Sunkiller Perfect Water Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ Review

This is the last sunscreen to be reviewed from my first Rakuten haul and the one I’m most conflicted about. This review is LONG overdue, but better late than never, right?

snufflier spf50 pa++++ review

Sunkiller makes a lot of sunscreens, some of them are apparently very good, but this is the only one that I’ve tried. This is an essence type sunscreen, which means it has a creamy, mousse-like texture, much like the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence. Also, this is a sebum-resistant sunscreen, which is pretty handy for summer months or year-round for those of you with oilier skin types.


I purchased this from the Master of Life store on Rakuten, where it is available for ¥963 (<$6 but before shipping) or on Amazon for $20.48.

You can read more about my Rakuten hauls here and here. Also, here is a guide (not by me) that explains how to order sunscreen from Rakuten.


This sunscreen comes in a flat, blue tube.


The design of the tube is pretty, but its no my favorite sunscreen packaging. The spout from which sunscreen is dispensed is very small and does not dispense a whole lot of sunscreen at once. This is obviously not a huge deal, but in the mornings when I am frequently short on time, the extra few seconds it takes to use this sunscreen can be exasperating. That said, this type of packaging is great for portability because it is made of a sturdy plastic material that can take a lot of abuse (i.e. you don’t need to worry about spillage) and doesn’t take up a lot of room.


I did not love this sunscreen at first but over time it’s grown on me. The texture is similar to that of the Biore Watery Essence – it is creamy but lightweight, buttery but watery and easy to spread.


The last photo is immediately after spreading the sunscreen around. It photographs as white, but in real life shows up mostly as a colorless, glossy layer. It sinks in, but takes a long time.

The reason I didn’t like this sunscreen very much at first is it doesn’t absorb as well as sunscreens I am used to. I take a heavy hand to sunscreen application to ensure I apply the full 1/4 oz needed for my face. My suspicion is this sunscreen was formulated assuming its users would not be applying so much sunscreen because it is very slow and problematic to absorb at that quantity (read more about sunscreen and required application here), as demonstrated above on my hand. The layer of sunscreen is just too thick and and I am left with a glossy layer of sunscreen on my face.

The remedy I’ve found to this problem is to split the application into two phases. I apply half the amount of sunscreen I need to on my face, pat it in and wait for it to absorb (which it does much better in smaller quantities), then I repeat. This takes more time (definitely a negative), but when I do this, the sunscreen absorbs really well. However, it still leaves a bit of a film and makes my skin tacky to the touch.

Strangely this film works well when I wear makeup. I have a lot of difficulty with makeup becoming flakey, on account of my dry skin, by mid-day. This sunscreen does not prolong the life of my makeup but it does seem to help keep the flakiness away! However, if I wear this sunscreen without makeup, it makes my face distinctively shiny, and not in a flattering, dewy way.

The ingredients for this sunscreen, taken from the Master of Life product page with USAN sunscreen names added, are as follows. The cosdna analysis identifies three acne triggers- tocopherol, stearic acid, and sorbitan oleate– and one irritant – tocopherol.

Water, ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate (aka octinoxate), ethanol, diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate (aka Uvinul A Plus), pentylene glycol, tocopherol, Ascorbyl Tetraisopalmitate, hesperidin, sodium acetyl hyaluronic acid, hyaluronic acid, hyaluronic acid hydrolysis, isononyl isononanoate, bis ethylhexyl methoxyphenyl triazine (aka Tinosorb S), sodium acrylic acid / sodium acryloyldimethyltaurate copolymer, titanium oxide, isohexadecane, aluminum octenylsuccinate starch, ethylhexyl glycerin, polysorbate 80, dilauroyl glutamate lysine Na, hydroxide Al, stearic acid, xanthan gum, phenoxyethanol, sorbitan oleate, perfumes, ammonium acryloyldimethyltaurate / VP copolymers, BHT, t- butanol, methyl paraben


Now that all the sunscreens from my Rakuten haul have been published, I thought I would summarize my personal thoughts and preference on them.

  • LOVEBiore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel is my clear favorite. It’s the only one I’ve reordered for use on my face. I like the thin watery texture of the gel over the creamier texture of essences and find it easier to apply and, if need be, to reapply. It does smell a bit like alcohol, but the alcohol does not seem to irritate or dry out my skin.
  • LOVEMommy UV Mild Gel and Nivea Sun Protect Aqua Gel have been relegated to use on my body, for the most part. The reason behind this is simple: the UVA rating is only PA+++ and for my face, I want nothing but the highest rating of PA++++. (Side note: Korean sunscreens only go up to PA+++ rating so different criteria applies there). Between the two, I prefer the Nivea gel because Mommy, which is alcohol-free, takes substantially longer to dry. That said, Nivea smells more like alcohol than any of the other sunscreens I’ve used. Again, this doesn’t bother me or affect my skin, but if you are sensitive to alcohol it’s one you may want to avoid. I’ve repurchased both of these sunscreens.
  • PASSBiore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence and Sunkiller Perfect Water Essence are both great sunscreens that work well under makeup. I know the Biore Essence has its fans, but I’ve had issues with it pilling when I try to reapply. Between the two, I think I actually prefer Sunkiller because it works marginally better under my makeup, but I don’t have plans to repurchase either. On a related note, I am currently testing out another essence type sunscreen that I like better than both the Biore and Sunkiller essence. Review coming soon!
  • PASS: Menturm Sun Bears Strong Super Plus is the only sports sunscreen I’ve tried. I’ve worn this while working out and while swimming, and, if the white cast is any indication, has stellar staying power. However, the white cast looks very obvious, especially if I take this swimming, which makes it not ideal. I’m definitely still on the hunt for a good sport / water-resistant sunscreen so if you have any suggestions, send them my way!


This is a creamy, essence type sunscreen that is super lightweight. It is great for wearing under makeup but may be problematic when used alone because it leaves a thin film and tacky feeling on the skin.
Pros: lightweight, creamy texture, great for use under makeup
Cons: leaves a bit of a film

To see other sunscreens I’ve reviewed, see here.

sunkiller review

**Lastly, I want to take some time to put things in perspective. All the sunscreens I mention above are excellent sunscreens, many years ahead of any sunscreen I’ve come across from the US or Europe. I sometimes forget how lucky I am to have access to these sunscreens and lose sight of the fact that the baseline level of cosmetic elegance of Japanese sunscreens is so high. My point is, Sunkiller is a great sunscreen, Biore Watery essence is a great sunscreen, and Sun Bears is a great sunscreen, despite my decision not to repurchase them. The complaints I’ve lobbied against them are, at the end of the day, very minor issues and you can’t go wrong with any of them! If you haven’t yet given Japanese sunscreens a try, I highly recommend it!

3 thoughts on “Sunkiller Perfect Water Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ Review

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