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Guide to the New Japanese Sunscreen Releases of 2023

Guide to the New Japanese Sunscreen Releases of 2023

Welcome to my 7th  annual comparative guide to the top 20¹ SPF50+ PA++++ Japanese sunscreens of 2023. This year, I have over 50 new J-beauty sunscreen releases and reformulations featured on my site, including some with lower SPF and PA ratings.

To explore previous years’ releases, check out my 2022 and 2021 Japanese sunscreen guides. Please note that some of the products featured may have been discontinued due to Japan’s short product life cycle.

My Japanese sunscreen guide uses icons and UV filter abbreviations, such as ‘DHHB’ for diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate, also known as Uvinul A Plus.

¹ Based on this website’s statistics.

If you’re unsure what the symbol or abbreviation means, click on the purple question mark icon next to the category labels.

JAPANESE MILK SUNCREENS

Ultra-fluid, milk-like texture — characterised by their long-wearing, stay-put formula. Remember to shake well before use.

 

Biore UV Aqua Rich Aqua Highlight Lotion ビオレUV アクアリッチ アクアハイライトローションPigeon UV Baby Milk Waterproof SPF50+ (2023) ピジョン UVベビーミルク ウォータープルーフ SPF50+SEKKISEI Clear Wellness UV Essence Milk 雪肌精 クリアウェルネスUVエッセンスミルクSKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Milk (2023 version) スキンアクアスーパーモイスチャーミルクTRANSINO UV Protector トランシーノ薬用  UVプロテクターk
PRODUCTBiore UV Aqua Rich Aqua Highlight Lotion »Pigeon UV Baby Milk Waterproof »SEKKISEI Clear Wellness UV Sunscreen Essence Milk »SKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Milk »TRANSINO UV Protector »
PRICE / SIZE¥830 / 70ml¥1,200 / 50g
¥2,420 / 50ml¥900 / 40ml¥2,600 / 30ml
UV FILTERS OMC, TiO2, EHT, DHHB & BEMTZnO & TiO2ZnO, OMC, DHHB & BEMTZnO, OMC & DHHBTiO2 & ZnO
USAGE  
RESISTANCE     
KEY POINTS‣ Soft-focus glow
‣ Water-like texture
‣ Encapsulated UV filters
‣ For sensitive skin
‣ Baby-safe
‣ Marine-safe
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Moisture-rich
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ With tranexamic acid
‣ Light-diffusing glow
‣ Anti-pollution

‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol

JAPANESE GEL SUNCREENS

Refreshing watery gel texture.

Hare Bare Protection UV Serum C ハレバレ プロテクションUV セラム CMENTURM the SUN Perfect UV GelSEKKISEI Clear Wellness UV Essence Gel 雪肌精 クリアウェルネスUVエッセンスジェルSKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Gel (2023 Formula 110g)SKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Gel GOLD (2023 Formula)
PRODUCTHare Bare Protection UV Serum C »
MENTURM the SUN Perfect UV Gel »SEKKISEI Clear Wellness UV Sunscreen Essence Gel »SKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Gel »SKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Gel GOLD »
PRICE / SIZE¥1,500 / 60g¥650 / 100g¥2,420 / 70g¥759 / 110g;
¥946 / 140g
¥1,100 / 110g
UV FILTERS OMC, DHHB & BEMTOMC, EHT & DHHBZnO, OMC, BEMT, DHHB & PS15OMC, BEMT, DHHB & EHTOMC, BEMT, PS15 & DHHB
USAGE   
RESISTANCE
KEY POINTS‣ With vitamin C
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Water-light texture‣ Marine-safe
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Encapsulated UV filters
‣ Humidity-resistant
‣ Anti-pollution

‣ Fragrance‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol‣ Alcohol

JAPANESE ESSENCE SUNSCREENS

Characterised by their essence (aka serum)-like texture. They are the most moisturising in a sunscreen line-up (unless a cream formula is also available).

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence (2023 version)Melano CC Deep Day Care UV Milk メラノCC ディープデイケアUV乳液NIVEA UV DEEP PROTECT & Care Tone Up Essence ニベアUV ディープ プロテクト&ケア トーンアップ エッセンスSKIN AQUA NEXTA Tone Up Serum UV Essence スキンアクア ネクスタ トーンアップセラムUVエッセンスSKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Essence (2023 Formula) スキンアクアスーパーモイスチャーエッセンス<2023>
PRODUCTBiore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence »Melano CC Deep Day Care UV Milk »NIVEA UV DEEP PROTECT & Care Tone Up Essence »SKIN AQUA NEXTA Tone Up Serum UV Essence »SKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Essence »
PRICE / SIZE¥768 / 70g;
¥1,317 / 120g
¥1,210 / 50g¥980 / 50g
¥1,760 / 70g¥1,100 / 80g
UV FILTERS OMC, EHT, DHHB & BEMTOMC, TiO2, DHHB, MBBT & BEMTOMC, DHHB, TiO2, BEMT, EHT & PS15ZnO & TiO2OMC, EHT, BEMT, MBBT & DHHB
USAGE  
RESISTANCE
KEY POINTS‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Encapsulated UV filters
‣ Soft-focus glow
‣ Pore-blurring
‣ With vitamin C
‣ Anti-polution
‣ For women over 30
‣ Rose corrector
‣ Luminous effect
‣ Rose corrector
‣ Luminous effect
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Moisture-rich
‣ Anti-pollution
‣ Encapsulated UV filters


‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol

JAPANESE MULTITASKERS

Products with SPF50+ PA++++ that aren’t dedicated sunscreens.

