You know when you’re in a foreign country only for a few days and want to pick up a few skincare souvenirs? But the stress of it all makes you not fully read the label and only when you’re at home do you realize your mistake.
That’s me. I like to take my time. Research. Do at least a few visits before I purchase. However, during my seven days visit to Malaysia earlier this year, I only managed two trips to Watsons. One to get a feel of the assortment and prices. The second, right before our departure, to purchase. I had a budget in mind and had only about RM125 left to spend, and this is what I got. Which I kind of regret. 🙄
Two posts published just a day apart? Who am I? Consider this a one-time thing. Apparently, I had too much to say about these purchases to squeeze it into an IG-post. 😅
Allie Milk UV Ex
Cost: 97 rm/60 ml @ Watsons
Before my trip, I did research on sunscreen brands to get if I don’t find any to bring with me. Allie popped up having impressive protection in a self-conducted sun exposure experiment. And apparently, Allie is one of the best-selling sunscreen brands in Japan and is part of Kanebo cosmetics. I had not heard of the brand prior to my trip, so excuse my ignorance.
Their best selling is their Gel UV Ex. However, I much prefer a fluid texture. Therefore I had my eyes set on the Milk UV, generalizing that it also was completely chemical filter-based. So you can imagine my surprise and regret when I came home, and read the inci-list more closely, to find it’s 100% physical filter-based. 😑 Nowhere on their site or the packaging did they disclaim it. Not only that, but it’s also the only one that is not water resistant – which it says in very small text on the packaging!
Although it promises no white residue and is one of the better I’ve tried, on my olive-yellowish complexion, it always shows through. Even when people say there’s no white tint, it always is on me. Had I known, I would’ve gone with the Gel UV Ex or saved my money and picked up something from Bioré or Senka. Anessa is also one of the sunscreen brands in the test that performed well. But just like Allie, the price is on the higher end.
Performance & Texture
Despite my disappointment with it leaving a slight white cast on me, the formula is one of the best I’ve tried. Upon application the cast is severe, but after a minute or two spent massaging it in and left alone, it tones down a bit. If you have a pale white complexion, I’d say the cast becomes nearly non-existing. On my skin, it’s more like something looks off but you can’t really tell I have something on… Fortunately, it gives you the perfect base for makeup! So with a little correction, it doesn’t look too bad and I can walk in public confidently. But overall, I would’ve preferred no white cast.
Containing hyaluronic acid, it actually feels quite hydrating and leaves my skin with a moist feeling. I can’t see myself liking it in hot and humid Malaysia, but in Swedish winter it’s much appreciated. It reminds me a lot of the ACO Face Fluid which is also hydrating and leaves a minor white cast. The only differences are that the Allie Milk UV has a lighter texture and ACO Face Fluid leaves a matte-touch finish and is completely chemical-based,
You get 60ml which is a quite generous amount considering most face sunscreens in Europe come in either 30-50ml. With its size, it’s perfect to even use on your body. Just be mindful that this one’s not water or sweat-resistant. It definitely leaves white streaks when in contact with fluids. However, I found that it’s very easy to wash off with only a foaming cleanser. Oh, and it has a mild fruity fragrance. Nothing too disturbing.
With all of this said, I will stress that the cast is quite minimal. It’s just a personal preference that I have, where I rather have my sunscreen to be completely transparent or have a slight tint that offsets any ready-for-my-casket greyish hue. For instance, this might not be the sunscreen for those with a beard. I might gift it to my mom who has a lighter complexion. I also think she’d appreciate the sticky and hydrating finish more as her skin is drier than mine. But overall, the Allie Milk UV Ex has a beautiful texture and finish. The finish is not matte but not too glowy either. More like a natural radiant glow.
It’s worth adding that – after having a look at other fluid-based sunscreens from Asian brands – fluid seems to generally equal a sunscreen with physical UV filters. So a note of caution when deciding to get an Asian sunscreen, get the gel! Unless it’s a physical sunscreen you’re after.
