Japanese Shampoo & Conditioner: Better Together

Like with my skincare, I’ve never been brand loyal for my whole routine with my hair. My hair has been, um, difficult most of my life and so while I don’t really do anything or style my hair, I am pretty serious about conditioning it to keep it from being totally busted. I’ve found different products from different lines that really make a difference and tend to stick with them. However, I have found as I have sampled and branched out into Japanese haircare lines, that Japanese shampoo and conditioner are something that are indeed better together.

Japanese shampoo and conditioner
It’s so cute I could die

One thing I love about Japanese shampoo and conditioner, at least with what’s available at the drugstore, is that you can buy duo sample packets of many of the brands. This gives you the opportunity to sample a bunch of options, for around $1 USD a pop, without having to buy a whole bottle or set that you may or may not love.

dr. brandt skin-changing science – shop now 

This is exactly what I did finding my first hot find … I went to a drugstore (if I remember correctly it was a Drugstore Mori) and looked through the offerings, trying to narrow down my choices to the ones I hoped would do what I was looking for–deep hydration and conditioning (I don’t color my hair but do straight perm it, so I don’t shop for color care or smoothing products). I bought maybe four different duos to bring home, and I’m glad I did. They were all ok, but one of them was a slam dunk home run for me. Continue reading “Japanese Shampoo & Conditioner: Better Together”

Placenta & CoQ10 Lotion: A Cheap Pick From the Japanese Drugstore

I picked this mondo (500 ml) NID Placenta and Coenzyme Q10 bottle of lotion at a local Drugstore Mori recently, made in Japan by SOC (Shibuya Oil Company). It cost about 600 yen, or $5 USD, and came in three varieties: Placenta, Hyaluronic Acid, and Collagen. All also include Coenzyme Q10. I was immediately drawn to the hyaluronic acid flavor, which was visibly depleted on the shelf, but on a whim decided on the (somewhat icky sounding) placenta variety.

placenta
My ginormous jug of placenta

First: the elephant in the room. The placenta extract is from animal sources, but … why? Purported benefits are increased moisturization, collagen synthesis, and brightening/skin tone evening (“whitening” in Asian cosmetics). In fact, I drink a tonic each night (not gin and tonic, unfortunately) from my kampo (Chinese medicine) pharmacist that has, among other things, collagen and placenta extract in it to support the skin.

Is it effective? Well, like a lot of stuff we smear on our face and stuff in our bodies, there doesn’t seem to be a ton of science-based evidence proving it works. And, like many Japanese products (well, beauty products in general, to be fair), even if it does, there’s no indicator of how much of this giant bottle of lotion is actual placenta extract. So, it’s a bit of a crapshoot. Though just a $5 crapshoot.

Placenta and CoQ10 Lotion: Feel and Results

This has a similar viscosity to Hada Labo’s hyaluronic acid power house lotion. Thick, transparent, and leaves a slightly tacky/sticky feeling on the face. I don’t notice any scent to it.

It sinks in pretty well, and pretty quickly. I didn’t notice any huge gains in anything; no brightening or crazy hydration increases. It just, was. Not bad; I could apply makeup and it never has reacted weird or balled up on me.

Would I re-buy?  Mmmm. Probably not. This is a good option if you’re on a very tight budget (on one of the Japanese review sites, a reviewer said she had switched to this from another product while saving for her wedding and said it was good for the price). I would personally just buy the $10ish dollar Hada Labo lotion and bite the bullet for a face moisturizing lotion.

placenta
Or you can be super, er, thrifty and make your own sheet mask using bulk dry sheet masks from Daiso. But not these ones. These ones suck.

BUT–this isn’t a bad product. You can use it with the dry sheet masks you can buy at Daiso to make your own DIY sheet masks (for pennies), a good option for those on a budget or somebody throwing a slumber or spa party. This lotion is fine for me when I apply it to my face normally, but stung like some snail mucin sheet masks I bought in Taipei a while back when I used it in a sheet mask. FYI, Daiso sells a lot of different dry sheet masks. Don’t buy the ones in the picture. They’re just awful.

For me, what this product is the bomb.com for to use in lieu of water for powdered face washes and masks–by using a lotion like this, you are just increasing the nutrient density of these products, versus diluting them if you were to use plain tap water. Did you ever watch the Rachel Ray 30 minute meals cooking show? No? Well, she always said to add flavor at every possible opportunity, so instead of water into a savory dish she would always use stock. This is the same concept, except you don’t get to eat it after. I use it in my Amore Pacific enzyme peel and it works pretty damn awesome.

The Japanese language Cosme beauty reviewing website had just a few reviews on this, and most were good, praising the product’s solid performance for price and you can use it freely without worrying about wasting something more precious. The hyaluronic acid variety had many more reviews and 5/6 stars, so it may be the one to buy if you want to try this out. You should be able to find this product at most larger drugstores or Don Quixote in Japan; I haven’t seen it at my local grocery store or convenience store.

placenta