As I mentioned several times in this blog, although now I live in Indonesia, I once lived in Japan for 3 years from 2013-2016. During that time, I, of course, used Japanese drugstore beauty products a lot. And by doing so, I found several gems that I keep re-purchasing even though now I’ve returned to my country.
So I thought today I want to share with you my own Japanese drugstore beauty products recommendations in case you are traveling to Japan but not sure what to get. Or maybe you are just moved to Japan and not sure where to start since Japanese drugstores are quite huge and potentially overwhelming since everything is written in Japanese!
So if you are interested in, just keep on reading!
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence
I can safely say that this is the best drugstore sunscreen I’ve ever tried in my whole life (and believe me when I say it, I tried quite a lot!). It’s super affordable, non-greasy, and quickly melt into the skin the second it’s applied. It does have fresh scent but not too overpowering. And I even feel like it adds adherence to my skin so that my makeup sticks better onto my skin when I’m using this sunscreen.
I don’t have any plan to try a new sunscreen anytime soon since I haven’t heard anything that’s close match to this one. If you could get your hands on this, I highly recommend you to try it out. And since Biore is a quite globally known brand, I’m pretty sure you can get this not only in Japan but maybe also in your country, too (it’s sold in select Indonesian drugstores, by the way).
Cure Natural Aqua Gel
Natural Aqua Gel Cure is a remarkable skin care product. Cure is a fragrance-free, color free and preservative free product made from activated hydrogen water that prevents oxidation. General chemical peeling uses strong acids (approx. pH1.3) to dissolve protein. Cure, on the other hand, gently catches dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and removes it.
This one is I think maybe one of the most unique products Japanese drugstore has. It’s not a cleanser, not a facial wash, not a scrub, it’s an exfoliator in a form of gel. The texture it’s like gel but more liquid-y or watery, not as thick as man’s hair gel, for example. I’ve also mentioned it briefly on my post about my skin care routine.
It’s meant to be used only twice a week because it’s an exfoliator. I use it after I double-cleanse my skin or basically after I make sure there’s no makeup left on my face. To use it, you just have to take 1 pump of it on your palm, and then massage it all over your face like when you use your scrub. While doing that, just like its claim, you will find it catches your dead skin cells and removes it. I feel my skin is very soft and clear after using it.
Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder
suisai Beauty Clear Powder face wash is catching the eye of the worldwide audience with an enzyme-activated formula that whisks away impurities and unclogs pores as it protects the skin’s natural moisture. A popular choice for tourists who desire the Japanese secret to even, finely textured skin.
If you can’t already guess what this is, this is a facial wash in the form of powder. One small jar contains the powder is for one single usage. To use it, you just mix it with water. Adjust the amount of water according to how scrubby you want it to be. The more water you add, the less scrubby it is, and vice versa.
After using it, my skin feels so clean as if all the dirt has been taken off without making my face feels tight. It’s not very expensive, but here in Indonesia, it’s not sold in drugstores, but only in online shop run by personal shoppers so the price becomes quite expensive. So I can only buy it by asking my friends who are still living in Japan to help me buy it when they will have a short vacation to Indonesia. Since it happens only maybe once or twice a year, I use this fairly rarely.
If you can find it with reasonable price, I highly recommend you to incorporate this in your daily skin care routine!
Purequa Face Wipes
Actually, Japanese drugstores offer wide variety of face wipes, but I really love this particular one. It’s really soft on the skin so you won’t feel you rub your skin too hard. It’s really effective in removing our makeup as the first step of our skin care routine. According to my experience, it can also removes my waterproof eyeliner and mascara!
This one is really hyped up by many Asian beauty bloggers/ vloggers and after trying it, I agree with the hype. The tip is not a felt tip but it’s a very fine little brush that can bend. I personally like this type of tip because it makes applying liners so much easier. I’m in no way expert in applying liner, so I think this one is also very beginner-friendly!