Hada Labo Premium Hydrating Lotion
Cost: 13.90 rm/30 ml @ Watsons
The second thing I threw in was a travel size of the Hada Labo Premium Hydrating Lotion that I’ve seen many talk about on youtube. I felt a bit forced and as if I would regret not getting at least something from Hada Labo. The Allie sunscreen wasn’t exactly cheap I would say, so it didn’t leave a lot of room on my tight budget. I was originally interested in getting something from their Aging Care Goku-jyun Alpha line of products, especially for my mom. But the Watson I visited did not carry this line in store. Therefore I settled to get one of the hyped-up Lotions. The full-size Lotions weren’t expensive, but seeing these 30 ml travel-sized bottles I thought what a great way to test it out! At RM 13.90 per piece, I could get one for me and one for my mother.
I don’t know where my head was, but in the stress of it all, I somehow managed to overlook the plain and clear text on the packaging saying it contains hydrolyzed collagen. However, in my defense, there’s no mention of this if you look at the inci-list online at both Watsons and Shopee. So there seems to be a version without it. 🤔 This is a good reminder to always check the label on the packaging! Still, it’s disappointing that you can’t always be sure of which version is circulating online or in-store.
Now, I have my gray areas when it comes to what I consider vegan-friendly ingredients. However, collagen is not one of them and is easily avoided. And isn’t collagen too big of a molecule to do any good on the skin anyway? Either way, had I had more time and not been stressed about buying things, I would’ve stretched my budget and gotten the Hada Labo Kouji Treatment Essence instead – which looked far more interesting to me. And perhaps picked up something else for my mother.
Performance & Texture
Hada Labo offers a wide variety of their best-selling hydrating lotion. I recommend checking out this video to learn all about the different types and which one would suit your skin the best. Their Premium Hydrating Lotion is aimed towards dry/dehydrated and mature skin. Their regular original Hydrating Lotion (which comes in two versions) has a more simplified ingredient list and is formulated with 4 different types of hyaluronic acids. While the Premium Lotion is formulated with a whopping 7 types of HA’s!
The texture of it is like a liquid gel, which I much prefer over a watery toner consistency. It’s easy to dispense and I find that I don’t need much to spread over my face. There is a slightly tacky moisturized feeling on the skin for a minute or two before drying and sinking in. It doesn’t feel heavy at all on my normal to dry skin. It’s like most gel-type hydrating serums.
I find that it definitely plumps my skin and can replace my regular hydrating serum. But sometimes I do layer on top as this doesn’t contain much or any antioxidants as it’s mostly pure hydration. Although the little travel size only contains 30 ml, I’m only halfway through after a month or two of almost daily use.
Personally, I haven’t felt any major difference in my skin to feel like I’d miss it in my routine once I’ve finished it. It’s nice, but a little “meh”. Had the brand been more readily available, I might’ve considered repurchasing some of their other lotions. But at this moment, I just don’t find it a necessity in my routine. And more HA’s doesn’t mean it’s better. I quite find that the serum I’m currently using, from Gilda Liljeblad, gives me the same hydration plus there are added antioxidants. I’m at a point where I rather spend money on something more well-rounded than a single ingredient.
To be frank, I’ve never really been excited by Hada Labo’s lotions. But while in Malaysia, I felt like I should give it a try considering it’s easy to find and cheap. But I’m honestly still beating myself up for not getting the Kouji Treatment Essence. It’s one of the products that sell for more than double the price online of what you’d pay for it at Watsons in Malaysia! 🤦🏻♀️ Not to mention that rice extract and brightening excites me more than hydration. The hydrating lotions aren’t too far off price-wise online and are far easier to get your hands on.
If you love the lotions or it excites you, you should definitely get them while in Malaysia or visiting parts of Asia. But if you an HA lotion doesn’t excite you, definitely go with something else from the brand.