The best J-beauty tone-up sunscreen I've ever tried | Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence Review

Sunday 10 March 2024

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence

I bet you know the brand Nivea, but do you know that European sunscreens from Nivea are very different from ones sold in Japan? I wanted to test it on my own, that's why last year I ordered Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence - a new tone-up sunscreen released by Nivea in 2023. Is it better than what we have in Europe and the US? 

What's UV? 

UV stands for Ultraviolet, it's nothing else than the selected range of frequencies of the electromagnetic spectrum. UV rays are not visible to humans but it doesn't mean that they don't exist. Each type of UV - UVA, UVB and UVC has different wavelengths and different properties.     

UVA, UVB and UVC - what does each of them do and where you can meet them?  

I'm sure you know about UVA and UVB but UVC or the difference between UVA2 and UVA1? Let's start from the shortest wavelengths - UVC (100nm - 280nm) exist in space and is absorbed by the ozone layer, it can kill bacteria that's why on Earth you can find it in germicidal lamps - you might ask me, but these lamps are usually visible to a human - it's because they are made in a way that makes them safe for you and other people - you shouldn't enter the room when the UV lamp is on and make people aware that the lamp is on we add other substances so the lamp has a blue/purple colour when it's on. This technology is used for example at labs and hospitals. We all remember UVB (280nm –315nm) because it is said that B in UVB stands for BURN. Indeed, this UV length is responsible for sunburns, but it also helps with the synthesis of Vitamin D - a vitamin which we all need because lack of it can lead to osteoporosis. UVB is focused on the epidermis aka the outer layer of the skin while UVA (315nm –400nm) can penetrate through the epidermis and dermis so it penetrates your skin deeper. A in its name stands for Aging. The bad news is that UVA can penetrate glass, and both UVA and UVB cause lots of damage including skin cancer and oxidative stress.    

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence

Should I wear sunscreen at home?  

We already know that UVA penetrates through the glass so do we need to use sunscreen at home? Yes, especially if you spend lots of time working near the window then it's better to put on a layer of sunscreen in the morning and have any type of protection at home as well. But you can also use window films to reduce the risk. The choice is left to you, what I do is keep my blinds on the window during the entire morning and when the sun is not that intense because my windows are situated on the Eastern side the light usually starts to fade afternoon - usually by afternoon I already have sunscreen on, few times reapplied.     

What's the difference between mineral and chemical sunscreen? 

It depends on which side we look at this topic. Mineral sunscreens are sunscreens that don't contain any carbon atoms - this automatically makes them inorganic sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens contain carbon atoms, which makes them organic substances. The main difference is that mineral sunscreen usually leaves a white cast, and it's better if we use both Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide for a broad spectrum of UV protection. Chemical sunscreens don't leave a white cast, and they have more sophisticated formulas. Both are amazing, in some cases, PIH (hyperpigmentation), mineral sunscreens, and natural pigments can make a good layer of protection from UV rays.     

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence

About Nivea  

Is there anyone who doesn't know Nivea? But still, let's go back straight to 1882 when Paul Carl Beiersdorf on March 28 patented the medical-coated plaster (called Guttaperchapflastermulle), but eight years later Oskar Troplowitz took over the company. With help from Dr Isaac Lifsch├╝tz - a chemist, and Prof. Paul Gerson Unna - a dermatologist, Dr Oskar Troplowitz invents Eucerit - an emulsifier typical for Nivea products. The Eucerin brand name came from the name of this emulsifier. In 1911 Nivea released the most popular moisturizer you can ever hear of - Nivea Cream. My grandma to this day keeps all meaningful things to her in a huge Nivea metal box. The blue-white aesthetic is not a new thing, but it's not the first design of Nivea, this design was used in 1925. During the IIWW the brand got through many challenges, but in 1950 Nivea and Beiersdorf started to regain popularity and work hard on new products like Nivea Ultra-Oil to protect the skin from the sun, and Nivea Milk - a body lotion. Since then brand created lines such as Nivea Baby, Nivea Men and many innovative products. The brand had a great marketing strategy to focus on regular people in the older days, but in 2019 the brand went through some controversies related to marketing. It's nothing unusual, I feel like controversies around marketing are a normal thing because we live in times when an advertisement has to be focused on different elements and different groups of society. Let's change the topic for a while, do you know what Nivea means? The word 'Nix' means snow, but 'Niveus' means white like snow, and it's not a racist slogan, but the texture of the cream is white like snow.   

