I’m going to let you in on a little secret. I wasn’t an avid sunscreen wearer until 2 years ago when I moved to Vietnam. When I was living in Korea, I’d use it sporadically, mostly because I couldn’t really find anything that wasn’t super thick, oily, was tinted, or left a gray/white cast. I used the su:m37 spf for a minute, and while it was great for Korean winters, it was horrible in Vietnam. My skin is just too oily.
One day, I happened upon a review for the Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence. It was one of the few brands I could actually get in Vietnam, so I was hype as shit. And as it turned out, it became my one true sunscreen love. Like… it is a unicorn in a meadow full of rainbows and kittens. It’s like the perfect corner piece of the most perfect brownie ever. It’s the physical embodiment of perfection. For real.
Then, I received a message on Instagram from one of my readers that the Biore Aqua Rich Watery Gel had made it into stores, and that I should try it. Well, I’m not one to waste any time, so I headed out that day to get it. And then, the watery gel became my new love. The texture is lighter, it applies smoother and easier. So, I decided to write a review on both of them, because honestly, I just can’t decide which one I love more. If you have oily skin, have darker skin, or are looking for the most perfect sunscreen in the land, then please, read on.
Both the Biore Watery Essence and Watery Gel are SPF 50+ PA++++. They are both lightly scented, and are not waterproof/sweatproof. They are both more of an everyday, going around doing errands, wearing under makeup type sunscreens. Don’t get me wrong, they both offer me enough protection at the beach, or while driving a motorbike in Vietnam/Thailand, or sweating through an outdoor workout, but that’s me. I have a little bit more sun protection in the form of melanin, so I don’t burn easily, if at all. If you’ll be using either of these through strenuous workouts, at the beach, while swimming, or a long, hot day of sightseeing, you will need to reapply, or find other choices better suited to your needs.
The Watery Essence is packaged plastic tube containing 50g of product. It has a lightweight gel texture, that absorbs into the skin quickly. It’s super lightweight, non-greasy, and not sticky. It’s totally a slap-on and go sunscreen. No need to fuss around with rubbing it in to make sure it’s all absorbed. It doesn’t leave a grey or white cast, and dries down to a semi-matte to matte finish. Being a black woman, the struggle is extra real when it comes to sunscreens, especially because most leave that awful cast. But not with this one! I can wear it alone and no one would be able to tell the difference. I apply it everyday after my moisturizer, and before any primers or makeup. It wears beautifully under makeup, without any pilling or texture issues.
The ingredients are: Water, Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Lauryl Methacrylate/Sodium Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Acrylates/C10-30 Acrylate Crosspolymer, Glyceryl Stearate, Agar, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Grandis, Citrus Medica Limonum, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis, Xylitol, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Sodium Hydroxide, Potassium Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium EDTA, BHT, Fragrance.
I know, I know. Tons of fucking alcohol. I know it’s not the best skincare ingredient, and I know that plenty of people have issues with this sunscreen because of the high alcohol content, but I haven’t experienced any issues at all. If you have dry skin, or skin that is highly sensitive to alcohol, then this probably won’t be a sunscreen for you.
The Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel is also lightweight, and non-greasy. As you can see in the photo above, it’s a bit more runny than the watery essence. It has more of a lightweight milky texture. It is packaged in a plastic bottle with a screw top, and contains 90ml/90g of product, which is almost double that of the Watery Essence. It’s not sticky, but it’s not as quick absorbing for me as the essence. It apparently contains hyaluronic acid, which makes it slightly more hydrating than the essence. When I first apply it, it does go on slightly grey, but once it’s really absorbed into the skin, there isn’t a cast. This is due to the fact that the Watery Gel is diffused with a highlight/illuminating type ingredient that is supposed to make your skin look brighter. So if you have a lighter skin tone, it may act somewhat as an illuminating sunscreen. It again dries down to a semi-matte finish on me. It wears under makeup really well, and doesn’t pill or cake up. If you are interested in the ingredients, you can find them on here. It does contain alcohol, so again, if you are sensitive to alcohol or have dry skin, this probably won’t be a good sunscreen for you.
I like using the UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel for my body. First, the bottle is bigger so I don’t have to worry about flying through the tiny bottles of the Watery Essence. Second, because it’s slightly more hydrating than the essence, it kind of acts as a second lotion. It also spreads really easily so you can cover larger areas quicker. I had to start really focusing on using sunscreen on my body because I get crazy tan lines from riding around on a motorbike. My feet looked terrible while I was in Vietnam because they had zebra striped sandal tan lines. They’ve finally evened out, thank god! And since I also use a body chemical exfoliant and a glycolic acid body lotion to keep my skin super soft, it’s imperative to wear a sunscreen on my body.
All in all, both the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence and Watery Gel are holy grail products for me. I can’t live without them. I thought there was a small chance that I might not be able to find either product in Thailand so I bought like 6 of each to take with me. Thankfully, I can find them here, but yeah. It’s an amazing product, and I can’t live without it.
And remember, you should be wearing sunscreen every day. If you use any sort of chemical exfoliants, you MUST wear sunscreen everyday. If you suffer from hyper-pigmentation, sunscreen will be your new best friend. I wrote an article for xoNecole about why everyone needs to wear sunscreen, so please check it out if you’d like more information.
You can find the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence on Amazon (pack of 2) for $15.96. And you can also find the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel on Amazon for $8.87. So not only are both incredible products, that are really affordable!
What is your favorite sunscreen? Let me know in the comments (especially if it’s lightweight and doesn’t leave a cast!)