Review: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+

This is a review of the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+. As I mentioned in a previous post, I go through a lot of sunscreen in the summer, and this is one of the ones I bought this year.
Biore UV Aqua Rich


What it does: (from Biore’s website)

Spreads easily and feels like water, but still blocks UV rays. SPF50+, but feels light. While blocking UV rays, a veil of light will keep your skin looking moisturized and bright. Prevents age spots and freckles. Also blocks UV-A rays, which cause decreased skin elasticity. SPF50+, PA++++. For both face and body.


Price: the price of sunscreen varies widely. In the summer, the price drops to the 600-700 JPY range, but in the winter, the price increases to around 800 JPY.


Availability: This product is widely available in Japanese drugstores, as well as through Rakuten and other Japanese websites.



  • Light and absorbs well. It really feels like a light gel on the skin, so I don’t hesitate to apply it liberally
  • Can be used on both the face and the body. Some gel sunscreens cannot be applied to the face because they contain a large amount of alcohol, but this product did not irritate my skin
  • Provides the highest amount of UV protection allowed in Japan (any product with over SPF 50 must be shown as SPF 50+ in Japan)



  • Somehow, this product flaked off of my skin. As my skin rubbed against things, I would see white powdery flakes appear.
  • This product leaves a somewhat sticky residue on my skin.


Would I repurchase? No. I tried applying it several different ways, but the white flakes are a major deal breaker, both from the appearance and also because it defeats the purpose of wearing sunscreen!



While I did not appreciate this sunscreen, there are many brands of sunscreen in Japan which have the same light, gel-type texture, and are very affordable. They are very easy and comfortable to use for UV protection year round.


Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K


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Review: Biore UV Perfect Spray

A few years ago, I picked up a SPF spray when I was in the US.  I had never seen a sunscreen in a spray can before, and I was surprised at how easy they were to use.  I looked for one when I came back to Japan, but I was not able to find one until this year!


This is a review of the Biore UV Perfect Spray, with SPF 50+ and PA+++.

Price: The price of sunscreen varies widely depending on where and when I purchase it. I can usually find this product around 700 yen ($7 USD).

Scent: This product has a faint sunscreen scent, but it does not linger

Availability: Biore is a widely available drugstore brand in Japan, and this product can be found at many drugstores and supermarkets


  • This product is marketed as a clear spray. I found that it does not leave any white residue on my skin
  • This product dries very quickly, leaving a powdery feel on my skin


  • I did not feel that this product gave my skin adequate protection. The spray was so fine that I could not tell if I was applying it correctly.

Would I repurchase? No. I am really disappointed!  No matter how much I sprayed on to my skin, it did not feel like I was applying enough. Maybe it just absorbed well into my skin, but sunscreen is not an area where I can take any chances.  I’ll just pick up another spray sunscreen next time I go to the US.


Hope you enjoyed this review!

xoxo, K


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Review: Biore UV Perfect Milk sunscreen

I have posted every summer that I religiously wear sunscreen.  This is something I had to teach myself to do, since I really didn’t like wearing sunscreen as a child.  I remember sunscreen being a thick, white lotion which made me feel sticky and greasy.

I didn’t wear sunscreen as a teenager, and as a result, I was a very tan kid.  Once I graduated from high school, I suddenly started wearing sunscreen.  Fortunately, sunscreen is not the thick, white, greasy lotion that it used to be.

My favorite everyday sunscreen for my body is the Biore UV Perfect Milk. It has SPF 50+ and PA+++. I always try to use the highest protection sunscreen that I can, because I am pretty sure I am not using enough or reapplying it frequently enough.  In Japan, sunscreens are only available up to SPF 50+.  When I was younger, products which said something like SPF 95 were available, but currently the Japan Cosmetic Industry Association regulates that sunscreens can only show up to SPF 50+.

What it does: from the Kao website (Kao is a major Japanese consumer goods company, and owns the Biore brand)
Leaves your skin feeling smooth even though it wears well against sweat and water!  UV milk protects your face, neck, arms and whole body against strong UV rays. Waterproof and wears well during sports, ocean or mountain activities, and blocks UV rays for a long time. Absorbs well into your skin, does not become white, and blocks UV rays while remaining transparent.  Does not feel sticky, and keeps your skin feeling like your natural skin.

