Chanel UV Essentiel Broad Spectrum SPF 50 Review

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Jan 052015

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Once upon a time, one of my favorite sunscreens was discontinued. You might remember it–this was the former Chanel UV Essentiel. I remember the beautiful, elegant primer-like finish. It seemed to protect my skin from harsh sun, and seemed to consistently minimize dark spots even though it wasn’t advertised to do so. I remember the last time I ordered a back-up, although maybe it wasn’t necessary because it was a “permanent” product.  By the time that I learned it was discontinued, it was too late to order another.

Chanel old UV essentielLife moves on. Today, Chanel has a new permanent sunscreen, the Chanel UV Essential Broad Spectrum SPF 50 ($55 /1.0 oz.). This is available at all Chanel sources, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and Chanel offers UV Essential in SPF 20 and SPF 30 as well.

Chanel UV Essential02As with the prior version, you have to shake, shake, shake the new Chanel UV Essential prior to application. The rectangular package is perfect for doing so, and it’s beautifully lightweight, shatterproof and packable.

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This new version feels more lightweight than the former.  It applies with a slight white sheerness, which disappears in a bit. It dries quickly and is so light that it’s easy to forget that I’m wearing it. I experienced no pore-clogging, or other adverse effects. Note that I do have a very thorough days-end routine that involves an oil cleanser and a Clarisonic.

Chanel UV Essential11I’ve just come back from a week in the Caribbean, and am happy to report that I did not pick up any significant color when wearing this daily. Note: I did wear a visor in direct sun because we are getting pretty close to the equator there. Still, the Caribbean.


According to the line, “Its UV filters block UVA and UVB rays, free radicals and urban pollution, responsible for hyperpigmentation (dark spots) and photoaging, to ensure external protection of the skin.” Like the former version, Chanel UV Essential SPF 50 is cosmetically elegant and plays very well with all of the foundations that I’ve tried over it.

Chanel UV Essential13As you know, I wear sunscreen rain, snow, clouds, or shine. After wearing this new Chanel for the past three weeks, I’m prepared to declare it a winner for me.  It is similar to its discontinued predecessor, although it feels lighter and sheerer. The packaging shape has changed a bit, but not in any significant way.

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Chanel UV Esstential SPF 50 is available at all Chanel sources, including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, Bloomingdales, and

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More ingredients:

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Jun 292012

I’ve been wearing two sunscreens this year, so I thought I would do a comparison between them. The vast majority of my days I wear Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50 ($52/ 1 oz.). This is my second bottle, so I’m very familiar with the product. This sunscreen is a cosmetically elegant, hard-working, and high-protection product. It’s a perfect size to tuck into my purse, and I usually have one in there.

Chanel UV Essential SPF 50 feels slightly moisturizing as it goes on, and it dries down fairly quickly (about a minute or two). It acts as a nice buffer between my skin and my foundation. Generally, it works very well for a day where I’m in the office most of the time, or running a few errands.  I notice that I pick up far less color from sun exposure when I do re-apply it just before leaving for the day (Chanel recommends re-application every 2 hours).

 Chanel UV Essential SPF 50 uses active ingredients of  Octinoxate 7.5% Titanium Dioxide 2%, Zinc Oxide 17.1%. Using this sunscreen table, we can see that the first ingredient Octinoxate is a chemical sunscreen, and the last two (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) are physical sunscreens. This combination allows Chanel to provide a broad spectrum of protection for both UVA and UVB rays. According to Chanel, there are other skin care ingredients as well, “free-radical and anti-pollution shield with a Vitamin E derivative and plant extracts empowers this oil-free, lightweight formula to safeguard skin against environmental pollutants. Licorice Root Extract and a highly effective combination of UVA and UVB filters help diminish and prevent the appearance of dark spots and signs of premature aging.”  I’ve had no breakouts, clogged pores, or cosmetic concerns wearing this. It looks fabulous under foundation, and it is very good to my skin.

However, if I’m going to be out in the sun for several hours, I’ll use Institut Esthederm’s No Sun. This is a French line that prides itself on innovative chemistry. I purchased this on my second day in Paris, and I’ve been wearing it during my long afternoon walks (along with a visor) to protect my skin from the sun. This is a complete block against any sun reaching one’s skin, and I don’t get a hint of color when I apply it properly.

This is not a cosmetically elegant product, compared to Chanel UV Essentiel SPF 50. It comes out as a thick white goo. When I first apply it, it looks like I’ve streaked, well, white goo all over my face. It takes about 20 minutes for the white color to fade, and even then it doesn’t fade entirely. It seems to create pores when I never had them before. I wear Nars Tinted Moisturizer over it, which helps immensely to make my skin look very close to human again.

The reason that I love this product is that it means exactly what it says–“No Sun.” According to Institut Esthederm, “the effects of the sun are blocked. Skin is protected and can be exposed without tanning in any sun conditions.” I get absolutely no color wearing this. At all.

Also, I get no breakouts or clogged pores, which really surprised me. I remove this with an oil cleanser and a thorough cleaning with a Clarisonic brush, sometimes followed by a toner. Still, the heaviness of this had me concerned. In fact, my skin is left feeling quite soft and good after I remove this at the end of the day.

Typical of Institut Esthederm, the ingredient list is a bit hard to understand: Anti-dehydrating complex, 
UV Incellum Technology.  
Internal protection: High definition hydrolysed proteins, Nucleotides of natural origin, Tocotrienol, Creatine, Vitamin complex, 18-β-glycyrrhetinic acid 
 External protection: Combination of filters and screens, Cellular Water, Water, ATP, Carnosine, mineral salts.

I’m going to add some random sunscreen advice here:

  • First, don’t go without sunscreen just because you think you’ll break out. If you have really oily skin, Elta MD Clear  SPF 46 is a great sunscreen that is designed to keep your skin clear while you are wearing it. No excuses, now, this is important.
  • Some women don’t seem to want to re-apply this once their makeup is done for the day. I’m less concerned about driving home with a perfect face. When I’m at work, I have makeup remover wipes, my sunscreen, and my Nars Tinted Moisturizer ready to go. I just reapply everything and don’t worry about finishing powder & blush on the way home (or I’ll bring a Nars Multiple, which is super easy to swipe on). If I’m not at work, I just re-apply the sunscreen over what I’m already wearing. I’m not sure if this is the “right” way to handle it, but to me sun protection is too important to skip.


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