Oh hai, PA++++ sunscreen made by a Western brand! *heart-eyes emoji* Murad City Skin Age Defense SPF 50 PA++++ sunscreen was released last spring and I was immediately drawn by the PA rating.
PA ratings are almost unheard of for American sunscreens. In the U.S., PA labeling isn’t required, widely understood, or regulated, so naturally companies have no incentive to advertise PA ratings, much less formulate for the highest rating. But for us Asian beauty fans and serious skincare addicts, we know that PA++++ is preferable for preventing tanning and sunspots from UVA exposure.
I had high hopes for this all-physical sunscreen (2.7% titanium dioxide, 10% zinc oxide) because it claimed to leave no white cast, but the title of this post–Orange Is the New White–should serve as ominous foreshadowing.
Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++ Mineral Sunscreen Review
Murad says this “works well on all skin tones.” “Soft peach tint.” “No ashy residue unlike other mineral sunscreens.” My skeptical mind continued to open up as I read review after review praising the absence of a white cast. (There were all of, like, 5 reviews at the time I bought it, but still. It’s very highly rated (4.8-stars) with 53 reviews now on Sephora btw.)
So I took the plunge and dropped $65 for a bottle. A tiny 1.7 oz./50 ml bottle!
The sunscreen dispenses as a cushy gel-lotion with a light peach color (shake well!). The consistency is reminiscent of Solanoveil Watery Gel (reviewed here) in how it feels very slick and primer-like going on the skin–perhaps just slightly more cushiony than Solanoveil. It sets to a moist and satiny finish (not shiny). Makeup applies well on top, and skin doesn’t dry out. Overall, very cosmetically elegant–a pleasant surprise for a physical filter-only sunscreen.
So what’s the catch? White cast! On my light skin (NC20 in the summer), it lightened my skin tone about 1/2 a shade. Subtle but noticeable (especially around the hairline). On Bella Noir Beauty‘s dark skin, it was straight-up ashy.
Normally, I would use it up anyway because my foundation disguises the white cast. But this was $65 freakin’ dollars. Back to Sephora this went! I can get essentially the same finish with Solanoveil (~$10 on Amazon/eBay and no white cast).
I’m not just disappointed. I’m annoyed. While I appreciate that brands are trying to develop sunscreens for all skin tones–a particular challenge when using only physical filters–I do NOT appreciate advertising something as suitable for all skin tones when it’s plainly not. It’s as if Murad didn’t bother to test this on anyone darker than fair.
Pros: Smooth, cushy consistency. Moist, satin finish. Not drying. Minimal white cast. No white cast if used in small amounts (way less than 1/4 tsp).
Cons: *sigh* White cast when used in proper amounts (1/4 tsp), even on NC20 skin.
Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF 50 PA++++ Mineral Sunscreen Ingredients
Pasted from Murad’s website:
Titanium Dioxide 2.7%, Zinc Oxide 10.0%
Water (Aqua), Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone, Glycerin, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Argania Spinosa Kernel Oil, Tocopheryl Acetate, Polyurethane-35, Polyglyceryl-3 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Extract, Xanthophyll, Retinyl Palmitate, Ascorbic Acid, Bisabolol, Hydrolyzed Jojoba Esters, Urea, Yeast Amino Acids, Trehalose, Inositol, Taurine, Betaine, Biosaccharide Gum-4, Hydroxyphenyl Propamidobenzoic Acid, Silica, Tapioca Starch, Sucrose, Pentylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone/PEG-10/15 Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Lauryl PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, PEG-8 Dimethicone, Octyldodecanol, Sodium Propoxyhydroxypropyl Thiosulfate Silica, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Hexyl Dimethicone, Aluminum Hydroxide, PEG/PPG-18/18 Dimethicone, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Phenoxyethanol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Iron Oxides (CI 77491)