Life in Japan

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

You probably already know that Japanese women – or Asian women in general – are really into make-up and skin care. And if you’ve ever been to a drug store in Japan you might have noticed the huge variety of awesome Japanese skin care products and make-up items that are available.
But it might be difficult to choose the right products, especially if you don’t understand Japanese.

If you visit Japan you shouldn’t let the chance slip to grab a few. So, today I want to introduce some of the most popular Japanese skin care products.

Guys (I’m talking to you, my male readers!), don’t just run away yet! This might be interesting for you as well as these make a great gift for your (Japanese) girlfriend. You might be able to impress her, so stay tuned. emoticon emoticon

Top Japanese Skin Care Products


Japanese Beauty Ideals

A clean, soft and white skin is considered beautiful in Japan. While we can argue about the “white / pale” skin, I think the rest is true for most Western countries as well.
Not only in Japan, but in Asia in general, I’ve noticed that most women do a lot to keep their skin as healthy as possible.

It’s true, many put a sh*tload of make-up on their face, but let’s not discuss this right now.
However, it’s more important to get the basics right by having a proper and healthy skin care routine.

Asian women are well aware of that and thus you can find a huge, HUGE variety of skin care products in Japan. And it’s definitely worth trying them out if you get a chance to!


Top Japanese Skin Care Products

The Japanese Double-Cleansing method

In Japan it’s very common to use the “double-cleansing method” when washing your face in the evening. Many people just rinse their face or use a washing foam to get rid of their make-up, but that’s not enough to remove all residue. You’re harming your skin’s health.

That’s why many Japanese women first cleanse their face with an oil-based cleanser (e.g. cleansing oils or balms) and then continue with a water-based one (e.g. cleansing foams).

This goes back to the time when Japanese women wore heavy white (paint-like) make-up (e.g. Geisha, Maiko) which was hard to remove with just soap and water, so cleansing oils were used. Washing a second time with soap refreshed the face and got rid of any oil or dirt residue.

Don’t worry about the oil, even if you have oily skin. This cleansing method will get rid of excess oil on your skin and also remove waterproof make-up, sunscreen or environmental toxins properly.

After that you just continue with your normal routine. So next would be a toner.
Be careful, in Japan toners are usually called “lotion“.

Eventually you go on with an essence or serum and finally with your night cream.

If you use (heavy) make-up and / or sunscreen every day, try this method and you’ll see a difference soon!


Top Japanese Skin Care Products

Facial Sheet Masks are popular in Japan

Extremely popular in Asia, especially in Korea and Japan, are so-called “facial sheet masks”.
They’re different from what you’re probably used to. It’s not a cream you’re putting onto your face and then washing it off.
It’s a cloth soaked in an essence or serum and you just keep it on your face for 5-30 minutes (depending on the mask).

You would use them after you’ve cleansed and toned your face.

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

These masks are awesome! I hate the ones you have to wash off as I always make a mess and I also feel that my skin is dried out afterwards.
The facial sheet masks are very convenient. You can even put them in the fridge in summer, so they have a cooling effect.

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

There’s a huge variety with all sorts of ingredients (avocado, aloe vera, soy, collagen, Q10, snake venom and whatnot).

Personally I really like the “Pure Smile” and “The Face Shop” masks (both being a Korean brand). You can easily find them in most Japanese drug stores (especially the Pure Smile ones). There are also packs with several masks inside where they are not separately stored. These are usually cheaper, but the quality often is a bit lower.

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

And of course, there are “limited versions” as well. Someone who likes travelling a lot (like me) can get special “region limited” masks. I especially liked the ones I got in Hokkaido (lavender) and Okinawa (goya and shikuwasa).

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

There are so many to choose from. It’s fun trying them all out until you find your favorites. (^___^)


Popular Japanese Skin Care Products

There are so many good Japanese skin care products, but I want to introduce the most popular ones that I’m using on a daily basis as well. I want to show you not only affordable ones but also some pricy high-class products.

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

A very popular, good-quality and yet cheap skin care product line in Japan is “Hada Labo“. It might be difficult to find as they only write their brand in Kanji: 肌研
But once you remember how their brand looks, it’s easy to spot them. It’s the one with the blue label in the photo above.

I also like the “Tonyuu isofurabon” (豆乳イソフラボン: soy milk isoflavone) line. Their products contain natural ingredients and are very mild, so even people with sensitive skin shouldn’t have any issues.

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

The CURE Natural Aqua Gel is still the most popular exfoliator in Japan. It’s really awesome!

It mainly consists of water (90% revitalized hydrogen water) and it’s one of the mildest facial scrubs I’ve ever come across. If you have extremely sensitive skin, then that’s your holy grail. But even with normal skin, you’ll love it!

