When it comes to beauty, Japan is a world leader. The Japanese spend more per head on cosmetics and beauty products than any other nation; and for this investment, they expect results.
Japanese beauty products tend to take a gentle approach. Rather than fighting with your skin and hair, they emphasize nourishment and protection. This kind of proactive beauty regime can be extremely effective, and you don’t need to be in Japan to take it up yourself.
Choices are endless, and cosmetics shopping, especially from another country, can all seem a little overwhelming at times. That’s why we’ve put together this list of 23 Japanese cosmetics that you can effortlessly buy from the comfort of your own home.
1. Skincare Lotion by Kikumasamune
It’s typical these days to find beauty products which contain food extracts, like tea, honey, coconut, but it’s probably not too often you come across a beauty product made with your favorite alcoholic drink! Kikumasamune Skincare Lotion is a popular Japanese lotion of which the main component is sake. It’s said that in the past geisha would use fermented rice wine to help remove stubborn makeup and thanks to this creation by the long established sake brewery Kiku-Masamune Sake Brewing Co, you can now do the same.
Skincare Lotion by Kikumasamune, Available at Amazon
2. Kyoto Red Tinted Lip Oil
If you’re looking for a splash of color, but are not a huge fan of lipstick, then Tatcha’s Kyoto Red Tinted Lip Oil could be perfect for you. A color nod to the bright red of the geisha’s lip, this smooth, light formula leaves lips evenly colored and well hydrated. Made from botanical oils, it can be worn by itself or atop a lipstick to produce a shiny, plump, smooth finish.
3. Anti-Aging Moisturizing 3D Skin Care Sheet Face Mask by Shiawasedo
Japan is a nation that produces some of the best, highest quality facemasks in the world, and for the best of the best you can’t go past Shiawasedo. Established in 2007 in Kobe the company has gone on to be one of the biggest players in the skin care world thanks in large part to their world-class quality products like this anti-aging mask. The mask is made with super soft, stretchy cotton, making it incredibly gentle on the skin and easily malleable, perfect for any face shape.
4. Hinoki Hand Wash, Mist & Wood Chip Sachet Set from te+te
After years of working in the textiles and pottery industries, tirelessly exposing her skin to the harsh reality of clay and hard labour, artist Eiko Miyazaki created te+te, a company all about keeping in touch with nature while still caring for your skin. Use the hand wash to keep your skin fresh, clear your mind and body with the atmosphere mist and try the age-old traditional Japanese technique of utilizing local Hinoki wood chips to relieve stress and deodorise the house.
5. Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen by Shiseido
You can spend all the money in the world buying anti-aging, skin-moisturizing products, but in reality if you’re not protecting your skin from the sun, you’re going to be fighting a losing battle. Shiseido Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen is one of Japan’s most effective sunscreen options on the market now. With its soft, milky texture it’s easy to apply underneath your daily makeup. A little more expensive than your regular drugstore sunscreen, if you’re serious about your skin care, it’s well worth the investment.
6. Lash Essentials Set by Shiseido
In order to make your daily beauty routine just a little bit easier, Japanese beauty brand Shiseido have released a tidy collection of their best-selling essentials to cover all your eyelash needs. Inside you’ll find the popular Shiseido Eyelash Curler, the Full Lash Multi-Dimension Mascara, Instant Eye and Lip Makeup Remover and the Eye Power Infusing Eye Concentrate.
7. Kanebo Freshel Skin Care BB Cream
For those who want to cover their blemishes but aren’t really into heavy layers of foundation, BB cream is an excellent alternative, one that provides coverage while still allowing your skin to breathe. Kanebo’s Freshel Skin Care BB Cream is one BB cream brand worth considering, with its high UV protection and smooth, non-sticky finish it blends perfectly with every skin type, leaving the skin feeling soft, moisturised and protected.
8. Petal Fresh Aburatorigami Japanese Beauty Papers
As the seasons start to get warmer here in Japan, they also start to get a whole lot steamer, meaning that sweat, and oily skin are just two harsh daily realities you have to deal with. In order to help maintain your makeup staying power, while still ridding your skin of excess oils Tatcha have created easy to store, purse-ready make up papers for absorbing any skin build up you may be battling. Now you can have fresh skin anywhere, anytime without the stress of running your makeup.
9. Foaming Skin Polish by Yu-Be
For an exfoliator with a uniquely Japanese twist, be sure to check out Yu-Be Foaming Skin Polish, a wash that’s infused with fine grains of rice bran, bamboo and moisture attracting glycerin. Removing dead skin cells, dirt, and grime without the assistance of artificial ingredients, the naturally abrasive lotion is great for those prone to pore blockage or with sensitive skin.
10. Keana Nadeshiko Gift Set by Ishizawa Lab
If you’re looking for an easy gift idea, or want to sample some of Japan’s most popular beauty products without having to commit to spending too much, a beauty gift box is a good way to go. This Ishizawa-Lab Keana Nadeshiko set includes a baking soda based peel mask and two gentle rice based facemasks, made with rice extract. The best way to take advantage of all the pack’s benefits is to use the peel to remove blackheads and skin impurities, before moving on to the facemask for the ultimate in rejuvenation.
11. Unisex Pureness Balancing Softener by Shiseido
Shiseido is one makeup line that has consistently maintained its position as being one of Japan’s (and arguably the world’s) most popular and highly regarded makeup brands. Its second-to-none commitment to the skin care needs of both female and male customers is epitomized in this product. Perfect for applying at the end of the day after washing your face, this balancing softener not only combats visible signs of aging but has been reported by customers to also help remove excess oil, make-up, dirt and residue that regular facial soaps and other wipes fail to catch.
