Althea Petal Velvet Sunaway: Holy grail or wholly fail?

Whenever Althea releases exclusives, I’m always excited because they seem to marry function, form, and price points well. I was especially excited to try their new sunscreen because I didn’t want to use up my Banila Co. Hello Sunny Hydrating Sun Essence that quickly, but also hated Biore’s formulations. It all seemed perfect: petal finish, less than P500, feels like a moisturizer (and not a powder), has a cute bottle, plus it has a bunch of good reviews, too. My experience was a little different.

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Althea’s Petal Velvet Sunaway (P480) is described as “ultra lightweight… invisible… formulated with hyaluronic acid and Damask rose extracts, ensuring that your skin stays fresh and hydrated throughout the day without any streakiness or a white cast.”

The 55ml bottle has SPF of 50+ and PA++++, and contains the following ingredients:

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Zinc Oxide, Disiloxane, Propanediol, Titanium Dioxide, Dicaprylyl Ether, Methyl Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Pelargonium Graveolens Flower Oil, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Pogostemon Cablin Oil, Citrus Aurantium Bergamia (Bergamot) Fruit Oil, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Sodium Chloride, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sorbitan Caprylate, Glyceryl Caprylate, Polyglyceryl-6 Polyricinoleate, Ethylhexylglycerin, Butylene Glycol, Ethyl Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol

It has a 4.5/5 rating based on 90+ reviews on Althea but we wanted to put it to the test since some of us at PV had different experiences with the product. While some reviewers hail this as their “holy grail” product, I can’t say the same.

First, the good stuff:

  • When shaken well, the texture yielded is almost like a lightweight cream moisturizer that feels like nothing upon application.

  • As seen in the photo below, there’s no discernible white cast when massaged in very well, even though the product deposited is stark white.

  • It goes well under makeup and can be paired with mattifying primers if the sunscreen is allowed to sink in.

  • P480 is an OK price point for 55ml of product, making it competitive with other drugstore options.

  • It’s easy to travel with since the packaging is lightweight and the cap screws on tightly without breaking.

  • It actually makes the skin look somewhat bright without makeup; I happen to like using it on bare-faced days more.

  • No reactions on my sensitive skin! I consider this a triumph on its own.

  • Great for people who hate sticky sunscreen. I’d consider this a good alternative to my more expensive formulas for every day.

Bare faced with freshly-microbladed brows and new lash extensions

Bare faced with freshly-microbladed brows and new lash extensions

Then, the not so good stuff:

  • Although it promises hydration and sebum control throughout the day, I find that it does neither. The texture makes you feel fresh the first few hours but if you haven’t done other types of preparation or use the wrong kind of foundation, you can end up feeling crusty and greasy hours after.

  • Liz actually had a bad experience with the sunscreen, saying that she had to wash it off just moments after application. (Editor’s Note: I found this very itchy on my skin. - Liz)

  • You have to shake it very well or else you won’t get the best texture yield. Bawal sa mga nagmamadali!

  • You really have to massage it in to get rid of the white cast, but this is true for a lot of sunscreen formulas anyway.

  • When in colder climates, this has to be paired with heavier moisturizers or oils.

Road tested in Japan in 8 degree or less weather. Lightweight, no white cast, and relatively less crusty than my travel pals.

Road tested in Japan in 8 degree or less weather. Lightweight, no white cast, and relatively less crusty than my travel pals.

To summarize: is it a holy grail or wholly fail?

It’s just fine. I’d rather pay more for a formula that isn’t so fussy with the same benefits, and I can’t really fathom how one product can promise both hydration and sebum control, and actually execute them well. While the petal finish is nice, I know I’m always gonna want to put makeup on over it, and I don’t want to risk bad foundation texture at the end of the day. Not for a makeup gurl like me.

Have you tried the Althea sunscreen? What are your sunscreen hacks?