The Japanese skincare industry is one of the oldest in the world. Well-known for perfecting traditional wisdom that has been loved for centuries while pairing advanced extraction techniques and delivery systems, Japanese beauty can be an extremely intriguing experience with the many varieties it offers, especially if you are new to skincare.
It can sound rather overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be so! We have rounded up some of the most well-loved skincare products that locals are raving about, some of which you may have never heard of. Be it traditional skincare hacks or the latest technological innovations, there will surely be something that piques your interest.
Before you rush off to Japan to buy these, here’s what you need to know: many of these premium products are found in professional salons and beauty clinics, which may be difficult to obtain by the regular tourist in Japan. Thanks to Bare Japan, we have an option of getting them right here in Singapore – yes, you don’t even have to take a six-hour flight in order to get your hands on these Japanese holy grails, saving you a six-hour flight with these Japanese holy grails at your doorstep!
Bare Japan is a Singaporean-based online store created solely to bring authentic Japanese cosmetic products to their customers. All products that they sell go through a strict selection process meaning only the best of Japanese beauty products will be offered. Bare Japan also works directly with manufacturers to give you the best prices on products that are guaranteed to be authentic.
Ancient geisha beauty life hacks
Japanese women are famed for their flawless and smooth skin (otherwise known as mochi skin), and the most striking icon of Japanese beauty has to be the geishas. These products have picked up the best of the best beauty tips from the geishas so that anyone can sport the same healthy, perfect complexion.
1. Qinude Trial Mini Cosmetic Kit with Organic Silk Fibroins
Although K-beauty may have popularised sheet masks, did you know that Japanese geishas were the ones who invented them and have been using them since centuries ago by putting a silk cloth into flower water and applying it to their faces?
It may sound extravagant to be using silk cloths for facial masks but research shows this strategy is scientifically backed! Of the 20 amino acids that are found in human skin, 18 are also found in silk fibroins, such as collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid, and natural moisturising factor (NMF). In other words, human skin and silk have a very similar composition and pH level, which makes silk-based cosmetics effective and safe even for those with sensitive skin.
Using this knowledge passed down from the geishas, QINUDE Cosmetics (which was created at the famous Chiso silk factory in Japan) have used silk fibroins in the brand’s best-selling skincare products which you can find in this handy mini kit:
- Qinude Cleansing – gel makeup remover with fibroins organic silk
- Qinude Moisture Lotion – lotion with fibroins of organic silk
- Qinude Moisture Milk – milk with fibroins of organic silk
Qinude Trial Mini Cosmetic Kit with Organic Silk Fibroins retails at SGD42.50 on Bare Japan.
2. RUHAKU Reset Cleansing Oil
Although double cleansing with oil cleansers may be a rather new skincare fad, the geishas were definitely on to this beauty secret way before us – in fact, they are famous for using camellia oil instead of water to remove their makeup and cleanse their faces!
If you have never tried a cleansing oil before and want to try this ancient beauty hack, RUHAKU’s Reset Cleansing Oil is a great product to start with.
Formulated with five botanical extracts, this gentle cleansing oil removes makeup and impurities without damaging the natural protection of your skin, all while working to restore the skin cells that have been destroyed by exposure to ultraviolet rays. As a result, you’ll be able to achieve younger-looking and more radiant skin with every cleanse.
Tip: Treat the cleansing process as a relaxing ritual by indulging in the fresh and pleasant aroma of the Gettou herb, which has been said to have an aromatic effect that calms your mind especially if your emotions are fluctuating due to hormonal imbalance – perfect for those PMS days!
RUHAKU Reset Cleansing Oil retails at SGD55 on Bare Japan.
3. Sincere Laura Brown Rice Essence Mask
You may be more familiar with this beauty tip of using rice and rice bran to soften the skin and hair. The geishas would bathe in the milky water left over from rinsing rice prior to cooking, which is why rice water has often been touted as one of the best beauty hacks that you should try out.
You don’t have to cook rice everyday or head out to buy a sack of rice bran in order to do your skincare, thanks to Sincere Laura’s Brown Rice Essence Mask. Rice bran is not only rich in vitamins that can moisturise your skin, but also particularly loved for its pigmentation prevention efficacies.
