Quick lowdown for those not inclined to read the article: This is my favorite everyday Asian sunscreen available on Amazon. (We understand, when pressed for time, who wants to digest paragraphs of text?) Sunscreen background: I’ve tested many sunscreens over the years. Too many to count and most are purchased on Amazon. I favor European and Asian brands for sun defense. Even they are different formulations, they work for me.
SKIN AQUA Super Moisture Milk is my absolute favorite everyday Asian sunscreen on Amazon. Here are a few reasons why I love it:
- No White Cast
- Little to No fragrance
- No Alcohol
- Budget Friendly
K-Beauty has dominated the skincare world for several years. The popularity of Korean beauty snowballed so quickly that I often forget about my first love – Japanese skincare products. I became interested in skincare at 14 – earlier than many. In my years of being in the skincare trenches, finding the best daily sunscreen turned into an arduous search. Over the past two decades, I became well-versed with Japanese skincare and its various brands. For years I favored a particular Shiseido sunscreen. I still like this sunscreen for my face, but I’ve found others that are equally as good and less expensive. There are differences between Japanese and Korean skincare, but they aren’t as vast as one may think. Korean skincare has more steps, and it seems more of a ritual (time-consuming) than other parts of the globe.
I don’t consider myself a sunscreen expert by any means. However, by default, I’ve learned a lot over the years as I’ve purchased and tested many sunscreens – specifically on my face. A sort of trial and error played out on my visage, and I know very well what works. I’m very particular about facial sunscreens: They can’t leave a super white cast. They can’t leave my face looking shiny and oily, and they definitely shouldn’t have a strong scent that lingers and leaves my eyes stinging and watering. With many sunscreens, I’ve noticed by the end of the day I have something resembling a slight cold – watery eyes, runny nose. I can’t wait until the sun disappears and I wash the day’s experiment off my face. Proper colds are bad enough, no need to recreate it with a sunscreen.
I’d wager I’ve tested a buffet of at least 30 sunscreens on my face over the years. From US drugstores, pharmacies in Europe, to niche brands purchased online, I’ve been down the rabbit hole of sunscreen discovery many times over. As adults, we know that life is a long distance run, not a sprint, but finding a sunscreen shouldn’t be such a feat, but it is for many – myself included. Consider finding the right sunscreen (especially for the face) a play that is sure to take various twists and turns and possibly a few backflips. What works for me, may not work for you. Many skincare gurus love sunscreens found in US drugstores – they are staples in their beauty arsenal. I wish they could be a part of my skincare regime as well. The fact remains – my body chemistry doesn’t tolerate their ingredients. I mentioned sniffles and runny eyes above – I get those from many US sunscreens and also endured intense headaches which I suspect have to do with certain chemical combinations. US sunscreens don’t cut it for me, and I’m tired of forcing them to work. So, I looked elsewhere and found my skin loves many Asian and European sunscreens.
Make note, many Japanese sunscreens contain alcohol. Their contents are housed in smaller bottles compared to what you see lining US drugstore shelves, and most contain a little ball inside. Before each application, it’s important to shake the bottle – the ball helps mix the sunscreen. The texture is cosmetically elegant and light. Japanese sunscreens are not thick- they have the viscosity of water.
For several years, I used Shiseido Anessa. It’s an elegant, liquid sunscreen and perfectly protects the face from sun rays without leaving a white cast. For reasons unknown, it became increasingly harder to find online. However, now it seems to have surfaced on Amazon again. If you’d like to try a more high-end Asian sunscreen, this one is for you. I think you’ll love it. It’s the gold-standard of Japanese sunscreens.
Since Anessa was difficult to track down, I researched several Asian sunscreens recommended by many in the cybersphere. I’d stumbled upon Biore UV Aqua Rich previously, and now it was popping up on nearly every beauty and skincare review site – thus, into the Amazon cart it went. I went through a few tubes of the Biore, and it was a reasonably good run. I also tested two other Biore formulas. Aqua Rich contains alcohol and depending on your skin and time of year, that may be problematic. During winter, the alcohol was problematic – sometimes it left my skin feeling dry and slightly pinched. I’d become accustomed to alcohol in sunscreen over the years, but for some reason, it started to annoy me more. (Maybe I received a batch that contained more alcohol than previous tubes?) I’m also a retinol devotee, and this sunscreen definitely settled into and highlighted any dry areas. For me, these were minor inconveniences. Overall, it’s an excellent light sunscreen, and I was tired of trying to find the holy grail of Asian sun protection. Then the tide changed as spring turned into summer. The sunscreen game was again afoot, and I was back to countless searches.
Many skincare searches begin and end on Amazon, and that’s exactly how I discovered my holy grail, daily sunscreen. Into the shopping cart went the peculiar golden-y yellow bottle with a very reasonable price tag. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but sometimes I order so many things from Amazon over a two-week span, that I forget what’s arriving. So I was a little surprised when I opened the package to find SKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Milk nestled by itself between plastic inserts. It went from – what is this little yellow bottle? – To realizing this bottle held sunscreen promises – so many promises. (I will state that I’m working on cutting back all shopping – including Amazon. The upside to my Amazon shopping habit is that all reviews on Glossy Shops are real. It means our editor’s purchase products for our own needs and actually use them. Many review site editors haven’t seen the products in person, much less tested and used said products. Glossy Shops only writes real reviews on products purchased with our own funds.)
I know within hours if a sunscreen works, especially when evening sets in. Early evening after Skin AQUA UV Super Moisture’s Milk first use, it was apparent I had a winner; It didn’t slide towards my eyelids throughout the day. Super Moisture Milk also didn’t settle into dry spots, nor did it leave a white cast. Many thumbs up for no mask-y white! Oh! The smell – no overtly cloying scent detected. I’ve had small qualms with a handful of Asian sunscreens, but nothing compared to those found lining shelves in US drugstores. I’ve learned to rely on these sunscreens not to induce splitting headaches or leave an overly mask-like white residue.
