10/10 Recommend

Shiseido's Clear Sunscreen Stick Was My Vacation Skin Care Savior

I always keep it in my purse now.

I love traveling — but under no circumstances will I check my luggage. Ever. That dedication to the carry-on life means that I need to pack lightly and leave most of my beloved skin care products at home. (Not that I mind; I’d rather be sipping spicy margaritas on the beach than slathering on serums when I’m on vacation anyway.) One essential that always makes the cut is a solid sunscreen.

For a recent trip to Tulum, I picked the Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50 to toss into my bag of toiletries. My skin tends to be on the drier side, so the SPF’s moisturizing benefits were definitely appealing. I’m also pretty picky about sunscreens since chalky formulas leave a purple-ish gray film on my complexion. Another thing to note: I burn very, very easily. Any bit of my face and neck that I miss with sun protection turns tomato red within 15 minutes.

A sunscreen that’s completely clear, hydrating, and smaller than 3.4 ounces? I thought it sounded too good to be true, too, but Shiseido’s Clear Sunscreen Stick truly impressed me and is now one of my go-to essentials.

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Fast Facts

  • Price: $29
  • Best For: On-the-go sun protection for all skin types
  • Your rating: 4.5/5
  • Brand: Shiseido
  • What we like: Invisible on all skin tones; allows for easy reapplications; travel-friendly; oxybenzone free
  • What we don't like: Could potentially look too shiny on oilier skin types

The Shiseido Clear Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

To say that Shiseido isn’t new to creating skin care would be a massive understatement. The Japanese brand is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and launched its first sun care product all the way back in 1923. Its modern-day formulations are now among some of the top-selling sunscreens on the shelves.

The Clear Sunscreen Stick, a chemical SPF, can be used on both your face and neck for broad-spectrum sun protection — given the small, travel-friendly size, it’s not practical to use it on other areas of the body.

The Science

Shiseido’s SPF was created using a combination of WetForce and HeatForce, two of the brand’s proprietary technologies. The former involves the inclusion of negative ions within the formula which are attracted to the positively-charged ions in water and perspiration. The result? Instead of being washed away instantly by the ocean or sweat, the sunscreen becomes “activated” by them and stays water-resistant for 80 minutes. The HeatForce technology refers to an essence in the formula that becomes activated by the sun or your body heat and increases the UV protection.

My First Impression

I swipe a few layers on before applying makeup, distribute the product with my hands, then wait a few moments before continuing with my beauty routine. The finish is crystal clear (a major reason why it’s one of Shiseido’s best-sellers) and shiny at first — but my dry skin absorbs the extra hydration from the mineral and castor oils, making me look dewy rather than greasy.

I’m not usually bothered by seeing fragrance on a skin care product’s ingredient list, but the scent-adverse should note that it does indeed contain it. It’s not the typical coconut-y sunscreen smell, though. It’s subtle and after a while, I find that it’s barely noticeable.

Is Shiseido’s Clear Sunscreen Stick Worth It?

As mentioned, Shiseido’s sunscreens fall within the “prestige” sector of the beauty market, and a higher price point inevitably comes along with that. You’re getting less than an ounce of product for $29 here; if you need a daily sunscreen for head-to-toe usage, you’ll get more bang for your buck with another one of the brand’s larger-sized offerings. If you’re already an SPF devotee, but terrible at remembering to reapply, this definitely helps in the touch-up department.

I’ve lost track of the amount of times that I’ve been out-and-about for longer than expected, felt my skin start to burn, and then sighed with relief after unzipping my bag and seeing it stashed inside. Shiseido’s sunscreen has saved my neck — literally — and will most definitely be accompanying me on any future travels.