ALLIE Chrono Beauty Color On UV Cheek 01 – Lucent PinkFor the F Medicated Wrinkle White UV BaseMAQuillAGE Dramatic Skin Sensor Base NEO ドラマティックスキンセンサーベース NEOKeana Pate Shokunin The Block Base 毛穴パテ職人 毛穴崩れブロック下地SUNCUT PRODEFENSE All In One UV Mousse Light Up サンカット プロディフェンス オールインワンUVムース(ライトアップ)
PRODUCTALLIE Chrono Beauty Color On UV »For the F Medicated Wrinkle White UV Base »MAQuillAGE Dramatic Skin Sensor Base NEO »
SANA Keana Pate Shokunin The Block Base »SUNCUT PRODEFENSE All In One UV Mousse Light Up »
PRICE / SIZE¥1,980 / 15g
¥1,540 / 30ml¥1,078 / 25ml¥1,500 / 25ml¥2,000 / 60g
UV FILTERS ZnO, TiO2, Mexoryl XL, EHT, DHHB & BEMTZnO & TiO2ZnO, OMC, OCR, TiO2 & DHHBOMC, ZnO, PBSA, DHHB & BEMTZnO, OMC, Ti02, BEMT & DHHB
USAGE
RESISTANCE    

 
KEY POINTS‣ For cheeks
‣ Blush colour
‣ Ocean-safe
‣ Encapsulated UV filters
‣ For women over 40
‣ Pink-beige colour
‣ With Niacinamide
‣ Oil-control
‣ 3 colours available
‣ Humidity-resistant
‣ Pore-concealing
‣ Oil-control
‣ Pink-beige colour
‣ Luminous effect
‣ Pore-concealing
‣ Oil-control
‣ Mousse texture
‣ Luminous effect
‣ With Tiger grass
‣ Anti-pollution

‣ Alcohol
‣ Fragrance
‣ Alcohol‣ Alcohol‣ Alcohol‣ Alcohol

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26 Comments on Guide to the New Japanese Sunscreen Releases of 2023

  1. I’m glad Japan has introduced new water resistance standard but disappointed that it isn’t as strict as Australia’s or USA’s.

  2. Would you ever consider posting a guide about your recommendations for ratzilla approved outdoor activities sunscreens?
    After reading multiple reviews and comments, I feel like me and many other consumers have been mislead (by the companies) and assume that certain sunscreens are going to be automatically friction proof because it offers water/sweat resistant protection. Also you mentioned that to look for sunscreens that actually says “sports or outdoor activities” but the ones you recommend the most for strongest protection (anessa & allie) don’t actually say its for those activities…(?)
    My point is that its certainly not easy for us to just simply know that a brand is or isnt going to offer the labled protection (not spf, but outdoor protection) even though it says that it does. How about a guide to pave the way for us to educate ourselves to think more before we buy? Because if it wasn’t for your site and knowledge, I simply would be a sheep-consumer and just buying whatever it says on the label or listening to some youtuber who raved about it. You owe us nothing & my request is really random, I know. But it drives me wild to think that so many of us might just be wasting our money on the wrong product expecting that it will do its job when it simply won’t. Thank you!

  3. Would you consider posting your own personal guide on what sunscreens you would personally use and recommend for outdoor and sports activities? Ive come across your suncut and omi verdio reviews where both is listed under the outdoor category but you don’t recommend any for that purpose. I think so many consumers including me are simply not that knowledgeable enough to know if a sunscreen is going to hold up/transfer or not. Also, japanese sunscreens don’t make it easier for consumers to know if its meant for outdoor activities, its not very clear cut. Its all thanks to you that I personally won’t be purchasing those to use for sport activities. Thank you!

  4. Hi G. Haruka,
    I just discovered your site yesterday & after consuming alot of your content, I am still left with a question regarding everyday/incidental & outdoor sunscreens & protection. Lets say Ive been wearing & reapplying an everyday sunscreen all throughout the day, its 2 hours before the sun goes down and I’m going on an evening walk. If the temp/humidy will not cause me to sweat; am I still able to wear that everyday sunscreen or do I need to switch to an outdoor sunscreen?
    One last question, what makes a sunscreen friction proof or not? Thank you!

    • Unless you have a medical condition, there is really no need to reapply sunscreen for everyday incidental exposure.

      Outdoor sunscreens are for outdoor activities where you’ll be exposed to extended direct sun (e.g. hiking, gardening, going to the beach, etc). There is really no need to use a sunscreen (let alone an outdoor one) just for evening walks. Whatever you have on from earlier in the day will be more than enough.

