Let’s face it, Asian skincare products have taken the world by storm, and it doesn’t look like it’s slowing down anytime soon.
You can now purchase a moisturizer from brands born out of the streets of Harajuku to the alleys of Myeongdong with a click of a button – it’s that easy!
Japanese skincare in particular has piqued the interest of health-conscious people around the world, but the journey from the local Japanese market to the global audience started way before Innisfree heavily expanded into our own humble local shopping centres.
The trailblazer for Japanese skincare would arguably be SK-II, a brand created in the 1970s by scientists looking to uncover the secret ingredients to beautiful skin.
SK-II is now stocked in department stores all around the world, and has paved the way for much-loved brands such as Shiseido, Tatcha, KoGenDo and DHC to enter the global market.
Japanese skincare products have been touted as being superior in many ways. From their thoroughly researched methods of creation to sourcing only the finest of quality ingredients, it is universal knowledge that you’re always going to be buying into a calibre product.
With the number of established and upcoming Japanese skincare brands in the market right now, it can get a little overwhelming if you’re not familiar with it.
We’re going to go through the 10 best Japanese skincare brands and products in the market right now.
1. SK-II Facial Treatment Essence
The SK-II treatment essence should need no introduction. It’s a multiple award-winning skincare product that’s got somewhat of an almost cult-following.
It’s one of the longest selling skincare products in Japan, and it’s not slowing down.
It is a serum which essentially super-hydrates the skin and helps to prevent dryness and encourage skin surface renewal. One of the main reasons why it keeps users coming back is because of its thin and light texture and quick absorption when applied.
It’s marketed as being able to improve the appearance of the 5 dimensions of beautiful, crystal-clear skin: less visible spots, reduced wrinkles, refined skin texture, firmness, and radiance.
It may be on the slightly more expensive side but it’s well worth its weight in gold.
- Light texture
- Quick absorption
- Encourages skin surface renewal
- Improves appearance of the 5 dimensions of crystal-clear skin
- Reputation spans decades with a cult-like following
2. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
The DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is one of the most popular and most recognisable skincare products in Japan. These minimalistic clear bottles of golden cleansing oil can be found in almost all Japanese households.
The oil itself has a surprisingly light texture and works wonders to effectively remove makeup – even the stubborn waterproof mascaras!
Read More: Best Japanese Cleansing Oils
Whilst it’s strong against impurities removal, it’s light on the skin, with ingredients to prevent dryness and moisturize the skin. It’s recommended even for those with dry and sensitive skin types.
- Effective against all make up
- Super affordable
- One bottle goes a long way
- Cleans without drying out the skin
3. Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream
The Tatcha Dewy Skin Cream is a restorative cream that’s one of the bestsellers in a long-line of popular skincare products from Tatcha.
It’s a replenishing and plumping moisturizer that’s packed with antioxidants that will leave your face feeling firm and hydrated.
Read More: Best Japanese Moisturizers
One of its secret ingredients is Japanese purple rice; it’s credited as being the source of your dewy skin once the cream is applied.
- Hydrating moisturizer
- Ideal for firming, soothing, resurfacing, and plumping
- Includes anti-aging superfoods
- Cheaper than the similar Ageless Renewal Cream
4. KohGenDo Spa Soft Gommage Gel
For those who are unfamiliar with the word ‘gommage’, it is the French word for ‘erasing’, which is essentially what this KohGenDo gel does.
It is an exfoliating gel that works to dissolve dead skin cells and rough patches. It contains four types of fermented fruit extracts and is alcohol free.
It’s loved for its lightweight formula, which quickly moisturizes and immediately softens the dry skin build up. The natural mineral water and hyaluronic acid hydrates the skin whilst the gommage encourages skin cell turnover and regeneration.
- Lightweight and hydrating exfoliating gel
- Can be applied to wet or dry skin
- Can be applied to face, chest, and most parts of the body
5. SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence
Most people are aware of cleansers and moisturizers, but only those who have delved deeper into the world of Japanese skincare routine will be familiar with brightening serums.
