Gels

The gel type is becoming more and more popular in keeping with the recent trend of favoring a more lightweight feel. Since gels are water-based, they go on your skin with a fresher feeling and are less likely to feel sticky or slimy.

Gels tend to be less resistant to water and sweat, but this makes them easier to remove with soap. You wouldn’t want a gel for a day at the beach or pool, but they’re perfect for urban settings.

ALLIE Extra UV Gel

ALLIE Extra UV Gel

ALLIE is a classic Japanese sunscreen brand, on par with the ANESSA brand in terms of popularity in Japan. This ALLIE product is a gel type sunscreen with a “rub resistance” feature that helps prevent it from getting wiped off by the friction of clothes, towels, bags, etc. The gel inside is a little yellowish and hard. It has a nice creamy gel texture as you can see from the photo.

ALLIE Extra UV Gel in the hand

A little of this gel goes a long way! Even a small amount covers a lot of skin, so it’s easy to make the mistake of dispensing too much. Immediately after applying the sunscreen, it blends right into the skin and does not feel sticky at all. In fact, it feels so comfortable, it’s easy to forget where you applied it! The lightweight feel of the product is much appreciated in situations where you need to reapply it again and again, such as when you are outside for long periods of time.

ManufacturerKanebo
SPF valueSPF 50+
PA valuePA++++
FormulationGel
WaterproofYes
Apply toFace, body
Contents90 g
How to removeSoap
ALLIE Extra UV Gel

The scent is almost imperceptible. It doesn’t have that distinctive “sunscreen smell” that some people dislike. Overall, it’s a product with excellent usability.

Nivea Sun Water Gel SPF 50

Nivea Sun Water Gel SPF 50

Nivea Sun Water Gel SPF 50 offers the traditional benefits of a Japanese sunscreen like UVA protection and good moisturizing performance at a more affordable price. This product is commonly available in drugstores across Japan. You probably recognize the blue Nivea logo, but this product is manufactured by Kao in Japan. (Nivea-Kao was established as a joint venture with Beiersdorf AG in Germany in 1971.) One of Nivea’s most popular sunscreens, it contains hyaluronic acid and other moisturizing ingredients to create a fresh, moisturizing feel. The packaging says “UV gel that feels like a lotion,” and that’s exactly what it delivers in terms of usability.

Nivea Sun Water Gel SPF 50 in the hand

As soon as you apply it your skin feels fresh and moisturized. The gel glides over the skin in droplets and blends right into your skin. A lot of product is required to cover a large area, since the gel blends into the skin quickly. It moisturizes the skin like a lotion, leaving it feeling soft and supple. The feeling is lightweight and comfortable, with no stickiness.

ManufacturerKao
SPF valueSPF 50
PA valuePA+++
TypeGel
WaterproofNo
Apply toFace, body
Contents80 g
How to removeSoap
Nivea Sun Water Gel SPF 50

There is no strong scent, but immediately after application you notice a slight alcohol-like scent. Since it contains a full 80 g, you can apply it liberally without worrying about running out.

The Nivea is SPF 50 but is not waterproof, so it’s not a good choice for heavy exercise or a day at the beach.

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

Another affordable Japanese sunscreen is Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence. This product is the cheapest of all the sunscreens presented here. Unlike the Nivea, it is formulated to resist sweat and water and contains moisture-rich water capsules to prevent dryness. The texture is gelatinous, as you can see from the photos.

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence on the skin

If you look closely inside the slightly yellowish gel, you will see white lumps, which are the moisturizing water capsules.

ManufacturerKao
SPF valueSPF 50+
PA valuePA++++
FormulationGel
WaterproofYes
Apply toFace, body
Contents50 g
How to removeSoap
Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

The feel is very lightweight and similar to the ALLIE. The application is very smooth and feels fresh on your skin. Thanks to the water capsules, your skin doesn’t dry out and stays moisturized for hours. You notice a slight alcohol scent immediately after application, but this quickly dissipates, leaving a citrusy, grapefruit-like scent. The light, inoffensive scent is good for people who don’t like heavy cosmetic scents or the “sunscreen smell.”

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