Train travel. Toilets. Convenience stores. Snack food. These are just a handful of things that Japan does better. And as far as beauty products go, there's nothing Japan does quite as well as sunscreen. Though the magic of Japanese sunscreen might have once been the beauty insider's best-kept-secret, now, thanks to social media and countless Asian beauty-obsessed SubReddit groups, the secret's out. Even better, with websites like Amazon, these J-beauty exports are pretty easy to get your hands on. Ahead, a guide to the best Japanese sunscreens you can buy without having to trek all the way to Tokyo.
But first, a few Asian beauty terms to familiarize yourself with. On Asian (and some European) sunscreen labels, you'll probably notice the term 'PA' next to the amount of SPF. The number of plus signs that follow 'PA' indicate the level of UVA protection a product offers (as a refresher, UVA rays are what cause the less immediately-noticeable forms of skin damage, while UVB rays are responsible for sunburn). SPF only measures the amount of UVB protection you're getting, which is why it's important to look for a product that has both a high SPF and PA rating. This is part of what makes Asian sunscreens so great — they make it super easy to decipher how powerful a sun protection product you're really getting.
Also, as far as product formulations go, you'll probably see a lot of "water gel" and "water essence" sunscreens. Typically, these water-based formulas are lightweight, fast-absorbing, and particularly ideal for oily or combination skin types; often, they're the better choice for dark skin, too, since they dry into a clear, water-like finish. Lotions, milks, and creams, on the other hand, are usually oil-based, slightly thicker, and might feel more moisturizing — so if you have dry skin, or it's winter, you might find these preferable.
Whether you're looking for a spray, a powder, a lotion, or an essence, scroll on to discover the best Japanese sunscreens you can buy online.