Face Sunscreen Guide 2022 Part 2 Japanese Sunscreens

Face Sunscreen Guide 2022, Part 2: Japanese sunscreens

13 '
Intro
At a glance

My 2022 sunscreen guide, part 2: I tell you all about my tests of Japanese sunscreen products!

Japanese sunscreens are some of my favorites. For my skin type and the climate I live in, they are just great. This year, I tried five of them and I want to introduce them to you in this second part of my Face Sunscreen Guide 2022!

If you haven’t read my first part all about European sunscreens, it’s available here: Face Sunscreen Guide 2022, Part 1: European sunscreens. But today, let’s talk about my beloved Japanese sunscreens 😉

The texture of the Japanese sunscreens is indeed a genuine delight when, like me, you have a combination skin and in the summertime it’s very hot and humid where you live, but you still like to wear makeup anyway. Their texture is generally lightweight and barely noticeable on the skin, and works great under makeup. You can tell that the Japanese consumer is well educated about daily sun protection 😉.

That being said, most of the formulas I’m going to talk about in this guide aren’t just “city” sunscreens. Some of them are suitable for use in outdoor activities; they are very durable, resistant and waterproof. So if you’re looking for sunscreens suitable both for the city AND the beach, you’ll probably find what you need in this article 😉

As you’ll see, most of the sunscreens I feature in this guide are combination sunscreens (= that contain both mineral and chemical filters). These types of sunscreens are generally very protective but in some cases, they also tend to leave a little white cast. Although this is not always the case, and the formulas are generally very well designed to be forgotten once applied to the skin, I prefer to mention it.

Newsletter

Don't miss out on new content we publish.
Hey, it could be what helps you find the exact skincare product you were looking for.
We wouldn't want you missing out on that now, would we 🙂

Another thing to be aware of is that Japanese sunscreens contain a lot of alcohol. Alcohol in a sunscreen formula makes the texture much lighter. I know that alcohol is very criticized and often pointed out as a sensitizing and/or dehydrating ingredient, but it’s important to remember that a product is above all a formula. And that precisely, in the case of the products I talked about in this article, the rest of the formula plays a big role and allows to compensate for this effect.

On me, if my skin is not sensitized (so, most of the time), alcohol isn’t really an issue. But it’s true that I also alternate the types of sunscreen, as I explained in this article about chosing the best sunscreen a few years ago, which probably allows me to limit the possible irritation.

Also, like Korean brands, Japanese brands regularly reformulate their products to take advantage of new innovations. The popular formulas are therefore improved almost every year. This is the case for Anessa, or Bioré. The formulas I introduce in this guide are the latest formulas on the market, from 2022 🙂.

If you want to know more about my criteria for choosing my sunscreens, I refer you to my first article Face Sunscreen Guide 2022: European sunscreens. And as in my other articles, you can go directly to the product you are interested in from the “Jump To” menu at the top of the page 😉

So here are the five Japanese sunscreens I tried in 2022!

Face Sunscreen Guide 2021, Part 2: Japanese sunscreens Skincare Face Sunscreen Guide 2021, Part 2: Japanese sunscreens Here is the second part of my 2021 Face sunscreens guide! This time, I’m focusing on the land of the rising sun, where there is no shortage of nice sunscreen options! So let’s take a closer look at the new Japanese sunscreen products I tried this year. Read more

100% chemical sunscreens:

The textures of chemical sunscreens are generally very pleasant, lightweight, and imperceptible on the skin. Most of them are completely transparent, which is very nice! Some of them have a glowy finish, so be careful if you tend to get shiny during the day. But that’s not the case with this one I’m introducing today 🙂.

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Aqua Protect Lotion SPF 50+ PA++++

∎ Price:
Between $7 and $15 for 70ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
Japan

∎ Texture:
A very surprising texture: extremely liquid, almost like water. You need to shake the bottle very well before using it, to mix the filters, and that’s when you realize how liquid the product is. It feels really lightweight on the skin, probably the lightest texture I’ve tested! It absorbs very quickly, you can’t massage it in for very long, just be aware! I prefer to apply it in several layers to make it easier. Once on the skin, the finish is a little sticky at first, but it ends up setting in a few minutes.

