Best Japanese Sunscreen

black woman applying sunscreen

If you’re currently hunting down the best Japanese moisturizer to add to your daily skincare routine, I’m here to tell you some important things you should take into consideration before making a decision: the SPF/PA rating, your skin type, and the type – whether it’s an absorber or a blocker. I reviewed and summarized below the best according to these features. If you want to know more about the best and why these factors are essential, go ahead and scroll along.

It was not until a few years ago that I started to religiously dedicate time in my mornings to slather sunscreen on my face to protect myself from the harmful rays of the sun. And because of the weather of where I’m from and also considering what I do daily (I was then a college student who had a lot on her plate), I was very careful in choosing what I will use as my new HG sunscreen.

Lucky for me, I found it in just one try but it wasn’t an easy process either. It took me weeks of research and various visits to local website reviews to stumble across my HG sunscreen. And it’s none other than one from the Japanese brand Bioré! That’s why when my aunt comes home from Japan, all I would ask for are tubes of my favorite Bioré sunscreen and I’m sure to be stacked up for the rest of the year!

If you also want to find your holy grail Japanese sunscreen (like me!), no worries as I’ve already done the research and chose the best ones I’ve come across!

Our Top Picks for the Best Japanese Sunscreens

Product ImageProduct NamePrice
Our PickNivea Sun Water GelNivea Sun Water GelCheck Price
Best for Oily SkinBioré Aqua Rich Watery EssenceBioré Aqua Rich Watery EssenceCheck Price
Best for Dry SkinALLIE Extra UV GelALLIE Extra UV GelCheck Price
Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare MilkShiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare MilkCheck Price
Skin Aqua Tone Up UV EssenceSkin Aqua Tone Up UV EssenceCheck Price

The Best Japanese Sunscreen

1. Nivea Sun Water Gel – Our Pick!

Nivea Sun Water Gel

Our top choice for the best Japanese sunscreen is the Nivea Sun Water Gel! Formulated with SPF35/PA+++, this Nivea Sun sunscreen will definitely protect you from the harmful rays of the sun whether you go out or just stay in for the day. This one is a lightweight and almost weightless sunscreen so you don’t have to worry about feeling uncomfortable with this on your face for an entire day, even with multiple reapplications every few hours.

This is completely non-oily and non-greasy, so you won’t have to end the day looking like you have an extra layer of oil and grease on your face. It absorbs easily and immediately so say goodbye to mornings of having to wait to let sunscreen sink in before you can move on to the next step of your routine. It has a watery light texture that allows for a quick and easy application. And with this one, leaving a white cast on your face is the least of your worries.

This sunscreen works and wears great under makeup so your makeup is sure to stay intact on your face all day. Its formula is also moisturizing, leaving your skin looking and feeling soft. It also doesn’t cause you to break out due to irritation. Once you apply this on your face, it dries down quickly without being super shiny but not too matte either – just the right of dewy so your skin appears healthy and glowing.

The bottle is also a bit bigger than others you can find that’s out in the market and you’re sure to get more product with a single purchase. There is also a bit of scent to this sunscreen that quickly fades away once the product dries on your face.

Pros:

  • SPF35/PA+++
  • Lightweight and weightless
  • Non-oily and non-greasy
  • Absorbs easily and quickly
  • Watery, light texture for quick and easy application
  • No white cast
  • Layers well under makeup
  • Moisturizing and skin is softer
  • No breakout and irritation
  • Right amount of dewy finish
  • Bigger bottle and more product
  • Scent that quickly fades away

Cons:

  • Scent is not for everyone

2. Bioré Aqua Rich Watery Essence – Best for Oily Skin!

Bioré Aqua Rich Watery Essence

The next item on our list and our pick for the best Japanese sunscreen for oily skin is the Bioré Aqua Rich Watery Essence! This Bioré sunscreen is formulated with SPF50+/PA ++++ for your skin’s maximum sun protection throughout the day. This sunscreen is totally non-greasy and non-sticky and if you have oily skin, you know this is an important factor for your sunscreen to have. It’s very light to wear and doesn’t feel heavy on oily skin. It also dries to a natural, matte finish.

It has a liquidy but not too watery solution that allows for a smooth application. It moisturizes the skin making it appear and feel softer and smoother. It also doesn’t make your skin any more oily than it naturally is. It’s also friendly to sensitive skin as it doesn’t cause irritation and breakouts. It doesn’t leave you with an unwanted white cast like with other sunscreens. It also goes well under makeup and even gives you a matte, non-oily base.

There is a subtle scent to it but nothing of a sunscreen scent that not everyone’s a fan of, but it quickly goes away. Whether this is up to your taste is a personal choice. Though if you have extremely dry skin, you might find this to be too drying. You can opt for something else in our list.

