Bioré UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence SPF50+/ PA+++ Sunscreen Review

Forget lipstick, mascara or eyeliner, a recent chat with a dermatologist convinced me that a dedicated sun protection product on the skin was the single most important thing to not leave home without.

It's not true that there ain't no sunshine on a cloudy day

It’s not true that there ain’t no sunshine on a cloudy day…you should still wear a sunscreen to avoid premature skin damage caused by the sun’s invisible rays. The Bioré product in today’s review is pictured here with my next sunblock review product – the Sun Off A Beach sunblock.

I’ve always assumed that the SPF30 level in my BB Cream was enough protection but according to my good skin doctor, it really isn’t.

According to the doctor, cosmetics should not really be expected to perform as efficiently as a true sunscreen beyond their aesthetic functions and he was definitely of the opinion that we should all wear a dedicated sun blocking product underneath our cosmetics or alone and even on those deceptively overcast days when we think the sun can’t get at us but where it can.

Now, an adequately functional sunscreen prevents sunburn, minimises the risk of skin cancer but also helps stave off the longer term impact of the sun’s role in causing our skin to age prematurely.

Considering unprotected sun exposure remains one of the prime causes of premature skin ageing and poor skin health, all of our skincare and beauty efforts would be in vain if we did not try to preempt the situation and prevent sun damage to our skin before it happens.

So, after leaving the conversation, the first thing I did was stop at a pharmacy with the intention to throw some serious dough at an SPF product. Personally, I think the drugstore is rich in pickings for this type of skin product. I don’t believe you really need to go all out and pay top dollar on a designer brand sun cream.

As long as the level of UVB protection (SPF) is adequately high and the UVA protection rating (PA + etc)  is equally high, you are pretty much good to go.

There’s an awful lot of choice available at my local Watsons but in the end, I opted for this – the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA+++.

At under Rm30 for a 50g tube on sale, it’s reasonably priced enough to have a trial without breaking the bank.

Personally, I like to work with a product that’s at least an SPF30 with a PA++.

This product is giving me SPF50 and the PA rating has three ‘+’ symbols which basically means it offers what is considered the maximum level of UVA blocking available for sunscreens here in Asia.

Bioré UV AQUA Rich Water Essence SPF50 PA+++

Bioré UV AQUA Rich Water Essence SPF50 PA+++

Anyway, this product had me at …water.

Product texture and consistency has always been an issue for me when it came to sun care formulas but this product bills itself as a watery essence with a water base so you could say that I was attracted to the mention of water and its claims of being water-like.

I’m so tired of thick, sticky, greasy, stinky cream products that take forever to blend into the skin so the claims that this is a non sticky and non greasy formula were very attractive to me; especially as I intend to wear it under all my daily makeup.

Add to that the fact that my T-zone is an oil-field well, then I’m not about to go adding any more fuel to my fire.

Made in Japan

Best selling in Japan & water-like!

It’s also Made in Japan and the Japanese have such great skin for their age that I’m almost always sold when a skin product sells in Japan like hotcakes.

Those raised under the rising sun sure know their way around good skincare and protecting their delicate skin from the sun. Japanese women tend to look impressively young for their age and really, don’t we all want some of that?

From the tube

From the tube

From the tube, the formula is lotion-like but not runny. It applies and stays where you put it without sliding off the face or body too quickly so you can apply this with just your fingers.

Call me the Goldilocks of sun protection but I loathe a thick cream but don’t want a ultra-drippy runny fluid either.

Consistency-wise, this product was just right. Goldilocks is happy.

Skin Swatch

Skin Swatch

On contact with the skin, it feels refreshing and cool. Uh-oh, I suspect this is because of a generous amount of alcohol in it but you know, some of us like this while others shun it.

The jury is still out on this ingredient so I’ll leave you to decide which camp you’re in. I’ve finally concluded that I’m cool with alcohol in my skincare as long as it doesn’t sting or irritate me.

There is no stickiness and no greasiness and to be honest, this feels more like a moisturiser than a sunscreen.

The product has a light and pleasant citrus-scent but this barely lingers once the product sinks into the skin. It spreads on very easily and absorbs without much effort, blending to complete invisibility in just a few light strokes. Exactly like a watery moisturiser, in fact.

Into the skin

Into the skin

Once on, the skin seems to drink it in and the skin’s surface remains impressively dry to the touch. Thankfully, this product leaves no visible residue and the skin feels supple, smooth and silky, as if moisturised but is not left in the least bit shiny.

It applies smoothly on the face and body and my pores don’t feel suffocated as they usually do when I wear regular sun creams.

I don’t need to be at a mirror to apply this because the product leaves no streaks or that dreaded white cast that seems to dog most sun protection products.

The formula is also impressively lightweight and it is like I am wearing nothing! This what I love most about it after a solid lifetime of heavy sunblocking zincs and pastes; this is something that I can finally feel comfortable wearing on my skin every day.