Definitely get your hands on it when you can.

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

Very popular is Max Factor’s SK-II (Secret Key) line which originated in Japan.

It’s a very expensive brand, but the “secret key” ingredient they’re promoting was found within the sake brewing process. Apparently their scientists visited a sake brewery and found that all the people working there had very young-looking hands despite being old and having wrinkles in their faces.

After researching they were able to find the essence within the sake fermentation process that kept the skin so young. They called it “Pitera“:
“Pitera™ is full of vitamins, amino acids, minerals and organic acids that work together to allow the skin’s natural surface rejuvenation process to function at its prime.” (SK-II)

Pretty much all their products contain “Pitera”, but the most popular one, the “Facial Treatment Essence“, contains over 90% of it. Thus, it’s also the most popular product of the line.

I really like the “Facial Treatment Essence” as well as the “Stempower” facial cream and the “cleansing gel”.

I’ve also tried their other products, but as they’re really expensive I only stick with those three.

You can get small samples in most Japanese department stores where they have a “SK-II counter”. And in bigger cities they often sell it “without consumption tax” if you’re a tourist and carry your passport.


Japanese Skin Care and Beauty Products on Youtube

As you might not believe what I’m saying or you simply might want to hear a second opinion, I thought it’s a good idea to show you what other people like and use. I’m going to introduce a few awesome Youtubers who often talk about the latest Japanese skin care and beauty products.

Melodee Morita is a Japanese who’s living in America. In her videos she always switches between English and Japanese, so it’s also a great opportunity if you want to brush up your Japanese skills.
As she’s often in Japan, she also introduces a lot of Japanese skin care products and even tells you how to get them in America.
You should also watch this video where she tells you how to use some of the products I’ve shown you in this post.

Kimdao is an Australian who has been to Japan a few times and is obsessed with Japanese fashion and Asian skin care products.
You’ll find a lot of the items I’ve introduced today in this video of hers.

Last but not least, you should also check out “Asian Beauty Secrets“. This is not limited to Japanese beauty products, but Asian ones in general.
In the video above the previously mentioned “Double-Cleaning Method” is explained.


Japanese ‘Beauty’ Products beyond Skin Care

If you ever go into a Japanese drug store (and you really should just for the experience), you’ll be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of beauty products there. Especially for women it’s paradise, but they even have some awesome stuff for guys as well.

As this blog post focuses on skin care products, I just want to honorably *g* mention a few other products that can be life savers!

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

Japan has a lot of body and hair mists. I’ve never seen such a huge variety outside of Asia.

And in most drug stores you’ll have “testers”, so make sure to at least try them out there.

My personal favorite hair mist is the one in the photo above on the left: Venus Spa Hair Fragrance (European Flower)

Top Japanese Skin Care Products

As you might know, Japanese summers are extremely hot and humid. No matter what you do, you will sweat.

And if you’re travelling in summer, you really need to do something about it.

Japanese deodorant sprays aren’t very good. Maybe you’ve already read about this somewhere. But there are “deo sheets” you can carry with you and some of them even have a cooling effect. You can just wipe your body with it and the sweat is gone. You’ll smell good and your body will cool down.

I prefer the Gatsby ones for men. But they have many, many different ones to choose from for women with sweet, flowery scents as well. ^^


What are your favorite Japanese skin care products?

Obviously I’m very curious to hear about your favorite Asian beauty and skin care products. Or do you have any favorite Asian beauty blogs or Youtube channels you’d love to share?

I’m always looking for new things to try out and I’m sure other readers would love to hear about your suggestions and experiences as well, so share away!~emoticon



This is NOT a sponsored post. I just wanted to share Japanese skin care products that I use myself and consider worth recommending to you. That’s all.


  • The items I love from Japan from my trips there and from Japanese groceries here are Perfect Whip, Tsubaki Volume Touch shampoo and conditioner, Coppertone facial sunscreen (I’m not sure what it says but I got the one with the illustration of a girl with pink cheeks). I hope you can feature Japanese drug store makeup as well!

  • I love Hada Labo! lucky, they sell here in Jakarta, I use it as my daily skincare and it works! Japanese skincare is one of the best in the world.

  • i am from silanka. i wont know about one of suitable face cream for my skin is normal skin please tell to me face cream and available place in srilanka

    • Hm. I’d suggest you go to ask a skin doctor or staff at a cosmetic store about it. You know, someone who can actually examine your skin and tell you what it needs.
      Once you know, I’m quite sure you can find many Japanese and Korean skin care brands on ebay!
      That’s where I also find a lot of stuff usually. :)

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