Price:  The price of drugstore sunscreen products varies wildly.  The normal price on this product is probably around 700 yen ($7), but sunscreens are usually marked down during the summer.  I can usually find this product at around 500-600 yen ($5-6).

Scent: This product has a very faint sunscreen smell.   I could only smell it if I put my nose very close to my arm.

This product is an extremely runny liquid.

Availability:  Biore is a widely available drugstore brand in Japan, and this product can be found in most drugstores, supermarkets, and online.


  • Blends extremely well and does not leave any white residue
  • Absorbs well into my skin. After applying, I only feel like I applied moisturizer.
  • I can reapply this product without feeling greasy or sticky


  • This product is very runny, so I need to rub it in quickly.
Would I repurchase?  Definitely!
Hope you enjoyed my review, and please leave a comment sharing what your favorite sunscreen is!
xoxo, K
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Skin Care – Splurge vs Save

A sweet reader kindly requested a post to share my thoughts on what skin care products you should spend money on, and which ones you should save on.

The more I thought of it, the more I realized that it really depends on what your values are.  There are so many good, affordable products on the market, many which contain very effective ingredients.

In the end, it depends on which type of product you will use correctly.  If the product is too expensive, I will be more likely to skimp on it.  For example, I could buy a $200 serum, but if I don’t use the correct amount, it will not work.

Having said that, I do have a personal guideline: If the product costs more than $50, I need to see results before I use up the product.  I find it hard to be convinced to repurchase a product if I can’t see the results.

Here are my favorite low end and high end skin care products.

(in Asia, toners are used to hydrate the skin.  Most of them do not contain alcohol.  They are also referred to as lotions)

I go through a bottle of toner every 2 weeks, because I use it as a face mask every morning and night.  Buy what you can afford to use, and use generously!

Low end:  Rohto Hada Labo series (the retail price is around 1000 yen, but I regularly find them at my local drugstore for around 700 yen. Imomoko sells them for $17.50)
This is my favorite toner because it’s cheap and it hydrates well!

High end: SK-II Facial Treatment Essence ($100 for 75ml/2.5 oz, buy here)
Yes, this a super expensive toner.  I love how it makes my skin feel after I’ve used it for 2-3 days, but it is too expensive for me to use regularly.

Facial Moisturizer
Fair & Lovely Skin Clarity Anti-Marks Fairness Cream (Amazon sells them for $10, some Indian online shops sell them for less)

This was in my favorites for (gasp) 2009! I still love it.  It is light but leaves my skin moisturized, and contains whitening ingredients.

I don’t have a high end favorite, unfortunately!

RoC Multi Correxion Skin Renewing Serum (Walmart says they are $25, Amazon has them for $9)

This totally depends on what you want your serum to do.  I want either to get rid of fine lines, or to get rid of discoloration.  I haven’t found anything that really works for discoloration, though.

Again, no high end favorite.  This is typically the most expensive in any line of products.

Sheet Masks
Low End: Silk Whitia ($16.60/5 pieces on Sasa)
I feel that Silk Whitia has the best products for the price.  My Beauty Diary masks are $12.70/10 pieces, so Silk Whitia is twice the price. Still, I find that they are much more hydrating and they leave my skin smooth.  I need to stock up next time I go to Hong Kong!

High End: SK-II Whitening Source Derm Revival Mask ($160/10 pieces online)
This did AMAZING things for my skin.  I can buy a single piece for around $20 in Hong Kong, but it’s still too expensive for me!

Low End: Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Facial Peel and Lush Mask of Magnaminty

Soap & Glory The Fab Pore Facial Peel (7.15 GBP at Boots)

I’ve written a blog post about this product, and I really did love it.  It left my skin very smooth, thanks to the salicylic acid.


Lush Mask of Magnaminty ($11.95/4.4oz on
This mask contains adzuki beans to exofoliate your skin, unlike the Soap & Glory mask which chemically exfoliates.  I’ve written a blog post about this product as well.
High end: Cellnique Advanced Bio Renewal Masque ($51 on

I’ve reviewed this product before as well. This product also chemically exfoliates.  It leaves my skin feeling very soft and smooth.

