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Nivea Sun Water Gel Quick Lotion SPF 35 Review

January 8, 2019

Nivea Sun Water Gel Quick Lotion SPF 35 Review

No routine is complete without SPF.

Truly, if you’re using the most expensive products and skipping sunscreen every morning, you’re wasting all of your money. You can have a $100 routine or a $700 routine, they both need to have sunscreen daily. Regardless of your complexion, concerns, the weather, time of year…I can’t stress enough that SPF is a must.

I’ve been a huge fan of South Asian sunscreens, primarily from K-beauty brands. But, the sunscreen that’s recently worked it’s way up to becoming a holy grail of mine is from Nivea Japan. Their Sun Water Gel Quick Lotion with SPF 35 and a +++ PA rating.

What’s a PA rating and why should I care?

The PA rating was developed in Japan. It’s just a system of ranking sunscreens based on the amount of protection they provide from harmful UVA rays. These are the ones that cause photoaging/hyperpigmentation and tans. UVB rays cause sunburn, not UVA rays, so a PA rating has nothing to do with protection from sunburn.

With most (if not all) western sunscreens, they’ll simply say “broad spectrum”. But they rarely ever provide information on exactly how much UVA protection the sunscreen provides. There’s still debate in the scientific skincare community about how accurate a PA rating is. But I still find comfort in seeing a sunscreen acknowledging that it offers UVA protection. I rarely burn from being in the sun. But, I do tan really quickly so I need UVA protection most. I also have hyperpigmentation, another reason why I care about UVA protection. PA+ means some UVA protection, PA++ is slightly more UVA protection, PA+++ is high UVA protection, PA++++ is super high UVA protection


Water, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Alcohol, Propylene Glycol, Dimethicone, Ethylhexyl Triazone, Diethylamino Hydroxybenzoyl Hexyl Benzoate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Dilauramidoglutamide Lysine, Pyrus Cydonia Seed Extract, Geranium Robertianum Extract, Phellodendron Amurense Bark Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Acrylates/C10-30 Alkyl Acrylate Crosspolymer, Carbomer, Tocopheryl Acetate, Sodium Hydroxide, BHT, Methylparaben

It has 2 broad spectrum (UVA and UVB) sunscreen filters. Specifically the ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate and the diethylamino hydroxybenzoyl hexyl benzoate. Butylene glycol, propylene glycol, and sodium hyaluronate act as humectants to hydrate. Dimethicone acts as an emollient to slow down TEWL and give a smooth finish. The tocopherol acetate (vitamin E) provides antioxidant protection. Geranium robertianum extract is an astringent, so it helps minimize excess oil production meaning this can double as a primer for some. Overall, a solid ingredient list.

My Experience

I’ve been using this since August 2018. I was going on vacation to the Bahamas and I knew I needed lots of SPF. So I purchased 3 to test and compare during my trip. This Nivea one, the Ulta Rose Water Setting Spray SPF 50, and the CosRx Aloe Sun Soothing Cream SPF 50. I ended up using the Nivea almost daily.


It has almost no added fragrances at all, but it also doesn’t smell chemical-y or full of alcohol (though it does have alcohol).


Lightweight, watery consistency.

This has a very water consistency that I was not expecting at all, but I was very pleased to see. It applies like an absolute dream and didn’t cause any pilling, which is typically my main concern with sunscreens. A lot of them are filled with silicones that cause pilling. This sunscreen still has silicones (dimethicone). But, it did not result in products lifting off my face, which I truly appreciate especially when wearing makeup.

One thing that slightly bothered me with it, it takes a while to really work it into your skin. Whether you pat or rub, this sunscreen takes longer than usual to dry down. I don’t want to use less, because that means I’m not getting the full SPF protection. It just sucks when I’m in a rush and I have to work it in for what feels like an eternity. And typically when I’m in a rush, I get stressed and I sweat as result, which makes rubbing this in 10x harder. I’ve noticed it dries down quicker on almost dry or fully dry skin. So I’d suggest letting the previous step dry down before applying this.

My hand is at an angle here, it flows very easily.
After about 2 minutes of rubbing/patting it in, still not fully absorbed.

How it looks and wears

It leaves absolutely no white cast, and for reference, I’m an NC45 in Mac. Didn’t leave any white cast on my complexion, or on my dad’s complexion and he’s about 5 shades darker than I am. So it’s 100% #BlackGirlFriendly.

When it comes to how it wears and actually feels on the skin, the first thing I noticed was that it didn’t make me sweat like other sunscreens. Sunscreens in general make me sweat more than usual, but this left me the least sweaty. It melts right into the skin leaving a velvety, slightly glossy-but-not-oily look. It’s great for oily skin types who want to avoid greasy-looking sunscreens.

Blends in without pilling or leaving a white cast. Fully absorbs after 3-3.5 minutes. I had a fan on that accelerated this, so I’d suggest rubbing/patting it in with a mini fan on if you’re in a rush.

Also, if you’re looking for a sunscreen that doesn’t make you feel like you’re wearing sunscreen, this is the one. This sunscreen is by far the most lightweight I’ve tried so far. For reference, I have about 30 sunscreens in my skincare arsenal. This beats them all in nearly every aspect, but especially with how light it feels on the skin. Even with how light it is, it still does a great job at keeping my skin moisturized. I’ve never experienced the tight, dehydrated feeling with this on, regardless of what I layer underneath.

Speaking of being moisturized, another thing I noticed and really appreciated was that it didn’t irritate any areas where I already had irritation or the occasional, sensitive dry patches. They actually felt calmer and smoother. So I think it’s safe to say that this is a safe sunscreen for sensitive/sensitized and dry skin, although I have neither.

Will I be repurchasing?

Absolutely, without a doubt. In just 6 months, this has become a product I essentially cannot go without. Whenever I travel, it’s the main thing I check to see if I have. With almost any other product, I can [sorta] easily repurchase if I forget. This? I don’t play around with it. It’s within reach at all times.

Where to buy?

Amazon is where I purchased this, but I’ve seen others get it from Ebay, too. I personally prefer Amazon because of Prime and knowing that it’ll be at my doorstep in 2 days. You can purchase it here on Amazon.

What’s your current holy grail sunscreen? Do you even wear sunscreen?

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