Is Bioré's UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence the Best Sunscreen?

No white casts here.

We know that the trick to wearing sunscreen consistently is to find one you actually like, but we'll admit: Finding the perfect sunscreen can be tough. You want something that isn't greasy or goopy, won't leave behind a white cast or take forever to rub in, and doesn't have a super strong sunscreen smell.

But just as we were about to accept defeat, we discovered a sunscreen with a serious cult following on Reddit's Skincare Addiction sub-thread. Even though it's not technically sold in the United States, people have still managed to get their hands on the holy grail of Japanese sunscreen (via Amazon, of course) and are shouting from the rooftops (ahem, internet) about how much they love the lightweight consistency and the fact that it doesn't leave their skin pasty white.

User izzyblitzy began her post by explaining that she had asked the Reddit community for a protective, lightweight sunscreen recommendation that didn't smell sunscreen-y and was told to try the Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen. The OP (original poster) held off on giving feedback until she had tested the product properly, and then dutifully reported back. "I waited to make this update since I wanted to use it for a while and make sure my skin liked it. It does," she wrote. "It goes on super easily and the lemon smell is perfect. It's not too strong but feels so nice. Every time I put it on, I feel so refreshed from it."

Okay, we've never heard refreshing used to refer to sunscreen. Have questions? Well, get in line, because everyone wanted details on izzyblitzy's holy grail sunscreen. Reddit user hermohalophile's first ask—which is what we're all thinking, tbh—was does it leaves skin looking weirdly pale after application, to which the OP replied, "There's no white cast at all!" She continued, "I was worried about that too but it goes on nice and clear. I was shocked the first time I used it since every other one I've used gave me a cast." User ryleef asked the OP if the sunscreen's texture is "watery" like the name suggests, which is a totally fair question. "It's definitely a lightweight formula but I wouldn't really call it watery," izzyblitzy said. "When I put it on my hand it stays there without running down it. But it's also not thick by any means and easily melts into my skin," she added.

At this point, we're wondering if a.) it's too good to be true; b.) it's worth investing in a new sunscreen or just keep using our current pick. However, it's hard to ignore the countless reviewers who piggy-backed on the OP's glowing endorsement. On the beauty, skincare, and lifestyle social media website MakeupAlley, the sunscreen has an average rating of 4.2 out of 5, based on 260 customer reviews, and 78% of reviewers noted that they would buy the product again.

"I second this. I've been using this exact brand for two years now and every time I put it on I'm still like, wait is there sunscreen on my face? Cuz it's so light and not sticky and not white at all," raved Reddit user kyliecannoli.

"I just bought this after seeing it on the sub too! I got the three-pack but I wound up giving one to my mom and one to my best friend. We're all obsessed, it's the best sunscreen I've ever used. No sunscreen smell and goes under makeup beautifully," wrote another user, moffsoi.

"This is my sunscreen holy grail," gelo599 shared. "Never go out without having some on, I live in a tropical country where the sun is a btch."

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To Buy: Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+

While the reviews of Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence are almost unanimous, we wanted to take a deep dive into the actual ingredients that comprise this Reddit-loved sunscreen. The hero ingredient in the formula is hyaluronic acid, which gets the stamp of approval from New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD. Hyaluronic acid is a natural humectant, meaning that it attracts and retains moisture to restore hydration to your skin," she explained. On top of being mega-hydrating, it also has anti-aging properties that boost firmness and plumpness, minimizing the appearance of fine lines.

It's important to note that the UV-blocking ingredients in this sunscreen are all chemical (instead of physical), which the FDA is now questioning, Dr. Jaliman points out. You'll also want to keep in mind that ingredients in chemical sunscreens can cause skin irritation or aggravate acne, so this may not be the best choice for anyone with sensitive skin.

Another ingredient Reddit users call attention to is alcohol, which can be drying on the skin, however, it didn't bother the OP. "I'm normally very sensitive to alcohol in products, but I've had no problems with this," izzyblitzy wrote. For those with skin that doesn't react well to products with alcohol, a few other Redditors recommended an alternative Japanese sunscreen that they love: ROHTO's Skin Aqua Super Moisture Milk.

If you're dying to try this Reddit-loved sunscreen, but aren't jet-setting off to Japan any time soon, not to worry—you can get it on Amazon and other retailers like Walmart, where it costs around $10 to $15. The great news is that it comes in a single bottle or a pack of three, so you can be stocked on this tried-and-true facial sunscreen for the rest of the year.

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