Review: Kao Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++

Where to purchase: Available on HERE – Use Code: CVQFZA to receive % off

Price: ~£15

Volume: 50g

Made in: Japan

What is it?: An updated version of the UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++

Brand Description: Supposedly formulated to prevent uneven application (I’m guessing the silicone helps with this). This is a colourless SPF which forms an ”invisible waterproof shield” on the skin without making it feel sticky. Containing Hyaluronic acid, Royal Jelly and other moisturising factors, this SPF aims to keep the skin in a comfortable condition and hydrated instead of drying it out. It also supposedly works as a good primer.

Do I agree?: Yes this is ”invisible”, it works as a primer (no balling up or layering issues), no it does not dry out my skin.

Supposedly Good for: All Skin Types

What I think: Those who like a DEWY finish SPF and those who don’t mind Alcohol in SPF and Dry-Combo Skins may prefer this over Oily skins due to the Dew.


Packaging: Plastic Tube with a Screw-top Lid. The lid sort of ‘Clicks’ into place when screwing so you know when it’s closed.

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Directions: Apply as you would an SPF and Re-apply every 2 hours.

How I use it: I use this in the AM. I can use it regularly AND when I work out as when I sweat, this doesn’t emulsify (turn milky) and make a mess. it’s layerable and doesn’t ball/pill up so it plays nicely with any serums underneath. As I’m in summer now and I have oily-combo skin, I find that I can use this as both my moisturiser and SPF step.


Key Ingredients: Glycerin, Arginine + Sodium Hyaluronate (Skin Conditioning).

Organic/Chemical SPF Filters: Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine

Full Ingredients: Water, Alcohol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Isopropyl Palmitate, Lauryl Methacrylate/​Sodium Methacrylate Crosspolymer, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Dextrin Palmitate, Butylene Glycol, Xylitol, Acrylates/​C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Glycerin, Propanediol, Glyceryl Stearate, Glyceryl Behenate, Vinyl Dimethicone/​Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Potassium Hydroxide, Cetyl Alcohol, Agar, Sorbitan Distearate, Isoceteth-20, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Dimethicone/​Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Stearoyl Glutamic Acid, Arginine, Disodium EDTA, Fragrance, BHT, Sodium Hydroxide, Tocopherol, Royal Jelly Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben

NOTE: The Incidecoder have a full ingredient breakdown HERE

My Thoughts: I know Alcohol is a big issue for people. I usually don’t like alcohol in my skincare products, but I understand that for the SPFs that I like – Alcohol is used to keep the texture thin and lightweight which I really want and need from my SPF (as someone with Oily-Combo Skin). Preventing skin cancer by adequate SPF application is a lot more important than a bit of alcohol in an SPF for me. And if I’m worried about TEWL, I simply apply a serum or moisturiser underneath to prevent any possible dehydration.


Texture: Due to the alcohol, this has an immediate cooling/refreshing effect when applied onto the skin. It’s easily spreadable, very lightweight and does have that Silicone feeling/layer, making the skin feel softer. It doesn’t mean that this product balls up. Due to the silicone, this is slightly thicker than the Missha Aqua Sun Gel, but it is definitely lighter in texture than the now discontinued Purito SPF and also thinner than most Western SPFs I’ve tried (except for the Garnier Solaire Sun Fluid). The skin doesn’t feel thick, heavy or like it can’t breath.

This first applied like a white/yellow cream. It INITIALLY feels grainy when spreading out (not as much as the garnier sun fluid), but then that goes away when the product ‘melts’ along the skin.


Spreading this out, you can feel that cooling sensation on the skin. When spreading this out, it almost feels like spreading a watery gel on the skin (I keep thinking this is going to slip/fall off the skin). You do get that smell of alcohol when spreading (I don’t really mind more – give me that SPF50).


When spreading, you feel that sort of ”watery” sensation. I get why they called this an ”Essence”

As you can see the finish provides no white cast.


I wiped half the product off so you can see the finish of the SPF

You can see the slight dewy finish this provides. It definitely makes the skin appear a bit shinier.

Dewy or Matte Finish?: This is more on the Dewy Side and doesn’t really oil control.


Video Swatch! See how this SPF sits in Real Time:

Does this sting the eyes?: No (I work out in this and it doesn’t sting my eyes).

White Cast?: No 🙂

How does it feel/look when working out?: No weird milkiness when sweating. Doesn’t feel like my skin can’t breathe.

Winter or Summer SPF?: Summer SPF (but be careful if you don’t like a bit more of a dewy finish + this doesn’t really have oil control).

Fragrance?: Yes, and it does have an alcohol scent to it (that disappears of course). It doesn’t put me off and once again I prefer sun protection over a nice smell.

Good Under Makeup?: Yes! No balling or pilling up since this melts into the skin like water (no horrible silicone finish, balling up under makeup like the Purito SPF did for me).

How long have I been using this?: Until Completion, so 2-3 months of daily wear.

The Effect?: An SPF that is lightweight that I can slightly feel due to the silicone, but also makes the skin feel softer and smoother.

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What I like:

  • Not greasy or oily
  • Didn’t irritate my skin
  • Didn’t sting my eyes
  • No white cast
  • High SPF rating
  • Fine under makeup

What I don’t like:

  • A more dewy/shiny finish
  • This does have that slight silicone slip to it that I’m not always in the mood to feel sitting on the skin (especially when I’m hot).
  • Even though I don’t really mind Alcohol in SPF (due to Sun protection > alcohol), I will still put it here as a negative as newer and newer formulations are coming out with SPFs that are still thin and do not contain alcohol. Also the alcohol smell can be off-putting to many people.
  • Initially is a tiny bit grainy when applying (not as much as the garnier sun fluid), but this does go away once blended into the skin.

Overall Rating and Conclusion: 3.9 (almost a 4)/5 – Not a bad SPF at all! Yes they should probably reformulate it without the alcohol to make people happier (and to reduce the scent), but this does sit comfortably on the skin (Despite the silicone) and didn’t sting my eyes AND didn’t give me a white cast. I wasn’t put off when using this product compared to other SPFs I’ve tried. It’s not sticky or tacky either.

Would I repurchase?: Yes because less and less SPFs are being able to meet that SPF50 protection, and this seems to be an SPF I can trust!

Dupe?: If you want a more moisturising SPF with no Alcohol, then the Isntree Watery Sun Gel is a good dupe HERE OR a Sun Fluid for those with Oily skins, may enjoy the Garnier Sun Fluid SPF 50 HERE.

My Skin Type: I am acne prone and have slightly dehydrated combo skin. My skin is usually tight where the cheeks and eye area is and the outer parts of my face. My T zone is oily. My skin isn’t a fan of thick/heavy formulas so I opt for lightweight formulas to prevent it from clogging up. My skin doesn’t like essential oils either and I try to avoid fragrance when I can.

Disclaimer: I am a skincare enthusiast and not a skin expert. I am not qualified to give out dermatological advice. This type of advice should only be given by a medical practitioner. Upon trying / using any of the reviewed products on the blog, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions and warnings and please seek medical advice if needed.

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2 thoughts on “Review: Kao Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen SPF50+ PA++++

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