Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence (2019 Formula)


Protection? SPF 50+ PA++++

Filters? Octinoxate; Uvinul T 150; Uvinul A Plus; Tinosorb S

Country of Origin? Japan

Water resistant? Yes, 80 minutes

Who is it for?

Skin types? All will be fine. It is really amazing for oily, combination, or blemish prone skin.

Works for all skin tones? Yes. No issue at all.

What is it like?

Texture? It’s a lightweight, fluid, glossy gel. It isn’t dry touch – it moves across the skin efficiently.

Filmy, sticky, or heavy? No, no, no.

Flashback / White cast? Nope.

Greasy? No.

Finish? Imperceptible / natural

What is the difference between this formula and the old formula?

The chemists at Kao formulated this product with some sort of proprietary encapsulation technology which ensures that both the water and lipid soluble UV filters spread evenly on the skin, and remain evenly spread after the formula has dried down.

It looks basically the same from the tube. If pressed I suppose the new formula has a stronger and more white-hued gleam. I tried the old formula on one half of my face and the new on the other half. I reached the following conclusions:

  1. They basically feel exactly the same. If I didn’t know they were different formulas, I don’t think I would notice a difference.
  2. The new formula does not go as “swooshy” with friction. The old formula went nearly liquid, and the new retains a jelly-esque semi solidness. This is the biggest difference I can detect between the formulae. I’d like to make clear that this difference is the most apparent during application (and it isn't particularly apparent then). There is even less contrast when the products are on the skin.
  3. The new formula is slightly more hydrating
  4. The new formula is a shade more occlusive. Literally, just a shade. Both formulas have a barely-there sense of weightlessness, but I think the new is just a hair more occlusive than the old. This is a selling point.

Positive opinions?

I like this sunscreen even more than the old formula, and I loooove the old formula. It’s just fantastic.

As with the old formula, it totally sublimates to nothing, and feels fully weightless on the skin. It’s affordable, and it has no white cast, and it isn’t filmy, and it offers excellent, excellent UV protection. I could go on and on and on. I love this sunscreen.

I keep a back up of this sunscreen in my bag at all times, to give to someone who isn’t wearing sunscreen. At the time of writing, this sunscreen has convinced four people to wear sunscreen daily. I am very proud of this!

Any bad news?

I mean, it has fragrance. Some people won’t like that. It also has denatured alcohol 1, so it is to be avoided by those who experience actual reactions to that. I don’t care about either of those things. This product is a star.


$16 / 50 ml | $0.32 / ml

Arbitrary personal ranking out of 10?

My love for this sunscreen is evangelical (10/10).

Similar products?

Okay, everybody, I’m sorry for this, but unless you have rosacea or actually can’t handle alcohol at all1 in sunscreens, you should buy this instead of the Supergoop Unseen Sunscreen or the Glossier Invisibile Shield. The Bioré is superior in every way. It’s better than the Rohto, too, and the Kanebo Allie Extra UV Gel. It’s just better.

The only sunscreens I like as much as this sunscreen are the Bioderma Photoderm Max Cream and the Purito Centella Green Level Safe Sun. The Bioderma is more rich, and offers insane, unbeatable UV protection. The Puritio is a lightweight cream texture, and feels more lush on the skin.

It can be purchased here.

1 NOTE: Everyone goes on and on about how if there is alcohol in a product, it immediately makes you an old hag. This is just so insane. I suppose people like to demonize ingredients without attempting to understand their function – and I get it, we’ve all been there, but we need to think about things in perspective. I will attempt to do this by citing the following:

  1. There is nothing more anti-aging than a sunscreen. Your sunscreen is very unlikely to make you appear to age more rapidly.
  2. There are a few sunscreen filters that cannot be dissolved in water. While alcohol is rarely the best solvent available, it can be useful for a variety of filters.
  3. Alcohol quickly evaporates, so it helps to keep sunscreens from feeling greasy and heavy.
  4. A cosmetic chemist, with years and years of experience making safe products, put the alcohol in the product for a good reason. They also probably tested it on themselves, and their families. They aren’t adding it to make you look horrible, or make you into an old crone, or to steal your hard earned money. I promise.
  5. There is alcohol in the formula of many prescription skincare products, which are given to people to treat medical conditions. It is absurd to think that a dermatologist, a person who has made a career out of encouraging skin health, would encourage a patient to put a harmful ingredient on her/his face.
  6. Some people with very sensitive skin, or with rosacea, have an actual problem with alcohol. I’m not talking to those people. I am talking to the masses of who don’t have a problem with denatured alcohol, and complain about it just to prove they know how to google ingredients and read a list that indicates whether or not a given ingredient is “good” or “bad.” In the words of Fran Lebowitz: “Think before you speak. Read before you think.”