29 May 2016

Comparison Review: Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence || Hadalado Perfect UV Gel

Today I'm reviewing two highly requested sunscreen from the popular brands Biore and Hada Labo! I've finished using them a few months ago, but only find time to talk about it now. My apologies for keeping you guys waiting and here it is: how does the Biore Watery Essence compared to the newbie Hada Labo Perfect UV Gel?

Don't you agree that they both look highly similar to each other, in term of packaging and presentation? Both are also Japanese. A little side-note though, I think Japanese makes the best sunscreen, probably there are less restrictions in sunscreen formulation there so the chemists have greater freedom to come out with users-friendly texture?

I'm gonna talk about them separately. Since Biore was in the market earlier, I'm gonna touch on Biore first. The Biore we are talking in this comparison review is the 2015 renewed version with SPF50+ PA++++ (4 pluses).

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ 50g

information of this sunscreen in English

Basically, this Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence is a revolutionary attempt in the category to incorporate hydrating essence into sunscreen, to modify and change what we used to think of sunscreens: sticky, non-absorbing, white cast and heavy-duty. This Biore one is really light-weighted, cooling, refreshing, easily absorbed, has no white cast and highly moisturizing.

Since it is very watery, it's also non-waterproof and you'll need to reapply this after vigorous sweating and swimming. The good thing about it is that you don't need a makeup remover to remove it (although I personally do), normal face wash will do. However, it is always in my advise that if a sunscreen doesn't say "can be removed with a face wash" in its description box, always use a cleansing water before your normal cleanser. You don't want them sticking between the lines of your skin texture when you are sleeping. And my non-clinical experiments with several sunscreens I have shows that sunscreen CANNOT BE COMPLETELY REMOVED WITH A NORMAL CLEANSER.


Water (Aqua), Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Alcohol, Lauryl Methacrylate/Sodium Methacrylate Crosspolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bis-Ehtylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Dimethicone, Xylitol, Trisiloxane, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dextrin Palmitate, Glyceryl Stearate, C30-45 Alkyl Methicone, Agar, C30-45 Olefin, Potassium Hydroxide, Carbomer, Fragrance, Polyvinyl Alcohol, PEG-400, Disodium EDTA, BHT, PEG-50 Hydrogenated Castor Oil Triisostearate, PEG 3 Castor Oil, Sodium Hydroxide, Butylene Glycol, Propylene Glycol, Citrus Grandis (Grapefruit) Fruit Extract, Royal Jelly Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Fruit Extract, Citrus Medica Limonum (Lemon) Fruit Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Butylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben

{uv filters, good ingredients, preservatives, highly unsafe (preservatives)}


A lot of these are emulsifiers, emollients, surfactants, solvents and all that to contribute to that light-weighted, velvety and ultra-hydrating texture. And most of them are safe. Some citruses and royal jelly extract are used to moisturize, nourish and provide some skincare benefits. The problem here is the preservatives used. I'm okay with phenoxyethanol, methylparaben but not so much for the rest marked red.

Parabens, as we all know, are associated with breast cancer and hormonal disturbance. Cosdna rates propylparaben and butylparaben as highly unsafe forms of paraben, which can mimic estrogen and act as potential hormone (endocrine) system disruptors, but fortunately it is considered non-toxic, non-sensitizing and non-irritating at 0.05 to 0.10% concentrations, which is most likely to be the case here. I am guessing the concentration used here is less than 0.05%, based on the information I got from other cosmetics also using all the parabens in their product. However, if you are concerned, then you may have to reconsider before trying this one out. And then we have BHT, also a preservative that may have carcinogenic effects on lung, liver and kidney. However, US National Center for Biotechnology Information concludes that the low concentration of  BHT in cosmetics is unlikely to impose any of the said damages to human body.

As for the uv filters, there are 4: octinoxate, anisotriazine, uvinul A plus and uvinul T 150. Except for octinoxate, the rest are quite safe on the skin, although they are not yet approved for use by the FDA. Octinoxate is rated 6/7 on the cosmetic database safety assessment, noting its potential of causing mutation and cell death upon exposure to sunlight on skin (which means it is photoallergic) and will become toxin in your organs. Pregnant women should definitely avoid this. However, this sunscreen filter is widely used in most cosmetic products, and there are still ongoing research debating its ability to penetrate skin to do all the said damages. So, we'll see. So far, 90% of sunscreen I use carries octinoxate.

Now, let's talk about Hada Labo. Is it a better and safer option?

