FEMALE Tries: The Best Sunscreen And Insect Repellent For Hiking

A few weeks ago, I went on a trek through the Royal Belum State Park. It was both an amazing experience and the best way to put a few products to the test.

If you go jungle trekking or anything outdoors-y, you’re going to need sunscreen and insect repellent. Specifically, you need this sunscreen and insect repellent. If they got me through the rainforest, they’ll get you through anything!

1. SUNBLOCK: Shiseido Perfect UV Protector Lotion Wetforce, RM160 (50ml)

On a speedboat!

Japanese sunscreens are adored worldwide for their strong protection yet lightweight, non-greasy feel that doesn’t leave behind a whitecast.  Shiseido takes it one step further with this amazing sunscreen.

Unlike other sunscreens that degrade when wet and require reapplication, Shiseido’s Wetforce technology means that water actually boosts the product’s sun protection. Its innovative protective veil kicks in after exposure to sweat or water for 15 minutes. Which was great, because we got completely drenched when a storm broke out as we were trying to cross Tasik Temenggor on speedboat.  And of course, there was a lot of sweating. 

I didn’t wear makeup over this, but I hear that it makes a fantastic makeup primer as well. When I applied it, I was glad to note that it didn’t feel or smell like it had an overwhelming amount of alcohol in it. It didn’t feel harsh or dry on my dry skin, but it did settle down to a soft, almost powdery finish. As for its sun protection qualities…

It worked. It definitely worked.

How do I know? Besides comparing the skin of my arms against my pale belly (no difference in colour by the way), as soon as I got back my mother – who didn’t know I had been testing a sunblock and usually comments if I’ve tanned slightly – asked if I had really been in the sun at all.

Win.

 

2. INSECT REPELLENT: Mount Sapola Bugs Away Roll-On Repellent, RM69.90(10ml)

I’m sorry, this was taken in a pot plant from the office because I didn’t have the time to take a shot in the forest!

Formulated with pure essential oil, this repellent is a great option for those who feel uncomfortable with synthetic chemical-based repellents or those who want a baby-safe option.

I personally have no qualms about using synthetic chemicals, but I definitely loved the fact that this oil came in a roll-on form. Slightly bigger than lipbalm, it was so easy to apply and carry around for much-needed top ups. I slipped it into the pocket of my running shorts and reapplied the oil every hour or so. Thanks to the nourishing rice bran, sesame, and jojoba oils, it also kept my skin beautifully soft and moisturised.

I really put this one to the test. Halfway through the hike up to the Sungai Kooi waterfall, the soles of my shoes both broke off. Deciding to take my chances with the rough terrain rather than risk slipping down the rocks, I took my shoes off and made the rest of the hike completely barefoot. I rubbed a few last slatherings of oil into my feet and set off.

Making my way down the rocks with nothing between the leeches and me but insect repellent oil!

 

Not a single leech bite! Even though I saw lots of leeches amongst the leaf litter on the ground, they somehow left me alone. (Leeches sense vibrations and odors to detect their prey, so the essential oils might have thrown them off.)

I did end up getting a couple of mosquito bites, but they were all clustered around the center of my back and shoulder blades– places I couldn’t reach with the repellent.

 

I was really impressed (and grateful!) with how the sunscreen and repellent performed. They made getting to the peak of the trail that much more pleasant, and I could enjoy the experience without worrying about sunburn or leech bites.