Best Japanese sunscreens
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

7 best Japanese sunscreens you can get at the drugstore

It’s time to get your SPF on – protect your skin with these popular sunscreens that you can easily pick up at your local drugstore

Kaila Imada

It’s become a well-known fact that you should wear sunscreen daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, whether rain or shine, winter or summer. But now that summer is finally here – and we’re bracing for a hot one – sunscreen is one of those must-have items that we’ll be reapplying and carrying around with us all season long. 

As Japan is renowned for its skincare and cosmetics, it's no surprise that the country’s makeup makers have come up with some pretty great sunblocks catering to a variety of skin types. From lightweight gel formulas that are ideal for hot weather to convenient spray-on protection, we’ve rounded up some of the most popular and affordable sunscreens you can find at your average Japanese drugstore. 

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SPF is your BFF

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

This affordable sunscreen is consistently one of the best-selling products of its kind in Japan – and for good reason. It can be used for both the face and body and has SPF50+/PA++++ protection. The formula is light and easy to wear and does not get heavy or sticky even if you re-apply throughout the day. This one is also good for beach and pool days as the formula is waterproof. Around ¥840

Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care Gel

One of Nivea’s most popular sunscreens, this gel sunblock is a favourite thanks to its super waterproof formula which is also resistant to sweat. It’s another great lightweight option, as the gel formula feels refreshing and does not leave a white cast on the skin. To further enhance and protect your skin barrier, this sunscreen contains moisturising ingredients that help make fine lines less noticeable. Around ¥970


Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk

This popular sunblocker from Shiseido's drugstore line Anessa has long been regarded as the holy grail of Japanese sunscreens. Along with offering SPF50+/PA++++ UV protection, the milky formula can be used on your face and body and also works well as a makeup base, as it dries to a matte finish without leaving your skin greasy or sticky. The sunscreen is sweat- and water-resistant and does not leave a white cast. Around ¥3,058

Rohto Skin Aqua Tone Up UV Essence

Rohto’s award-winning sunscreen comes in a multitude of tinted colour-correcting shades, helping to brighten up your face depending on your skin tone. For instance, this green shade helps cancel out unwanted redness. Along with offering excellent SPF50+ and PA++++ protection, the sunscreen contains moisturising ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and vitamin C derivatives to prevent your skin from drying out. Around ¥732


Kosé Suncut UV Perfect Spray

If you’re looking for a spray option, you can’t go wrong with this unscented sunscreen spray from Kosé. While offering excellent SPF50+ and PA++++ protection, it adheres easily to the skin and helps protect your skin barrier against other irritants like pollen and dust. The easy spray application also makes it ideal for applying sunscreen in hard-to-reach places like the back of your neck, and can also be used on your hair and scalp. Around ¥794

Ishizawa Laboratory UV Forecast Smooth UV Stick

This stick-style sunscreen is great for carrying around in your bag or pocket and is ideal for re-applying throughout the day. In addition to being water- and sweat-resistant, the sunscreen stick is also colour- and fragrance-free, which makes it ideal for those with sensitive skin. Plus, it can be used on children. Around ¥1,870


Ihada Medicated Face Protect Powder

This powder-style sunscreen offers SPF40/PA++++ UV protection and is ideal for light coverage and touch-ups throughout the day. The compact comes with a mirror for easy application and can be worn over makeup to help absorb sebum and reduce shine. Additionally, this medicated powder also contains active ingredients that help suppress melanin production and helps aid in preventing dark spots and freckles. It's a good idea to use this one in combination with another liquid-type sunscreen underneath for the most protection. Around ¥1,980

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