Have you ever put on a sunscreen so bad that you panic and cleanse it all off with just minutes left before you have to leave the house in the morning? I have, and I really want to talk about it. So without further ado, let’s discuss Missha’s All Around Safe Block “Mild Sun” SPF 30 PA++!
The product featured in this post was provided to me for an upcoming off-blog project, but deserves a post of its own, so here we are.
Missha All Around Safe Block Mild Sun SPF 30 PA++ Review
I’m sometimes asked about my recommendations for sunscreens containing only mineral filters (aka inorganic filters or “physical” filters). Since my skin doesn’t have a problem with organic/”chemical” filters, my mineral sunscreen knowledge is limited. This particular 100% physical sunscreen makes me glad I can use chemical sunscreens.
Purpose: Missha All Around Safe Block Mild Sun SPF 30 PA++ is a sunscreen product with adequate UVB and moderate UVA protection capabilities.
Best suited for: Sensitive skin that can’t tolerate organic/”chemical” UV filters; very fair skin; Japanese horror movie ghost cosplay.
Do not use if: Your skin is sensitive to stearic acid, fatty alcohols like cetearyl alcohol, or anything else in the ingredients list; your skin tone is deeper than about a MAC NW(-15)*; one of your beauty goals is to look like a living person.
*Not, as far as I know, a real shade.
When and how to use: As the last step in your morning skincare routine before makeup, squeeze out a generous amount of product. Spread over face and pat gently with fingers, cushion puff, or silicone makeup blender to distribute evenly. Let dry. Freak out, wash off, and redo with a different sunscreen. Sorry, you probably won’t have time for your makeup after all that.
Missha All Around Safe Block Mild Sun SPF 30 PA++ ingredients: Water, caprylic/capric triglyceride, zinc oxide, titanium dioxide (CI 77891), butylene glycol, cetearyl alcohol, 1,2-hexanediol, coco-glucoside, hydroxyethyl acrylate/sodium acryloyldimethyl taurate copolymer, squalane, C20-22 alkyl phosphate, C20-22 alcohols, aluminum hydroxide, stearic acid, polysorbate 60, hydrogen dimethicone, xanthan gum
CosDNA analysis (ingredients not added by me, but double checked against the package for accuracy)
Notable ingredients: This sunscreen uses the inorganic/mineral filters zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. These are fine for UVB protection (indicated by the SPF rating) but tend to be weaker than organic/”chemical” filters for UVA protection. Mineral filters also commonly cause a white cast in real life and flashback in photos, so watch out if you plan to pose for any flash photography while using this.
Despite these weaknesses, however, physical sunscreens are the only kind that some complexions can handle, so it’s worth it to give them a shot.
Out of the tube, Missha Safe Block Mild Sun SPF 30 PA++ is a thick but non-greasy white cream. It’s unfragranced and doesn’t smell like anything in particular to me–no characteristic sunscreen smell. It spreads fairly smoothly and isn’t difficult to even out with a bit of patting.
Based on these initial positive observations, good reviews I’ve read of Missha sunscreens, and the relatively low protection of this product compared to other sunscreens I’ve used, I had high hopes for the cosmetic elegance of this product.
In general, the higher the SPF and PA rating, the harder it is to make a sunscreen product cosmetically elegant. Between strong UV protection and a pleasant and wearable finish, something often has to give. Usually I find that lower-protection sunscreens are easier to use than high-protection ones, especially in the generous amounts needed to achieve the maximum labeled protection. Max protection is important to me because I use photosensitizing actives and am engaged in active warfare with the aging process.
Sunscreen UV protection ratings are tested using product applications of 2mg/cm2 of skin, which works out to quite a lot: 1/4 tsp for face alone, give or take a bit based on how much smaller or larger your face may be than the large male face used to come to that 1/4 tsp guideline. Use less than that amount, and your protection drops dramatically. Yes, it’s arguable whether anyone neeeeeeds the full SPF and PA on the label, but better safe than sun-damaged is the motto of my thirties.
Point being that I am not a person who’s comfortable using a tiny little delicate pea-sized dab of sunscreen to cover my face. And that is why Missha Safe Block Mild Sun SPF 30 PA++ didn’t work out for me. This is a sunscreen that, for me, pretty much could only be wearable if far less is used than is recommended. Actually, I’m shocked at how cosmetically inelegant this sunscreen is. It’s only SPF 30 and PA++. It really has no excuse. I mean look at this.
The Safe Block Mild Sun SPF 30 PA++ goes on very white at first, but I wasn’t bothered. Many sunscreens look like this when applied but lose their white cast as they dry down.
Not this one, unfortunately.
It’s gray. It’s just GRAY. It’s intensely gray!
At the bare minimum amount of product I feel comfortable using on my face, the gray cast is so intense that not even makeup covers it up. I should know. I tried to correct my surprise Sadako face with some fairly full-coverage base makeup, but the gray cast came right through.
That’s when I panicked and, at 9:15 in the morning on a school day, with my son waiting for me to finish getting ready, double cleansed my face and frantically slapped on a different sunscreen. There’s no way I could go out in public like that. It’s not that I’m too vain, but that I’m considerate of those around me, particularly children, and I don’t want to cause any more nightmares than I already do.
I’ve been using the rest of this tube up on the tops of my feet where the finish doesn’t matter. The All Around Safe Block Mild Sun SPF 30 PA++ does have its good points–it’s neither greasy nor drying on my skin and stays put fairly well. It’s too bad the strong gray cast makes it pretty much unusable for me on face, neck, and chest.
Final note: The box says that this sunscreen “can be washed off by single step of face wash.” Ehhh. I tested this with a few of my cleansers. It actually does come off easily with my pH 10(!!!) Swanicoco Fermentation Bacillus Deep Cleansing face wash, but left plenty of residue after trials with all of my lower-pH, more skin-friendly cleansers. I’d stick to cleansing oil + gentle low pH cleanser with this one despite what the instructions say.
Conclusions: The Missha All Around Safe Block Mild Sun SPF 30 PA++ sunscreen made me feel sorry for my friends who can only use mineral filters. Experiences like mine are common with physical-only sunscreens: my friend Cat at Snow White and the Asian Pear suffered similarly at the hands of a different product recently. I’m still open to trying other mineral sunscreens, but this one definitely goes in the “not recommended” pile.
Rating: 1.5/5, literally unusable when used as recommended
1 – This should be taken off the market, or this failed at its one primary job.
2 – Caused me some problems or doesn’t work very well; would not buy again.
3 – Meh. Neither great nor bad.
4 – Pretty good. Would buy again unless I find something better.
5 – I’ll never be in the market for a replacement unless this one is discontinued.
Are you sick of wondering whether you’re using enough sunscreen every day? If my friend Angela of Beauty and the Cat has her way, soon measuring and eyeballing blobs of product could be a thing of the past, thanks to Angela’s Sun Pearls concept.
Colloquially known as Angela’s balls, Sun Pearls are individually dosed balls of sunscreen designed to ensure that you always use enough protection. I’m a huge supporter of Angela’s balls–you can read my original post on the topic here. You can also check out the latest news on the project over on Beauty and the Cat. There are more sunscreen reviews, tips, tricks, and hacks on Instagram at the #nutsforballs hashtag. Check them out and help get Angela’s balls into sunscreen fanatics’ hands!
You can also browse my Sunscreen category for some sunscreens I actually like.