Kelly Driscoll

Skincare going more than skin deep…

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Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence Review | Sunscreen or Essence?

What is the hardest skincare product for you to find?

For me it’s always been sunscreen. I’m picky, or should I say my sensitive skin is picky, and most sunscreens fail to pass my long checklist of requirements.

I require my sunscreens to: Not dry out my dehydrated skin, have no white cast, layer underneath makeup well, dry quickly, feel lightweight, not irritate my sensitive skin and be affordable.

To be honest, I just don’t even like taking chances on sunscreen or cheating on the one that works the best for me (Shiseido Senka Anti-Aging Sunscreen). But sometimes you gotta live dangerously.

Is it Sunscreen or an Essence?

Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence had me confused. Seriously; look at that name. Is it an essence with UV protection or a sunscreen…?

It’s a sunscreen. Klairs claims this product has the feel of an essence with the protection of a sunscreen. This is a chemical sunscreen that is free from any parabens, added fragrance, silicones or simple (i.e. drying) alcohols.

And this is definitely a sunscreen given its SPF 50 rating and PA++++. Now that’s one of the things I prefer to see in a sunscreen — an SPF of at least 50, and I prefer a PA++++ rating. SPF, as we know, measures the protection from UVB rays which are the rays that burn our skin. The PA rating protects us from the UVA rays, the rays that age our skin or that can cause cancer. The PA system measures protection in the form of +’s the more +’s the better the protection. Currently the PA rating system only goes up to ++++.

So this sunscreen has some powerful protection behind it!

But what about the “Essence” part?

Klairs claims this sunscreen is perfect for sensitive skin. With its water base and gel texture, the aim of this sunscreen is to feel as lightweight as a skincare essence.

As you may have noticed, this packaging looks very similar to the Klairs Freshly Juiced Vitamin C Drop and Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask. The Soft Airy UV Essence is meant to be a part of the Freshly Juiced line, which claims to help brighten up your skin tone.

This lightweight essence/sunscreen is meant to help brighten up and nourish your skin, just like a skincare essence might! Besides the the sunscreen ingredients in this formula, you will also find niacinamide, adenosine, panthenol, beta-gulcan and sea buckthorn oil.


So, Does it Feel Like a Hybrid Essence/Sunscreen?

It really does! The first time I tried this, I was sort of mindlessly slapping on my skincare layers quickly that morning because I was running late. The first moment I spread this sunscreen on my face, I all of a sudden perked up. Wait a minute! This sunscreen is super light on the skin, this feels almost like a thin, water packed gel.

That really got my attention the first time I used it. The next thing that got my attention was the fact that it dried down on my skin almost immediately. No wait time here; I could continue on with my makeup with hardly any time lost in waiting. This also doesn’t pill underneath makeup or create any odd texture.

Because it’s very thin and water based, it doesn’t have a white cast like some cream-type sunscreens. Which is good news for us Asian Beauty lovers of olive and darker skin tones.

This also never felt heavy or greasy. Some sunscreens fool you at first, making you think they aren’t like the others. But as the day goes on, they reveal themselves to be greasy slime balls that just want to disrupt your makeup and make you look shiny, not dewy!

Is it Good for Sensitive Skin?

Klairs is known for creating their products with sensitive skin in mind, but haven’t always delivered on that front, especially with their use of essential oils.

However, this sunscreen cause no issues for my sensitive skin.

And that’s a big deal, because sunscreen is the number one product that causes my skin the most grief.

As mentioned above, this sunscreen does not include any drying alcohols which is the number 1 ingredient that causes discomfort for my skin (dehydrated, sensitive). Simple alcohol is the ingredient that causes your skin to dry out at the end of the day and feel tight. But alcohol is also the ingredient that helps sunscreens dry down quickly so, it’s pretty common to find them on sunscreen ingredient lists.

I have also experienced immediate flushing of redness or a warming sensation from some sunscreens that have contained ingredients my skin did not like, and I’m more than happy to report I experience none of that with the Klairs sunscreen.

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Who Else is it Good For?

I would actually suggest this for all skin types. This is perfect for dry or dehydrated skin types because it’s not drying at all. I would also suggest this to oily and acne prone skin types as well, because it is so lightweight and doesn’t contain any acne-triggering ingredients.

I would especially recommend this sunscreen for anyone who hates wearing sunscreen! This simply doesn’t feel heavy, greasy or non-breathable. I can’t stress enough how much this sunscreen feels weightless on the skin.

Are There Any Negatives At All?

I would have to say that this sunscreen is a little pricier than I’m used to paying at $23. I find most of the sunscreens I’ve bought to be in the $12-$15 range, and the Klairs is slightly above that range. However, this just works, and sometimes it’s worth it to pay more for something that delivers.

But something else I realized about this product when it comes to price v.s. value is the size. Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence contains 80ml of product. If you’ve ever used any Asian sunscreen before, you have probably been frustrated with the minuscule size of the sunscreens.

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Here is an example of the Biore Perfect Face Milk coming in at 30ml and in that $12 price range. The Klairs sunscreen is nearly triple the size for less than double the cost.

So we know the slightly higher price tag is definitely worth it in the end.

So long story short, I think I found my new favorite, holy-grail sunscreen.

Buy on Wishtrend*


*Indicates use of affiliate links

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