Low end:Biore Sarasara UV daily care gel (750 yen in Japan, $15.50 on Amazon)
This is the VERY FIRST review I ever wrote, in March of 2009! I still love this product.  It gives me the sun protection I need and is very light on my skin.

High end: Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen SPF 50+ (3150 yen in Japan, around $50 online)
Anessa is a brand of sun protection from Shiseido.  This is the best sunscreen in Japan, hands down.  I do not get any kind of tanning with this sunscreen.  It stays on even when I go diving.  However, it is expensive, and I have to keep reminding myself to use the correct amount.  Did you know that you need to use an entire shot glass worth (1 oz, 30 ml, or 2 tablespoons worth) for the amount of skin that is normally exposed? 
Anessa has several products, so I always remember this as “the gold one”.

I hope you enjoyed my picks!  Remember, skin care does not work if you do not use it correctly!!

xoxo, K

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Winter essentials

Has the Chinook blown in your area?  Over here, it is still very cold and very, very dry.  Here are my winter essentials which are helping me get through the coldest winter I have ever experienced!

1. Sunscreen/sunblock
The sun is still shining very strongly here, even if the temperature is below freezing.  I wear sunscreen religiously to protect my face.  I like Biore Sarasara UV daily care gel because it does not leave my skin feeling oily.  (This product is NOT intended for the face and contains alcohol.  Please be careful if you want to use it on your face!)

(from Kao’s website)

2. Toner
I use a ton of Japanese toner, going through a bottle every two weeks.  Japanese toner, also known as lotion in some lines, does not alcohol.  It is considered an essential skin care step in Japanese skin care.  Most Asian skin care lines, including imported brands such as Dior and Chanel, will have a toner and a separate moisturizers.  I love the Rohto Gokujun line, which is affordable enough that I don’t have to skimp.

 (from Google image search)

3. Cotton
Every morning and night, I soak a few pieces of cotton in toner and put them on my face for about 10 minutes.  The result is the same as a sheet mask.  This method is very popular in Japan, and I really need to do a blog post on it!  I love this Mekuru Cotton.  Yes, it’s very important that I can split this into 5 pieces… but it’s hard to explain why without doing a post!


4. Hair treatment
For the first time in about 15 years, I’m having to battle static electricity!  I like to use a thick hair treatment at least every other day to moisturize my hair, in order to hopefully reduce static electricity.
In Japan, the thick hair treatments are usually called hair packs, and are sold in pots.  The thinner ones are usually called hair treatments and are sold in tubes.  I’m currently using the Pantene Pro-V Deep Repair Hair Mask, a Japan-exclusive product.


5. Body Lotion
Regardless of which shower gel I use, I need to use a heavy duty body lotion.  Without a nightly application of body lotion, my skin will get dry and itchy.  Considering how obsessed I am with the brand, I would love to try the Bath & Body Works Body Butter in Twilight Woods.


 (from the Bath & Body Works website)

6. Lip cream
The cold, dry wind means chapped lips!  I see a lot of girls here with painful-looking bleeding lips!!  My lip cream of choice is Vaseline.  Yes, pure petroleum jelly.  I find that it is the most moisturizing.  I apply a thin layer before I do my makeup in the morning.

(from Unilever’s website)

7. Uniqlo Heat Tech tank tops and leggings
These are lifesavers here.  I wear the tank tops and leggings under my normal clothes.  It’s the same as wearing thermal underwear, but I would rather say I’m wearing Uniqlo leggings!

8. Uniqlo room shoes (slippers)
Long time readers of this blog know that I hate socks.  However, I need to wear something when I’m at home, or else my feet will get really cold.  I love these ones from Uniqlo which are made of sweatshirt material!

(from Uniqlo’s website)

On the other hand, here are some typical winter essentials that you will not see on me:

1. Knits
Most woolen knits make me itch like crazy, even if I am wearing a shirt underneath.  I haven’t worn wool in a very long time.

2. Turtlenecks
I don’t like how I look with turtlenecks.  I love my V-necks and that is what I wear most of the year.  I also seem to have very sensitive skin around my neck, which turns bright red even with cotton turtlenecks.

3. Scarves
I just can’t make them work for me!  I know there are plenty of non-wool scarves, but I just don’t know how to do them properly!!

What are your winter essentials?  Please let me know!

xoxo, K

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