Here is what this product looks like at the store in its full packaging.


  • Water (Aqua)
  • Alcohol
  • Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate
  • Lauryl Methacrylate/Sodium Methacrylate Crosspolymer
  • C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate
  • Bis-Etheylhexyloxyphenol
  • Methoxyphenyl Triazine
  • Ethylhexyl Triazone
  • Xylitol
  • Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate
  • Dimethicone
  • Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer
  • Dextrin Palmitate
  • Glyceryl Stearate
  • Agar
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • PEG-400,
  • Fragrance (Parfum)
  • Polyvinyl Alcohol
  • Isoceteth-20
  • Disodium EDTA
  • BHT
  • Sodium Hydroxide
  • Butylene Glycol
  • Propylene Glycol,Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract
  • Phenoxyethanol
  • Methyl Paraben, Butyl Paraben , Ethyl Paraben, Propyl Paraben


  • High UVB & UVA protection – SPF50 & PA+++
  • Suitable for face & body
  • Non-greasy
  • Non-sticky
  • Non-powdery
  • Lightweight, watery texture that absorbs easily and weightlessly into the skin
  • Feels comfortable and natural on the skin even when worn under layers of skincare and makeup
  • Refreshing feeling on application
  • Hydrating formula that seems to moisturise the skin as it protects
  • Does not add any more oil to my oil-prone & sensitive skin
  • Leaves no white cast or any residue
  • Has a light but pleasant citrus scent on application but this doesn’t linger after application
  • Suitable for daily wear on the face and body
  • Contains Hyaluronic Acid
  • Affordable
  • Did not break me out or irritate my sensitive skin any more than usual. I’m sorry, I can’t speak for any one else
  • Contains UV absorbing ingredients – Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate & Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate – which prevent harmful UVA rays from penetrating the skin.


  • Product is a sunscreen not a sunblock. Protection is great but more suited to light activities and short periods under the sun. I would personally substitute this with a thicker, more traditional sunblocking product that contains either titanium oxide or zinc oxide for more intense activities under the sun e.g. sports, swimming. A sunblock in this instance would offer more protection because they are generally designed to block out all harmful rays but the disadvantage of a sunblock is that it usually feels heavier and greasier on the skin.
  • Small tube. Could only find it in the 50g size.
  • Not recommended for babies (says so on the packaging)
  • Contains alcohol and this is listed as the second ingredient
  • Contains parabens – Methyl, Butyl , Ethyl, Propyl
  • Contains a slew of chemical ingredients and would not be considered mineral or organic skincare
Sun protection without all the traditional expectations

Finally, sun protection without all the traditional pet hates


  • Around Rm30/ 50g

Where to Buy?

  • At leading drugstores nationwide – Watsons, Guardian…

Final Notes

Look for this if you want a completely weightless, high SPF/ PA+++ level of sun protection that’s truly comfortable enough to wear alone or under makeup.

I know that this product is a whole cocktail of chemicals but many of these are emollients, UV absorbers and moisturisers. Notably, it also contains alcohol and parabens but I’ve finally reconciled myself with these ingredients given that there is no concrete evidence to date that proves they are truly evil.

I’m afraid I’m not a chemist by trade so it’s difficult for me to analyse the ingredients in any more detail for you but I’ve listed them in the post for your benefit anyway.

I can’t speak for everyone but I personally love this product and have been using it daily since I bought it a month ago. A definite repurchase item because it seems to do its job on my skin comfortably and at an affordable price.

I plan to review a few other sunscreen and sunblocks over the next few months too because now I know how important sun protection is, I can’t get enough of this good stuff!

[Disclaimer: Product purchased by me. Commentary is my personal opinion. Consider at your own risk. Images belong to me. Please do not republish without permission or a link back to this blog]



  1. Thanks for recommending this product, will definitely look out for it when I drop by the Drugstore next time around. I’m guilty for not using sunscreen either, that’s why I have pigmentation on my face.. Sigh…

  2. @ Alisha Melissa Mah: You’re welcome. I’m only starting to realise that prevention is better than cure myself…but it’s not too late, grab some sun protection today! Better late than never, right?

  3. I’m always keeping a lookout for ‘that ideal sunblock’ but so far most have disappointed me in a big time. The constant lament that my skin tone does not work with all that whitish residue most sunblock’s leave after. But after lots of hits and misses, i truly love Hada Labo’s UV Moist Emulsion, it’s SPF 50 ++ and not heavy or greasy at all…. no idea if it will work for your combination skin… but for me, this is a keeper 🙂

  4. @ Sharonsree: Everyone seems to have a Hada Labo product they love. That brand is making waves!
    Thanks for the suggestion. One can never have enough sunscreen/ sunblock. I use one everyday now.

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