Japanese Skincare Routine – Follow These 10 Steps To Get That “Glass Skin”

Japanese Skincare Routine Steps

InJaFollowing a Japanese skincare routine doesn’t guarantee perfect pores, but it certainly helps! Have you ever wondered why Japanese people have such beautiful clear skin? Their youthfulness is well-known across the globe and has even earned them a wonderful nickname: ‘glass skin’.

Glass skin refers to sought-after skin that’s so smooth, it reflects light like a pane of glass.

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 worldwide are adopting the 10 steps for the Japanese use to get glowing skin. It can sound intimidating, especially if you’ve only ever done the basics, but if you read our breakdown below, you’ll find it intuitive and simple.

The 10 Steps Of A Japanese Skincare Routine

Keen to learn more about each step? Want to find ways to incorporate Japanese products into your current skincare routine?

We’ve detailed each of the ten key steps and linked you to a recommended product that satisfies each.

  1. Cleansing (Oil)
  2. Cleansing (Water)
  3. Exfoliating
  4. Lotion
  5. Essence
  6. Serum
  7. Sheet Mask / Facial Mask
  8. Eye Cream
  9. Moisturizing
  10. Sunscreen

1. Japanese skincare routine steps: Cleansing (Oil)

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

Using an oil cleanser is always the first step in the Japanese skincare routine. Oil is a central element, and the routine is incomplete without it.

An oil cleanser is a gentle cleanser that is wiped over the whole 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 manyJapanese people’s skincare routine.

For more product recommendations, you can also read our blog post about the best Japanese cleansing oils.

2. Japanese skincare routine steps: Cleansing (Water)

Japanese Face Washes - Hada Labo Foaming Cleanser

According to the Japanese skincare routine, you should follow 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.

Water cleansers remove the remaining dirt and impurities that may be left after using the oil cleanser. The water 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 wash offers a gentle and light texture that cleans deeply and thoroughly but keeps the skin fresh and hydrated.

If you are looking for more product options, feel free to read our article about the best Japanese face washes.

3. Japanese skincare routine steps: Exfoliating

Cure Natural Aqua Gel

Exfoliating your face is the next step after cleansing in the Japanese skincare routine.

Since many people shouldn’t exfoliate daily, we often skip it altogether. It’s considered less important than other steps, but this is far from the truth! Exfoliating removes dead skin cells and clears 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.

Read More: The 14 Best Japanese Exfoliators

4. Japanese skincare routine steps: Lotion

Kikumasamune Sake Body Lotion High Moisture

Using lotion is the first step in the Japanese skincare routine that adds back to clean skin.  Lotions add vitamins, moisturizers, and more to soften and hydrate the skin. Also known as skin conditioner or toner, Japanese lotions are usually lightweight, and almost watery-textured. They 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 and feature  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.

5. Japanese skincare routine steps: Essence

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence

We’re halfway!

Essences are similar to lotions in terms of lightweight texture, but they are notably different products!

An essence contains concentrated, targeted ingredients with specific purposes, such as hydration or anti-aging. Essences are much-loved due to their highly developed and results-driven formulas with a scientific or clinical background.

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.

6. Japanese skincare routine steps:


POLA Wrinkle Shot Medical Serum

Serums follow the essences. 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 Japanese skincare routine might mean you’re using more than one serum for different skin concerns.

The POLA Wrinkle Shot Medical Serum is a favorite among 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. Japanese skincare routine steps:

Sheet Mask / Facial Mask

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 moisture concentration 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 while it does its magic.We recommend using a sheet mask two 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 also to read our blog posts about the best Japanese Facial masks.

8. Japanese skincare routine steps:

Eye Cream

Meishoku Medicated Placenta Whitening Eye Cream

Eye creams are often overlooked because most people don’t understand their importance in skin care. 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 for the delicate skin area around the eyes.

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 infused compound to deeply penetrate the area around the eyes. It lightens dark eye bags and targets eye wrinkles while nourishing the area.

Make sure you check out this article for more Japanese skin whitening products!

9. Japanese skincare routine steps:


Naturie Skin Conditioning Gel

At long last, we’ve reached the second last and arguably one of the most important steps in the Japanese skincare routine: the moisturizer.

Moisturizers deeply hydrate the skin and lock in the active ingredients from previous products used.

It is important to use a decent moisturizer because a sub-standard cream will affect the effectiveness of the rest of your routine. Ineffective moisturizers risk not achieving optimum results despite all that work!

Before adding a moisturizer, ensure your previous products have properly settled onto your skin. 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.

10. Japanese skincare routine steps:


Biore UV Aqua Rich SPF 50+ Sunscreen

Last but most certainly not least, sunscreen is the step that rounds up the Japanese skincare routine. Apply sunscreen during your morning 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, which is evident in their skincare 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 nothing not to like about this sunscreen.

For more information about protecting 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? What excites you the most about adding these steps to your skincare routine? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

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