May 4, 2021

Biore UV Aqua Rich Light Up Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ Review & Swatches

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.
4 stars out of 5

Biore UV Aqua Rich Light Up Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ is Kao’s latest reformulation of a beloved favorite SPF and sunscreen formula that launched this February in Japan. This is a skin brightening formula that blocks ultraviolet rays and can be used on face and body.

I was a little concerned about this new version of Biore UV Aqua Rich Essence as they kept promoting it as “shiny” and “radiant”. I do not want a glow from my sunscreen thanks so much. I thought for sure this would be some sort of highlighting formula that contain mica or something equally awful. Thankfully enough all that radiant, shininess they are talking about doesn’t exist and seems to be part of their marketing to promote this as a formula that’s great for duller skin. Shrug…!

Biore UV Aqua Rich Light Up Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ comes in an mess-free squeeze tube that’s 2.5 oz in size and around $8 in Japan but here in the US most secondary retailers are selling it for around $14. I’d recommend as a good place to purchase it since they ship quickly.

This is formulated for those that require protection from the sun but won’t be in the sun for longer periods of time. It’s a sunscreen you want to wear if you’re dashing around outside a bit but aren’t going to be exposed to the sun for long periods of time. It’s a great daily SPF. I tan easily and this won’t prevent me from tanning but it will help to protect my skin when I wear it.

This is an SPF 50 the 50 references the amount of time you can stay in the sun and be protected without getting burnt. PA++++ means the wearer can withstand at least 16 times more UVA radiation before tanning. The UV and UVB filter here is titanium oxide as well as tinosorb s. There are two other filters here but the more important of the four are the TO and TS which act to filter out the harmful UV and UVB rays.

As always with Japanese sunscreens it does contain alcohol however, after testing on my drier skin I can say that I didn’t experience dryness from it. It does contain some very nice hydrating ingredients like royal jelly extract which may off set the alcohol.

Some people are going to love this, others are going to be disappointed. I’ve personally made my peace with it and I like it but it is not the formula one would expect from the original Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery. Both have the same light citrus fragrance (it’s described as floral but I get citrus and alcohol) however, the new formulation is considerably thicker and creamier than the Aqua Rich Watery formula. I do think this new version does take longer to absorb and performs more like a sunscreen than the lighter Aqua Rich Watery formula. One of the most surprisingly aspects is the fact that it does leave a white cast for several minutes before it sets. The titanium dioxide is cause of the white cast and it does disappear but it takes a few minutes. They used that as a marketing ploy as they say the formula is “brightening” when in reality it’s the TO that’s causing a bright, white finish. It feels very dewy before it settles to a smooth finish. I was concerned that it would look and feel greasy but after it sets the dewiness disappears and you’re left with a smooth surface to apply makeup. Another difference between the two formulas is the fact this seems to lay over your skin creating a barrier between your skin and the sun. It’s not an uncomfortable feeling nor does it feel heavy but you do notice that it feels like it creates a cocoon around your skin.

I thought it was very comfortable to wear and super breathable. It also removed very easily at the end of the day. It’s not something I’d rely on if I were out and about for longer periods of time in the sun but it’s ideal for heading into the office, running around a few stores, etc….! It’s lightweight, it wears well under makeup without pilling or looking too dewy or greasy, and it feels very smooth. The white cast is a bit of a pain the deal with and the fact it takes a little time for it to absorb but you can apply it before anything else and go dry your hair or get dressed and by the time you’re done you’ll be ready to apply your makeup!

Biore UV Aqua Rich Light Up Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ isn’t as great as the original and much beloved Biore UV Aqua Rich Light Up Essence SPF 50+ PA++++. But I felt a little more protected using this if you can believe that and although, it had a white cast and took a bit longer to absorb I thought it wore very comfortably and looked great under makeup. I would buy it again!

Biore UV Aqua Rich Light Up Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ is available now.

