You don’t have to go to Matsumoto Kiyoshi to get your hands on some of the best Japanese skin care products. You can get them from the comfort of your home with just a click! If you’ve yet to give J beauty a go, then we’re sure some of the products below will inspire you to hop on the bandwagon.
But with an influx of both J beauty and K beauty skin care products on the market, we can’t help but wonder what’s the difference between the two skin care routines. And is one any better than the other?
J beauty VS K beauty
If you’re a fan of K beauty, you’ll be familiar with the 10-step skin care routine and a gamut of cool skin care products that promise to give you that dewy glow. On the other hand, J beauty is more minimalist in nature and sticks to using a few timeless ingredients that work just as hard to protect and nourish your skin. Coupled with the Japanese penchant for skin care innovation, it’s birthed effective skin care products, backed with research and science.
So is one skin care routine better than the other? We think not. In fact, why not incorporate both J beauty and K beauty products into your skin care routine? Since we’ve already introduced the best K beauty skin care products to add to your stash, let’s check out the best Japanese skin care products that are creating waves both in Japan and worldwide.
1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
We love two-in-one products — this DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (available on NANA) doubles up as a makeup remover and cleansing oil. Pump twice and gently rub the oil into your face, the makeup will start to breakdown and slide off. Then, add water to your face and you’ll notice the oil transforms into a milky lather — this now acts as your cleanser! Massage the cleanser in circular motions over your face before a final rinse off with water and you’re done!
Have oily skin and don’t believe an oil-based cleanser will work? Guess what, oil attracts oil and combats all that dirt buildup so this product will be effective for you too! The DHC Deep Oil Cleanser is also infused with Vitamin E, virgin olive oil and rosemary to protect your skin against free radicals while keeping it nourished. Often find yourself lazy to take off your makeup and cleanse your skin? This is one of the best Japanese skin care products for you then!
2. Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder
The Japanese penchant for innovative products shines through with the Suisai Beauty Clear Powder (available on Suisai) cleansing foam which comes in small capsules for single use. Pour the powder into your palm, add water bit by bit and watch it emulsify into this large, cotton candy-like bubble, ready to be lathered onto your face.
Rich in enzymes, this beauty powder is especially effective in exfoliation. It works to remove grime build-up from deep within your pores but without ever drying your skin out. But our favourite part has to be how portable these capsules are. This is one of the best Japanese skin care products to bring on your short getaway. They don’t take up any space and leave even more room for more makeup products!
3. SK-II Treatment Essence
The SK-II Facial Treatment Essence is one of the best Japanese skin care product to add to your beauty stash. It’s been around for over 30 years, earning itself cult status in Japan and even on the world stage. The hero ingredient here is undoubtedly the Pitera — a natural bio-ingredient from yeast that contains over 50 nutrients and vitamins to amp up your skin’s natural barrier. It also protects the skin from natural aggressors while locking in moisture.
Also known as the Miracle Water, this essence can help in achieving the enviable clear and even skin that we admire on Japanese women. Simply dab this onto your skin after cleansing twice a day and watch it work its magic. Not sure if it’ll work for you? Get a 30ml SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. It’s small and affordable enough to get started on. But we’ve a sneaky feeling you’re going to be coming back for more!
4. Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner
The main ingredient in Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner Liquid (available on pinkbeautysg) is Job’s Tears or hatomugi. Yup, you read it right. Job’s Tears, also known as coix seed or pearl barley, is shaped like a teardrop, hence the name. It can be cooked and eaten or used topically in skin care products.
Naturie Hatomugi’s Skin Conditioner is formulated to control acne breakouts, sebum production and works to moisturise dry skin. Simply smooth this over your face and body after a shower and it’ll leave your skin feeling soft and hydrated. If you prefer cream-based moisturisers, then get a tub of the Naturie Hatomugi Gel Skin Conditioner (available on MISS YK) instead. Having recently won the 2018 Japanese Cosmetics Award for the Best Lotion, it was no brainer adding it into this list of the best Japanese skin care products.
5. Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence
Constantly frustrated by the dark spots and redness that randomly decide to make an appearance before a date? Instead of piling on foundation and concealer, tackle the root of the issue with Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence (available on Hada Labo) — one of the best Japanese skin care products that specifically target problem areas on your face.
The Vitamin C in the Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Essence fades dark spots and acne scars while controlling melanin production, which is what causes pigmentation. It also packs in Vitamin E and other anti-inflammatory ingredients to control redness.
Pro tip: Don’t cut the tube nozzle as the air-tight packaging is what keeps the product in the freshest form. Once the nozzle is cut and air enters the tube, the product oxidises and turns yellow — rendering it ineffective.
6. Shiseido Ultimune
This list would be incomplete without mentioning Shiseido — one of Japan’s powerhouse skin care brands. The Shiseido Ultimune (available on KrDelights) is the perfect pampering serum to give your skin that extra boost of protection. It differs from other serums and specifically targets ageing concerns like wrinkles, fine lines and skin dullness.
Shiseido’s Ultimune features the ImuGeneration Technology that includes Iris Root — improves skin’s vitality and Reishi Mushroom — an antioxidant known to hydrate and reduce signs of ageing. This is one of the best Japanese skin care products you can get if you want to look 40 going on 25 (you get what we mean).
7. Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen
Have you heard of a sunscreen that fortifies even further in the presence of sweat and water? The Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen (available on Nihon No Bi Official Store) claims to do that and more! This sunscreen features an Aqua Booster Technology which bonds with sweat and water, preventing the sunscreen from thinning and fading away.
But the benefits don’t stop there. By infusing a host of other moisturising and beauty ingredients like hyaluronic acid and green tea extract, the Japanese have made sunscreens into a much more desirable product. Are we even surprised? Not anymore.
8. Biore UV Aqua Rich Sunscreen
If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly sun care option, you can’t go wrong with Biore products. Their Aqua Rich line features sunscreens with high SPF rating and staying power, necessary in Singapore’s unfailing humid weather. It also has a high PA rating — the more plus signs, the higher the protection level against penetrative UV rays.
We especially love the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel (available on T.R.U.E Beauty and Cosmetics). It promises quick absorption into the skin, is lightweight and doesn’t leave any of that sticky residue we
hate love sunscreens for. At 90g, this just makes the cut to stow away in your hand-carry luggage!
9. Minon Amino Moist Mask
No skin care routine is complete without face masks! One of the best Japanese skin care products in this category is the Minon Amino Moist Mask (available on NANA). It’s known to be especially effective for those with dry and sensitive skin because of the active amino acid ingredients in the gel serum which replenishes the skin’s moisture levels and firms your skin.
Pro tip: If there’s extra gel serum remaining after you’ve placed the mask onto your face, don’t toss it away! Massage the extra gel serum onto areas of the face (including the neck) which could use more TLC!
Ready to get the kawaii Japanese skin? You don’t have to do a complete overhaul of your skin care regime. Observe your skin and switch things up only as and when you need to. Skin care products are not the only thing that can aid in achieving that highly sought-after skin glow. Multivitamins and minerals help too. If you’ve always felt overwhelmed with the various types of vitamins and what they’re good for, our guide on the best vitamins for skin will sort you right out!