Like anime, sushi, and arranging a room harmoniously, producing really good skin care products is something the Japanese excel at. For the most part, the best Japanese skin care products focus on soothing, nourishing, and protecting skin from the sun and other environmental aggressors — so if you have sensitive, acneic, or allergy-prone skin in particular, you’ll find a lot of safe bets here. And while prestige cosmetics companies like SK-II and Shu Uemura are arguably the brands most associated with Japanese beauty here in the West, so many cult-favorites come from mid-range or drugstore brands, and cost well under $40.
A reigning skin-care trend in Japan is mochi-hada, which literally translates to skin like mochi: soft, smooth, bouncy, supple, velvety. The overarching vibe here is gentleness — hence the common inclusion of non-comedogenic, moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, collagen, and glycerin in so many Japanese skin care products, and the relative lack of astringents. Even the exfoliator on this list is water-based. That means experimenting with Japanese skin care products is a lot less risky for people with reaction-prone skin.
From a milky toning lotion to a cleanser inspired by whipped cream, scroll on to discover some of the best Japanese skin care products you can get on Amazon. Prepare for your most deliciously blissful skin ever.
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1. The Best Oil Cleanser
No list of the best Japanese skin care products would be complete without the cult-classic DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. This wildly popular oil cleanser contains little more than straight-up olive oil, which wicks away surface oils, makeup, sunscreen, and other impurities without clogging your pores. Since it’s essentially a moisturizer with skin-cleaning surfactants, it’ll leave your skin feeling nourished and silky, too. The formula also contains rosemary leaf extract for its anti-inflammatory properties and vitamin E to prevent free radical damage. Use it as the first step in Japanese beauty's all-important double-cleansing routine.
Editor's note: Check out more Japanese cleansing oils, here.
2. The Best Foaming Cleanser
Another incredibly popular Japanese cleanser, Perfect Whip is a classic, Asian beauty standby. The consistency is similar to a face cream straight from the tube, but it lathers up to a thick, silky foam — still creamy, but more along the lines of the shaving or whipped variety. (One Amazon reviewer said their husband actually used it as a shaving cream, and it worked just fine.)
If you find this a bit too drying for your skin, try Perfect Whip with collagen. Reviewers confirm that the addition of collagen and hyaluronic acid in the formula left their skin feeling more nourished and hydrated than the original.
3. The Best Exfoliator
All you really need to know about Cure Natural Aqua Gel is that it's Japan's number-one best-selling exfoliator (that's saying a lot in a country obsessed with skin care). This activated water-based, gel-textured chemical exfoliant is next-level effective — after massaging it in for just a few seconds, you’ll see the gel physically pick up and slough away dead skin — but it’s gentle enough to be used twice a week. Use it anywhere else your skin needs softening, like on your feet, elbows, or hands.
4. The Best Moisturizing Toner
This Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion Moist could also be called a “toning lotion” with equal accuracy, but who cares about semantics when we’re talking about the holy grail of Japanese toners (or lotions)? Thicker and more moisturizing than a typical toner, this one is packed with three types of hyaluronic acid to draw moisture to your skin and make you look like a dewy, radiant angel. Sweep it over your face and neck with a cotton round after cleansing, then follow it up with face cream to seal in all that hydration.
5. The Best Moisturizer
Speaking of post-toning face creams, this Curel Intensive Moisture Cream is a total classic. Rich in soothing, strengthening, and moisturizing ingredients like ceramides, squalane, and allantoin, it’s ideal for nourishing and rebalancing dry, sensitive, or inflammation-prone skin. The consistency is pretty thick — think Greek yogurt (or, more appropriately, Pond’s Cold Cream) — but it absorbs quickly, doesn’t clog pores, and leaves no greasy residue behind. If this is a little too thick for you, or if your skin leans more combination or oily, try Curel’s facial milk. It’s equally gentle, but much lighter-weight.
6. The Best Body Lotion
Yu-Be’s all-purpose moisturizer is famous all over the world over for its ability to soothe, soften, and heal so many of your skin’s hardships: rashes, burns, eczema, frayed cuticles, cracked lips, scaly patches, rough knuckles, the works. It comes in all kinds of packaging, too, including a lip balm-sized tube and a 2-ounce tub. But the pump applicator here makes it easy to apply this glycerin-based, menthol-spiked moisturizer in larger swaths all over your body, which is exactly where it belongs.
7. The Best Eye Cream
This Hada Labo eye cream is a veritable cocktail of powerful eye cream ingredients: There’s marine collagen for plumpness, hyaluronic acid for grease-free hydration, and caffeine for firming and brightening, just to name a few. Light-reflecting pigments impart a very subtle hint of radiance, too, so this works beautifully under makeup. It’s fast-absorbing, safe for sensitive and allergy-prone eyes, fragrance-free, and much less expensive than higher-end, but equally effective, eye creams out there — so there’s very little not to love about it.
8. The Best Face Sunscreen
Sun protection is a pillar of Japanese skin care, so sunscreen is something that Japanese cosmetics companies do best. So many of the greatest-hits of Japanese sunscreen are available on Amazon, but this cult-favorite Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence slightly edges out the competition. Its “watery essence” nature basically says it all: It’s waterproof, has a thin, workable consistency, melts seamlessly into your skin, and feels like absolutely nothing. It also contains hyaluronic acid and royal jelly — two of the best non-comedogenic moisturizers — so it works well for dry, oily, and acne-prone skin alike. One Amazon reviewer said they use it in lieu of their typical moisturizer, and another uses this as a makeup primer. And unlike so many other face sunscreens out there, this one leaves zero white cast.
9. The Best Body Sunscreen
You can use the Biore sunscreen on the rest of your body, but you'd have to buy a lot of it, considering the tube's 3-ounce size. But the pump dispenser and 6.4-ounce bottle containing this Nivea Sun Water Gel are designed with full-body application in mind. The consistency here is a little thicker than the Biore — hence why it’s billed as a gel, rather than an essence — but it’s totally devoid of stickiness and greasiness, and it blends into a translucent finish. This contains hyaluronic acid, too, so it has a cooling and hydrating feel. It's also non-comedogenic, so feel free to use it on your face.
10. The Best Sheet Masks
Amazon reviewers confirm that the Mandom Barrier Repair Facial Masks will make your skin feel as smooth, soft, and bouncy as that baby’s on the packaging. Each sheet mask is soaked in an essence containing thirst-quenching hyaluronic acid and firmness-enhancing collagen. Just press the mask onto your skin, leave it there for five to 10 minutes (or up to 20, if your skin is very dry), then massage the remaining essence into your skin. That’s probably moisturizing enough on its own, but you can always follow it up with an oil or a cream. The price is pretty unbeatable, too: Each package contains five sheet masks, which comes to about $2.50 per mask.
11. The Best Bath Salts
These Tabino Yado Hot Springs Milky Bath Salts are meant to mimic the effects of soaking in a Japanese hot spring, but in your own bathtub. How fun! All four packets contain formulas whose mineral contents, scents, and colors are inspired by a particular onsen, but they all turn your bath into a soothing, milky emulsion that leaves your skin feeling silky and soft. Best enjoyed with bathwater as hot as you can stand it and mug of green tea (or sake).
Tsung-Hsien Tsai, Lu-Te Chuang, Tsung-Jung Lien, Yau-Rong Liing, Wei-Yu Chen, and Po-Jung Tsa. Rosmarinus officinalis Extract Suppresses Propionibacterium acnes–Induced Inflammatory Responses - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3624774/