The Ultimate Guide to Japanese Skincare And 20 Best Japanese Skin Care Products for 2020!
Everyone wants that perfect healthy-looking skin, a good skin care routine that complements your skin will not only keep your skin hydrated and clean, it can eliminate dark spots or acne scars that make you feel a little self-cautious. It is never too late to develop a perfect skincare routine that helps you combat oiliness or dehydration. So, today our team has developed the long-awaited in-depth guide for both beginners who want to start their Japanese skincare collection and veterans who want to try new products. This guide aims to dig deep into Japanese skincare and provide the most useful information for those skincare lovers out there, including where you can buy these products, how to read the ingredient lists, most popular Japanese skincare brands and many more!
We have also brought you a list of the 20 best-selling Japanese skin care products in 2020!!! We all know that Japanese beauty products are loved by people all around the world and they are well known for its high-quality and innovativeness. Not only that, they also offer a variety of products and options tailoring for your skin type and preference.
This list includes various types of Japanese beauty products ranging from toners, face washes, cleansers, face masks, sunscreens, lip balms and emulsion, serum etc. from all the best Japanese skincare brands! We have divided our recommendations into 7 categories, so! choose wisely and you will have your perfect skincare routine in no time! These famously award-winning products have received extremely positive feedback from both the Japanese and international customers. We will cover the benefits of each of these products one by one! So do not worry, you just found a solution to all your skin problems!!!
If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by all this information, we have also included the table of content where you can refer to and skip to your section of interest. So, let’s begin!
Table of Contents
Of course, buying Japanese skincare products in Japan is the best way as you will be able to access to almost of all the available products. However, there might be some cases where some of the products you want are out of stock at the store you visit or not available for a specific period of time.
We will first introduce the places that you can buy Japanese skincare products in Japan and then give you tips and advice you should know before going there in order the make the best of your shopping experience in Japan!
Places Where Japanese Skincare Products Are Sold
The most well-known place to foreigners to go to when shop for beauty products is definitely the drugstores. They sell a variety of products including skincare, cosmetics, drugs and daily necessities. Some of the major drugstores include Matsumoto Kiyoshi (マツモトキヨシ), Tsuruha (ツルハ), Welcia (ウエルシア), Sun Drug (サンドラッグ), Koko Kara Fine (ココカラファイン).
These drugstores have many branches in popular areas like Shinjuku, Shibuya, Tokyo, Ueno and you might be able to find one in the area you stay/live. Oftentimes, there are more than 1 drugstore within a 10-minute walking distance, it might be a good idea to check all the stores first to find the best deals!
Please look for this sign (薬) = Drug/Drugstore when look for a drugstore.
Things You Should Know Before You Go
Go to an area that has more than 1 drugstore
- It might be a good idea to go an area that has a few drugstores (3-4) as sometimes the product you want might not be available at one drugstore but available at another or the prices are cheaper than the other.
Some of the popular products might not be available at the touristy areas
- Please be aware that if you go to a drugstore in some popular places like Shinjuku, Shibuya. As many tourists visit these places and often buy many items in bulk. Some of the best-selling products (eg. Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence) might have a quantity buying limit (eg. Up to 3 per person) or might not be available at all at the time you visit.
The Prices Can Vary A Lot Depending On The Store
- If you are one of those shoppers that want to get the most bang for your buck and do not mind spending more time, we highly recommend you shop around and compare the prices between these places. After we checked all of the stores, we found products that are notable cheaper at one store than the others. One product was sold at 1000 Japanese Yen while it was sold for 700 Japanese Yen at one particular store. The other one was sold for 1500 at one store while the other stores sell it at 2000 Japanese Yen. If you plan to buy multiple quantity of one product, this definitely could save you a lot!
2. Beauty Product Stores
If you are in Japan, you most definitely cannot miss out on visiting those massive stores that offer all kinds of beauty products, it is quite a girl’s heaven! These stores focus predominately on beauty products, offering a wide range of options from affordable cosmetic brands to more premium luxury products such as SK-II, Kose, Shu Uemura. Their main strategy is the convenient location and varieties of brand selections. These store focus on providing wide colour range and various cosmetic products that you can purchase and achieve full face of makeup. Some of the reputable cosmetic stores around Japan are AINZ & Tulpe, CosmeKitchen and @cosme. You can be sure to find affordable Japanese makeup products from these stores.