Pros:

  • Ideal for oily skin
  • SPF50+/PA ++++
  • Non-greasy and non-sticky
  • Lightweight on skin
  • Natural, matte finish
  • Liquidy texture for smooth application
  • Moisturizing – smooth and soft skin
  • No irritation and breakouts
  • No white cast
  • Wears well under makeup
  • Subtle scent that goes away quickly

Cons:

  • Scent is not for everyone
  • Not ideal for dry skin

3. ALLIE Extra UV Gel – Best for Dry Skin!

ALLIE Extra UV Gel

The ALLIE Extra UV Gel is our favorite Japanese sunscreen for dry skin thanks to its SPF50+/PA++++ and non-drying formula! If you have dry skin and are looking for a sunscreen that will not only protect you from the sun’s harmful rays but will also make sure to keep your skin from feeling and looking dry all day, then this ALLIE sunscreen might just be what you’re looking for.

This one is very moisturizing, just the right amount to keep your skin from drying yet won’t make it look overly greasy. It’s non-oily and non-greasy and leaves you with just the perfect  amount of dewiness and glow. And if you have dry skin, this is the kind of finish that you’d want in any of your skin products. It also doesn’t dry out already dry skin, so you don’t have to worry. It instead leaves your skin soft and plump.

It wears well under makeup and provides you with a nice and well-moisturized base for the rest of your makeup routine. It leaves no white cast and is totally lightweight so you won’t be continuously troubled with the feeling of having a heavy layer of sunscreen on your face. The formula is also gentle and won’t cause breakouts and irritation. It’s easy to spread all over the face and has no scent to it. And this sunscreen doesn’t burn or sting unlike others that are available in the market (yes, even on the eyes!).

The formula of this sunscreen is made so that it’s not easily rubbed off of your face. And honestly, this can both be a good and bad thing, depending on where you look at it from.

Pros:

  • Ideal for dry skin
  • SPF50+/PA++++
  • Keeps skin moisturized all day – skin is soft and plump
  • Moisturizing yet doesn’t look overly oily and greasy
  • Doesn’t dry out dry skin
  • No white cast
  • Lightweight
  • No breakouts and irritation
  • Easy to spread and no scent
  • Doesn’t burn or sting, even on eyes
  • Not easy to rub off

Cons:

  • Not for oily skin
  • Can be difficult to remove and wash off

4. Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk

Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk

The next item on our list of the best Japanese sunscreens is the Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk from world-famous J-beauty brand Shiseido! A combination of chemical and physical blocker on top of being infused with SPF50+/PA++++, this sunscreen is sure to provide you with maximum sun protection everytime you step out for your day or just stay in.

With this sunscreen in your daily routine, your skin is sure not to appear shiny and greasy. It has a silky and an almost milk-like texture that goes on easily and seems invisible and disappears on your skin. It absorbs easily and is very lightweight on the skin so you can’t be bothered all day. It applies smoothly with the slightest of sheen and dries down on your skin perfectly. It looks almost matte on skin without any oily residue.

It wears well under makeup and you can effortlessly layer the rest of your makeup routine on top of it. There are also no adverse reactions of breakouts and irritation with this as your sunscreen. A reminder though that some users have found this to be a bit drying. So if you feel like you’re one of those people with extremely dry skin, you may choose to moisturize beforehand.

Pros:

  • SPF50+/PA++++
  • Both a chemical and physical blocker
  • Non-oily and non-greasy, no oily residue
  • Non-shiny finish – more matte finish
  • Disappears on the skin once dry
  • Absorbs and applies easily
  • Lightweight
  • Layers well under makeup
  • No irritation and breakouts

Cons:

  • Can be drying for some

5. Skin Aqua Tone Up UV Essence

Skin Aqua Tone Up UV Essence

Our last choice for the best Japanese sunscreens is Skin Aqua’s Tone Up UV Essence! This is a lavender-colored sunscreen and is sure to bring out your skin’s translucency and tone up your skin tone. It’s able to control color and light on your skin while protecting it from the sun with its SPF50+/PA++++ infused formula. This one is able to effectively brighten and tone up your skin tone without the unpleasant white cast we all know too well.

It has a light, creamy texture to it but doesn’t get overly greasy on the face. It instead feels weightless everytime you apply it on your face. It’s totally non-sticky and non-greasy but also not too dry and not too oily – you can say a somewhat perfect balance. It also looks very natural on the skin, making it perfect to wear as it is for days when you don’t feel like wearing makeup.

This one goes very well under makeup and can even be used as a primer as it effectively corrects your skin tone on top of being a sunscreen. It’s also able to help mask acne making them less noticeable. Its formula doesn’t cause irritation and breakouts. And with this sunscreen in your everyday routine, you are able to achieve just an overall better-looking skin with a healthy glow. It has a subtle and light fragrance to it. Also a quick reminder that this may take more time for it to completely settle into your skin.

