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Disclaimer: this review contains PR samplesº and affiliate links*! It’s not easy trying to find the perfect everyday sunscreen, but the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence with SPF50+ and PA++++ might just be it for me. Find out why I’m so in love with this water-based sun essence from Wishtrend!
IMPORTANT UPDATE (January 2021): Recently there has been doubt cast on the efficacy of this suncreen and it was re-tested to determine its SPF value. From what I have heard, the SPF value was determined to be 28 and not 50+ like expected. So, bear that in mind when reading this article, which was written in 2018, long before the sunscreen re-tests were taken. As of now, Klairs has taken this sunscreen off the market, though it is sometimes still available from some resellers.
Guys, why is it so damn hard to find a good sunscreen?! I mean, even my beloved Kicho Ultra Moisturizing Sun Cream,* which is basically perfect in every way, loses points due to being very pricey indeed. Given that we all need to apply and even re-apply sunscreen all day, every day, in order to avoid premature ageing thanks to sun damage, the ideal sunscreen should not break our bank accounts now, should it?
Enter (with flourishes and alarums!) the brand new Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence°, which boasts an SPF of 50+, as well as the highest PA rating possible, quadruple plus. It also happens to hold a whopping 80ml instead of the usual 50ml, which makes it very budget-friendly. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves – first, the basics…
Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+: the Basics
The Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence is a water-based sunscreen with a gel-lotion type texture. It uses two sunscreen filters, “Ethylhexyl Triazone”, also known as “Uvinul T 150”, which absorbs UVB radiation, and “Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate”, also known as “Uvinul A Plus”, which absorbs UVA radiation. Both are, as far as I could find out, considered safe and reliable sunscreen filters.
Here is the full list of ingredients for the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+ PA++++:
“Water (Aqua), Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Butylene Glycol, Dibutyl Adipate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Silica, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Panthenol, Beta-Glucan, Disodium EDTA, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Adenosine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Allantoin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil.”
So, I have some good news and some bad news for those of you who try to avoid both alcohol and fragrance in your skincare: the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence is alcohol-free, which is a rare find when it comes to Asian sunscreens, but it does contain some fragrant essential oils, namely orange peel oil and chamomille flower oil. Otherwise, the list is quite a nice read, with hydrating ingredients such as beta glucan, as well as skin texture improving niacinamide and adenosine.
The Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence is “vegan friendly”, which is always a bit of a weird label since it can literally mean anything. I mean, a company can be “friendly” towards vegans, but that doesn’t really help said vegans to determine if a product is cruelty-free. However, Klairs is indeed rated as a cruelty-free company, so vegans should be fine supporting them.
Klairs advertises this water-based sun essence as suitable for everyday use, with “zero white cast” claims. It is said to be fast-absorbing, lightweight and suitable for sensitive skin. Now, when it comes to that latter claim, I just want to say that in case of fragrance sensitivities, this would not be a suitable option, but otherwise, the ingredients list really does seem quite promising for sensitive skin sufferers.
Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+: Why It’s the Perfect Everyday Sunscreen!
So, Klairs really didn’t overpromise when it comes to their claims for the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence! I’ve been testing this sunscreen out now for a good month I would say, and I’m super happy with it! Firstly, It has a beautiful texture: since it is water-based, it doesn’t have that annoying greasy feel to it that many sunscreens have. I also do appreciate that it’s alcohol-free! Even though I’m ok with a bit of ethanol in my skincare, I find that especially Japanese sunscreens just seem drenched in that stuff, which does tend to dry out my skin. This is the first water-based sunscreen from Asia that I have found which isn’t just a runny, overly alcoholic mess!
Even though this is called an “essence”, it isn’t quite as watery and liquid as, say, the Missha Soft Finish Sun Milk* (which I do really like as well, though it doesn’t play too nicely with BB creams and foundations). The texture is more like a lotion, soft and creamy. It reminds me of the Missha Safe Block Essence,* actually (so maybe “essence” is the right way to describe it after all, hmmm)!
Once you apply the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence to your skin, it melts into a fast-absorbing, milky texture, which leaves absolutely no residue or stickiness – a true miracle for a sunscreen product!
Now, if you are dark-skinned you may want to double-check with someone who has your skin tone, but at least for me, this really is free from any white cast. It basically just feels like a normal, very nicely moisturising gel-cream, so much so that I at first was almost suspicious if it even was a sunscreen. But, yes, it does protect you from harmful sun rays, without being annoyingly sticky, greasy, or leaving you looking like a ghost. Really awesome!
And, guys – it even works well under my makeup. So far, I haven’t had any issues with pilling underneath my foundations or my BB creams and cushions. The only cushion product where I’ve had a bit of a problem is with the Missha Tension Pact,* but that one tends to “reject” quite a few creams, for whatever reason, and I usually need to use my trusty J.One Jelly Primer* underneath it to avoid any caking.
Now, the only slightly “off” thing for me about the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence is its scent – this seems to be a general problem with me and Klairs products: I usually love them, but don’t like the scent very much. They tend to use citrus essential oils mixed with herbal oils to create somewhat strange fragrance mixes, and this sunscreen is no exception. It took me a while to determine what it actually smells like; it’s definitely herbal, with the orange oil not really hitting my nose much at all.
Finally, when studying the ingredient list, it dawned on me what it smells like, and why I’m not a fan of the fragrance: it’s the chamomile oil! See, when German children are sick with a bad stomach flu or a cold, their parents usually feed them a “sickness diet” of salted crackers and chamomile tea. Thus, the smell of chamomile invariably reminds me of being sick in bed, with an upset stomach and nothing but dry crackers to eat. So, yeah – not the most pleasant aroma for me personally, though I guess that’s hardly Klair’s fault!
Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+: the Bottom Line
I have come to deeply love the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence, and consider this lightweight, water-based, alcohol-free, zero white cast sunscreen perfect for everyday use. Since it contains a whopping 80ml in a giant tub, at a price point of roughly 24$, it is a great budget choice as well given the high quality of the product.
My skin really likes this simple, moisturising sunscreen, and so far I haven’t had any issues with breakouts or similar skin troubles. It dissolves well with a simple oil cleanser such as my all-time fave, the Heimish All Clean Cleansing Balm.* If you are still looking for a simple, straight-forward moisturising, not too rich sunscreen for everyday use, then I can definitely recommend the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence. As long as you use a moisturising cream underneath this, it is suitable for dry skin, although I would say that it works best for oilier and oily combo skin types like mine. Just be warned about the slightly odd herbal scent – not my favourite, as with most of the Klairs products.
You can buy the Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+ at Wishtrend* for 23.99$, though it is currently out of stock there. Yesstyle* also sells this, but again, it’s currently out of stock. Make sure to check back soon, I’m certain that Klairs will stock up soon!
Interested in more sunscreen reviews? Read my English review of the Althea Petal Sunaway suncreen!
Let me know in the comments: What’s your opinion on daily sun protection? Do you have a favourite everyday sunscreen? Don’t forget to check out my latest K-beauty podcast episode!
Take care guys!
°PR Sample, kindly provided by Wishtrend for review purposes – I am not obligated to write this blog review, and my opinions are entirely my own.
*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!