3. Discount Stores
For something more affordable but still maintain the high quality, try discounted stores. These stores usually offer popular beauty products at a much lower price, our recommendation is to visit Don Quijote. They offer variety of products from snacks, drinks, souvenirs, makeup, skincare and supplements. So, if you are looking to purchase multiple things during your Japan trip, definitely visit discounted stores around town. Tax return are also available using passport, however, these stores are usually crowded with tourists, so, it is not the best place to shop if you are in a hurry.
We know Japan is full of quality products, from delicious snacks to amazing skincare items, but “how do I get some of these goods if I don’t live in Japan?” you may ask, well you are heading towards the right direction. If you are looking to restock some of your favourite Japanese beauty products, shop here @kokoroJapan, we offer free shipping worldwide for orders over $40, get a full experience of shopping in store at the comfort of your own home, in front of your own computer screen. No hassle and no rush! We have one of the biggest collections of Japanese products available here at our store, at very competitive prices, you would be surprised! Our team update the product line-up every week, you won’t have to worry about it going out of stock! Not only beauty products, we also offer health concerning items (eye drops and supplements) and many famous Japanese snacks (KitKat, tea, instant ramen).
There are 2 ways you can do this either in Japanese or English
If you know the product name, search it on google to find information about it or look at the product description on our website if available kokorojapanstore.com
Alternatively, you can have a look at this website Ratzillacosme They have a large collection of information available for Japanese beauty products. All the information has been well translated.
However, this method is only useful for the popular products and only if you know the product names.
While reading Japanese is not everyone’s cup of tea, don’t worry, you can easily access Google translate app via IOS or Android. The app has an advanced technology where you are able to take a photo of the product description via the scanning system, they are able to read the Japanese description and translate it into English within a minute! This is useful when you want to analyse the ingredients and to find information.
In the case, that you want to find more information about that product online. After you translated the photo, you can copy the name and paste it on google to find more information in Japanese. Then use google translate on google chrome on PC to translate those pages.
Alternatively, put the name in Japanese in these sites and google translates the pages:
First, take a photo of the product description on the back of each product
With Google Translate App, scan the photo and you will be able to find out the product name and its ingredients!!
Of course, with this method, you can use to find out the product description as well as how to use instructions. We recommend you to scan each section one by one as when you translate everything all at once, sometimes words might get mixed up and give you confusing translation.
I Want to Try New Japanese Skincare Products. How Can I Find More Information About Popular Products?
We highly recommend you visit these websites;
These are highly reputable websites that have been the main sources of information regarding cosmetic and skincare products for many years. These sites are highly trusted by the Japanese as well as beauty lovers around the world. You can access Cosme ranking https://www.cosme.net/ranking , choosing category of interest and discover many quality products from there, however the site is in Japanese, again you can use google translate website on your PC to access these information in English. It is amazing for its reliability and consistency, containing over 15,000,000 reviews and the website is updated every week to ensure that you are not given outdated information.
Access ranking page, choose your desired category
You will be able to have a look at the ranking of each beauty product category eg. Face lotion/toner
Once you have used google translate, it will look like this
Now let’s explore some of Japanese skincare most popular ingredients and see what benefits they bring to your skin.
1. Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic Acid is a form of sugar found naturally in our skin, it captures and holds onto water particles, the HA within our bodies holds a thousand times its weight in water to not only retain all the moisture in our skin, but also prevent all that moisture from evaporating. This is why it is an important component that brings moisture to our skin. It is often found in products that focus on moisture boosting. HA promotes extreme hydration, which helps reduce the appearance of wrinkles and aging, it also helps built the strength of your skin cells, making them strong and less sensitive.
Collagen is a common ingredient in skincare, it is a protein which assist the process of skin radiation, it makes our skin plump, taut and strong. As we get older, the collagen levels can decline, which is why it is important to keep your collagen level at optimal through the use of collagen-rich skincare products or supplements. Collagen promotes dewy and healthy-looking skin, with its high vitamins component, it helps heal the barrier between your skin cells and reduces signs of anti-aging.
3. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a natural brightening ingredient, whether it is extracted naturally or chemically, it is amazing at brightening the skin. Vitamin C is often found in products that target towards hyperpigmentation or getting rid of acne scars. It is a game changer component that helps repair uneven skin. Vitamin C is often used with clients who suffer from hyperpigmentation, it heals the barrier in your skin as well as increases the cell production rate, making the acne scars disappear much faster. It can also be used when your skin feels dull and flat, it boosts the nutrients in your skin making them appeal much brighter and radiant.
Rice is a moisture-rich ingredient that allows hydration to be passed onto the skin barrier. It increases the collagen level in your skin; hence it is an essential ingredient in skin repairment. Rice wine also appears to have natural sun blocking properties and other studies have shown strong evident for anti-aging benefits. Rice is an all-natural ingredient that provides many advantages to your health, when it is correctly incorporated into your skincare routine, it brings out moisture and activates the production of cells turn-over rate.
5. Japanese Sake
Japanese Sake is packed with nutritionist enzymes, amino acids, malic acid and vitamins that target towards the softness and bringing that ultimate glow to your skin. Sake can be used to tackle various skin problems from acne spots to anti-aging. Japanese Sake has high properties of vitamins that help evening out your complexion as well as smoothing the texture of your skin. It also helps minimise signs of aging, as it has high properties of moisture which allows the skin to capture water and hydration.
6. Hatomugi (Job’s tears, a kind of barley)
Hatomugi is seen often in Asian skincare; it is a type of plant that has been carefully selected due to its healing ability. It is also used as a medicine to treat hay fever patients. It has high antioxidant properties which reduces the production of melanin, targeting towards skin brightening action which makes your skin appear radiant and dewy.
Ceramide have shown strong evident of its high anti-aging properties, ceramide adheres your skin cells together, it acts as a glue that helps bind your skin. It also forms a protective layer over the skin to prevent moisture loss. Although your skin already produces large amount of ceramide, as your skin goes through sun damage and start showing signs of aging, the ceramide level also reduces. Therefore, using skincare that contain ceramide, it helps repair damaged skin and form a protective layer to capture the moisture in your skin.
8. Coenzyme Q10
Coenzyme Q10 has high antioxidant properties which is found in almost every cell membrane. One of CoQ10 most vital role is regenerating function of collagen and elastin, which are essential components in skin reproduction. It also has shown a significant result on skin brightening and helping to get rid of scars and hyperpigmentation.
20 Best Japanese Skincare ProductsNow, let's move on to our recommended list of the best Japanese skincare products! With this, you will be able to create your own skincare routine that is perfect for you!
1. Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
We cannot go without mentioning the highly praised fragrance-free Hada Labo Gokujyun lotion, it contains carefully selected hyaluronic acids, which are highly moisturising ingredients, aiming to deliver moisture directly into the skin in the simplest form.
This product works great as a base to layer on multiple layers of skincare, its lightweight texture makes it much easier for the skin to deeply absorb the lotion and perform its function by providing moisture, making it suitable for normal to dry skin.
- Advance moisturising mechanism
- Fragrance free and oil free
- Contain various types of hyaluronic acid
Price: $11.35 USD
2. SK II Facial Treatment Essence
Who doesn’t know of the famous SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, despite the high price point, it seems to have solved a lot of skin issues from skin aging to hyperpigmentation. That is right, it is known as the magic essence in the beauty world. This light yet powerful essence deeply penetrates the skin to a cellular level, allowing the skin to truly experience the benefit of its rich ingredients list.
The SK II treatment contains 90% or more of its famously known PiteraTM, which promises to deliver a hydrated, rejuvenated and radiant complexion with just a few drops of its miracle essence. The lightweight texture works best when the skin is fresh and clean, with continuous use, it leads to noticeably glowing and blemish free skin.