∎ UV Filters:
– Uvinul A Plus: a chemical filter for the UVA.
– Octinoxate: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Uvinul T 150: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Tinosorb S: a chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, Alcohol, Ethylhexyl ​Methoxycinnamate, Glycerin, Silica, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Glyceryl Stearate, Bisethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Dextrin Palmitate, Agar, Cellulose, Polyvinyl Alcohol, ​Acrylates C10 30, ​Acrylates Crosspolymer, ​Polysilicone-9, Sodium Hydroxide, Royal Jelly Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Phenoxyethanol, Disodium, EDTA, BHT, Fragrance

∎ Alcohol?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, a sweet and floral scent, very subtle and pleasant, which fades quickly.

∎ Antioxidants?
No.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Hydrating ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and royal jelly.

∎ White cast?
Not on me, it’s transparent.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
Not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
Not especially, it’s a “skin like” effect as if I hadn’t put anything on. During the day, I’m just a little more glowy than usual but not shiny either.

∎ Drying?
No, it’s comfortable.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a good makeup primer. The foundation applies very well on top; I was afraid it would look patchy because the texture is a bit sticky at first, but not at all!

∎ Would I repurchase?
Yes, why not? I’m pretty impressed with this sunscreen. The texture is really unique!
According to the brand, this water-based sunscreen turns into a super liquid texture once on the skin. The formula will then merge, like a second skin, for a better adherence and a more homogeneous protection. Be aware by the way, this “merging” effect happens very quickly on the skin, you need to massage it quickly 😉.
The formula actually includes 2.8 million “water burst” molecules containing encapsulated UV filters, which are dispersed in Aqua Nano Capsules that burst on the skin upon application, forming a thin anti-UV film that adheres evenly like a second skin. The effect is really unique. You can feel the water capsules bursting on the skin and providing a super fresh effect. If you look very carefully, you can actually see these tiny capsules in the product’s texture. It’s always fun for skincare geeks like me 😉.
Another benefit is that this protective film is very resistant, and even resists sweat and water (for 80 minutes). So this is a sunscreen that works for the city and the beach! It’s a 70g size, and it’s quite affordable, and you can totally use it on your body if you want, which is great! 🙂.

∎ Buy this product:

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Aqua Protect Lotion SPF 50+ PA++++

Combo sunscreens (with both mineral and chemical filters):

The “heavy-duty” formulas. I use them when I want to be sure I’m very well protected, and if I know I’m going to be out in the sun for a bit.

Bioré UV Barrier Me Cushion Gentle Essence SPF 50+ PA++++

∎ Price:
Between $7 and $25 for 60ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
Japan

∎ Texture:
A light cream texture. It leaves the skin comfortable, but not feeling greasy.

∎ UV Filters:
– Zinc Oxide: a mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Uvinul A Plus: a chemical filter for the UVA.
– Octinoxate: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Uvinul T 150: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Tinosorb S: a chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, Ethanol, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Zinc Oxide, Isopropyl Palmitate, Silica, BG, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Hexyl Diethylaminohydroxybenzoylbenzoate, Isononyl Isononanoate, Dipentaerythrityl ​Tri-Polyhydroxystearate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Bisethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Sorbitan Stearate, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/​Acryloyl Dimethyl Taurine Na Copolymer, Isohexadecane, Polysorbate 80, Polysilicone-9, Royal Jelly Extract, Hyaluronic Acid Na, EDTA 2Na, BHT, Fragrance

∎ Alcohol?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, a fairly fresh fragrance, nice and subtle.

∎ Antioxidants?
No, but the formula protects against pollution and micro-particles like pollen that can irritate the skin thanks to an exclusive “UV Cut & Anti-Dust Outer Skin” technology that allows it to form a film on the skin’s surface to limit the absorption of these irritating particles. This technology also protects the skin from the friction of the mask.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Hydrating ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and royal jelly.

∎ White cast?
Not on me, it’s transparent. But it does contain a mineral filter, so if you have a darker skin than me, it may be more visible on you.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
No, quite the contrary. I find it soothing and comfortable.

∎ Mattifying?
Not especially, it leaves a slightly satin finish. For me, it will be more suitable in winter or spring. That being said, it doesn’t make me look super shiny either.

