Tried & Tested: Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat

When I started the hunt for a new sunblock, I was looking for something similar to the one I had been loyal to for years, the Shiseido Very High Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50+. I love how watery this sunscreen feels and how quick it is to sink into the skin, meaning that it minimizes oiliness. So when I shopped around to replace the bottle I had used up, I wanted something with similar properties: high SPF (at least 30), low viscosity, lightweight.

I jumped for joy when I found the Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF 30. This is a brand that I already love by association to its micellar water, so I really wanted to like their sunscreen too. There were also two magic words on the tube that persuaded me into buying it: “Mattifying fluid.” Yes folks, I will buy just about anything that has the word “mattifying in it,” because my greasy t-zone could use a lot of love.

bioderma 1There were no samples or opened bottles to try out at the drugstore, which meant I had no idea what the viscosity of the product was like. I don’t usually fly blind when buying a product (Edit: upon further reflection I’ve realized that no, I actually do frequently buy products without first researching them), but I was desperate for a new sunscreen and needing something to replace my diminishing supplies.

As soon as I got home and tore into my newly-purchased bottle, I regretted buying it at all: when I poured out the product onto my palm, the product that came out was a this rather thick, pasty fluid.

bioderma 2Although already disappointed, I wasn’t ready to give up on this product just yet. I shrugged off  the initial hesitation and started applying it onto my face in small amounts, and then gently rubbed it in to blend into my skin. And then I blended it in some more, and then kept doing it again and again and again; but no matter how much blending or tapping I did, it left behind pasty white cast on my skin. It also felt unnecessarily thick and greasy, something that’s pretty unforgivable when you think about heavy-duty sunscreens that are neither.

The product info says that it is “Colourless when applied. . ..leaves no oily film and no white marks.” Umm actually, no. This product is not colorless, or not oily, and it definitely leaves behind streaky white marks.


- it’s a sunscreen


- a little too heavy for everyday wear in the tropics
– heavy white cast
– greasy, oily feel afterwards

It’s sad because I really wanted to like this product, but there was just no way of around its heavy texture and white cast. I’m sure it does a great job as a sunscreen, but when piled on top of lotion + serum + moisturizer, it just gets a bit too much. I could not deal with the greasiness and overly white cast, which is why I now only wear this on my neck or for a hardcore day out on the beach (once I get there, that is). So unless you’re looking for sun protection in very sunny but cool climates, definitely avoid this one like the plague.

The Bioderma Photoderm AKN Mat SPF 30 retails for IDR 300,000 (40 ml) at Guardian.