Japanese Skincare: The Best, the Unique, and the Strange

  • Tokyo
  • One of my goals during my time in Japan was to buy and try as many new skincare products as I could. Japan is known for having extremely good skincare products and I wanted to find the best and most novelty items. While some of the best products are way out of my price range, some can be as cheap as ¥100 ($1). 

    Here is a list of the most interesting, unique, and best products I have found so far:

    Moisturizing Foot Mask

    Author’s photo

    I found this mask at Don Quijote, a huge shopping store here in Tokyo. I’ve heard that foot masks are a far bigger thing in Asia than in the U.S. so of course, I had to try it and see the hype for myself. This one was just moisturizing, not the foot peel mask (I think, I can’t read the Japanese instructions), but there were some that showed feet peeling and this was not one of those. 

    All I had to go by were the picture instructions on the back on how to use this mask. Basically, it is two, foot-shaped, plastic bags with oils inside. I had to cut open the top, to put my foot in, and then use the provided tape to seal them shut. I didn’t know how long to leave them on so I left them on for about 30 minutes. 

    Afterward, I just took it off and washed off my feet. I didn’ notice a huge difference right away, but in the following days, I could tell my feet were a lot more smooth.

    I definitely think this is one of the more novelty skincare items I’ve found because I wouldn’t really use this on a regular basis. It was fun to try it once, but once was good enough for me, I’d rather splurge on face skincare items.

    Foot Peel Mask


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    I also found this interesting mask at Don Quijote. This one is similar to the moisturizing foot mask I previously used, however, this one makes all the skin on your feet peel off after so many days. I haven’t tried this one out yet because I just tried the other foot mask, but maybe I will try it soon.

    From pictures that I have seen it is kind of gross, but effective. So I will spare you and not show an image of the peeling effects, but you can look it up for yourself to see what I mean. 

    Saborino Sheet Mask


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    This sheet mask is a pretty standard mask but there are a handful of reasons I love this one more than all the others I’ve tried. 

    1. It fits my face. I don’t know if I just have a small face or if most sheet masks are just made big but, until this mask, I have never found one that sits on my face well. But this one is a perfect size, I don’t have to fold over the edges and it doesn’t cover up my eyes.
    2. It smells so good! I know a lot of sheet masks smells good, but this one smells the best. It smells citrusy and fresh and there is no hint of a chemical smell. 
    3. It feels so fresh. This particular mask had mint as one of the ingredients so that is probably why it felt so fresh, but it had a nice cooling effect, which most masks don’t have.

    This mask has become my go-to here in Tokyo, and I’ll be bringing a lot home with me.

    Supreme Noi Makeup Removing Cleanser


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    I received this one as a gift from the people I met at Supreme Noi. I have always wanted to try a makeup removing cleanser so I was happy to get this! 

    This product did not disappoint. It is super effective at getting ALL of my makeup off, which is exactly what I was looking for in a makeup removing cleanser. It only takes two pumps of product to wash off all the makeup, and my skin isn’t left feeling dry when I wash it all off. It is made with natural ingredients and no harsh chemicals. 

    As of now, this product is only available in Japan, but hopefully, it will start to sell overseas in the future so I can continue to buy Supreme Noi products. 

    Kanebo Suisai Powder Face Wash

    This is the most interesting face wash I have found here. I’ve never seen anything like it in the U.S. It is little capsules filled with powder that you pour in your hand and just add water. I tried a few samples I had been given, and I honestly really like it.

    This kind of face wash is a little messier because it’s powder, and it can wash out of your hand quickly if you add the water too fast, but overall it works well. It is supposed to really clean out pores and leave the skin feeling really smooth, which, it does just that. My skin feels really smooth after using it, and it’s a gentle cleanser too which is great for my sensitive skin.

    Shiseido Perfect Whip Face Wash



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    I’ve read a lot of reviews that say this is one of the best face washes in Japan. It is supposed to be a hydrating and brightening face wash. It’s pretty cheap, drugstore price range, and you can find it in so many stores. This is one of the first new skincare items I picked up, here in Japan, and I’ve been using it off and on since.

    I honestly don’t see why everyone raves about this product. Maybe it is just not meant for my skin type, but I don’t think it works as well as other products I’ve tried. The reason it is on my list of products is that it is a really sticky and stringy formula. It has a consistency I have never felt in a face wash before. By stringy, I mean it can be messy. It stretches and falls all over the sink when I squeeze it out. And it falls away from my hand in little strands and I can see little strings of product fly off my hand and into the air. It is really hard to explain the strange consistency, and I tried to get a video of it but it is so small I couldn’t catch it on video. After washing it off it actually makes my skin feel a little too dry and when I wake up in the morning, my skin is extra oily.

    Maybe it is meant for another skin type but surely not mine. 

    Placenta Face Serum


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    Hands down, this is the most unexpected and unique skincare item I have found in Japan. I was really taken aback when I first saw it. I had so many questions too.

    What is it supposed to do for the skin?

    Does it really work?

    Most importantly… who’s placenta?

    I found it at Daiso, a Japanese dollar store, and it really was only $1 (¥100). At first, I thought how good can it possibly be when it’s only one dollar, but Japanese dollar stores are not like the U.S. dollar stores. They actually have useful, quality products.

    After a bit of research and reading, I found out that it is horse placenta used in the face serum. The oil is used for anti-aging, tightening and brightening. Many blogs and review sites rate this product really well and say that effects are amazing, especially for the price.

    Royal Jelly Face Serum

    This face oil can also be found at Daiso for only $1. This and the placenta face oil are part of a line of serums sold at Daiso. The other serums are ingredients I am familiar with, but royal jelly is something I have never heard of before. 

    Looking it up, I found that royal jelly is a honey bee secretion used to nourish the larva in a hive. 

    What I really want to know now is whoever thought to extract that in the first place and use it in skin care…

    However, it is an ingredient that is highly prized in Japanese skincare because it is very moisturizing and can also be used to hydrate hair as well as skin. 

    I have to admit I haven’t bought either this or the placenta face serum yet because I’ve been hesitant about the ingredients, but after reading up on them I don’t think there is any harm in trying them. At the price for only $1, it is pretty hard to argue that it would be a waste of money to try.

    Reference: matome.naver.jp/
    Reference: matome.naver.jp/