12. Violet-C Radiance Mask by Tatcha
Suitable for all types of skin, this rinse-off facemask contains the Tatcha brand signature trio of Japanese anti-aging superfoods; green tea, rice, and algae to create something that’s both effective but still gentle on the skin. It’s said that vitamin C is great for evening tone, protecting the skin from airborne pollution and keeping it hydrated. To double the benefits, Tatcha have filled this Japanese beautyberry rich cream with two different types of vitamin C, one that penetrates deep into the skin and one that sits on the surface to increase its effectiveness.
13. Rafra Balm Orange Extra Cleansing
Ideal for those who prefer a more minimal face care regime, this thick balm is a cleanser, make-up remover, and skin moisturizer all in one. Having been around for over a decade now, it’s become a Japanese make-up cult favorite both in its home country and across the world (especially in the States). A rather unique feature, the balm heats up a little upon application, and then with the addition of a little water emulsifies, blending with the dirt and oils on your face catching all the unwanted residue and removing it for the ultimate clean face feel.
14. Tamahada Handcream April/Japanese Kerria Hand Cream
With a soft hint of sweet aromatic cherry blossoms, and a silky smooth texture that’s thick, but not sticky, Tamahada Handcream balances all the elements harmoniously. It’s the perfect way to carry around a little bit of Japan with you, wherever you are.
15. Morning Face Mask Sheet by Saborino
Although laying back with a luxurious face mask has long been seen as a night time activity, Japanese beauty company Saborino are reinventing the concept of what a facemask can be by creating their rather unique Morning Face Mask Fresh. This refreshing face mask only takes 60 seconds to apply, and is a face wash, skin care and moisturizing makeup primer all in one. Perfect for those who are short on time or who want a few extra minutes of sleep, you can pop this on while you make your morning coffee and skip the regular time-consuming face care regime. With its bright, citrus scents of grapefruit and orange it’s the ultimate wake up tool.
16. Rebirth Serum by Uka
Straight from the salon-populated streets of Tokyo comes Uka Rebirth Serum for your scalp. A soft and light serum, it is made from 93% natural products, making it gentle enough for all skin types. Made to protect hair from the elements, and repair damage, it’s a safe go to for those looking for something a little maintain general hair health, but are overwhelmed by the choices. Used in some of Tokyo’s top salons, Uka’s Japanese cosmetic products are made with both male and female consumers in mind.
17. Deep Cleansing Oil by DHC
Ideal for those prone to dry skin, DHC has for a long time now been one of the nation’s most reliable and respected skincare brands thanks in a large part to products like this moisturizing Deep Cleansing Oil. A bestseller, the smooth texture is rather thin but deceivingly effective at removing even the thickest and most stubborn make up and its remaining residue. It’s also said to be one of the best products to attack notoriously difficult make-up products like waterproof mascara while remaining gentle on the skin.
18. 23-Karat Gold Illuminated Lipstick by Tatcha
Often overlooked for its more famous cousin, the cherry blossom, the spring plum blossoms that bloom across Japan are just as stunning as their later counterparts. Using extracts from plum fruits and silk this lipstick is the make-up embodiment of spring in Japan. The lipstick also features hints of 23-karat gold, for a subtle glittery glow.
19. Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder
The fascinating Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder is honestly a product that could really only be conceived here in Japan the nation of convenience. Although it looks from the outset to be perhaps a tub of strange coffee capsules or washing machine tablets, they’re in fact small pods of cleansing, exfoliating beauty powder, ideal for travelling or stashing away in your handbag for that last minute beauty emergency. They’re completely free of any artificial fragrances and colors too making them extra safe for all skin types.
20. Seven Color Powders by Shiseido
Created in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Rainbow Beauty Powder, Japanese cosmetics brand Sheiseido has crafted a loving ode to the powder which was introduced to the country in 1917 and changed the make landscape of the nation forever. With its delicate wood packaging and soft colors it’s so beautiful you almost won’t want to use it. Experiment with the different colors and lap up the luxury of this finely produced powder collection.
21. Luminous Dewy Skin Mist by Tatcha
This smooth liquid spray is perfect for battling against, or repairing the damage caused by the harsh, dry cold of Japanese winters. Made from a combination of squalane, red algae and Tatcha’s own anti-aging concoction, this moisture repair spray can be applied on bare skin and make up without leaving residue or sticky marks, making it an easy on the go skin freshener no matter the time of day.
22. Kamakura Parfum by S-Perfume
Inspired by the historic beachside city of Kamakura, this perfume is a unique look at one of Japan’s most historically influential cities. Scents of the sea, the lush green natural surroundings and the slightest whispers of incense that permeate the shrines come to mind when you think of Kamakura, and this experimental fragrance echoes it all. S-Perfume is a Japanese cosmetic brand created by Brooklyn-based artist and sculptor Nobi Shioya. If you’re interested in the art of smell, be sure to keep an eye on this name.
23. The Ginza Premium Skin Revitalizing Set
For the ultimate in skin care, you can’t ignore The Ginza Premium Skin Revitalizing Set, a simple yet effective pack of lotion and soft cotton pads crafted specially for facial skin applications. Creating soft, dewy, supple skin, simply pour the lotion to the pad, and apply it to your clean, bare skin. Like the neighbourhood it’s named after, this Japanese beauty product is all about experiencing the ultimate in luxury.
What are your favorite Japanese cosmetics? Let us know in the comments below!
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