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Best Pick: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

Best Pick Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

My first proper sunscreen review of 2015! I imagine that there will be lots of cheers because so many of you have asked for recommendations and updates, but also a few groans, because some would rather see sunscreen-related posts when it’s closer to summer. Here is something new and incredibly comfortable to wear, if you have normal-combination skin and like an “easy-on easy-off” formula: Biore’s UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SF50+ PA++++ (click on the link for ingredients and other product info).

Something to note, before I embark on my little review: sunscreen like this that is formulated for everyday wear should not be used for a day in the sun. It is not sufficient for protection due to the formula and the UV filters used. I know that I’ve gone on about this loads, but I think it’s worth repeating because I have read countless complaints of people getting sunburned or tanned from using unsuitable sunscreens.

Best Pick Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel (Bottle)

It’s not really the right time of year to be testing out sunscreens, but winter has been unseasonably warm and cherry blossoms are already blooming (a month early)! I’ve been using the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel quite a lot over the past month. The liquid-y gel turns to a water-like consistency as soon as you begin to smooth it on and it completely disappears into the skin in seconds (just the other sunscreens in the Aqua Rich line!). It’s actually very similar in texture and effect to the Watery Essence — this is slightly more watery. It leaves a really soft, silky-smooth finish that is matte enough for non-oily skins, yet it doesn’t feel drying or tight at all. The gel is supposed to give the skin a light-diffusing effect, which quite frankly, I haven’t noticed, but I’m not keen on some fine shimmer slapped on the surface so that’s perfectly fine by me.

Best Pick Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel (swatch)

I’ve taken to using it underneath a lot of different bases and can’t really find anything bad to say about it whatever. (Actually, I lie: I don’t like the fruity citrus scent that this and all the other Aqua Rich sunscreens have, but it does dissipate.) It sits well beneath makeup, is super easy to wash off, and is great for daily wear around the city.

Addition: Sorry for repeating myself here, but I get countless questions about expiration or production dates on Japanese sunscreens every year. So I want to just briefly touch on this again. There’re no dates printed. They aren’t needed as most are reformulated or repackaged annually! In the case of Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel, it’s a newly launched sunscreen for 2015 — so no worries here, unless you’re reading this 3 years from now.

A 90ml bottle of Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel is ¥830 in Japan.
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62 Comments on Best Pick: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel

    • Their ingredients and features are different — see their respective info posts for more info. In real life though, I find them incredibly similar.

  1. Hello Ratzilla, do you think the Sekkisei Sun Protect milk and gel are less dry than the Biore UV Perfect Milk and Aqua Rich gel? Thank you in advance for your answer.

  2. Hello again Ratzilla and thanks for answering so precisely all my questions here and there on your wonderful site. I am vacationing in Japan right now and I would like to ask you for your advice on sunscreens. After reading all your informative reviews, there are so many sunscreens… Which ones would you recommend for a dry mature skin, for everyday use on one hand, and for the outdoors on the other hand. By the way, I bought the Megumi all-in-one morning UV protection cream as well as the VC 100 essence lotion that you recommended and they are great!! I will follow your advice and get the Dr Ci: Labo moisturizing cream too…

    • I’d recommend taking a look at Dr. Ci:Labo UV&White Enrich-Lift SPF50+ PA++++ and Dr. Ci:Labo UV&White Moisture Milk SPF50+ PA++++ — both are alcohol/fragrance-free, combo UV filters, just newly reformulated, and great for the outdoors (or daily use if you need something that will stay put in hot, humid weather). Sekkisei Sun Protect Essence line as well (gel for daily use, milk for the outdoors), if your skin isn’t sensitive to alcohol. ORBIS UV Cut Sunscreen On Face Beauty SPF34 PA+++ is a very gentle cream that sits nicely underneath makeup even when skin is dry and flaky.

  3. Do these “function” like american sunscreens in terms of reapplication time? Do I have to re-apply every 90-120 minutes even if I don’t sweat?