- Powerfully regenerate your skin
- Combination of ingredients that boost the formulation of skin cells
- Moisturising & nourishment
- Noticeably clearer complexion
- Prevent fine lines and wrinkles
Price: $91.15 USD
3. Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner
If you are looking for something that suit your sensitive skin, this mild Hatomugi Skin Conditioner contains coix seed extract to moisture, brighten and smoothen your skin. It does a great job at keeping your complexion extra clear and radiant by gently exfoliate your skin at the time of usage.
Coix seed is a great ingredient used to detoxify the skin, giving you a refresh sensation. It can be used daily to prepare your skin to better absorb products that are layered on after, it promises to keep your skin moisturised and nourished with a simple use of this magical lotion.
- Deep penetration
- Highly moisturising
- Prepare your skin
- Combat skin dehydration
Price: $14.85 USD
1. Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam
If you could do one thing right, make sure to pick the right face wash to you skin type. This Shiseido Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam is rich in moisture, it contains naturally derived hyaluronic acid to bring moisture without disturbing the skin.
It is enclosed in dense white cocoon foam; its purpose is to slides on pores and absorb dirt and dead skin more efficiently. The forming mechanism allows the cleanser to reach every tiny crease of your face and gently clean with its powerful cleansing system.
- deeply clean your skin
- provide powerful moisture
- prevent your skin from drying out
- gentle floral scent
- no coloring
- allergy tested
Price: $6.75 USD
2. Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder
This innovative enzyme powder wash has received a lot of attention for the past years, due to its advanced high cleansing mechanism power and its innovative packaging design. The Kanebo enzyme powder wash turns into dense forming wash after encountering with water, it excellently removes excess oil, sebum, dirt, dead skin cells and other impurities.
It contains various moisturising and brightening properties to keep your skin extra soft and smooth after each wash. It is loved in the Japanese beauty world as it is super convenient and cleanse keep into your pores, extracting dead skin cells, dirt and impurities. Giving your skin that fresh and clean sensation after each wash.
- Easy for travelling
- Interesting application
- Deeply cleanse and moisturising
- Leaving the skin smooth and brighten
- Help exfoliate and remove clogged pores
Price: $21.50 USD
3. Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Acid Foaming Cleanser
The famous Hada Labo Foaming Cleanser is second to none, it’s known for its extremely hydrating power, that brings the right moisture to your skin. The milky Hada Labo Gokujyun face wash has a high cleaning ability, containing powerful penetrating ingredients that effortlessly wash away dirt and impurities.
The cleanser provides intense moisture from combining 3 premium Hyaluronic acids, to prevent anti-aging and skin dehydration. It is suitable for sensitive skin as it is mild and gentle on the surface, colour free and fragrance free.
- Include hyaluronic acids
- High cleaning system
- Colour free and fragrance free
- Gentle on the skin
Price: $7.00 USD
1. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
It would not be right to have a list of the best Japanese beauty products that does not feature the iconic DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. That says a lot about this popular cleansing oil.
Not only that its water-soluble formula allows it to deeply penetrate into pores, extracting dead skins, excess sebum and stubborn makeup, it also contains natural active ingredients to help reduce the formulation of acne and black heads.
- Remove stubborn makeup, dirt, dead skins and sebum
- Wash off easily with water
- Deeply cleanse without the skin feeling tight
- Does not take away moisture
- Leaving the skin feeling soft, clean and bright
- No added fragrant
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- Contain organic olive oil attract
Price: $19.65 USD
2. Hada Labo Gokujyun Cleansing Oil
The iconic Haba Labo line has done it again, it offers amazing product range that we cannot go without mentioning. The Hada Labo Gokujyun Cleansing Oil contains powerful moisturising agent; hyaluronic acid, which aims to deliver moisture to the skin while removing dirt and makeup simultaneously.
The oil formula allows the cleanser to deeply penetrate small pores and extract dirt and unwanted particles without stealing away its natural components. It contains high purity olive oil, which is a natural active ingredient that is beneficial for the skin regeneration. Fragrance free. No coloring. Mineral oil free. Alcohol free.
