**warning I am about to start a long rant of my history with sunscreen, scroll down further for the TL;DR version**
Everyone that cares about their skin knows how important sunscreen is. It’s probably the most effective way to fight aging skin. I, like many others, have always neglected the importance of sunscreen when I was younger. Back in my young days, my skin never reacted to the sun much, I don’t get tanned much, and I don’t get red at all. It was only about when I was 25 years old, I started noticing my face would get red when it’s under sun exposure. I would be wearing those big buggy sunglasses, and the skin around my eyes would remain normal while the rest of my face would have a tint of red. I didn’t give it much thought, but I didn’t want to be tanned, the yellow undertone of my skin really pops when I tan, and I didn’t like it. So that’s basically when I started wearing sunscreen (I know, so late into the game). A number of years went by, and one day while I was looking around at Murale (like Sephora, but Canadian), and a sales person asked if I would like to test the age of my skin. After I agreed she proceeded to put this ultrasound like device on my face that’s suppose to read my skin condition, she then told me I had a lot of sun damage and my skin was aged at 45! (I was in my mid to late 20’s at that time). She then explained how important sunscreen was and of course proceeded to give me recommendations. I didn’t buy anything from her, but I went home and started frantically looking for sunscreen and doing a lot of research on what to look for. I’ll be honest, I didn’t put on sunscreen mainly because I hated that greasy feeling, and that smell (ew). I’ve tried sooooo many North American brands, the best way to describe them would be a bottle of grease. I couldn’t, I just can’t, especially after finding out you should put at least 1/4 Tsp on your face for the sunscreen to be effective. Now I was always into Asian skincare, mainly Japanese at that time, I always see “cooling effect” “non-greasy feeling” “watery” etc etc of the likes marked on Japanese sunscreen, and I thought, well might as well give it a try, and I was hooked. I’ve tried many different brands namely, Shiseido, mentholatum sun play sunscreen (there’s a range of them and I’ve tried them all), Skin Aqua (also a range of different kinds, and again tried them all), and other brands that I can’t really recall now. Skin Aqua was one of my favourites, but the price was fairly high for the amount of product so I continued my search. It seemed that Japanese sunscreen were always in a 30ml to 50ml tube/bottle, and never anything over that. My intention was to put sunscreen over all exposed skin and not just my face, so I wanted something more substantial. One day as I was browsing a drugstore in Taiwan, I picked up the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, and I’ve never looked back again.
Now, the one I have pictured above is actually the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel. I picked this up last time I went back to Taiwan, because unlike the watery Essence which I believe was a 50ml soft tube packaging, the gel version is a 90ml bottle packaging, and it was for about the same price. I figure more bang for my buck! I honestly don’t feel much difference between the two. The watery essence is a creamier version, and the gel version is a bit more liquid-y.
***here’s the TL;DR***
The consistency is probably my favourite part of this product. The formula is so weightless on the skin it’s a long way from the bottles of grease North American sunscreens are.
Instead of making your face look like you can fry an egg on top of it, it initially gives a dewy look but then drys semi-mat, though I personally wouldn’t mind if it stayed dewy looking.
And if you will notice, there is NO white cast! how amazing!
I apologize for not putting up a picture of the ingredient list, but, for easy for packing I threw away the packaging that lists the ingredients in English and I don’t know enough Japanese to decipher a list of chemical ingredients. But I do know it contains alcohol and is a chemical sunscreen, I do not believe it has any physical sunscreen in it(titanium dioxcide or zinc oxcide).
In short, best sunscreen ever!
consistency: liquidy, the watery essence version is creamier
scent: there is a very slight floral scent to it, nothing terribly strong, and certainly does not smell like typical North American sunscreen. The scent dissipates fairly quickly.
colour: it is colourless and does not give you a white cast.
Sun protection: this is a SPF 50+ (meaning probably more than 50, but this is the max they are allowed to label to) and PA++++
I was trying to find the post where I talked about the difference between SPF and PA rating, but I couldn’t find it! I swear I’ve wrote about it before. But anyways, in case anyone is wondering…SPF (or Sun Protection Factor) is “a measure of the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin. For example, “SPF 15″ means that 1/15th of the burning radiation will reach the skin,” assuming the correct amount is applied (source). It is important to note that this factor only refers to the protection you have from UVB rays and not UVA rays (source). PA (or Protection Grade of UVA) “measures the UVA protection that a sunscreen provides. PA+ corresponds to a UVA protection factor between two and four, PA++ between four and eight, and PA+++ more than eight. This system was revised in 2013 to include PA++++ which corresponds to a PPD rating of sixteen or above” (source). So what’s the difference between UVB and UVA you ask? Well UVB rays are Ultraviolet B rays, or known as the “burning rays.” This is the ray that causes sunburns and “tends to damage the more superficial layers of the skin and are what most sunscreens historically claimed protection from” (source). Where as UVA rays or Ultraviolet A rays are the long waves that are less intense, but more prevalent and can come through clouds and glass, so you would still be exposed even if you are indoors. “These rays reach the deeper dermal layers of skin and and can damage your skin’s collagen and elastin causing premature aging, & wrinkling” (source). In short, it is far more important to be protected from UVA than UVB. You’ll notice North American sunscreens tends to only label SPF without any PA ratings, can we assume we are also protected from the harmful affects of UVA while wearing those? hard to say, I think I’ll stick with my Japanese sunscreens. (And sorry for all the sourcing, I am an uni grad, I have to LOL)
price: I got mine in Taiwan, I recall it works out to be about $5 CND per bottle (I KNOW RIGHT?!). I did a quick search and it appears ebay and the likes are about $10~ $20 price range which is still not bad, but I will continue to hoard them when I go back to Taiwan (or when my mom does). I got 3 bottles of this when I came back in March, and I am down to my very last bit, and will possibly have to go one week without any sunscreen, because I just can’t find anything equivalent here (here’s hoping my skin doesn’t melt off my bones). My brother will return with these on the 11th of Dec, I need to ration! fingers crossed!
my particular bottle was made in Japan, I have seen made in Taiwan ones though.
Overall: I think no one will be surprised I am giving this sunscreen a 5/5. If anything, I only wish they came in bigger bottles. The search for the perfect sunscreen is over for me, I will never leave you Biore UV aqua rich!