    • It’s 2 hours of cumulative sun exposure, not two hours from the time it touches your skin. If you’re spending most of your daytime indoor (like this sunscreen is intended for — normal daily use ), you’re unlikely to accumulate that much.

  4. HI, which sunscreen would you best recommand for a day in the swimming pool ? and which one for kids for a day in the same pool ? 🙂

  5. I am torn between Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel and the Biore UV PERFECT Milk. I’ve read the Gel is better than the Essence since Titanium Dioxide is part of the Gel’s ingredients. I am going to use it everyday when I walk to my class in a separate building. (10 minutes walk = 10 minutes exposure to the sun). Which sunscreen should I use?

    I’d also like to clarify if my “activity/walk” is for “everyday use” or “outdoor” ?

    • If you have oily skin, like a matte finish, or live a place that gets plenty of harsh sun, the Perfect Milk would be a more suitable choice. The Watery Gel is a great sunscreen for normal, everyday use if you don’t need oil-control and want a “no finish” kind of finish.

      If you spend the majority of the day indoor, everyday use sunscreen would be fine — unless you live a hot, sunny place, and if that’s the case, I’d go for something that is formulated to withstand the heat and intense sun.

      • I will be indoors most of the time (during classes, around 6-8 hours and away from the window). Outdoors (transfer of buildings 5-10 minutes walk – twice). I checked our store and we have limited stocks of Essence and the Perfect Milk so I bought both. I guess I will just use the Perfect Milk when I’ll be exposed to the sun more than usual and use the Essence regularly everyday. Should I apply it on my face and body 20 minutes before going out? (I normally wear a dress during my classes so I am applying sunscreen to my face, neck, arms, legs and feet)

  6. Hi, I see you’ve linked ELSHOP – is this is a good place to buy from if I want my product shipped to the US? Also, how would I request SAL shipping? Thank you!

    • Default shipping method is EMS. If you want it shipped via SAL (or other methods), you have to specifically request it. Just leave a message in the comment section when you place your order(or email them after quoting your order #) — keep it short and very simple to avoid your message getting lost in translation.

  7. Hello! I’m about to head back to a much sunnier climate after summer holiday and have been looking for a new sunscreen. You mention that this is not good for a day in the sun? There, everyday is a day in the sun hahha. What would you recommend? Previously I was using Elta MD. I was looking at this to wear under makeup.

    • If you want to stick to Biore sunscreens, their entire Biore Perfect UV line is suitable for a day in the sun — although it’s not ideal for anyone with dry or sensitive skin.

  8. Which of the 2015 japanese sunscreens do you recommend for combination oily skin that has some dry patches?

    • That’s impossible for me to answer as it depends on so many factors — activities you’ll be doing, budget, personal preference regarding texture/finish, sensitivity issues, etc.

    • That’s impossible for me to answer as it depends on so many factors — activities you’ll be doing, budget, personal preference regarding texture/finish, sensitivity issues, etc.

  9. I bought the new Nivea Creamy UV Essence and Watery Gel but they’re so drying on me (I have combo, dehydrated, sensitive skin). Should I bother getting this one? Is this as drying as the Nivea ones or less? Thanks!

    • The Watery Gel that is reviewed here? Its finish, texture, and feel are different from the Nivea, but hydration level is relatively similar. It is slightly more hydrating but not enough to make a real difference if your skin is dry or dehydrated.

  10. Thank you so much for your informative reviews! They have been helping me so much in choosing the right sunscreen. I think this is the one I am going to get, but I am a little concerned: you mention that this is not suitable for a full day in the sun, and I’m just curious, how does it get an SPF 50 and PA++++ rank without being strong enough? And how would you differentiate a product good for full sun from a product good for daily wear if PA++++ and SPF 50 are the max ratings they can get? Thank you in advance!

    I also worry that you mentioned people getting sunburned even with a 50 SPF rating if they are applying the recommended amount. Maybe the rating is a bit inflated?

