Have you ever wondered why Japanese people have such beautiful clear skin? Their youthfulness is well-known across the globe and has even earned itself a wonderful nickname: ‘glass skin’.
Glass skin refers to skin that’s so smooth, it reflects light like a glass pane, and as you can tell, it’s highly sought after.
Want us to let you in on a secret? You, too, can achieve this glass skin look, simply by following the famous Japanese skincare routine.
More and more people around the world are becoming aware of the 10 steps for glowing skin in the Japanese skincare routine. It can sound intimidating especially if you’ve only ever followed the basics of skincare, but if you read our breakdown below, you’ll find that it all makes a lot of sense.
The 10 Steps Of A Japanese Skincare Routine
Keen to learn more about each step? Want to know how you can incorporate them into your current skincare routine?
We’ve detailed what every step is and we’ve also linked you to a recommended product that you can try as well.
We’re excited for you to read about it below!
- Cleansing (Oil)
- Cleansing (Water)
- Sheet Mask / Facial Mask
- Eye Cream
1. Cleansing (Oil)
Using an oil cleanser is always the first step in the Japanese skincare routine. It is considered the central element and the routine is incomplete without it.
An oil cleanser is a gentle cleanser that is wiped over the surface of the face to remove surface-level oil-based impurities such as makeup, sebum, sunscreen, and dirt.
The DHC Cleansing Oil is arguably the most famous and popular oil-based cleanser in Japan. Its signature clear pump bottle with minimal branding reflects the simplicity and purity of the product.
It is made with olive extracts and is a staple in the majority of the Japanese people’s skincare routine.
For more products recommendations, you can also read our blog post about the best Japanese cleansing oils.
2. Cleansing (Water)
The cleansing part is not yet over.
According to the Japanese skincare routine, you must then follow up the oil cleansing with a water cleanser. These first two cleansing steps are part of the famous double-cleansing method that the Japanese are known for and act as a solid foundation for the coming products.
The purpose of a water cleanser is to remove the remaining dirt and impurities that may be left after using the oil cleanser. The water element also helps to hydrate the face and ensure it’s not completely stripped of natural oils.
The Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Foam Face Wash is a cult favorite. This foaming face offers a gentle and light texture that cleanses deeply and thoroughly whilst keeping the skin fresh and hydrated.
Looking for more products options, feel free to read our article about the best Japanese face washes.
Exfoliating your face is the next step after cleansing in the Japanese skincare routine.
Exfoliating is often skipped and considered not as important as other steps, but this is far from the truth. The purpose of exfoliating is to remove dead skin cells and clear clogged pores. People who don’t exfoliate regularly might experience breakouts due to the build-up of these impurities.
Exfoliating on a regular basis might dry out your skin, depending on the products you use; however, the Japanese take a gentle approach to exfoliating.
The Cure Natural Aqua Gel is a holy grail product that flies off the shelves in Japan. It is a gentle peeling gel that’s applied onto the skin, left for a few seconds, and then rubbed in a circular motion to clear debris. It is recommended to use it a few times a week.
Using lotion is the first step in the Japanese skincare routine to purposefully soften and hydrate the skin. Also known as skin conditioner or toner, lotions are usually lightweight, almost watery-textured, and are applied by lightly patting them onto the skin.
Lotions are an important step in priming the skin for deeper moisturizing later on. Japanese lotions tend to nourish more due to their high levels of hyaluronic acid.
A popular Japanese lotion would be the Kiku Masamune lotion. It contains sake, amino acids, and ceramide to condition and hydrate the skin.
Essences are similar to lotions in terms of lightweight texture, but they are not to be confused with one another.
Essences contain much more concentrated targeted ingredients that have specific purposes such as hydration and anti-aging. Essences are much-loved due to their highly-developed and results-driven formulas.
The most popular and raved-about essence in Japan would have to be the famous SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. It’s a premium product that comes with a premium price tag. It contains pitera, a unique ingredient that rejuvenates and transforms the skin.
Serums follow the essences, and whilst essences generally target problem areas on the face, serums are even more concentrated formulas that target specific skin concerns. These include dark spots, acne scarring, dull skin, dark eye bags, and uneven skin tone.
There is a plethora of serums in the Japanese beauty market and your personalized take on the Japanese skincare routine might mean you’re using more than one serum for different skin concerns.