∎ Drying?
No, it’s super comfortable.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a good makeup primer. But if you want a matte result, you’ll need a bit of powder 😉

∎ Would I repurchase?
Why not? The formula is really nice, innovative, and the price is reasonable. The texture is pleasant, moisturizing and very protective. This product includes an exclusive technology, “UV Cut & Anti-Dust Outer Skin”, which allows it to form a film on the surface of the skin to limit the absorption of irritating particles of pollution and pollen. It’s also a technology that protects the skin from the friction of the mask. The formula resists sweat and water (for 80 minutes). This sunscreen works for the city and the beach!
I find it very comfortable to wear, it works well with makeup, it’s not overpriced, in short, it’s a good option, which will suit even dry-prone skin, IMO 🙂

∎ Buy this product:

Bioré UV Barrier Me Cushion Gentle Essence SPF 50+ PA++++

Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk SPF 50+ PA++++

∎ Price:
Between $20 and $37 for 60ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
Japan

∎ Texture:
It’s a non-greasy fluid/milk that spreads easily and leaves a rather matte finish upon application. Don’t forget to shake it well before using it for a better filters distribution! 🙂

∎ UV Filters:
– Zinc Oxide: a mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Titanium Dioxide: a mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Uvinul A Plus: a chemical filter for the UVA.
– Homosalate: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Octisalate: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Parsol SLX: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Uvinul T 150: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Octocrylene: a chemical filter for UVA and UVB.
– Tinosorb S: a chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Dimethicone, Water (Aqua), Zinc Oxide (10.35%), Alcohol, Talc, Isododecane, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Octocrylene (5%), Ethylhexyl Salicylate (4.9%), C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, PEG/​PPG-9/​2 Dimethyl Ether, Zea Mays (Corn) Starch, Silica, Isopropyl Myristate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (1.8%), Titanium Dioxide, PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dextrin Palmitate, Glycerin, Homosalate (1%), Ethylhexyl Triazone (0.8%), Polysilicone-15 (0.5%), Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (0.5%), PEG-10 Dimethicone, Isostearic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Trisodium EDTA, Sodium Chloride, PEG-6, Fragrance (Parfum), Tocopherol, BHT, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Metabisulfite, PEG/​PPG-14/​7 Dimethyl Ether, Saccharide Isomerate, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Potentilla Erecta Root Extract, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Soluble Collagen, Phenoxyethanol.

∎ Alcohol?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, a fairly fresh floral fruity fragrance that does not linger.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, green tea and vitamin E.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Hydrating ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, collagen. But also soothing licorice that helps to brighten the complexion.

∎ White cast?
A light one, but on my fair skin, it’s fine. Compared to last year’s version, it’s even less visible, I feel.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
Not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
Yes, pretty much. It’s not the most matte I’ve tried, but it definitely helps to regulate my sebum during the day.

∎ Drying?
Not on me.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It looks great with makeup. It’s a pretty silicones-heavy formula, so it almost does a beautifying primer effect and makeup sits perfectly on top.

∎ Would I repurchase?
Probably! My favorite from Anessa is still the Mild Milk (the alcohol-free, fragrance-free version), but I have to say I like the matte finish of this one, which is great in the summer.
The formula for this 2022 version has been improved to be even more resistant to heat, humidity and mask rubbing than its 2020 predecessor. The new formula (which the brand claims to be ocean-friendly) includes the new Auto Booster Technology that triggers when it detects heat to maintain an even layer of UV protection and also reacts with minerals from sweat and water to create a more protective, even UV protection on the skin that is more resistant to rubbing. This makes it an ideal sunscreen if you’re active outdoors and it’s hot! This makes it perfect for outdoor activities and sports. The formula resists sweat and water, and sebum (for 80 minutes).
It also protects the skin from pollution particles. On me, it also works very well as a city sunscreen; it looks great under makeup and I find it very comfortable, not drying at all. It’s true that it’s a bit expensive, but frankly, the formula is quite amazing. It’s very innovative (so it has a price, I guess 😉)!