    • SPF and PA are not arbitrary. They’re tested and have strict regulations. I have actually discussed this in my comments below already. Please do read through them below.

  11. Hello, I’m a new reader. I’m interested in Biore Sunscreen and Japanese sunscreen in general since there are many good review that this one better than most US sunscreen. However there are so many different type and production. So I’m a bit confused now on which one should I try. I have a combination and acne prone skin. I’m currently using Benzoyl Peroxide regimen and have a bit flakiness in some area. However my T-zone and eyelid is very sweaty and oily. Since this product is not sweat resistant, will the product melted and sting my eyes? Do you have any recommendation for sunscreen for my skin type? Also maybe some moisturizer for flaky skin? Thanks so much.

    Also there are many of products that you recommended that has been discontinued, will it affect the quality? or generally it will be the same quality so it’s ok to purchase the new version?

    Thank you so much. I love this blog, it’s so helpful to find information about Japanese product.

    • Yes, this isn’t resistant to anything. It’ll migrate or come right off if you sweat, get wet, or get oily.

      I’m not sure what you mean by “affect the quality”. Discontinued means the product is no longer being produced by the manufacturer. Standard shelf life still applies for the discontinued products.

      • Do you have any recommendation for a good physical sunscreen that resistant to sweat/oil? I saw your previous review on this two product and and I also saw this one Which one do you think better for my skin type?

        About the discontinued product, what I meant is that japanese sunscreen periodically change/upgrade their products, for example this biore sunscreen have 2014 version that has been replaced by 2015 version. If the 2014 one have a good review, Will the quality be similar with the new one? or is it better for me to look for review for the exact version.

      • I replied to you but it didn’t show. Hmm maybe because I put link?
        I’ll try again and remove the link. This was my reply:

        Do you have any recommendation for a good physical sunscreen that resistant to sweat/oil? I saw your previous review on Biore UV perfect face milk and Orbis UV Cut Sunscreen On Face Beauty. I also heard a good review on Biore SARASARA UV Mild Care Milk Sunscreen. Which one do you think better for my skin type?

        About the discontinued product, what I meant is that japanese sunscreen periodically change/upgrade their products, for example this biore sunscreen have 2014 version that has been replaced by 2015 version. If the 2014 one have a good review, Will the quality be similar with the new one? or is it better for me to look for review for the exact version.

        • Biore doesn’t make a physical sunscreen. So out of the 3 you mentioned, only the Orbis fits the bill.

          You need to be looking at the exact version if there’s a change in formula.

        • If a sunscreen (or any Japanese beauty product) is resistant to sweat, water, and/or sebum, it is always labelled as such by the manufacturer.

          • None of the Japanese subscreens I’ve been trying seem to be good for a day at the park: what would you recommend?

  12. Hi! I’m currently in HK now and looking to pick up some ss. They have most of the japanese brands here at the local markets. What would your HG ss for oily/combo skin for chemical and physicial as well as both chem/phys? Thanks!

  13. Hi there! Just wanted to say that I LOVE LOVE your website and I just made my first Global Rakuten order based on your recs (been reading you for 2 years). It took me a while to figure out Rakuten, but wow was it cheap compared to Amazon or Ebay. I grabbed this new sunscreen, Omi Bears and a mascara from Master of Life and they were super fast and awesome. Thanks again!!

    PS I saw your twitter post on someone stealing your content. For shame! I hope you reported them and nipped it in the bud.

  14. Hi, I want to buy this product from Rakuten. Is the seller you’ve linked to (Master of Life) one whom you personally consider reputable?

  15. I am trying to order this product and contact the seller to ship via small packet service instead of EMS, but my gmail won’t let me email the one I found on the store website. Do you have any advice as to how to contact the store owner? I live in the US.

    • Just leave a note when you make your order on Rakuten (quickest and simplest way). If you forget to do that, you can reply to the email you’ll get a couple days later that has your shipping quote. You can also use the inquiry form, just don’t forget to you include your order #.

      Make sure to use very simple English in your commmunication.