Nivea in Japan  

The majority of websites suggest that Nivea started to produce products for the Japanese market in 1971, while Japanese Wikipedia says it was in 1968. Nivea started to manufacture and sell products in Japan by Nivea Kao. Yes, in Japan Nivea is not fully owned by Beiersdoft, it's a joint venture between Beiersdorf and Kao. The formulas of sunscreens in Japan and Europe sold by Nivea are totally different.   

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence - Packaging  

Japanese brands always surprise me with the idea of packaging, since while in other countries we can see the trend of paper or recycled paper packaging, Japan is using paper and plastic. The tube itself is made out of very soft plastic - easy to use, I enjoyed it.    

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence - Texture & Scent  

It's a tone-up essence so the texture is like a lightweight lavender cream. It has a rose scent, it's not too heavy but I believe some people might not like it.   

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence - Ingredients  

Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Alcohol, Butylene Glycol, Trehalose, Caprylyl Methicone, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Isopropyl Palmitate, Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride, Titanium Dioxide, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Polysilicone-15, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein, Leontopodium Alpinum Flower/​Leaf Extract, Pyrus Cydonia (Quince) Seed Extract, Glycerin, Phytosteryl/​Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate, Polymethylsilsesquioxane, Acrylates/​C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Lauroyl Lysine, Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose Stearoxy Ether, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, C30-45 Alkyl Methicone, C30-45 Olefin, Barium Sulfate, Iron Oxides, Aluminum Hydroxide, Dimethicone, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Hydroxide, BHT, Methylparaben, Fragrance, Ci 41599, Ci 17200 

Water hides in cosmetic products under names such as Aqua or Eau. It's a solvent, but it's not your regular drinking water. Water in skin care needs to fit some standards. It should be clean and free from minerals, microorganisms or other substances. Usually, water makes up the majority of the content of the product. Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate or Octinoxate is a sunscreen agent. It protects your skin from UVB radiation (280-320 nm), but it has its peak at 310nm. It's a common ingredient in waterproof sunscreens. Alcohol is an immense topic in skincare. Alcohol can be good or bad for your skin, but sometimes the amount makes a poison. Alcohol, after all, is a prominent solvent. It makes active substances penetrate the skin deeper. This effect has its cost - the skin is getting a bit irritated. Some substances can be dissolved only in alcohol. This ingredient has antibacterial properties. It works as a preservative by preventing microorganisms from growing in the product. It has some awful sides too - it can dry your skin, mainly if we use it in large amounts. Sensitive skin is not a fan of this ingredient. Butylene Glycol is a common ingredient in products. It's not only a solvent. We use butylene glycol because it helps with the penetration of active ingredients, protects products from drying and moisturizes skin and hair. This ingredient can prevent hair loss and make your hair stronger. Trehalose is a disaccharide. We all know that sugar is awesome for the skin. What does it do? Trehalose similar to other sugars has water-binding properties. Trehalose kinda acts like NMF (Natural Moisturizing Factor). Caprylyl Methicone is an alkylmethyl silicone and emollient. It has a waxy texture, and it makes the product easier to apply. It works great with natural ingredients and pigment. It's a volatile silicone so you don't have to worry - it disappeared almost right after application. Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate or Uvinul A Plus is a sun-protecting agent. It covers the UVA range (320-400 nm), and its peak of protection is 354 nm. Isopropyl Palmitate is a dry emollient that doesn't have any scent. It prevents skin from TEWL (transepidermal water loss). Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride is a combination of coconut oil and glycerin. It's a notable emollient, quite common in skincare. It leaves a protective film on the surface of the epidermis to save your cutis from dehydration. Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride has a significant role in skin care products - it makes the application process effortless. Some people might experience pore-clogging after using Caprylic/​Capric Triglyceride but pore-clogging and skin reactions to ingredients are individual. What works for you might not work for someone else. 

Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891) is a mineral (or physical) sunscreen agent. It protects your skin from UVB and UVA II radiation and might cover some lower waves in the UVA I spectrum. It has a typical white colour visible on the skin, unless it's a nano version then this white tint might not be visible at all. This ingredient has a second task - it works as a pigment. Titanium Dioxide works perfectly for skin that needs visible protection like skin with melasma, nice that white pigment works as a barrier or protective film on the skin. It has one additional task, it makes products stay fresh a bit longer. Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine is quite a hard name to remember, that's why you can find people talking about this ingredient by calling it Tinosorb S. It's one of the newer types of sunscreen agents and one of the strongest ones. It's a chemical sunscreen that protects skin from UVA (315-400 nm) & UVB (280-315 nm), and its peak is high. It's a stable sunscreen that works with other sun-protecting substances to protect their early photodegradation. Diisopropyl Sebacate is an emollient common in sunscreens since it helps create a nice formula, it's also common in lip products. Ethylhexyl Triazone or Uvinul T 150 is a sun-protecting agent. It covers the UVB range (280-320nm). Its peak is at 314 nm. Polysilicone-15 might sound like a normal ingredient, but the other name of this ingredient is Parsol SLX. You're right! It's a sun-protecting ingredient. It protects your skin from UVB radiation (290-320 nm) and its peak is around 310 nm. It makes a great pair with Avobenzone. It's quite common in hair care products. Silica Dimethyl Silylate is an emulsifier and thickener. It's a silicone polymer that prevents skin and hair from dehydration by creating a film. It works well with pigment. Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract is a source of flavonoids and saponins. It's an antibacterial ingredient with anti-inflammatory properties. Pyrus Cydonia (Quince) Seed Extract is a soothing extract with moisturizing properties. It's a source of polysaccharides like arabinose. Glycerin or Glycerol is a humectant. Its origin can be natural or synthetic - depending on the product. It protects TEWL (transepidermal water loss) and naturally occurs in the skin. It's one of the NMFs - natural moisturizing factors. It's practical in hair care. Glycerin won't clog your skin or irritate it just the opposite - it protects your skin from irritation. Phytosteryl/​Octyldodecyl Lauroyl Glutamate is an emollient. Polymethylsilsesquioxane is a silicone that protects your skin from dehydration by creating a film on the surface of the skin. Silicones have a positive meaning to your skin - they make products easier to spread, make the formula more elegant and even protect skin and hair. 

Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer is a synthetic polymer and quite a large molecule. It works as a thickener and emulsion stabiliser. Lauroyl Lysine helps create the texture. It makes hair and skin soft. Acne-prone skin might not enjoy it. Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose Stearoxy Ether is a thickener. Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine is an emulsifier with moisturizing properties. C30-45 Alkyl Methicone makes skin soft in touch. It's mostly used in makeup and sunscreens. Barium Sulfate or CI 77120 is a pigment. It protects the skin since it's an ingredient that works like a barrier between skin and light. It brightens the skin and it can mask the imperfections. It might work in sunscreens as a stabilizer. Three different pigments might hide under the name Iron Oxides. Meet a trio made out of three different pigments: Ci 77491, Ci 77492 and Ci 77499. Red, yellow and black are the colours used to match our skin shade. Aluminum Hydroxide or CI 77002 is a white pigment and emollient. It's used in antiperspirants since it absorbs sweat and sebum. It's also a coating ingredient for UV-protecting ingredients. Dimethicone is a silicone and polymer. Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that lots of people try to demonize. The truth is that Phenoxyethanol is gentle on the skin, and has antiseptic properties. Sodium Hydroxide is a pH adjuster. BHT or Butylated Hydroxy Toluene is quite a controversial ingredient. This synthetic substance is an antioxidant and preservative - in skincare up to 0,1% in a product. You don't have to be scared of this preservative. According to CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review), it's a safe ingredient. Methylparaben is a preservative. It's an ingredient that protects the product from bacteria and microbes. It can be derived from grapefruit seeds. It's an ingredient you don't have to be scared of, but during pregnancy, it's better to avoid it. Fragrance (Parfum) is a scent composition. It can cause allergic reactions. CI 17200 or Red 33 is a blue red pigment.   

