Reviewing the Missha Cotton sunscreen

By Kate Limond
04/06/2024 | Read time: 5m

What to expect with a tone-up sunscreen

Before I say anything else, let me make it clear that the Missha All Round Safe Block Cotton Sun is intended to be pale.

If you haven’t used a tone-up product before, it’s something that has pigmentation which is designed to temporarily even out your skin tone.

Some of these are clearer but have pinky tints, like the Heimish Artless Glow Base and give a glowy effect rather than a colour change effect.

This Missha sunscreen contains zinc oxide which is distinctly white.

The zinc oxide is great for evening out pale skin tones and that’s why it’s a tone up sunscreen. However, if you don’t have paler skin, it will give you a white cast when used in the correct amount.

On my pale skin, it performs as advertised: it evens out my skin tone extremely well so my usual redness ends up just looking like a delicate blusher. Two products for the price of one!


Whilst it is still moisturiser texture, it’s not super fluid like the Beauty of Joseon Relief Sun Rice + Probiotics.

It’s thicker than the Beauty of Joseon and spreads differently – it’s not hard to spread it but when you apply it, it stays where you put it!

I find this quite useful because it means it’s totally obvious where I’ve applied it.

This is important to me if I’m going to get more sun exposure than usual and it makes reapplication on the go easier because I’m not rubbing it in for longer like I would for a more fluid texture.


Whilst it’s mattifying, it still gives a natural finish, rather than making your skin dry looking.

What is particularly interesting is that I don’t find it drying during the day, despite the fact that it’s mattifying.

I do notice that I am happy to do my routine at the end of the day and get some serious moisture back into my skin, but I suspect this is from being out all day in the sun rather than the sunscreen being drying in and of itself.

Giving this sunscreen the name “cotton” makes a lot of sense because whilst it doesn’t reduce my lit-from-within glow, the finish is soft, matte and particularly dewy. If you’re looking for that glass-skin dewy finish, you may want to try something else.

However, it’s not to say you won’t ever get a slightly dewy finish with it: if you use enough products that are heavily moisturising or have multiple products with silicones and propranediol, you may get a dewy finish. Or at least I did!

It smooth fine lines, which is always a big plus. The only downside with the filling in of my fine lines is that it will collect in the lines by the end of the day.

It’s not an issue for reapplying during the day when the UV is high but once the UV level has dropped, of course, I don’t need to reapply and that’s when I notice it start to settle in the lines.

I haven’t tried this yet but I bet applying loose powder would fix it – just like it tends to help even out foundation.

Sometimes I use different sunscreens for my face and neck, but for a tone-up sunscreen, you may want to use the same one across your face and neck.

I find if I’m reducing the redness on my face with a product, I need to do the same for my neck and chest, as that area is also prone to redness.

Thankfully my neck and chest love sunscreens with zinc oxide, it’s great for sensitive skin that is easily irritated.

I found that the Axis-Y Complete No Stress Physical Sunscreen was seriously glowy without a significant tone-up effect so it might be worth considering that one if you’re not looking for a tone-up sunscreen. However, any physical sunscreen can have a white cast so you might want to try a mini first.

Although the Axis Y is not water resistant, so that is something to consider.

Because the Missha is water resistant and mattifying, I didn’t find myself getting oily throughout the day. In hot, sweaty weather, I was perfectly dewy, but like I say, that has something to do with the very moisturising products I used underneath. I suspect that if you have oily skin and use your usual products, this would be much more mattifying.

Sometimes my favourite Beauty of Joseon sunscreen does get a little too dewy as the day wears on. I wouldn’t call it oily but if you have oilier skin, something mattifying like the Missha might be better.

If you have very dry skin, the Missha might be too mattifying for you but it may work if you use enough moisturising products underneath it, like I did.

I’m not going to link specific posts on moisturising products because there’s too many! If you search “moisturisers” on the blog, you’ll find plenty to read.

Next up I’m going to be trying the Dr Ceuracle Cica Regen Waterproof Sun and the Missha All Round Safe Block Essence Sun Milk because I like to have different finishes for different situations.


As I mentioned, by the end of the day, after several reapplications, my skin did feel a bit on the dry side.

Having a nice, non-drying oil cleanser helps my skin feel immediately soft again.

Because this sunscreen is water resistant, it’s best to remove it with a proper cleansing oil and pay attention to areas like where your nose meets your face and under your chin.

These are easy areas to miss and waterproof sunscreen tends to accumulate there in my experience.

A lot of people will want to follow with a water-based cleanser which will get any leftover bits of sunscreen off. To be honest, I find an oil cleanser works fine as a sole cleansing product but that’s just me!

Final Word

I’ve now tried two Missha sunscreens and another one on my line up, I intend to try more!

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