      • Thank you! I just placed my order and included shipping change in the note on the order. Just to let you know – this link (from product review page) results in error when trying to order, but the link you post on your ingredients page for this product does work.

  16. Thanks for all your great reviews and information about japanese cosmetics, I would never have tried them without your website simply because I wouldn’t know what they#re even supposed to be good for 🙂 I have one question (and am really sorry if this has been asked before): I work at the zoo and am looking for a sun protection that is save to use if the sun is really strong (I also am ~ 6 hours outside). Do you have a list or something like that with sunscreens that are save for such conditions? I already tried the search function but I am not sure which keyword to use, so I did not find anything. I would really appreciate your help!!

    • No, there isn’t a list but Japanese sunscreens that are formulated for the outdoors are generally milks (and sometimes waterproof gels). I suggest browsing the PA++++ section and checking out the milks and waterproof gels — ones that are especially suitable for the outdoors will usually say so in the product description somewhere. If I’m going to be spending time in the hot sun, I personally like layering two waterproof sunscreens with similar UV filters — a moisturising gel formula and then a mattifying milk formula over.

      Of course, you will need to reapply regardless of what you pick if you’re going to be spending 6+ hours in the sun.

      • Oh, this helps already a lot. I always thought sunmilks were somehow “lighter” but it seems it is the other way around 🙂 Thank you so much for your answer and all the effort you put in this page <3

      • That’s interesting. In the USA, a sunscreen gel would be considered more geared towards outdoors/sports usage, judging by the name of this Biore sunscreen, I assumed it would be for outdoors use. I wouldn’t have guessed in Japan that milks are associated with being the outdoors sunscreen. I am guessing most people aren’t aware of this indoor/outdoor sunscreen system in Japan. I thought it was enough just to go by the SPF/PA rating.

        • Japanese sunscreens geared towards the outdoors will always specify on the packaging. Aside from a very tenacious formula, the UV filters used are generally different from everyday use sunscreens with the same SPF/PA rating — so, it’s not a simple matter of waterproof or not.

          • Hi Ratzilla, I had the same question JoJo had, above. To my mind, if two products are each SPF 50/PA++++ and one is water/sweat/sebum-resistant and the other is not, they will each offer equal protection provided I reapply the latter (even) more frequently to make up for any wearing off due to the moisture/sebum of the face.

            Unless, of course, you’re talking about the different filters that are used and how they subjectively affect performance, e.g. how some people find that zinc oxide helps keep away melasma/pigmentation spots better than an equal or even much higher PPD/PA chemical sunscreen. Is that what you mean–that the sunscreens you recommend for the outdoors use certain filters that people find better for that purpose?

            I’ve been searching the site for where you have talked about this before and haven’t found it, but if you tell me what key words to search for, I might save you the trouble of looking for links.

            Thanks very much for all you do.


            We used to interact on Makeupalley way back when and I’m not surprised to see an authoritative site like this from you. I hope all your hard work here benefits you in some way beyond the satisfaction of knowing you’ve helped so many people with their dermatological concerns!

  17. Which one would you recommend more between this BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel PA++++ vs. the 2015 BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence PA++++ (higher/more stable UV protection ingredients is definitely a plus). I highly value your suggestion so will ask a friend to help me stockup based on your suggestion as she’s going to Japan for holiday this weekend 😉 Thanks!

  18. What would you recommend for a very sensitive skin and im living in a country where the sun is directly above my head.

    • Hi there! I have mild rosacea so my skin is quite sensitive as well. Unfortunately, most of the “daily wear” Japanese sunscreen formulas make my skin feel warm and itchy, because the high amount of chemical sunscreen filters irritates my skin, especially in combination with the alcohol. I use the Sunplay Super Block:

      It leaves a bit of white cast and takes a while to dry (I stand with my face in front of a fan, then it only takes about a minute!) but the protection is great and my skin doesn’t feel all dry and irritated at the end of the day. Hope that helps!

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