Please note that the one that I have here is actually a limited-edition navy blue. They have other options too such as brown (also limited-edition) and of course black (permanent line)! Even though this one is navy blue, if you look it not too close up on my face, it doesn’t really look like I’m wearing a blue eye liner because it’s pretty dark. I enjoy wearing it so much lately!
Canmake Cream Cheeks
First of all, I found that many Japanese drugstore makeup products are too sheer for my skin tone or even my liking. Be it blushes, contours/ bronzers, lip products, etc. That’s because the nature of Japanese daily makeup style itself is usually a no-makeup makeup look. BUT! These particular blushes are exception! They are available in many different shades and formula so you will have some options there. Besides that, Canmake as a brand in general has other interesting products and it’s one of the most affordable in Japanese drugstore! I highly recommend you to check their other products also!
Megrythm Steam Eye Mask
I never knew this was a thing before I found it in Japanese drugstore. It’s an eye mask that releases steam that’s supposed to help us relaxing our eyes after a tiring busy day. Try to wear it before bed after a nice warm shower or bath!
‘Ashirira Sheet’ Detox Foot Patch
‘Ashirira’ is an acronym of ‘ashi’ which means ‘foot’ in Japanese and ‘rira’ which was taken from English word ‘relax’ that is read as ‘rirakusu’ in Japanese. This product is a pair of patches or sheets that you stick onto your soles before you go to bed and leave it until you wake up. The next day when you take it off, it’s supposed to absorb all toxic from your body. There are actually some debates surrounding this product. Some says it’s gimmicky and not doing what it claims. Some says it works. I think if we want to proof whether it works or not, we have to scientifically test it in a lab. I personally like wearing it but don’t feel significant changes just by using it daily (which I don’t). But I still think it’s nice to have and recommend you to try it out!
Shiseido Senka Perfect Whip
I actually don’t have this with me right now but I used to use it when I lived in Japan. It’s a very light-weight and gentle facial wash. It cleans but doesn’t feel tight on the skin. It’s available here in Indonesia but I didn’t repurchase it because I’m currently enjoying my Cetaphil facial wash. If you live in Japan and need one that I recommend, it’s this one! It’s one of the most affordable also!
Lululun Sheet Masks
I think I only used it once but I remember liking it, and I know many peple are hyping this sheet masks so much. They have several options such as: hydrating, brightening, and balancing. I also didn’t repurchase it by now because to be honest, I like my Etude House sheet masks more because I feel the Etude House ones fit my face’s size better!
That’s all my Japanese drugstore beauty products recommendation! I hope it helps you in sorting out your list to buy while you’re in Japan. Ah..writing this brings back all good memories and makes me miss Japan even more! I wish I could go back someday even just for several days!
What are products that most intriguing to you? Do you find your wish list here? And do you like if I write more about Japan’s related recommendation? Like for example unusual traveling spots recommendation? Or supermarket recommendation? Please tell me on comment section below!
I think it’s really the first time I talk about skincare on this blog. I always talk about makeup while actually I care about my skincare as much as I do about makeup. For me, skincare is even more important that makeup, and I was interested in skincare first even long before I was interested in makeup.
I mentioned briefly how I was first interested in skincare on this blog post. And since that time, I have tried so many skincare products and have gone through so many trials and errors in skincare routine. Gladly I don’t have sensitive skin, so I rarely (or almost never) had a bad experience when trying new products. However, there were several products I felt really did something on my skin, while some others did almost nothing.
