Korean skincare products are HUGE right now (and for good reason), but don’t let that buzz distract from the amazing stuff coming out of Korea’s neighbor, Japan right now. Japan may not be quite as flashy or in-your-face, but dang girl, have they got just as much amazingness going on over in the land of the rising sun (this cracks me up a bit, as I moved from the “land of the midnight sun” to the “land of the rising sun” … why so many suns?!). If you’re stateside, there are lots of re-sellers that can get you almost any goodie your heart desires … even the oh-so-convenient Amazon.com. Keep reading for my personal favorite Japanese skincare products (so far) that are readily available on Amazon.
Sekkisei medicated lotion deserves its own blog post, and I promise to write a separate love letter to it, as I really do love this product THAT MUCH. I am prone to acne, and the red marks and scars from it took months to fade, no matter what I tried … until I met my dear friend, Sekkisei-san. Run, don’t walk for this one.
Have you tried Japanese sunscreen? If your answer is no, WHY THE HELL NOT?! Again, another topic for a very lengthy post, Japan is a world leader in sunscreen (sorry, Korea, you can’t touch Japan on this one, at least not yet). Not only is this sunscreen a. affordable and b. TRULY full-spectrum, you cannot feel it on your face. I am not shitting you. “Oh, sunscreen is so greasy so I don’t wear it” or “It looks white on my skin” or “I think I’m invincible and premature aging and skin cancer would never, ever happen to me” are all ridiculous excuses once you try Japanese sunscreen, and especially THIS one (OK, the last one is ridiculous no matter what sunscreen you are/are not using).
I saw these eye (and frown line) sheet masks on the shelf at my local Kanehide (two birds) grocery store for less than 800 yen ($7 USD) for 32 pairs (if you ever shop Sephora, you know what a crazy deal this is) and of course snapped them up. OMG. They are the bomb.com. If you follow me on Instagram, you would know that a. I am a super fan of these, and b. after I posted them they created a much larger bubble of excitement than my normal tiny Instagram presence typically causes–because they are super awesome AND super cheap. They temporarily relax all of your eye lines and whatnot … and have retinol to keep the anti-aging train going long term.
I have reviewed this product recently, and for good reason: it’s a cult classic in Japanese skincare. Why? Five molecular weights of hyaluronic acid, skincare’s golden child, provide lightweight (but heavy hitting) moisturizing to the skin via HA’s humectant properties. Use between toner and serum/moisturizer.
Imma save double cleansing for another day, but if you aren’t yet … time to board that hype train, sister (or brother). At least at night, and especially if you have worn makeup and/or sunscreen and have sweat any amount. If you live in Japan, you have zero excuse as this amazing Japanese skincare gem from Kose, Softymo DEEP cleansing oil, is like $4, and it WORKS. If you aren’t within the five minute walk of any grocery or drugstore in Japan, Amazon sells it (for a shit-ton less than it’s famous contemporary, DHC oil cleanser).
This is from a higher-end brand in Japan, Haba. Located in San-A department stores in Okinawa (and probably countless others in other parts of Japan), they are famous for skincare and particularly for using squalane oil. If you aren’t a skincare junkie, squalane oil is going to be the beauty buzz word/ingredient of the year, mark my words (move over, hyaluronic acid; there’s a new sheriff in town). This oil cleared my baby’s eczema, when nothing else did (see my original review here) and is my super favorite beauty oil of all I’ve tried for me, too.
Kose’s hyaluronic sheet masks … so hydrating, so affordable. I can’t remember where, but I once read somebody call sheet masks the “one night stand” of skincare. I totes agree, and as such, I don’t like to invest a ton of money on them. These masks from Kose (apparently I have a love affair with Kose products … they should start paying me to pimp them) are amazing. I bought them first because of the Cosme award (similar to an Allure award stateside, perhaps) but kept using them because of the intense hydration and line relaxing I got from them.
Yes, I’m deviating south of the face. Hey, your entire body is covered in skin (or at least hopefully it is); you need to take care of it. Personally, I cannot wear anti-perspirants; they make my skin itch ferociously and I end up being the crazy lady out in public clawing at her pits trying to quell the pain. This deodorant (not anti-perspirant) from Deonatulle is both natural in ingredient and tough on stank. Usually you can pick one, especially living in the subtropics: natural ingredients or being stink-free; but this deodorant out-performs even the name-brand mens’ U.S. drugstore deodorants AND expensive Sephora deodorants, for a fairly cheap price. Whenever I have sent this to a friend in America, within a few weeks I generally have a request to send an entire boxful after they have tried this product.
Camellia oil is a perennial favorite in Japan. Especially popular in haircare, this is a terrific moisturizing product for not just hair ends, but also dry elbows and whatever else needs a little bit of TLC.
Some sheet masks in Japanese skincare (ahem, Lululun) are actually marketed to be used every.single.day. I don’t personally live that life, but if you do, more power to you! Other people may not be tied down to daily sheet masking, but still want to do it often enough that $5 a mask or whatever is totally crazy-town. Babyish masks from Kose are a good fit, as you get a bunch of masks in one packet (vs. individually wrapped), which is also quite attractive if you are a bit of a hippie like I am. I find Babyish to be a lot more moisturizing and beneficial than the Lululun ones, despite them being marketed as a product good for the under-30 set (which I am, sadly, definitely nowhere near anymore).
Finally … you know this was going to be here. There are a zillion and one different exfoliating gels out there, from all over the globe. This is a cult classic for a reason. See my review on Cure gel here, and the budget friendly dupe from Daiso here.
Following are some potentially affiliate links to the Japanese skincare products mentioned, if you are shopping Amazon from outside of Japan and looking for this shit.