Testing SKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Milk
For two weeks, I rotated Super Moisture Milk with my favorite everyday Euro sunscreen. The Euro sunscreen is lightly tinted; it’s my go-to when I need to cover discolored spots on my face or want a boost of color. It’s an excellent sunscreen – however, comparing it to Rhoto’s Moisture Milk is apples and oranges. As the days turned into weeks, I wondered if SKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Milk would irritate me in any way. It didn’t. In fact, nothing about this new sunscreen bothered me in the least. I ordered another tube for myself and one for my mother. Sunscreen is essential, but nailing down the perfect formula that suits your skin is a long and often exhaustive journey. And we know – not all sunscreens are the same. This new Japanese sunscreen proved to be a vast, effortless winner. I’m sold for life.
Without question, my absolute favorite Asian sunscreen via Amazon that checks off all of my requirements is SKIN AQUA UV Super Moisture Milk. (I’ve purchased loads of sunscreens over the years on Amazon. I think many of us have.) It’s made in Japan by RHOTO Pharmaceutical Co. RHOTO produces several sunscreens within its SKIN AQUA brand. Of these sunscreens, UV Super Moisture Milk features the strongest and most long-lasting UV protection. Hands down, it’s a fantastic, effortless everyday sunscreen. (I use a different European formula for intense beach days.)
Texture and Visibility
Straight out of the tube, UV Super Moisture Milk is a lightweight milky texture that quickly sinks in almost immediately after application. Even though the word ‘milky’ is on the label and I use the word to describe its consistency, this sunscreen turns into a transparent water-like, composition when applied to the skin. Two types of hyaluronic acid, amino acids, and collagen keep the skin hydrated without any sort of dry or tight feeling.
UV Super Moisture Milk is only one of four sunscreens I’ve used over the years that doesn’t feel as if anything is sitting on top of my skin. It has an invisible finish that feels neither matte or oily; in fact, I sometimes forget I’ve applied it to my face. It is slightly moisturizing and perfect for normal to dry skin. BEST of all: No white cast is noticeable on my face. Zero white cast for me. (That being said, each person wears sunscreen differently. But so far, I’ve seen no comments about Moisture Milk leaving any sort of white cast.) It’s not sticky and sinks in almost instantly.
Another outstanding point – It does NOT contain alcohol.
However, if your face is not on the normal or dry side, you may find UV Super Moisture Milk a bit greasy. One of my friends has combo skin, and she reports that this sunscreen never left her feeling oily or greasy. Yet it’s important to keep in mind there are various degrees of oiliness. If you’d like to try this sunscreen, but tend to be oily, I’d suggest skipping moisturizer before application.
Some users state it’s not a lightweight sunscreen, but on my face, I can’t even detect it’s there. Typically, I feel something on top of my skin whether it’s powder, blush, or sunscreen. Always remember with sunscreen – what works for some people may not work for others.
No Eye Irritation
Going back to what I said before, other well-known sunscreens caused eye-watering and burning irritation. Throughout the day certain sunscreens slipped closer and closer to my eyelids, and by early evening, burning ensued – it felt like campers set up a small, smokey campfire in both eyes. Of course, I never apply sunscreen directly in my eye or on the eyelid. However, I prefer to dab it around smile lines close to my eyes. What’s the point of sunscreen if you can’t prevent future crows feet?
From the depths of my skincare-obsessed soul, I hope Rhoto doesn’t change the formulation. I absolutely love the fact this sunscreen contains no alcohol, doesn’t seep into my eyes, causes no irritation, and only a very light scent. I’ll segway into Skin Aqua’s scent – it’s very mild and barely noticeable. Some days I detect a scent, yet other days I don’t. I’m sensitive to smells – to the point of dry heaving if something offends my nasal passages. I cannot tolerate heavy, cloying fragrances, and unfortunately, cosmetic companies overdose on scenting their products. For the love of everything under the skincare stratosphere – why add fragrance to a sunscreen? Sunscreen is one of those products you add liberally to all areas of your face. Even if a sunscreen sinks in, if it’s heavily fragranced, I smell it all day. I’m passionate about overly-scented skincare products. It gets me all shades of fired up since I’m incredibly sensitive to fragrance. I’ve left restaurants because of overly perfumed patrons. Any product camping out on top of my face for the day (until it’s time to cleanse in the evening) is obviously near my nose – it only makes sense to have no fragrance or one that is barely detectable.
Alcohol is one of the top reasons many avoid Japanese sunscreens. I’m happy to report, Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk’s formulation contains no alcohol! It uses a combination of both chemical and physical UV filters, and I believe that’s another reason I like this sunscreen so well, and it works for my skin. SPF 50+ and PA++++ epithet specify that this sunscreen provides protection at high levels against burning and aging. Burning = UVB Aging/Sun Damage = UVA.
Have you been on a similar disenchanting sunscreen journey such as myself? If so, I highly recommend Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk. Wearing this sunscreen feels effortless and comfortable. If a sunscreen could be considered ‘cozy’ and full of ‘hygge’ this is the one. You may ask, how can a sunscreen be cozy? Well, Super Moisture Milk is the opposite of stressful. It presents absolutely no problems. I love that it doesn’t SIT on your skin. Here I am at over 2,000 words. But I could seriously go on and on about how much I love Skin Aqua UV Super Moisture Milk as an everyday sunscreen. It’s THAT good. If you go ahead and add it to your cart, let us know if you like it and how it works on your skin.
by sally | 12.11.18