Another sunscreen with PA++++ (4 pluses)!

The Hada Labo Perfect UV Gel is introduced as an extension to its perfect gel line after Biore is making its huge hit in the market. I'm not saying that it is a copy cat, but it is definitely providing another alternative for the consumers, which is great!!

Biore awarded Cosme's The Best Cosmetics Awards in 2014

This Hada Labo sunscreen has the same pledges as the Biore one. It claims to hydrate while serving as a SPF and makeup base. While there might seem to be a lot of functions here (its "5-in-1" claims), it essentially does all the same thing the Biore one does.


Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Butylene Glycol, Isononyl Isononanoate, Alcohol, Dimethicone, PEG-12 Dimethicone, Polysilicone-15, Glycol Dimethacrylate Crosspolymer, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl Triazine, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Polysilicone-13, Ammonium  Acryloyl- Dimethyltaurate/VP Copolymer, Polystyrene, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Acrylates / C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Cross Polymer, Triethanolamine, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Titanium Dioxide, Hydrated Silica, Hydrogen Dimethicone, Aluminium Hydroxide

{uv filters, moisturizerspreservative, very unsafe}


Somehow, I like the formulation of this sunscreen a little bit better. It does have some really problematic ingredients like triethanolamine, a pH adjuster I've many times condemned in my sheet mask review as something that may cause liver cancer with continuous usage (it is considered safe at concentration <5% in cosmetics), as well as the very unsafe form of paraben which is the propylparaben. However, there seem to be a tad bit less problematic ingredients in this sunscreen compared to the Biore one.

Another thing I like about this sunscreen is its no non-sense attitude. No flowery plant extracts are added (of course, the Biore one only adds citruses and royal jelly, but many other sunscreens I reviewed have long list of flowery ingredients). This contains only moisturizers (i.e. 3 types of hyaluronic acid) and nothing else.

In term of uv filters, this also has the same octinoxate, anisotriazine and uvinul A plus like the Biore one. In addition to these three, this Hada Labo sunscreen also has polysilicone-15 (you can read its safety assessment here) and titanium dioxide. But, since titanium dioxide is listed at the very bottom, I would say it works as a pigment instead of a sun filter here.


Biore vs. Hadalabo

Biore vs. Hadalabo

Biore is a cool, refreshing and moisturizing gel that will leave your skin velvety soft and plump. I used to think that this has a lot of silicones but I did not spot any except for maybe dimethicone in the list, and dimethicone is generally safe for most skin types. It has alcohol in it, but alcohol is again relatively safe if properly formulated. I have friends and family with sensitive skins and they all have no issues with this amazing sunscreen.

Hada Labo, on the other hand, is a watery, hydrating and light-weighted soft gel cream that looks like melted ice-cream without the stickiness of ice-cream. It is so watery that it will glide down your skin if you don't smooth it out immediately. Again, this has alcohol in it but it feels even gentler than the Biore one.

Hada Labo focuses more on hydration whereas Biore is more on moisturizing.


I guess I'll have to call it a tie. Both sunscreens are equally good, but if I must pick, I prefer Hada Labo over Biore for its slightly better formulation: less problematic ingredients, has 3 forms of hyaluronic acid and so on. It is also great for times when you want to layer some moisturizers without the afraid that it will be too heavy or sticky. Biore is the go-to moisturizer-essence 2-in-1 I normally use in the office for some retouch-up after cleansing water/tissues and essence toner.

However, although I prefer Hada Labo a little more, I will still call them a tie because Hada Labo is about 30% more expensive than Biore. Biore normally retails at RM 26-28 whereas Hada Labo one is around RM 44-52. I guess you get what you are paying for here. If you are also having a hard time choosing both, you can do what I did - just buy both and rotate them according to needs and moods XD

If you are interested in my holy grail sunscreen that beats these two, you can check this out.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++
packaging: ★★★☆
scent: ★★★☆
texture: ★★★★★
ingredients: ★★
efficacy: ★★★★
overall impression: ★★★★☆ (excellent although not yet my holy grail)

Hada Labo Perfect UV Gel SPF50+ PA++++
packaging: ★★★☆
scent: ★★★☆
texture: ★★★★★
ingredients: ★★★
efficacy: ★★★★  
overall impression: ★★★★☆ (excellent although not yet my holy grail)

You can get this from: Watsons | Guardian | SASA | AEON Wellness
[Disclaimer] This is NOT a sponsored review. Products are purchased with my own money. All copy right of contents and images in this article is strictly mine.
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