Pros:

  • SPF50+/PA++++
  • Brightens and tones up skin
  • Corrects skin tone
  • No white cast
  • Non-oily, non-greasy, non-sticky
  • Not too dry and not too oily
  • Natural and light on skin
  • Feels weightless
  • Goes well under makeup
  • Can double as primer
  • No irritation and breakouts

Cons:

  • Might need more time to completely dry on skin

Why are Japanese Sunscreens Popular?

Japanese sunscreens are becoming a very popular choice of sunscreen for anyone in the world right now. The question is, why?

First of all, Japanese sunscreens are formulated to be very gentle on the skin. It’s why many people have turned to Japanese-brand sunscreens in recent years. This is especially important for those with very sensitive skin who have experienced various adverse reactions to many other sunscreens.

Japanese sunscreens are also very lightweight. Many people have turned away from sunscreens because many of them are very heavy on the skin and will keep reminding you that you’re wearing sunscreen for the rest of the day. Japanese sunscreens feel weightless on the skin and you can easily layer makeup on top of it. They’re also known to provide the skin with moisture and nourish them on top of protecting them.

With so many good things Japanese sunscreens have in store for everyone, it’s no surprise why they are gaining the traction they truly deserve.

Japanese Sunscreens vs Western Sunscreens

The main noticeable difference between Japanese and Western sunscreens is that while Western sunscreens only provide protection against UVB rays, Japanese sunscreens provide more protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

Most Western sunscreens only provide their customers with the SPF rating – the level of protection against UVB rays. Japanese-brand sunscreens are always letting customers know their product’s SPF and PA rating – the level of protection against UVA rays. With PA ratings, the more number of ‘+’ means more protection against UVA rays.

UVA vs UVB, what does it mean?

UVA and UVB – we’ve been mentioning this for many times now but what do they really mean?

Basically, UVA or Ultraviolet A is what’s responsible for skin aging. This is associated with the long-term effects of excess sun exposure. On the other hand, UVB or Ultraviolet B is responsible for skin burning and is associated with the short-term effects of sun exposure.

Just remember, Western sunscreens = UVB protection; Japanese sunscreens = UVA and UVB protection.

While there are obviously Western sunscreens that offer both UVA and UVB protection, with a Japanese sunscreen, you won’t have to look further as this is a common practice among their brands.

How to Choose the Best Japanese Sunscreen

Choosing the best Japanese sunscreen for your skin and your skin’s needs has a lot at stake. I mean, we’re talking about our skin’s protection against the sun’s harmful rays so we should carefully assess each product that we’re considering.

SPF/PA rating

The first thing you’d want to look for in any Japanese sunscreen is its SPF and PA rating. Remember, the higher the rating, the better your skin is protected every time you step out into the sun. It’s recommended to go for a sunscreen with at least a rating of SPF30 or higher and a rating of PA+++ or higher. Anything lower than that can mean more skin damage in the coming years.

Skin type

Not all sunscreens work the same way on all skin types. Sunscreens are especially formulated for specific skin types. If you have oily skin, it’s good to go for something that has oil-controlling properties to minimize your skin’s oil production. For dry skin, it’s important that you don’t choose ones that can be drying and instead go for something that can keep your skin moisturized and hydrated. In choosing your new HG sunscreen, keep in mind your own skin type.

Type

There are two types of sunscreen – chemical and physical sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens absorb into the skin, absorb UV rays, and convert them to heat. They’re much thinner and are perfect for everyday use. Physical sunscreens sit on top of the skin and reflect and deflect UV rays. In choosing a new sunscreen addition to your routine, consider the type you know you’ll be comfortable with.

Conclusion

Sunscreens is a skincare routine step no one should ever overlook. If you’re looking for a sunscreen to make sure your skin is well-protected and well-cared for, a Japanese-brand sunscreen is definitely a great way to go. And with so many options that’s available to everyone and anyone, one should be careful in choosing the new addition to their routine.

Our pick for the overall best Japanese sunscreen is the Nivea Sun Water Gel for its SPF35/PA+++ rating that’s sure not to leave you with any white cast. It’s also very moisturizing so your skin is sure to be nourished and come out much softer and just the right amount of glow and dewiness. If you have oily skin and have been having trouble with looking for a sunscreen that just doesn’t sit on top of your face as an extra layer of oil and grease, the Bioré Aqua Rich Watery Essence might just be right for you. On top of protecting your skin with its SPF50+/PA ++++ formula, it gives you a natural, matte finish. And if you have dry skin, you might want to check out ALLIE Extra UV Gel. Its formula provides your skin with more than enough sun protection and at the same time moisturizes it for the rest of the day.

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that your skincare routine, no matter how many steps you religiously follow, is pointless if you don’t take steps towards protecting your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. We hope you’ve found your new HG sunscreen with us – cheers to your healthy skin!