∎ Buy this product:

Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk SPF 50+ PA++++

Shiseido Anessa Sun Dual Care Day Serum SPF 50+ PA++++

∎ Price:
Between $27 and $37 for 30ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
Japan

∎ Texture:
It’s a non-greasy fluid/milk that spreads easily and leaves a smoothing and almost powdery finish on the skin. Don’t forget to shake it well before using it for a better filters distribution! 🙂

∎ UV Filters:
– Zinc Oxide: a mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Titanium Dioxide: a mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Uvinul A Plus: a chemical filter for the UVA.
– Octinoxate: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Octocrylene: a chemical filter for UVA and UVB.
– Tinosorb S: a chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Dimethicone, Water (Aqua), Zinc Oxide (15.326%), Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate (7.49475%), Alcohol, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Caprylyl Methicone, Butylene Glycol, Octocrylene (3%), Silica, Glycerin, Mica, Titanium Dioxide, Trifluoropropyldimethyl/​Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate (1.5%), PEG-9 Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Dextrin Palmitate, Trehalose, Isododecane, Sorbitan Sesquiisostearate, PEG/​PPG-14/​7 Dimethyl Ether, Phytosteryl Macadamiate, PPG-17, Titanium Dioxide (Ci 77891), Triisostearin, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine (0.5%), PEG-10 Dimethicone, Isostearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Trisodium EDTA, Fragrance (Parfum), PEG/​PPG-17/​4 Dimethyl Ether, BHT, Tocopherol, Iron Oxides (Ci 77491), Sodium Metabisulfite, Sodium Polyacrylate, Synthetic Fluorphlogopite, Talc, Sodium Citrate, Citric Acid, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Potentilla Erecta Root Extract, Triethoxysilylethyl Polydimethylsiloxyethyl Dimethicone, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Plankton Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Rosa Roxburghii Fruit Extract, Spirulina Platensis Extract, Soluble Collagen

∎ Alcohol?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance?
Yes, a fairly fresh floral fragrance, pleasant and subtle.

∎ Antioxidants?
Yes, green tea and vitamin E.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Hydrating ingredients: glycerin, hyaluronic acid, collagen. But also soothing licorice that helps to brighten the complexion.

∎ White cast?
A light one, but on my fair skin, it’s fine.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
Not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
It’s a bit special; the effect on the skin is smoothing, almost powdery, but at the same time the finish remains quite luminous, since it works on the radiance of the complexion. I’m not sure I’m describing it very well, but I think it will suit combination skin looking for radiance. Oily skin might not like the glowy effect, while dry skin might not like the powdery finish.

∎ Drying?
Not on me, it’s comfortable.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It looks great worn alone, for a complexion beautifying effect. With makeup on top, I would say it depends which foundation you’re using. I find it nice with a slightly luminous foundation on top, less so with a more matte product because in that case, it tends to emphasize the areas where my skin is a bit drier. In short, it’s not the sunscreen product that works with everything.

∎ Would I repurchase?
I’m not sure. It can be a beautiful product. I like that luminous, dewy effect on me, but I know it won’t work with all skin types. And the correcting effect doesn’t always work very well with different makeup, so it’s a bit complicated…
But the formula is definitely interesting! It’s super innovative, with a specific technology from the brand. Actually, this sunscreen is specially formulated to protect against UV damage by using the sunlight to beautify the skin. It features Shiseido’s new Sun Dual Care technology that combines spirulina extract with zinc oxide. This combination of ingredients converts harmful UV light into visible light that beautifies the skin to suppress UV-induced inflammation. It’s also a formula that is highly resistant to perspiration, humidity and mask rubbing. In short, a product that will not suit everyone but is still quite unique! On the other hand, it’s quite a luxury product. The format is quite small, and the price is definitely not cheap😅.

∎ Buy this product:

Shiseido Anessa Sun Dual Care Day Serum SPF 50+ PA++++

Allie Chrono Beauty Facial Gel UV EX SPF 50+ PA++++

∎ Price:
Between $18 and $35 for 60ml.

∎ Protection:
SPF 50+, PA++++

∎ Made in:
Japan

∎ Texture:
The product is called “gel” but it’s actually a very light cream that spreads easily and leaves a rather matte finish upon application. You have to massage it a little and you can feel it settling in the skin quite quickly. The texture is quite fresh, not greasy at all!

∎ UV Filters:
– Zinc Oxide: a mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Titanium Dioxide: a mineral filter for UVA and UVB.
– Uvinul A Plus: a chemical filter for the UVA.
– Uvinul T 150: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Parsol SLX: a chemical filter for UVB.
– Tinosorb S: a chemical filter for UVA and UVB.

