The world of K-beauty seems to be hitting it out of the park recently! There used to be a time when you had to look to the world of J-beauty to get your high coverage, cosmetically elegant sunscreens. Sure, Korean sunscreens were still light years ahead of their western counterparts, but they were still a step or two behind their Japanese cousins.
With the PA rating being upgraded to the maximum ++++’s in Korea in the last few years and an obvious deep desire to capture the sunscreen hearts of K-beauty enthusiasts, Korean skincare has really leveled up their game.
Two of the shiniest stars to come out in the last few years of rapid Korean sunscreen growth are Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence and Purito Centella Green Level Safe Sun.
We can agree they are both great and well-loved sunscreens, but which one is better? Or better yet, which one is right for you?
I think it’s time for another skincare showdown!
The Warm Up: Claims
A sunscreen that protects sensitive skin from UV light while also helping to brighten dull skin with the use of vitamins.
Recommended for those who want light and non-sticky sunscreens, do not want a white cast and who want to reapply their sunscreen over their makeup.
A sunscreen that claims to address the main drawbacks of conventional chemical sunscreens like irritation, sore eyes and white cast.
Recommended for those who want a moisturizing sunscreen that works underneath makeup and doesn’t dry out the skin.
Round 1: UV Filters and Notable Ingredients
Water (Aqua), Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Butylene Glycol, Dibutyl Adipate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, 1,2-Hexanediol, Glycerin, Niacinamide, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Silica, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Panthenol, Beta-Glucan, Disodium EDTA, Citrus Junos Fruit Extract, Adenosine, Sodium Hyaluornate, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin, Tocopherol, Allantoin, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil
Filters: Chemical UV filters Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus) and Ethylhexyl Triazone (Uvinul T 150). These are new generation chemical filters that are both incredibly photo-stable and offer high UVA and UVB protection. In fact, ethylhexyl triazone is the chemical UV filter that gives the highest photo-stable absorption of UVB rays of any of the filters available.
Beneficial ingredients: Niacinamide, adenosine, panthenol, beta-glucan, allantoin, glycerin, sodium hyaluronate and vitamin E.
Questionable ingredients: Orange oil, used here for fragrance, can be a culprit for skin sensitivity. Chamomile Oil is known to soothe skin but could also be a potential skin sensitizer.
Water, Butylene Glycol, Glycerin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Dibutyl Adipate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, 1,2-Hexanediol, Niacinamide, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Polyglyceryl-3 Methylglucose Distearate, Silica, Cetearyl Olivate, Cetearyl Alcohol, Centella Asiatica Extract, Hyaluronic Acid, Tocopherol, Sorbitan Olivate, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Sorbitan Stearate, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Adenosine, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Caprylyl Glycol, Ethylhexylglycerin
Filters: (Same as Klairs!) Chemical UV filters Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (Uvinul A Plus) and Ethylhexyl Triazone (Uvinul T 150). These are new generation chemical filters that are both incredibly photo-stable and offer high UVA and UVB protection. In fact, ethylhexyl triazone is the chemical UV filter that gives the highest photo-stable absorption of UVB rays of any of the filters available.
Beneficial Ingredients: Centella, vitamin E, Niacinamide, adenosine, glycerin, hyaluronic acid. A few less skin soothers than the Klairs but additional antioxidant protection coming from the centella. I’ll also point out that the antioxidants (tocopherol, aka vitamin E and centella asiatica) are found in the middle of the ingredients list, indicating they are found in higher amounts in this sunscreen than the Klairs.
Antioxidants help protect our skin from UV damage and can help prevent future UV damage from occurring. It’s a powerful ally to UV filters in sunscreen.
Questionable ingredients: Lavender oil, used for fragrance, is well known to cause skin sensitivity in some individuals. Chamomile Oil is known to soothe skin but could also be a potential skin sensitizer.
Winner: It’s a draw in my opinion! Both have amazing things going for them; Klairs has tons of skin soothing ingredients and Purito has fantastic antioxidant protection. But both have two red flags with their respective use of essential oils.
Round 2: Texture and White Cast
Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence is a cream/gel hybrid texture that applies to the skin like an essence (part of the reason for the confusing name). It spreads across the skin quickly, easily and turns into a transparent and thin layer. This has a hydrating feeling on the skin and does not feel dry or tight. You can easily apply makeup on top of this with minimal wait time.
This feels completely weightless on the skin and you could easily forget that you applied it because you just can’t really feel it on your skin!
There is no white cast to be detected with this sunscreen.
Very light citrus/floral scent that disappears on application.
Finish is a touch dewy (NOT shinny).
Purito Centella Green Level Safe Sun is a very light cream texture that feels very watery when spread across the skin. Much like the Klairs, it turns transparent as you spread it on. This works perfectly underneath makeup and if I had to nit-pick I’d say it takes about 1 minute longer to dry down than Klairs.
This has a totally weightless feel on the skin as well.
This has no detectable white cast.
Scent is a medium-strength lavender smell, which does dissipate on application after about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
Finish is neutral, neither dewy nor matte.
Winner: It’s a photo finish but I think the Klairs edges slightly ahead with the lighter fragrance.
Round 3: Price and Size
80ml/2.7oz retails for $23 (occasionally drops to $20 on Wishtrend*)
60ml/2oz retails for $18 (routinely on sale for about $13 on YesStyle*)
Winner: Although you get slightly less product, the Purito is a better deal especially with generous sale prices.
Round 4: My Thoughts
I struggle to pick one that I like better between these two! These are easily my top, holy-grail sunscreens and the ones that I reach for the most. That being said, there are a few differences I’ve noticed:
My skin type changes with the seasons, dry in winter and combo/oily in the summer. I find the Klairs has a tendency to make my skin a little more oily in the middle of the afternoon when my skin type is combo/oily but doesn’t seem to affect my skin when it’s dry. Whereas the Purito keeps its neutral finish throughout the day no matter what my skin type wants to be. Both reapply without pilling, on bare skin and over makeup.
The scent of the Purito, as noted before, is definitely noticeable. I wouldn’t go so far as to say strong but those who prefer fragrance-free (even natural) skincare will not appreciate the lavender scent. Those familiar with the Purito buffet serum will be able to imagine the scent level.
Price is a big factor since the Purito is routinely on sale for about $13, which is a killer price for such a high quality sunscreen. Klairs is rarely deeply discounted and usually sticks around the $20 mark, which makes this a slight splurge for me.
And the Winner is…
Ugh, it’s Sophie’s Choice! I’d say the Klairs is probably most appropriate for dry and dehydrated skin types due to its moisturizing feel and slightly dewy finish, although I don’t think it excludes those who are a little more oily. Just know you have the potential be a little more dewy/shiny after a few hours.
Purito is great for those with oilier skin types although due to its hydrating feeling, dehydrated and dry skin types will also love this. The good amount of centella in this can make it a good choice for those that suffer from acne (just make sure you aren’t sensitive to lavender oil).
So I guess the winner is up to you and what you are looking for in your sunscreens!
Where to Buy
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