The SK-II Genoptics Aura Essence is a leading product in the category of Japanese serums. It’s essentially a skin brightener that’s formulated to reduce skin dullness and brighten up dark spots.
Once applied, it works to target your skin’s hidden and visible spot formations to reveal a brighter glow.
It contains a healthy fusion of Prunus extract, D-melano P3C, which is a brightening ingredient and Pitera, which is a clear liquid rich in vitamins, amino acids, and minerals. All of these ingredients come together to improve the skin’s surface rejuvenation.
- Reduces skin dullness
- Brightens dark spots
- Full of vitamins and minerals
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6. Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder
Don’t let the funky packaging of this Japanese cleansing powder fool you – it’s won multiple beauty awards in the past years, and is a household favourite in Japan.
This beauty clear powder contains an enzyme that effectively activates to make skin soft and clean when applied with water. It removes old keratin on skin, deep cleanses your pores and blackheads, and smoothens out the skin.
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The package contains tiny little capsules, all of which contain the perfect amount for one cleanse. It’s the perfect cleansing powder to bring with you whilst traveling.
- Easily packable capsules
- Effective in cleaning skin whilst keeping it soft
- Removes old keratin and cleanses pores and blackheads
7. Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioning Gel
Naturie is a household brand in Japan, and its Hatomugi Skin Conditioning Gel is one of the bestselling skincare products across the country.
It’s a hydrating gel that’s used to moisturize the face after a wash. It’s praised for its light, non-sticky texture that deeply penetrates the skin almost immediately after being applied.
Surprisingly, its main ingredient is …* drumroll * … water! And as nature’s greatest resource, you’d want nothing more than to lather it onto your face and feel Mother Nature get to work.
For those who have multiple-step routines with specific products, look away. This skin conditioning gel can be used for a variety of purposes; apply it as a toner, emulsion, moisturizer, serum, and even on your body.
- Light, non-sticky texture
8. Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate Serum
Much like SK-II, Shiseido is a global powerhouse brand, and its Ultimune serum is a multiple award-winning product.
The serum itself is meant to be applied as a pre-treatment, i.e., before you start applying any other treatment. Its boosting powers are meant to increase the absorption of any treatment that you apply afterwards, such as other serums or moisturizers.
It also acts as a protection layer and buffet from potential daily skin damage, and works to fight against premature aging. Its power ingredients include reishi mushroom and iris root extract.
- Boosts all products applied afterwards
- Protects from potential daily skin damage
9. ANESSA Perfect UV Skincare Milk
Enter any drugstore in Japan and you’ll see the ANESSA Perfect UV Skincare Milk front and centre. As one of the bestselling Japanese skincare products, it’s praised by the young and the old alike, and works wonders for both.
It boasts high protection against UV rays (50SPF+), strong waterproofness, and beauty moisturizing ingredients.
Read More: Top 10 Japanese Sunscreens
The best thing about it, though, is just how thin and lightweight it feels when applied. Long gone are the days of lathering thick sunscreen all over your body and then onto your face. The texture of this sunscreen is absolutely divine.
- Moisturizing ingredients
10. Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence
There is a myriad of reasons why the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence sunscreen is as popular as it is.
From its high UV protection level of 50 SPF, to its lightweight formula, there really is nothing that can be criticized about this essence sunscreen.
The water-based product feels almost like nothing as you squeeze it from the bottle, and yet it provides powerful and long-lasting UV protection. Its smooth and transparent application is much regarded by people who wear makeup, as its quick absorption leaves a clean canvas for the next product.
It features Biore’s original Micro Defense formula. It contains super ingredients such as hyaluronic acid and royal jelly to hydrate the skin whilst providing protection. It’s waterproof, but can easily be washed off with regular cleanser.
- Quickly absorbs into the skin
- Smooth and transparent application
- Easily washable
We hope we’ve covered the products that you’re the most interested in, across this list of the best Japanese skincare brands and products.
We highly recommend trialling all the ones that pique your interest, as the majority of these products have worked wonders for thousands of others, and they’ll likely do the same for you!