REVIEW: BIORE UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+

by - June 24, 2020

I have to be really honest here... I've actually been meaning to review the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50 PA++++ for almost a year now. Last summer, when my cousin's wife's parents were coming to visit Canada from Japan, they were kind enough to bring me a tube of this sunscreen that I had been DYING to try for ages but had yet to pull the trigger on. 

The reason that I really wanted to get my hands on this is pretty simple - it's one of the most talked about and widely lovely Japanese sunscreens that I'd seen and I really, really wanted to try a Japanese sunscreen. Why, you ask? Well, it's pretty simple. Here in Canada, as well as the US, our options for chemical filters are limited and, in my opinion, pretty outdated. Because sunscreen is treated like an OTC drug rather than a cosmetic, it has much stricter regulation and it really isn't easy to get new filters approved. For me, finding a chemical sunscreen option here in Canada is pretty difficult because the more common filters tend to cause irritation and break outs in my skin, so I tend to just stick to mineral sunscreens. Mineral sunscreens, though they do offer broad spectrum protection without irritation, can be tricky formulawise as well and can be an absolute nightmare for people of colour due to their strong white cast. Seriously, sunscreen is a bit of a minefield for me, which is why there aren't a lot that really stick in my collection. 

Like I said, I've been using this for nearly a year now (almost exactly, actually) so I've definitely put it rigorously to the test and am ready to give my review. Keep reading for more!

There are different formulations over the years of this product, so I just want to be straight up and tell you that the one I have is the 2019 formula. Like I said, it is a chemical sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. The filters included in this formulation are Octinoxate (UVB filter, not photostable, approved in Canada and US), Uvinul T 150 (UVB filter, photostable, not approved in Canada or US), Uvinul A Plus (UVA filter, photostable, not approved in Canada or US), and Tinosorb S (broad spectrum, photostable, not approved in US.) Tinosorb S gets a little bit complicated, because it's not actually listed on the Health Canada Guidance Document Sunscreen Monograph but there are products from some European brands that are approved for sale in Canada.  

For me, when it comes to this formula, I haven't noticed any of the irritation or break outs that I get from a LOT of the chemical sunscreens that I've tried on my face, which makes this a really exciting option for me. I know that there are a lot of people who, like me, tend to avoid chemical sunscreens because they've been really, really terrible to their skin in the past, so I think this could be a good option in that scenario. 

I don't think it's unfair or unfounded to say that here in Canada as well as in the US, we are behind the curve on the rest of the world when it comes to newer, more sophisticated, stable and effective UV filters. And, honestly, if the EU has approved these, with their tendency to be very strict when it comes to these kinds of things, we really need to get on board here. 

The texture of this sunscreen really reminds me of a light gel cream, in that it starts out lotiony but almost immediately melts into a very thin, watery gel texture that sinks into the skin quickly. Personally, that's the biggest plus about this formula for me, it really does sink into the skin and I don't have to worry about any added oiliness or other surface discomfort that is present with a lot of other sun screens when I use this. 

Initially, there's a pretty strong alcohol smell, which is owing to alcohol being pretty high on the ingredients list, unfortunately. That said, I've seen it argued that not only does it have a specific purpose in this formula, but also that it's balanced with moisturizing ingredients to balance out the drying effects of the alcohol. Personally, I can say that I haven't noticed any noticeable drying effects when using this, either immediately or with consistent use. This also does contain fragrance, which is not my favorite thing in a sunscreen, so if you do have a sensitivity or just try to avoid it, this might not be the best option for you. 

Overall, I have to say that even though it's not perfect for what I'm looking for and there are ingredients outside of the actual filters that make me personally a little iffy, it really does work well for my skin and my needs. I really like that it contains so many great filters that just aren't available otherwise here in Canada and I love the way it performs on my skin. I've really, really enjoyed using it and it definitely works to effectively protect me from the sun without feeling heavy or irritating my skin. I think it's a phenomenal entrance into Asian SPF products. I also really love that it's pretty widely and easily available to order online for Canadian customers, so that we can bypass those outdated restrictions when it comes to the approved filters.

Like I said, there are plenty of places you find this product online, such as YesStyle and Amazon, so if you want to try it you really don't have to wait until someone is visiting from Japan like I did! 

Thanks for reading!

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