Although I’m quite satisfied with Biore’s UV Bright Face Milk as a daily sunscreen, that didn’t stop me from scouting for a better one with a less visible white cast and a smoother finish. After trying the 2017 edition of the brand’s Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++, I think I’ve finally found my ideal sunscreen for the summer.
I never tried the beloved 2015 version of this popular sunscreen essence. However, most online reviews state that the new version is unchanged in terms of its UV blockers. It’s also stickier, thicker and smoother on skin due to its silicone content, and is more resistant to sweat and water.
The essence is infused with citrus extract and hyaluronic acid to moisturize skin,
and GAP (Gel Agar Particle) to make it more long-wearing.
The 2017 Aqua Rich Watery Essence comes in a handy 50g tube, which is a bit larger than the Face Milk I use. Typical of Japanese sun gels, it doesn’t feel sticky or greasy, and feels like hand sanitizer on skin. In fact, it smells just like a hand sanitizer. Though the essence appears white when squeezed out, it becomes invisible after application and there’s no white cast. I like that it creates a matte, lightweight, waterproof layer on skin without drying it out. I absolutely didn’t feel a thing while wearing it – not until I washed my hands and saw the water droplets on them.
I’d say it’s a gel even though it looks like a lotion.
The essence is super easy to spread on and fast-absorbing, so apply it quickly!
After washing my hands, water droplets are formed on my right hand where I applied the essence.
I give this sun essence a 5 out of 5 as an everyday sunscreen but not as a heavy-duty sports sunscreen. Although it’s waterproof, the essence seemed inadequate after I wore it during a half-day of biking under fierce sunlight. I may get sunburned if I use it for all-day outdoor activities.
I’m also a little surprised that it irritated my eyes. For outdoor activities and sports, I recommend Biore’s UV Super UV Milk SPF 48 PA+++, and do make sure to reapply it often. For those who are addicted to Japanese sunscreens like me, I also recommend Mentholatum’s Skin Aqua Moisture Gel SPF 35 PA+++ which has a similar texture as the Aqua Rich Watery Essence but at half the price.
Here’s a summary of all the sunscreens currently on my shelf (from left to right):
1. Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ (2017)
Gel type, mattifying, waterproof and invisible. Definitely a go-to for carrying around in my bag, especially on trips.
2. Biore UV Bright Face Milk SPF 50+ PA+++ (2015)
Milk type, mattifying and non-greasy but forms a white cast. Good enough for cosmetic use.
3. Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50+ PA+++
Easily spreadable and long-wearing enough for sports. I still love using it for sunbathing.
4. Banana Boat Sport Sunscreen Lotion SPF 110 PA+++
I scarcely wear this anymore unless I’m participating in all-day water sports. Too heavy and greasy for my liking, but it’s long-wearing and can effectively protect skin against the sun.
5. Skin Aqua Moisture Gel SPF 35 PA+++
It feels similar to the product I’m reviewing now, but is cheaper! The only drawback is it’s too large to carry around daily, and has a lower SPF.
Before and after swatching the 5 sunscreens.
As you can see, the Skin Aqua Moisture Gel has a texture highly similar to that of the Aqua Rich Watery Essence.