∎ Full ingredients list:
Water, Alcohol, Diisopropyl Sebacate, Triethylhexanoin, Zinc Oxide, Titanium Dioxide, Dimethicone, Glycerin, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Butylene Glycol, Polysilicone-15, Behenyl Alcohol, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Hydrated Silica, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Hydrogenated Lecithin, Sodium Acrylate/​Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Isohexadecane, Acrylates/​Polytrimethylsiloxymethacrylate Copolymer, Polysorbate 80, Xanthan Gum, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hyaluronate

∎ Alcohol?
Yes.

∎ Fragrance?
No.

∎ Antioxidants?
No.

∎ Other notable skincare ingredients in the formula:
Hydrating ingredients: glycerin, and hyaluronic acid.

∎ White cast?
No, on me it’s transparent, but it contains mineral filters, so if your skin is darker than mine, it might be more visible.

∎ Irritating? Comedogenic?
Not on me.

∎ Mattifying?
Yes, it is, and it also helps to control my sebum during the day, without being drying.

∎ Drying?
No, it’s hydrating and comfortable.

∎ How does it look with makeup?
It’s a good makeup priming product. Makeup applies easily over it, and it helps foundation to last longer.

∎ Would I repurchase?
Yes, I think so! I already liked last year’s version a lot, but I think I even prefer this version, which is great and ticks almost all my boxes. The texture is perfect: light, barely noticeable on the skin, matifying without being drying and it’s a fantastic product to use under makeup. It’s super durable and waterproof, it even resists sweat, sebum and water for 80 minutes. Resisting the rubbing of the mask is always a plus. It’s a versatile sunscreen that works for the city and the beach! The brand also highlights the fact that the filters used are reef safe (but you know how I feel about this kind of marketing).
If your skin tends to look shiny, it’s definitely a product that you might be interested in 😉.

∎ Buy this product:

Allie Chrono Beauty Facial Gel UV EX SPF 50+ PA++++

In conclusion:

I’m still going to make a top 3 for the sake of it, but really, I liked all the Japanese sunscreens I tried this year, they’re all very nice! However, if I really had to choose, these three would be my best of (they are not ranked in any particular order, I love them all):

Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk SPF 50+ PA++++ : a staple! Very protective and resistant, it looks great with makeup, and it’s awesome if, like me, you prefer light and non-greasy textures. In short, it’s a great all-around sunscreen, and the formula is super innovative, which is always a plus!

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Aqua Protect Lotion SPF 50+ PA++++ : a totally amazing texture. I love the “water burst” effect of the filters encapsulated on the skin, and its texture as liquid as water is one of the lightest I’ve tried! Plus, it’s not overpriced, as it’s a Bioré. Really, a delightful discovery 😃.

Allie Chrono Beauty Facial Gel UV EX SPF 50+ PA++++ : it’s simple, I love it. It’s nicely matte, unnoticeable on my skin, performs great with makeup, and helps to absorb my excess shine during the day. I have a feeling I won’t be putting this one down all summer! 🥰.

This is it for the second part of my Sunscreen Guide 2022 (the first part is here if you haven’t read it yet: Face Sunscreen Guide 2022, Part 1: European sunscreens). The third and last part will be dedicated to Korean sunscreens. I ask you to be patient, because as usual, it’s the longest to write since this is the category where I test the most products 😅.

Comments (4)

  1. I’m looking for Asian sunscreens formulated with isododecane that look like Supergoop Unseen/Black Girl Make it Matte/Kroger/Kylieskin where it’s a clear balm type of product. I want a non-American sunscreen in this category because I want it to have additional UVA filters. Please let me know if you have suggestions. Thank you!

    • Hello Leo,
      I’m very sorry but I haven’t tried any of these American sunscreens, so I can’t be really sure to know that there’s an equivalent in Asian sunscreens.
      But I hope my reviews and all the descriptions I provide in the article can help you find something interesting for you. I will have more reviews in my upcoming article about Korean sunscreens in a couple of weeks 😊❤️

Leave a comment

An authentic beauty magazine with personality and looks: reviews, articles, focus & memos

BTY ALY Newsletter

Don't miss out on new content we publish.
Hey, it could be the review, or article that helps you find the exact skincare product you were looking for.
We wouldn't want you missing out on that now, would we :)