- Contains hyaluronic acid
- Remove makeup and dirt effectively
- Brings moisture and keeps the skin looking radiant
- Suitable for sensitive skin
Price: $12.40 USD
3. Cow Brand No Additive Cleansing Milk
Milk cleanser has been on the rise recently, as it is super gentle yet effective at washing of makeup and dirt. It is a milk type makeup remover that is soft against the skin, catches makeup stain and removes dirt without placing burden on the skin. The ingredients are carefully selected to deliver a gentle and mild formula that suits every skin type.
It contains proteins that made up amino acids which help your skin combat dehydration and dry patches. The formula is known for being super gentle and leaving your skin feeling refreshed without any uncomfortable tightness.
- Milk type cleanser
- Super gentle and effective
- Soft against the skin
- Suitable for every skin type
- Contains proteins that made up amino acids that help combating dehydration and dry patches
Price: $11.60 USD
1. Lululun Precious Green Face Mask
This newly released and elegantly packaged face mask provides a solution for achieving desirable youthful skin. The Lululun Precious Green face mask contains premium moisturising agents that help restore moisture within the skin barrier.
Introducing “L22” ingredient aims to imitate the sebum balance of 22 year olds, capturing the forever youthful skin. The plant-derived cosmetic ingredients help strengthen skin’s immunity as well as keep the skin looking healthy and youth less
- Providing youthful complexion
- Contain simplest form of moisture
- Premium oil extract
- Simple application
Price: $8.55 USD
2. Melano CC Vitamin C Intensive Repair Face Mask
If you love using vitamin C to solve all your problems, Rohto has turned its amazing Melano vitamin c serum into an all in one face mask that has been the top of Cosme ranks for many years. The face mask is composed of three layers of cotton to ensure that it adheres well to the skin all while absorbing plenty of vitamin c serum.
It is packed with plenty of beneficial ingredients to brighten up your skin, it is also amazing at even out hyperpigmentation and discolouration that appears from acne scar or UV rays damage. Those who loves the Melano CC Vitamin C serum must give this one a try, it is as if that magical vitamin c serum have been combined into one amazing facial mask.
- Melano Vitamin C serum
- Composed of three layers of cotton
- Plenty of beneficial ingredients
- Amazing at evening out hyperpigmentation and discolouration
Price: $12.10 USD
3. Kose Clear Turn Vitamin C Essence Mask
The famously loved Kose Clear Turn Vitamin C Essence Mask is perfect if you need a little hydration boost. It contains highly concentrated moisturising ingredients, capturing moisture within the skin. The sheet masks dripping in vitamin C essence promise a clear, bright and radiant complexion with consistent use.
The serum is formulated with Vitamin C, tranexamic acid, collagen, hyaluronic acid, glycerin and trehalose derivative. It is a great everyday sheet mask to boost your confidence and give you that extra healthy glow on the go.
- Capturing moisture
- Even out your complexion
- Simple packaging
- Dripping in vitamin C serum
Price: $ 15.35USD
1. Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence
We all know that skin care will not fully effective without sun protection and this Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence is considered as one of the best sunscreens from Japan.
It just released its new 2019 version, the new Biore water-base sunblock introduces an advance micro defence formula, allowing the sunscreen to evenly glide onto the surface and preventing uneven coating of the product to a micro level gap. Its light texture allows the skin to feel moisturised as well as protected all at once.
- SPF50+ and PA++++
- Water resistance
- Can be used as a makeup base
- Light and comfortable texture
- Gentle scent of white muguet
Price: $9.30 USD
2. Skin Aqua Tone Up UV
Protect but not greasy, that sounds like a perfect combo for a wonderful sunscreen. This Skin Aqua Tone Up UV has been at the top of the game recently, its thin texture is loved by those living in hot and humid weather. It aims to provide extreme protection against UV from the sunlight and tone up your skin at the same time with this essence!
A sunscreen that feels just like water and is extremely comfortable to use. Extremely light on your skin, this sunscreen is perfect for those who avoid wearing sunscreen because of its greasy texture. It also provides you moisture while protecting you under the UV rays.