Hence, the Japanese highly recommend using this sheet mask whenever your skin feels dry and parched or if you have concerns about acne, pigmentation, and fine lines caused by dehydration. You’ll definitely be amazed by the intense smoothness and moisture you get on your skin!
Sincere Laura Brown Rice Essence Mask retails at SGD26 for 10 pcs on Bare Japan.
Soak up the best of onsen water
Japan is known as the world’s no.1 onsen (hot spring) country, with more than 27,000 recorded onsen locations all over the country. Besides being able to soak away their stresses, onsens also offer benefits that are the key to the Japanese’s healthy skin and body.
4. ONSENSOU Scalp Care Shampoo and Treatment
The good news is that you don’t have to fly to Japan in order to soak up some onsen goodness because ONSENSOU has developed a haircare range that is formulated with algae extracts found in onsen water. These extracts are said to be the key to the healing powers of onsen water – in fact, they are so rare that you can only obtain 5 to 6g of these algae extracts from an onsen bath the size of three soccer fields!
Start your haircare routine with the Scalp Care Shampoo, which is fortified with the healing abilities of algae from onsen water. It promises to protect and calm sensitive scalps, keep sebum production under control, as well as encourage the growth of a healthy mane.
After cleansing your scalp and hair thoroughly from the grime of daily life, don’t forget to nourish your luscious locks! Made with four types of natural oils: olive oil, jojoba oil, mango butter, and avocado oil, this hair treatment from ONSENSOU will do just the trick.
ONSENSOU Scalp Care Shampoo and Treatment retail at SGD46 each on Bare Japan.
Marrying traditions & innovative technologies in anti-ageing treatments
One of the main specialities of J-beauty is combining Japanese ancient traditions with innovative technologies to create effective and organic anti-ageing products.
5. RUHAKU Anti-Pigmentation Brightening Lotion
RUHAKU is the first organic anti-ageing skincare brand from Okinawa. In fact, the brand has received an ECOCERT Green life certification and JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standards) certificate of organic agricultural products, which certifies that all products consist of 100% natural ingredients, of which 40% are organic!
The brand developed the Okinawan Shikuvasa citrus extract line specifically for combating age spots, ageing skin, as well as expanded pores and comedones. This line focuses on using organic Shikuvasa which has one of the highest levels of vitamin C among citrus fruits and high antioxidant properties.
The brightening lotion is one of the best-sellers in this product line-up due to its amazing variety of benefits, including stimulating cell metabolism, fighting pigmentation, brightening existing pigment spots, preserving collagen cells, reducing puffiness and smoothening fine lines.
RUHAKU Anti-Pigmentation Brightening Lotion retails at SGD65 on Bare Japan.
6. KYOTO KOMACHI Sakura Aging Care Lotion
For mature ladies looking for environmentally-friendly skincare, KYOTO KOMACHI’s Sakura Aging Care line is highly recommended by the insiders.
Sakura flowers are gorgeous to look at, but that’s not all that it is good for: the Sakura leaf extract is used here to lighten pigmentation as it suppresses tyrosinases that cause the appearance of age spots and freckles. It also helps to retain moisture and prevent oxidation of cells, which are common problems due to ageing skin deals.
The combination of royal jelly extracts, yuzu (Japanese citrus), sakura leaf extracts, and ginseng leaves in this lotion works to protect your skin from sun damage and stimulate the regeneration of skin cells so that you can finally bid goodbye to deep wrinkles, dullness, loss of moisture and elasticity!
KYOTO KOMACHI Sakura Aging Care Lotion retails at SGD75 on Bare Japan.
7. COSME PROUD Gold Revitalizer (Exfoliating Gel)
Whether you are aware of it or not, our modern living environment is filled with positive ions, such as those released with automobile emission gas.
When the ion balance in your skin is upset, skin cellular metabolism wanes and skin problems such as spots and blemishes appear. However, it is also very difficult to rinse the excess positive ions away with a regular facial wash or cleansing cream once they become clogged deep inside the pores.
Hence, the Japanese have developed an exfoliating gel that uses natural gold’ ion formula to reach, exfoliate and moisturise even the skin’s deepest basal layer. It balances the ion levels in skin to about 80% negative ions and 20% positive ions, which is what gives babies their smooth and healthy skin!