  5. Thanks for this comprehensive guide. Do you have any recommendations for a non aerosol spf spray with a high spf. I saw one from biore but it’s advertised for only body and hair but i was wondering if you think it would be okay for face? It’s the Biore UV Aqua Rich Aqua Protect Mist SPF 50

  6. I’d like your opinion for a sunscreen recommendation, you seem very very knowledgeable.

    For oily-combination skin, prefer very lightweight like gel types, and a semi-matte/matte finish. I really hate sunscreens that make my face shine, it doesn’t look nice in humid and tropical countries.

  7. Hi, thank you for your helpful guides! After using Japanese sunscreen for a long time I’m still a bit confused about how to choose one that’s appropriate for outdoor exercise. I’m been using Kose – Suncut UV Perfect Essence Super Water Proof for years for just daily use (https://www.yesstyle.com/en/kose-suncut-uv-perfect-essence-super-water-proof-spf-50-pa-110g-110g/info.html/pid.1089312149). Would this be appropriately formulated for outdoor running/other sweaty activities? Thank you.

      • Hmm, I guess that then leaves me confused about how to interpret Japanese sunscreen ratings. In the US, sun protection products that make SPF claims or water resistance claims have to pass regulator tests to back the claims up. That doesn’t mean there isn’t still variation in quality among brands of course, but I generally treat the SPF labels as more or less reliable or good enough. I recall reading a while ago that Japanese sun protection claims were more rigorously tested and regulated than ours but I can’t quite recall the specifics.

        If I’ve been using a Japanese sunscreen rated SPF 50/PA++++ for years, and you say the brand has a reputation for being terrible, I’m not sure how to interpret that — does that mean I shouldn’t treat the SPF/PA ratings as very meaningful? FWIW, I personally have never had a problem with that particular Suncut product. I’m not sure if the concerns you raise are mostly pertaining to cosmetic elegance (which is fine for me) or to whether the sunscreens provide the sun protection that’s advertised. I hope that makes sense, thanks for all your guidance!

        • Terrible reputation for the reasons mentioned in my previous comment – they’re notorious for being very sticky, shiny, and more importantly, they don’t seem to set and just transfer everywhere. On Japanese review sites, their products tend to get pretty poor ratings. I mainly see teenage girls and tourists buying them.

          It has absolutely nothing to do with SPF/PA ratings or testings.

          • I’m just finding what you’re saying confusing to understanding whether the product is effect or not. I don’t care if teenage girls and tourists are buying it, nor do I care if it’s sticky and shiny – that sounds like a cosmetic concern that’s up to individual preference and skin type. I care if it provides effective sun protection, which an SPF/PA claim should be able to give a reasonable indication of.

            • I’ve noticed that a lot people online focus too much on finding sunscreens with the highest SPF or most UVA protection. While these are important factors to consider, it’s important to remember that sunscreen needs to physically bind to the skin and form a film to be effective.

              In real life, factors like greasiness and heaviness will greatly impact how well a sunscreen performs. If the sunscreen is sliding around or transferring, it’s not going to provide adequate protection. So, it’s essential to consider how a sunscreen feels and performs in real-world situations, rather than solely relying on lab datas and numbers.

              Sunscreens with a longstanding reputation for not staying put on the skin don’t inspire much confidence.

  8. I just came here to say thank you SO MUCH for this yearly guide, and the time you take to research and share <3

  9. Hi! I’m looking for a sunscreen that will stop tanning as much as possible and is good in terms of uva AND uvb coverage. Do you have any recommendations? I heard Anessa, beauty of Joseon and La Roche Posay are good but I can’t decide, Thanks!

    • Any (photo-stable) UVA-protective sunscreen applied in the right amount and reapplied often enough (as needed) that is suitable for your skin type AND activity level will prevent tanning. Meaning that for oily skin, an oil-resistant sunscreen that is mattifying will be an important factor for keeping skin protected during the day – but not so much for dry skin.

      It’s also important to keep in mind that Japanese sunscreens formulated for everyday wear (e.g. the ultra-popular Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence) are for incidental sun exposure only.

      People online tend to get too hung up on finding the highest PPD/most UVA-protective sunscreen and lose sight of the bigger picture – and that more likely than not, will be something unsuitable for use in real life outside of a lab-testing environment (heavy, greasy, not setting properly, etc). A sunscreen needs to stay put on the skin in order to be protective. If it’s sliding around or it’s transferring off, it’s not going to be protective.

      • Hi! Thank you for responding! That makes sense, I have dry skin (I don’t really sweat) and I live in Vancouver where it’s not too humid.

        Would you say It’s probably not worth it to go out of my way for the Anessa sunscreen then? I currently wear the Biore Watery UV gel but combined with my skin type, low activity and humidity, you’re saying it will be just as effective as Anessa, correct?

  10. Hi,
    thank you, as always, for this useful sunscreen guide for this year.
    Looking at the releases, I can notice that the Skin Aqua Gel is now advertised as having encapsulated filters. Is the Gel Gold encapsulated too? The guide doesn’t mention it.

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