19 Jan 2016

Review: The Face Shop Aqua Sun Gel SPF40 PA+++

Hi peeps, I'm back with another sunscreen review again! This is my 4th or 5th sunscreen reviews, and I must say that, no matter how some of us might hate it, sunscreen remains an important part of our skincare routine. If you have to just use 1 product, you must always choose sunscreen. It guards you against sun damages that cause aging, hyper-pigmentation and all other skin problems that you don't want on your face.

Of course, finding the right sun protection factor (SPF, PA) are equally important as well. For Malaysian weather, I advise that you always look for something SPF30 and above with at least a PA of +++. If you work in the office, then a sunscreen of SPF30 PA++ is still acceptable as well.

The sunscreen that I'm gonna review today is the Natural Sun Eco Aqua Sun Gel from The Face Shop with a SPF of 40 and PA of +++. That's a high UVA and UVB protection.

The sunscreen. Doesn't it look beautiful and glory? It has that beautiful sunflower design that drives you to go outside and bath in the sun! Of course, you'll have to remember putting on your sunscreen before doing that though!

The sun gel has a nice packaging that comes in handy. You can carry it around in your bag without any burden. Simply reapply it every 6-8 hours or as required. 50ml is sufficient to last you for about 1-2 months. I used this alongside with my Hadalabo Perfect UV Gel so this sun gel has lasted me for about 2.5 months.

Most sunscreen has swirl top that will trap debris and leftover sunscreen but not this. Pretty clean as you can see after 1.5 months of use. Quite convenient to control the amount as well with the narrow yet not-too-small opening.

The only thing I didn't enjoy about this sunscreen would be the texture. As you can see, quite thick and creamy. Normally, you'll have to apply at least 1/4 tablespoon for maximum protection (otherwise, there's no difference between SPF15 and 40 if you just apply a tiny bit). But, with that texture, if you apply that much, you'll end up looking like Geisha or melted clay monster.

I apply this much everyday (1/4 tablespoon) and it will leave a slightly shiny and greasy finish on my face that lasts until lunch hour. I have normal skin, so imagine those with oily and combination skin.

The sunscreen promises purified extract of sunflower sprouts, natural moisturizing factors and no animal sourced ingredients.


A sun gel full of moisture that absorbs fast into the skin with coolness. Applies softly with quick absorption through skin without stickiness and blocks UV rays.


Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Alcohol Denat, Cyclopentasiloxane, Isoamyl P-Methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl Salicylate, Phenylbenzimidazole Sulfonic Acid, Polyglyceryl-6 Stearate, Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane, Ethylhexyl Methoxycrylene, Dipropylene Glycol, Tromethamine, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Panthenol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polyglyceryl-6 Behenate, Xanthan Gum, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Sprout Extract, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Acrylates/Vinyl Isodecanoate Crosspolymer, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Sodium Polyacrylate, Sodium Hydroxide, Trisodium EDTA, Mehtyl PCA, Sodium PCA, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance

{sunscreen ingredients, problematic ingredients, good ingredients}


This sunscreen contains a lot of sunscreen ingredients. Octinoxate, amiloxate, octisalate, and ensuizole all offer good UVB protection, although I normally don't see sunscreen using so much of UVB actives. This would be good for those who want to stay in the sun but don't want to get tanned. They might just be used to boost the SPF to 40, for marketing purposes? I don't know.

As for UVA, this sunscreen uses avobenzone and ethyhexyl methoxycrylene to stabilize avobenzone. Might not be the greatest for those who are worried about chemical filters, but still acceptable for those with normal non-problematic skin like myself.

A word of caution though, the ensuizole used here is rated moderately hazardous by the Cosmetic Database, citing cancer concerns and cellular level changes. It's also thought to induce DNA stand breaks upon exposure to sunlight. The maximum dosage of ensuizole used in sunscreen is up to 4% in the USA and 8% in the Europe. Visit here for more details.

In addition to the amount of UVB actives being used here, I also notice a lot of film-forming agents, thickening agents, emollients and a lack of humectants and good ingredients. Some examples of these viscosity-increasing ingredients would be polyglyceryl-3 methylglucose distearate, xanthan gum, acrylates/vinyl isodecanoate crosspolymer, acrylates C10-30 alkyl acrylate crosspolymer, sodium polyacrylate. All these, I think, are unnecessarily added into this sunscreen to give it a rich and creamy texture. Since you'll need to apply at least 1/4 tablespoon, why not make it lighter and easier to be absorbed? Or did I get the wrong impression about "aqua sun gel"? I thought aqua sun gel should possess the second lightest texture after those meant for sebum-controlling? This sunscreen clearly isn't light-weighted.

The only extract used here is sunflower seed oil, which is a great antioxidant, moisturizer and anti-inflammatory. Although I expect something more, but only having sunflower seed oil is still OK for me because it only claims to contain sunflower extract anyway.

Packaging ★★★★
Texture ★
Ingredients ★★★
Scent ★★★



In short, a decent sunscreen with a wide spectrum sun protection of UVA and UVB. The packaging and all looks gorgeous and beautiful and you'll definitely be attracted. It also smells like sunflower, with hints of normal sunscreen smell. This is a pure chemical filters sunscreen without any physical filters like titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide, which might not be ideal for those with sensitive skin, is pregnant or is in a surgical condition. You don't want to have too many chemical filters in your bloodstream during those. Other than that, it should be fine.

I personally feel that this sunscreen uses an unnecessary amount of thickeners and film-forming agents to increase its viscosity. I definitely prefer my sunscreen to be lighter since I'll need to use at least 1/4 tablespoon amount.

Although I do not quite enjoy the texture of this sunscreen, I don't hate it either. It's still a decent sunscreen offering decent sun protection. The texture is unpleasant but bearable. It would ideal for those with dry to very dry skin types as well, but maybe not the greatest for those with oily to combination skin.

You can get this from: The Face Shop Malaysia / Koreadepart / TesterKorea
[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Product is purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.

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