The low-cost dupe for Chanel UV ESSENTIEL Daily Multi-Protection Facial Sunscreen SPF50+
UPDATE: I first wrote this post back in 2015, and, since then it seems my beloved Chanel UV ESSENTIEL SPF50 Facial Sunscreen. That’s the bad news. The good news is that I’ve managed to track down a fantastic – and much cheaper! – dupe for it instead. I’ve left the text of the original post below, just in case the Chanel version ever makes a return to the beauty counters, but, just in case it doesn’t, here are some here’s what you need…
The best dupe for Chanel UV ESSENTIEL Daily Multi-Protection Facial Sunscreen SPF50+ is…
Beauty Pie Super Healthy Skin™ FeatherLight UVA/UVB SPF 50 Sunscreen with Primer
This product is almost an exact dupe for the Chanel version — so much so that, even if the Chanel was still available, I’d probably go with Beauty Pie instead, purely because of the price difference. The one downside to this is that you’ll have to be a Beauty Pie member in order to buy this stuff, but trust me, it’s worth it – I’m on something like my 5th tube now, and it’s so good I can wear it every day, without feeling like my skin’s being caked in sunscreen – result!
A few weeks ago I talked a bit about how a good sunscreen is worth its weight in gold (which is almost how much this one cost, funnily enough!), so today I thought I’d show you the product I’m using at the moment, which is Chanel’s UV Essentiel Daily UV Care in SPF50+.
Now, it would be wrong of me to suggest that anyone should base their sunscreen choices on which bottle will look best on their new dressing table, so I’ll just gloss over how nice the white bottle is (I mean, I DIDN’T pick it because it looks nice, but let’s face it, it doesn’t hurt, right? I mean, if you have a few different choices in front of you, and they’re all basically the same in terms of price and quality, you’re going to pick the one with the prettiest bottle, aren’t you? Or is that just me? I’ll shut up now), and say that the REAL reason I bought it is because, as I said in my ‘Makeup Tips for Redheads‘ post, ever since my Lancome Genifique Soleil was discontinued (Story of my life, right?), I’ve been looking for a facial sunscreen to replace it. Could Chanel UV ESSENTIEL SPf50 be the one?
Now, at the moment, both my current foundation and day cream contain SPF 18 or more, which is great (If I ruled the world, ALL products for the face would contain sunscreen), but if I’m going to be outdoors for longer than usual, or spending time in very strong sunlight, I like a bit more protection than that, which is where the problems start. Most of the drugstore brands I’ve tried have been of the thick, gloopy variety – the kind that stops you from burning, but which does it by basically turning your face into an oil slick, and making you look like a ghost. I honestly wouldn’t have thought it was possible for me to be any paler, but give me some gloopy sunscreen, and call me Caspar – until midday at least, by which point all of my makeup will have slid down my face. Then you can call me ‘Girl Without a Face’, because that’s what I look like without makeup, and with a thick layer of white cream covering my features.
So, not a fan of thick sunscreen then, is what I’m saying, which is why I now turn to slightly higher-end brands, who seem to be more likely to make high SPF sunscreen which has the consistency of moisturiser, rather than the consistency of glue.
Which brings me (at last) to Chanel UV ESSENTIEL SPF50.
This DOESN’T have the consistency of glue, I’m pleased to report. No, this is more like the consistency of water. That’s not a good thing, unfortunately. Imagine picking up a bottle of water, tipping some of it onto the palm of your hand, then attempting to apply it to your face, making sure you don’t miss a bit. Not easy, is it?
Now imagine that the bottle of water cost you £40.
Not cheap either, is it?
Trying out Chanel UV ESSENTIEL SPF50
The first time I tried this, I tipped it up, and it spilled all over my dressing table – THAT’S how runny it is. I mean, it’s not QUITE the consistency of water, but it’s way, WAY runnier than I’d expect a moisturiser/ sunscreen to be, which makes it really hard to apply it without spilling some. At first I hoped that it had just gotten shaken up in transit or something, and would go back to “normal”, but nope: it’s still exactly the same, and I actually have to put tissues down on my dressing table every time I use it, to catch the inevitable spillage. This alone is the reason I deducted marks from its final score (Which you can see at the bottom of the post, by the way: nifty, huh?), because, other than that, I don’t have any complaints. This is a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays and, as promised in the product description which lured me in, it does have a “silky finish” which “provides a perfect canvas for makeup application”. Well, as “perfect” a canvas as my skin EVER provides, anyway.
Most importantly for me, the product is absorbed quickly, and, unlike so many other sunscreens I’ve tried, doesn’t leave a greasy, shiny residue behind. In fact, it really does feel much more like a moisturiser than a sunscreen, so you can apply it, then use your makeup on top as usual, without feeling like your suffocating your own skin, by wearing a mask made of grease. Oh, and it smells nice, too, although not overpoweringly so: most sunscreens I’ve used in the past have such a strong scent that it just takes one whiff off it to transport me back to whatever holiday destination I last used it in. That’s not always a bad thing, obviously, but when it’s a product I’m using every day I don’t want it to be over-powering my perfume.
So, Chanel UV Essnetiel SPf50 is a decent sunscreen (I mean, I haven’t gotten sunburnt while I’ve been using it, so that’s good. We haven’t had much sun, mind you, so there IS that…), and it fulfils most of my criteria. Unfortunately, however, the runny consistency is a bit of a deal-breaker for me, and is the only reason I probably won’t buy it again: I don’t like feeling like I’m wasting such an expensive product by it dribbling onto the floor every time I try to apply it, so while I like the fact that it’s thin enough to absorb quickly, I think it needs to be just a little bit thicker, to make it easier to use. Of course, there’s always a chance that I just got a randomly runny tube of it, or am being even clumsier than usual when I use it, but I’m probably not going to risk another £40 to find out for sure.
It IS a nice-looking bottle, though: can’t take that away from it.