2 Nov 2016

Comparison Review: Senka Mineral Pure vs. Essence vs. Perfect UV

My quest to find "the best sunscreen" has extended to Senka, a Japanese skincare brand under Shiseido that is targeting the general market. So far you can only find this line in Watsons Malaysia and maybe AEON Wellness if I am not mistaken. They are always on sales for somewhere around RM 25-40, and are on the "affordable sunscreen category" in the market. Apart from its Mineral UV line, Senka is also particularly well known for their Perfect Whip foaming cleanser.

My first Senka sunscreen was the white bottle Mineral Pure UV SPF27 PA++ that came as a free gift from my Tsubaki shampoo purchase. However, I didn't have a pleasant experience with that one as there was no expiry date printed on the bottle and the content had turned yellowish. I consulted Senka Malaysia via their official Facebook but they assured me that this is "normal" and that their product is good for 5 years. The same answer I got from Nature Republic Malaysia when I asked why the free gifts they gave me had already passed its expiry date - that "the expiry date only refers to the packaging not the product". Oh well, but since this is my face, I figured that it is better be safe than sorry so I didn't finish the bottle up, only use its several times and threw it away. Besides, I didn't like the Mineral Pure UV anyway. It had a weird yellowish texture and funky scent. It also itched my skin out for quite a bit.

My second Senka Mineral UV experience was much better with this Mineral Perfect UV SPF50 PA+++, although... I didn't like it till the end. It's pretty affordable at about RM 30 (USD 7-8), and is really light-weighted and moisturizing on the skin. But, since this is a sweat resistant sunscreen instilled with baby powder, it leaves a rather drying finish that I don't like. The texture of this sunscreen is similar to Missha Soft Finish Sun Milk, Hada Labo Air Aqua Daily Emulsion, and Nature Republic The First Sun Liquid. If you have tried any of these, you'll know what I mean. This sunscreen also feels rather plasticky and artificial compared to other ones from Innisfree, Kose and AMPM.

You can find the ingredients CosDNA analysis here. This sunscreen employs octinoxate, octocrylene, polysilicone-15, zinc dioxide, ensuizole, and uvinul A plus as the sun filters. Although not all of these are approved by the FDA, but they are seen in Asian and European sunscreen products. I guess Americans enjoy to bath in the sun so US has stricter regulations to protect their consumers from sun damage. Anyway, back to the point, although there isn't anything particularly bad here, but this may not be the best sunscreen formulation I've seen so far. It contains a hefty amount of emulsifiers, emollients and viscosity controllers. No nutritive ingredients are seen if you don't count orange oil which maybe just used here as a fragrance oil. This also carries talc and BHT, both of which are controversial skincare ingredients found to cause cancers in laboratory experiments. In short, I am not impressed by not too upset with the ingredients list either.

The last one would be the Senka Mineral Essence UV SPF50 PA++++ (4 pluses!) I started using 2 months ago. This particular one also won the Best Beauty Buys Women's Weekly 2014 award. It is unique in the sense that it is instilled with co-enzyme Q10 and has higher UVA  protection, making it a great choice for mature and aging skin. Although this is more moisturizing, it is actually pretty light-weighted compared to most other sunscreens I've tried.

This sunscreen, like the Mineral Perfect UV, is full of texture ingredients as well. Major sun filters used are octinoxate, polysilicone-15, octocrylene, tinosorb S, univul A plus and avobenzone. This doesn't have any physical sunscreen unlike the Mineral Perfect UV to give a lighter and more refreshing formula. There is no surprise to also see alcohol inside. There isn't anything too excited about this sunscreen, but it is not badly formulated. Definitely a decent one at its price. You can see the full CosDNA analysis here.


Since I didn't like the Mineral Pure UV (the white bottle), and didn't finish the bottle (I threw it away), so I won't talk about it a lot here. This comparison will mainly focus on the Mineral Perfect UV (the blue bottle) and Mineral Essence UV (the orange bottle).

Similarities of the Mineral Pure vs. Perfect vs. Essence UVs:
  • mineral sunscreen
  • water-based
  • doesn't leave any white cast
  • moisturizing
  • ideal as makeup base
  • can be removed with normal cleanser (no makeup remover is required)
  • light-weighted

Differences between the Mineral Pure vs. Perfect vs. Essence UVs:
  • sun protection ability: Essence > Perfect > Pure
  • Pure is suitable for sensitive and normal skin
  • Perfect is suitable for combination to oily skin
  • Essence is suitable for drier and aging skin
  • while the Perfect UV is sweat proof (NOT waterproof), the rest can be easily melted away so you must constantly reapply throughout the day


Apparently, my quest has failed this time. Out of all three sunscreens, the only one that I might consider repurchasing is the orange bottle. I don't like the powdery finish the blue one gives and has a bad experience with the white one. Even if I had better experience with the white bottle, the lower sun protection it offers also turns me off greatly. In short, I think I will still stick with my top 4 list - AMPM Sun Lotion, Kose Sekkisei Sun Protect Essence Gel, Biore Aqua Watery Essence and Hada Labo UV Perfect Gel and is not ready to add a 5th into my list.

Senka Mineral Perfect UV SPF50/PA+++ (the blue bottle)

packaging: ★★★
scent: ★★
texture: ★★★
ingredients: ★★☆
efficacy: ★★★
overall impression: ★★☆ (doesn't live up to my expectation)

Senka Mineral Essence UV SPF50/PA++++ (the orange bottle)
packaging: ★★★
scent: ★★☆
texture: ★★★☆
ingredients: ★★★
efficacy: ★★★☆
overall impression: ★★★☆ (quite good and I somehow enjoy it)

You can get this from: Watsons Malaysia | AEON Wellness
[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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