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence

How does Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence work?  

There are two things you should know about me - I don't have good experience with Japanese sunscreens, and so far tone-up creams didn't work well on my skin. Even if tone-up sunscreens like Skin Aqua matched my skin, the formula itself didn't work with my skin. I was a bit worried that Nivea might have the same problem because this formula contains alcohol.   

Let's start with texture. This sunscreen is very lightweight and easy to spread, even if it can take a while. At first, I was a bit sceptic that it might not provide good protection, but I was wrong. I love this delicate rose/purple tint, but I thought it was not as visible as it can be on darker skin. I'm not joking, I do spot notice the difference sometimes, but I believe the darker your skin is, the more visible this product is on the skin. We have to remember that the Japanese market has different needs than the EU or US. Lots of products in Japan have brightening or even skin-whitening properties, and it's deeply related to culture. It's common to see in countries like Japan or Korea women using UV-protecting clothes or umbrellas during summer. When you buy tone-up creams in Japan, expect that you might look like a ghost in it, because many of them have pink, purple or green undertone to brighten the skin and cover redness. Some women wear tone-up sunscreens instead of foundations during summer. So keep in mind that this product is not for everyone, but the positive thing is that there's also a regular, non-tone-up version.  

It reflects the light and makes the skin tone more even. You can even spot some shine or "glitter" on the texture photo. No, it's not a highlighter, it's Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence. This sunscreen contains Hydrolyzed Conchiolin Protein. It's an ingredient derived from Pearl. Nivea uses its 3-Dimension Film technology to ensure that sweat or water won't remove the product easily and that every micro part of our skin is protected including wrinkles. The film created on the skin is supposed to move right with our skin and wrinkles, and I strongly believe that a reflective layer not only provides sun protection but also makes wrinkles less visible.   

This is a product recommended for people with pigmentation, and the main target group are women above 30. Although, Nivea itself (or I should say Beiersdorf) have a great patent on ingredients that inhibit tyrosinase - I'm talking about Thiamidol. You won't see this ingredient here, but Nivea in Japan is not worse, the brand has its own solutions in the local market that are also innovative.  

Although it contains alcohol, it doesn't make my skin dry or it doesn't sting my eyes. I usually have bad experiences with alcohol in cosmetics, especially sunscreens. This ingredient is popular in Japanese sunscreens.  

Does it leave marks on clothes? I didn't see that, but even if this sunscreen protects from UVA & UVB. It's a broad-spectrum sunscreen with waterproof features. It's even recommended for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Still, I would recommend reapplying it a few times per day. I enjoy this sunscreen, and I even consider repurchasing it. It was released in 2023 and I believe the brand didn't upgrade the formula this year.  

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence

Where to get Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence, and how much does it cost?  

I bought Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Tone-up Essence* on YesStyle*, at the moment it costs $10.64. The regular price is around $15. You can use my referral code BETWEENDOTS to save 2-5% on your YesStyle order.   

Overall, it was a great experience, and my faith in Japanese sunscreens was restored. Let me know if you've tried this sunscreen before.



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