The POLA Wrinkle Shot Medical Serum is a fan favorite amongst those looking for a clinically formulated serum that successfully targets fine lines around the face. It also contains retinol, an important ingredient for anyone looking at anti-aging products.
More recommended products are available in our top 10 Japanese serums.
7. Sheet Mask / Facial Mask
Sheet masks (also called facial masks) are popular across all Asian skincare routines, including the Japanese skincare routine. They are known for their high concentration of moisture and, outside of using them in your regular skincare routine, are often used as a quick-fix hydration product for anyone with a big event the following day.
After you apply your sheet mask, relax for 10-15 minutes whilst it does its magic. It is recommended that you use a sheet mask 2 days a week.
The Lululun pink face masks are the best all-purpose masks that provide hydration and skin barrier enhancement. They contain hyaluronic acid, rice ceramide, and ginseng roots.
Feel free to also read our blog posts about the best Japanese Facial masks.
8. Eye Cream
Eye creams are often overlooked because most people don’t understand their importance in skincare. However, they’re an important part of the Japanese skincare routine and are the difference between youthful, bright eyes and tired, dull eyes.
Eye creams are designed specifically for the delicate skin area around the eyes. As such, they should be applied gently with care.
One of the most popular Japanese eye creams is the Meishoku Medicated Placenta Whitening Eye Cream. This eye cream combines whitening and anti-aging ingredients with a placenta special compound to deeply penetrate the area around the eyes. It lightens dark eye bags and targets eye wrinkles whilst simultaneously nourishing the area.
Make sure you check out this article for more Japanese skin whitening products!
At long last, we’ve reached the second last and arguably one of the most important steps in the Japanese skincare routine: the moisturizer.
As most people would know, moisturizers are used to deeply hydrate the skin and lock in the moisture and active ingredients from previous products used.
It is important to use a decent moisturizer because a lacking one will affect the effectiveness of your previous products and may leave you not achieving optimum moisture in your skin.
It is also important to ensure your previous products have properly settled onto your skin before applying your moisturizer. This generally takes a few minutes.
Naturie Skin Conditioning Gel is an effective and affordable moisturizer that’s leading the Japanese moisturizer market. It famously includes hatomugi (Job’s tears) in its ingredients list, which is a naturally occurring grain that’s key to smoother, brighter, more radiant skin.
Last but most certainly not least, sunscreen is the step that rounds up the Japanese skincare routine.
Some people may still be unaware of using sunscreen daily, but to the Japanese, it is absolutely essential. Japanese people learn from a young age the importance of using sunscreen to achieve youthful skin and this is evident in their skincare routine.
Sunscreen is only applied during the morning routine.
The most popular Japanese sunscreen would have to be the Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence. Many people are surprised by just how lightweight and watery the texture of this sunscreen is.
Gone are the days of lathering thick white cream onto your face; instead, you get this lovely translucent gel-like sunscreen that’s super absorbent and dries invisibly on the face. With a SPF50+ protection, there’s literally nothing to not like about this sunscreen.
For more information about how to protect your skin from the sun, don’t miss our selection of the best Japanese sunscreens!
What Is Double Cleansing?
Double cleansing is the foundation of the Japanese skincare routine.
It involves a two-step cleansing method that first starts with using an oil-based cleanser to wipe off the surface-level impurities on your face.
Follow this up by using a gentle water-based cleanser to give your skin a deeper clean which prepares your skin for the next steps in the skincare routine.
What Is Double Moisturizing?
Double moisturizing is a method that ensures the skin receives the highest absorption capacity possible. It is usually the fourth and last step in the skincare routine.
It follows the principle of going from the lightest to the heaviest moisturizer. Thus, you start double moisturizing by applying a light lotion which will help soften and prepare the skin.
Next, you can apply the heavier moisturizer to lock in all of the skincare products on your skin for optimum absorption.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed after reading about the 10 steps to the Japanese skincare routine, don’t worry, you’re not alone.
Given that some of us have only ever known the basics of cleansing and moisturizing, all the steps in between may seem far too complex.
However, once you understand the importance of each step and each product can help you achieve that glowing, glass Japanese skin, they almost seem like no-brainers.
From giving yourself an extra boost of hydration to targeting those fine lines you’ve been casually ignoring for a while now; it seems this routine can do no wrong.
If you’re an avid follower of the Japanese skincare routine, what’s your favorite product? And if you’re looking to get started, what are you most excited about? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!