- SPF50+ PA++++
- Transparency lavender coloured
- Preservation free
- Mineral oil free
- Mild acidity
- Allergy tested
Price: $11.65 USD
3. Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen
Now onto one of Cosme’s all-time favourites, the famous Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen, it is highly treasured by beauty gurus. It is an amazing sunscreen that blocks powerful ultraviolet that pierces into the skin barrier. The advanced sunblock aqua booster technology allows stronger UV block when exposed to sweat and water, you can be sure your skin is protected even under extreme sunlight!
The Anessa sunscreen spreads smoothly on the face, leaving a lightweight texture on the skin. It creates a smooth canvas for layering makeup on top and will form a protective layer over your skin to combat against extreme sunlight.
- Strongest UV protection
- Blocks powerful ultraviolet
- Sweat and water resistant
- Does not leave a white cast when applying
- Contain aqua booster technology
- Can be used all over
Price: $33.55 USD
Best Emulsion, Serum etc.
1. Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Esssence
This highly sought after award winner has gained a lot of attention in the past few months for its ability to remove hyperpigmentation caused from acne scaring.
Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot serum contains active vitamin C ingredients, derived to help penetrate into the outer skin layer and activate the formation of melanin. On top of that it also leaves the skin smooth and radiance after each use!
- Fading hyperpigmentation
- Prevent dark spots
- Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory ingredients help reduce the formation of acne.
- Noticeably smoother skin and pores
- Bright and clear complexion
Price: $11.90 USD
2. Sekkisui Medicated Emulsion
The Sekkisui brightening Emulsion, it is rich in texture and rich in nutrients. This milk essence is extracted from high-quality ingredients that have been carefully selected to create the perfect facial essence that combat all your problems. It contains vitamin C derivatives to help treat dark spots and brighten your skin tone. A perfect blend of 3 oriental herbs that further help improve skin’s moisture and clarity.
This step may seem as an extra mile but trust us, your skin will truly appreciate it. As it is allowed to deeply absorb in the right nutrients that help fix skin issues from dehydration to skin aging. Give your skin a little boost in moisture with the Sekkisui Emulsion and it will do you wonders.
- Rich in texture and nutirest
- Milk essence extracted from high-quality ingredients
- Contains Vitamin C and a perfect blend of 3 oriental herbs
- Helps treat dark spots and brightens your skin tone
- Improves skin's moisture and clarity
- Fixes skin issues from dehydration to skin aging
Price: $44.35 USD
3. Curel Intensive Moisture Cream
Curel is also known for its extremely hydrating formula, their products often received much love and attention by the skincare community. Curel Intensive Moisture Cream contains extremely moisturising ingredients which deeply penetrate the stratum corneum of the skin. It has high moisturising power and a system to deliver moisture between each cell. The cream is smooth to touch, lightweight and easily spreadable, perfect for acne prone skin. Making it super comfortable to wear underneath makeup.
The combination of moisture rich ingredients creates the perfect formula that simply offer true moisture and protect the skin, while leaving your skin feeling comfortable and light.
- Deep moisture
- Promotes production of ceramides by your skin
- Mild and gentle
- Does not irritate the skin
- Fragrance free
Price: $24.30 USD
1. DHC Lip Cream
DHC medicated lip cream contains olive virgin oil, aloe extract and many beneficial ingredients to bring about long lasting moisture. It forms a protective film which captures moisture and gloss all day long. The lip cream enhances any beautiful lip colour that can be layered over the top for that extra gloss finish.
- Long lasting moisture
- Glossy finish
- High in moisturising power
- Fragrance free
- Botanical extracts
Price: $7.00 USD
2. Mentholatum Melty Lip Cream
Moisturised face but dry lips? Doesn’t sound like a good combination. The Mentholatum Melty Cream Lip is perfect for those who are searching for an extremely nourishing lip cream. It retains moisture by protecting your lip from other particles in your daily life, it adopts "moist bank technology" that turns into cream.
An unprecedented soft and smooth feel like cream melts into your lips. Applying it once and it will melt at body temperature and adapts to your lips, protecting it with the highest moisture. It comes in various scent and colour, from natural to a light tinted pigment, choose wisely and you will love it.
- Moist bank technology
- Soft and smooth feeling like cream
- Melts at body temperature
- Highest moisture
Price: $6.30 USD