50+ and PA++++ for the Beauty of Joseon sunscreen has been independently verified in Spain and Korea – I am, however, not sure if the tests were done in vitro only or if they also performed in vivo tests. I’ve actually messaged the brand and will edit in their reply here at a later date!
Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics – That Texture… Swoon!
I talked about what I look for in a sunscreen on this blog before, and it’s pretty straight forward I would say: a good sunscreen needs to reliably protect me from the sun and ideally have a pleasant, barely there texture, so that reapplication isn’t a total nightmare. Since I have combo skin, I also prefer lighter “essence” textures that resemble lotions or emulsions vs. heavier creams better suited for dryer skin. So, even though I overall did like the popular Round Lab Birch Juice Moisturizing Sun Cream and reviewed it favourably, I did find it just a tiny bit too rich – not enough to be a full negative, but it left me hoping for a slightly lighter “post 2020” sunscreen.
At first glance, the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics sunscreen seems pretty similar in texture to the Round Lab one: a light, milky cream texture, shared in fact by many Korean sunscreens currently on the market. It makes sense of course, given that Kolmar Korea now dominates the sunscreen manufacturing market, and presumably the base formulas for products in the same category will be kind of similar, adapted to the various brands’ needs, e.g. with added fermented goodness plus no added fragrance for Beauty of Joseon.
When applying the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics sunscreen to the skin, however, the texture feels quite different, more watery and lotion-like overall. It’s still a cream texture, not a gel, but feels light and airy, melting into skin without any residue or tacky feeling. I am reminded of the Klairs UV Essence, another victim of the sunscreen scandal.
The Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics sun cream doesn’t have a noticeable scent, including a lack of that weird “chemical” smell that fragrance-free products sometimes have. Compared to the Round Lab sunscreen, this is not as moisturising, so dry skin types may not find this formula satisfying enough. For my combo skin, however, this is just perfect! Thanks to its chemical filters, the sunscreen doesn’t have a white cast and feels just like a lightweight summer moisturiser. The finish is pretty neutral, neither shiny-dewy nor matte, it just leaves a healthy, very subtle glow. It’s exactly that “barely there” feel and finish that I consider ideal for my sun products.
I have only tested this under BB cream, concealer and powder, so I can’t say how the sunscreen would perform under heavier foundation, but it did play nicely with the base products I’ve used. It’s also easy to reapply precisely because the texture is so light and watery. The only thing I would say is that if you are out and about in strong sunlight for many hours, this might not cover enough, simply because with these types of watery emulsions we tend to use less sunscreen on our faces. Even with those trusty “three fingers” it tends to be difficult to build up a large amount of product. But, this goes for most of those lighter everyday sunscreens, which are often not meant to be used in more outdoorsy, prolonged sun exposure kind of settings, and I am not trying to imply that there is something “off” about the sun protection! With four sunscreen filters and a lab-tested SPF result, there is no need for any suspicion.
All in all, the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics cream has become my favourite new sunscreen, apart to the Make p:rem sun essence* that I keep raving about on social media. The texture is just perfect for anyone with combo, normal and oily skin, and for those who prefer a light emulsion or essence style sun product. With its fragrance- and alcohol-free formula, this would be an ideal replacement for the disgraced Purito sunscreen. I know Purito made a new sunscreen, but from what I hear it’s a pretty heavy texture, more suitable for dry and very dry skin. So, oily and combo peeps: this one is for you!
So, where can you purchase the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun : Rice + Probiotics sunscreen?
The 50ml tube is available at at Stylevana* for usually around $12 if on sale. You can also find this sunscreen on Amazon* for around $18, at Yesstyle* for currently also around $18, or at Stylekorean* for currently $14. And sometimes you can get lucky and get this on sale at Jolse* – always compare prices to get the best deal!
Olive Young Global* has a “1+1” set for a really good price too, currently at around $24, so only $12 per bottle (my code “SUGARPEACH10” will give you an additional 5% discount!).
Let me know in the comments: What’s your current go-to sunscreen? Has your trust in Korean sunscreens been lost or was it restored thanks to Round Lab, Beauty of Joseon and co.?
Take care guys, and stay safe – don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for all the latest K-Beauty and skincare news, and check out my other work, e.g. my 2022 K-beauty trend report!
*Affiliate Links, meaning I earn a small commission if you decide to use the link to purchase an item. This does not raise the purchase price for you, and it helps me and my blog to grow – so, thank you for supporting me in this way!!!
I receive a little bit of irritation when using this sunscreen any help why this is happening?
Could be any number of things, likely a personal sensitivity to any of the ingredients.
Hi, thanks so much for your detailed review. Is this sunscreen water/sweat resistant?
Hi! No it’s not, definitely not one for outdoor activities or if you sweat a lot!
Thanks so much for the info!
I just came across this blog while researching this suncreen. Wow I love all of the detailed information. Thank you so much !
Happy that I could help!
such a detailed comprehensive review. thanks so much!! i have definitely added it to my list of sunscreens-to-try
PS: i also enjoy your podcast and look forward to more episodes!
Thank you, I’m always so happy to hear people actually listen to and enjoy my podcast! As you know from my last episode, I struggle with whether or not it is “worth it” to continue making episodes. The sunscreen is really amazing, I think it’s going to be a new holy grail for many!
You are doing a lot of research and your pictures are really beautiful!
Thank you so so much! <3