23 May 2017

Comparison Review: 2015 vs. 2017 reformulation of Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++

I have loved Biore sunscreen for such a long time. In fact, it is the only sunscreen that I have been repurchasing among the 20 others I have tried. It is super lightweight, refreshing, has high sun protecting power and are available at cheap cheap price.

Recently, Biore just reformulated their best-selling sunscreens to make it more sweat-resistance. The one I have on the left hand side with darker blue packaging is the 2017 reformulated version. The right hand side is the older 2015 formulation.

In this review, we will look at both products side-by-side and see whether or not the new formulation is worth purchasing and if you should stock up on the older version.


2017 vs. 2015
2017 version appears lighter and is more transparent in that sense whereas the 2015 version appears more gel-cream-like. But if you observe carefully, 2017 version does look like it has more silicone inside.

2017 vs. 2015
When you blend it out, you will see that the particles of the 2017 version is larger and is harder to be absorbed by the skin compared to the 2015 version.

2017 vs. 2015

The 2017 version leaves a semi-matte finish on the skin that is a bit tacky, as if there is a wax serving as a protective layer over the skin. The 2015 version, on the other hand, feels like a cooling moisturizing essence that leaves the skin soft and plump. Both products still smell the same - strong in alcohol with mild citrusy scent.

(2015 Version)

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

(2017 Version)

Water, AlcoholEthylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Lauryl Methacrylate/Sodium Methacrylate Crosspolymer, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Bis-Ethylhexyloxyphenol Methoxyphenyl TrizineDiethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Trizone, Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Dipropylene Glycol, Xylitol, Dextrin Palmitate, Acrylaets/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Polysilicone-9, Glyceryl Stearate, Aminomethyl Propanol, Vinyl Dimethicone/Methicone Silsesquioxane Crosspolymer, Agar, Fragrance, Isoceteth-20, C30-45 Alkyl Methicone, Polyvinyl Alcohol, C30-45 Olefin, Disodium EDTA, BHA, 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

2015 vs. 2017

Main sunscreen filters used are octinoxate, tinosorb S, uvinul A plus, and uvinul T 150, making this a pure chemical sunscreen. Both sunscreen filters used in the 2015 and 2017 formulations are the same, so if expect a change in the sunscreen filters to maybe include physical filters then you will be disappointed.

Octinoxate and uvinul T 150 are both UVB filters, uvinul A plus offers UVA2 protection whereas tinosorb is more broad spectrum where it covers all UVA1, UVA2 and UVB rays. All these sunscreen filters, except for octinoxate with the safety concern of skin penetration and hormonal disruption, are safe to use on the skin. Octinoxate is inevitable in almost all sunscreens unless if you want to use physical-only sunscreens and won't mind the white cast and greasier texture.

I would say that except for the ordering, how they blend and emulsify the products, 99% of the ingredients remain the same. Actually I wish that they could remove BHT in this newer formulation, which causes greater skin allergy and has greater safety concern if compared to phenoxyethanol, but apparently they still keep it.

In short, I think this sunscreen is still more or less the same stuff we have. The ingredients used are still very much the same as the older version. It is not like how the products suddenly improve a lot in term of texture from the 2014 (or 2013?) version. I think they just change how they mix the ingredients around to make it more water-resistant, as you can see in the texture comparison above, where the 2017 version feels more satiny and will leave a greasy film on the skin.


I think it is not wrong to say that Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ is one of the top-selling Asian sunscreens worldwide. In fact, it is among my top 5 holy grail sunscreen products. It costs only RM 25-30 in Malaysia (as it is constantly on sales) for 50g of product. RM 25-30 is not expensive if compared to many other sunscreens in the market. And since sunscreen is the only skincare product that you must apply everyday, and that 50g should only last you for about 40.6 uses (without taking into accounts that you need to reapply at least once everyday), so RM 25-30 for a month-worth of sun protection is really reasonable. You don't want to spend some RM 200 on a whitening serum only after you get all the dark spots and sun burn, right?

A lot of people were saddened by the reformulation. They said that the newer formulation is matte-r and feels less moisturizing on the skin. Honestly, even for a picky skin like mine, I don't really feel that much of a difference when I apply it on my skin. Sure, it will leave a slightly tacky finish when I just apply it, but the tackiness will go away in 30 minutes or so. And the sweat-resistant benefit I get from this sunscreen totally outweighs the slight tackiness I suffer, so I am happy with the new formulation.


As for whether or not you should grab the older version while you can, I think it really boils down to your own preference. If you feel that your skin is drier and cannot tolerate a matte-finish sunscreen, then the newer formulation might not work as well for you as the older one. However, if your skin is oilier and you want something more sweat-resistant that is also cosmetically elegant to wear, then you will be happy with the new formulation.


As for where you can find this, I found mine in major Watson's, Guardian and AEON Wellness branches. I think Watsons' at MyTown KL and Mid Valley are carrying it. I also spotted them at AEON Wellness Mid Valley and Guardian Mid Valley. Not all Watsons' and Guardian outlets carry it. Sunway Velocity ones, if I remember correctly, still carries the older version so you might have to try your luck on this or call respective outlets to find out about stock availability.

[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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