Where to buy

YesStyle Ebay

Biore UV Aqua Rich Light Up Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ is a new, permanent sunscreen that launched in Japan earlier this Spring and is now more readily available in US via the secondary market. This is a thicker and creamier version of the Biore Watery Essence which has a thinner and gel-like formulation. The formula is part of the same family but vastly different in consistency. The formula uses four filters to protect skin against sun rays two of which are titanium oxide as well as tinosorb s that act to defend skin against UV and UVB rays. I struggled a little with the formula since it did leave a white cast behind and took a few minutes to absorb fully making it less of the lightweight, quick to absorb formula we know and love from Japanese sunscreens. That being said, I felt a bit more protected with this as it seems to sit on top of the skin creating a protective barrier. Initially it feels and looks dewy but sets to a smooth finish that wears well under makeup! The white cast disappears within a few minutes and it does absorb within that time frame as well! All in all, I thought it made for a very nice daily sunscreen but fans of the original Biore may feel disappointed.

Water, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate, ethanol, BG, isopropyl palmitate, titanium oxide, bisethylhexyloxyphenol methoxyphenyltriazine, ethylhexyltriazone, dimethicone, crosspolymer (lauryl methacrylate / Na methacrylate), hydrogenated polyisobutene, diethylaminohydroxy Hexyl benzoyl benzoate, silica, hydrous silica, mica, dextrin palmitate, dipentaerythrityl tripolyhydroxystearate, (Acrylate / alkyl acrylate (C10-30)) crosspolymer, triethoxycaprylylsilane, cetanol, glyceryl stearate, hydroxy Ethyl cellulose, polysolvate 60, polysilicone-9, Al hydroxide, K hydroxide, royal jelly extract, Na hyaluronate, tin oxide, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, EDTA-2Na, BHT, fragrance


  • Once absorbed feels very smooth and lightweight without any dewiness or greasiness.
  • Creates a barrier around skin that makeup sits comfortably on top of.
  • Leaves skin smooth.
  • Contains impressive sun filters.
  • Affordable.


  • Creates a white cast.
  • Takes a few minutes to absorb fully.
  • May not prevent tanning or burning.
  • Contains alcohol and fragrance.


Biore UV Aqua Rich Light Up Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ should work well for those that want essential, daily protection that isn’t heavy!

I purchased this item and I receive a small commission if you shop using the links in this post.

About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Christina

    Still waiting on mine to arrive. If it’s a creamier formula, I think I’d like that because even in the summer, I like my creamy products. LOL. I think because my retin-a is so drying, anything creamy makes me feel better.

    • Isabella Muse

      I think you’ll like it. It’s a more traditional sunscreen formula imho! But it set perfectly!

  • Lexi

    Sad to hear. Biore Aqua Rich is my every day sunblock. It’s so good and affordable.

    • Isabella Muse

      Yeah! For sure! It takes time to absorb, feels very dewy initially but once set no greasiness or oily feel!

      • the1337beauty

        Have you ever used the other biore sunscreen? I think it’s like Aqua Rich Smooth Watery Gel or something? Looks like it’s in a hard bottle as opposed to a squeeze bottle.

        I’m still on the hunt for the perfect sunscreen for oily skin, US sunscreens just don’t work for me.

        • Isabella Muse

          I think I’ve tried them all. The harder bottles are typically the milk sunscreens. They have more of a milky consistency versus the heavier creamy texture of this one. Anessa might be a good pick for you! They set matte!

  • Alison

    I am so confused as to sunscreens that are spf50 and pa++++, but not for use for more than incidental sun exposure. Is it because they are not water/sweat proof? Either they are spf50 or not. Please help me understand.

    • Isabella Muse

      PA++++ is the max sunscreen rating in japan. It’s high UVA protection! SPF is the sun protection rating which is how long you can stay outside without UVB causing you to tan or burn. So SPF 50 will provide you about 2 hours of time before you need to reapply. PA++++ references protection against UVA rays (the bad rays of the sun). The plus signs are the levels of protection. For example, SPF 50 means a higher level of protection likewise for a P rating with more pluses, the more pluses the more protection. Does that help/make sense?