COSME PROUD Gold Revitalizer (Exfoliating Gel) retails at SGD118 on Bare Japan.
Matcha goodness for face and body
Matcha is not only great for your health (rumoured to be the reason why the Japanese live in good health for so long), but also fantastic for your complexion. Not only does matcha reduce inflammation, but it also exfoliates dead skin cells and rejuvenates the underlying problem so that you get fresher and healthier skin.
8. KYOTO KOMACHI Matcha Beauty Facial Wash
We know you’re probably eager to get out the matcha powder now and apply it all over your face, but with this facial wash that is mixed with Matcha green tea extracts, you can keep your precious powder and make yourself a cup of hot Matcha instead.
Formulated with a cleansing scrub agent in Matcha extract, KYOTO KOMACHI’s best-selling product gently and thoroughly removes makeup and dead skin cells while retaining moisture and preventing inflammation due to the antiseptic effect of tea extracts.
KYOTO KOMACHI Matcha Beauty Facial Wash retails at SGD88 on Bare Japan.
9. SASS Matcha & Sakura Body Scrub
The Japanese firmly believe in respecting both your skin and the environment, so it’s no surprise that they love an environmentally-friendly skincare product as well.
SASS Coffee Scrub and Matcha Scrub helps to create healthy skin by removing old skin and dirt while giving your skin the full benefits of coffee and matcha that are well-known to highly beneficial for the skin. The scrub is grounded as finely as possible so that it works gently on your skin and avoids clogging the drains.
In addition, this product uses Epsalt instead of salt (one of the main ingredients of general coffee scrubs) so that it does not corrode your skin or drain pipes – so considerate!
SASS Matcha & Sakura Body Scrub retails at SGD40 on Bare Japan.
Holy grails that only insiders know of
Beyond the usual mass-market offerings, Japan actually has tons of boutique beauty brands that not even all locals may know of.
These are some of the best-kept beauty secrets that you’ll get to know before everyone else – yes, including Japanese themselves!
10. LIOVERITE Body & Face Moisturizing Milk Cream
LIOVERITE is a specialist skincare brand that has been around since 1952, and it develops skincare products specifically for protecting bare skin from inner dryness causing skin problems.
For those who love multi-purpose products that can help you to cut down on your skincare routine and products used, the Body & Face Moisturizing Milk Cream from LIOVERITE is a must-have.
The thick milk in this moisturiser is suitable for use on both body and face, and gently nourishes the skin while retaining moisture from the inside with the help of ceramides. Use it regularly for more toned and soft skin that looks radiant and fresh even without makeup.
Tip: Don’t just use this when your skin feels dry and cracked – the Moisturizing Milk Cream is popularly used as a way to wind down after a long and tiring day. Breathe in the fresh magnolia and ylang-ylang aroma that comes with a fruity citrus zest – this fragrance was created by professional perfumers using only natural essential oils for the ultimate relaxation!
LIOVERITE Body & Face Moisturizing Milk Cream retails at SGD85 on Bare Japan.
11. AMARANTH APP-C Sun Shield
The Japanese are big on suncare even though they have developed some of the best pigmentation cures – after all, prevention is much better than cure! Unfortunately for some of us, some popular sunscreen options may contain ingredients that cause allergic reactions.
If you are one of those who shy away from using sun protection because of your sensitive skin, you have no excuse with this amazing sunscreen from Amaranth!
Developed for use on the most sensitive of skin, including those who have just undergone cosmetic procedures, AMARANTH APP-C Sun Shield is a long-lasting sunscreen that not only protects you from the sun, but also moisturises and soothes your skin.
With no oily shine and no ingredients like parabens, alcohol, and mineral oils. All it takes is soap and water to wash off this sunscreen thoroughly at the end of the day.
AMARANTH APP-C Sun Shield retails at SGD70 on Bare Japan.
All products that we have featured are available on Bare Japan’s website.
Don’t forget to stay tuned to their Facebook and Instagram for updates on the latest products and technology – you can also drop them a message on their social pages if you have any questions on the brands and products!