These past 8 months, or to be precised since August 2018, I’ve been using the same skincare routine. And just recently I realized that my skin has never been this clear, supple, and elastic. My makeup also sticks better onto my skin effortlessly. And countless times when I didn’t wear any makeup, I was mistaken for a college or even high school student by people I met on the street, while actually I’m a 28 year old married woman with one kid XD But it actually has some drawbacks, too. For example, when I was browsing through a makeup display in my local drugstore, the BA wasn’t even trying to recommend me any product. Maybe because she thought I was a student so I wouldn’t be able to afford any product she recommended anyway XD
Oh and first of all, just for transparency, I wasn’t sponsored by any brand I mentioned here. I purchased everything with my own money. I’m (sadly) just a small blogger, those brands don’t even know that I’m existed in this world XD So don’t worry, what I wrote here is based on my real and honest experience 🙂 But, I mean, in the future even if I was sponsored to make this kind of post, I’ll always stay honest with my review!
So, if you want to know my skincare secrets, just please keep on reading!
I adopted this skincare routine actually from the infamous 10-step Korean Skincare Routine. Let’s admit that we, average women in late 20 with all of our everyday routine activities, ain’t always got time for that, right? Just thinking of that and watching beauty bloggers apply that 10-step skincare routine already makes me headache. So, I made my own version of it that is easier, quicker, and more realistic!
First of all, even though the name is “10-step Korean Skincare Routine”, doesn’t mean we must use ALL Korean skincare products. The most important thing is to understand why those steps are implemented. When we understand the purpose of each step, we can clearly eliminate some steps or alternately change some steps so that the phrase “10-step” is no longer overwhelming. And along with it, we can freely choose which product we want to use in each step, as long as it fulfills the purpose of that step.
10-Step Korean Skincare Routine
When talking about “steps” in skincare routine, generally people will ask “why this step is after that step” and vice versa. Actually, the answer is easy. We want to apply products from the ones that have lighter consistency to the ones that have heavier consistency.
Here I will give you a quick explanation of each step, along with the label of which step we can completely skip and alternately change. I will also mention which products I’ve been using for each step.
I’m sure you are aware that oil can’t be mixed with water. Now let see, what does our skin produce during the day? It’s oil. Even if you have (relatively) dry skin, your skin still secretes oil everyday (it’s just less amount compared to other people). So, what happen if you wash your face with water-based cleanser only? It won’t be able to get rid off oil-based dirt that our skin has produced.
So clearly, this step is a MUST and the first step that you want to implement on your skincare routine. Only oil can help pull out other oil-based impurities, for example sebum.
Products that I’ve been using in this step are Banila.co Clean It Zero and Garnier Micellar Oil Infused Cleansing Water.
Banila.co’s consistency is kind of like balm, but as soon as we apply it on our face, it melts even the most waterproof makeup easily. But, this feels uncomfortable on the eyes. It doesn’t stink, but if it exposed to our eyeballs, it’s going to be like there’s a kind of layer on top of them and it’s slightly obstructing our view.
That’s why on the eyes, I prefer to use the Garnier one. This works perfectly for waterproof makeup, too.
The same principal to the previous step, water-based cleanser helps draw out water-based impurities that aren’t picked up by the oil-based cleanser, for example sweat.
This step is obviously a MUST, too. And I’ve been rotating between Garnier Micellar Water, The Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Wash, or Cetaphil Facial Wash. I use the Garnier one when I’m too lazy to wash my face with facial wash. And I love the Body Shop and Cetaphil ones because they are so gentle on my skin. Even though I feel completely clean after washing my face with them, my skin doesn’t feel tight.
To make it easier to understand, generally exfoliator comes in a form of scrub, because, exfoliator is used to clean clogged pores or remove dead skin. Therefore, we need a product that contains small grains to make it possible to enter our pores and clean them.
This is a step that we can ALTERNATELY CHANGE with other steps. Actually it’s better to NOT do this step every day because it could scrape not only dead skin but also moisture or other important properties that our skin has. I personally only do this step twice a week, and the products I’ve been rotating to use are Freeman Charcoal + Black Sugar Gel Mask + Scrub, Skinfood Strawberry Black Sugar Mask Wash Off, Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder, and Cure Natural Aqua Gel.
The Freeman and Skinfood ones are clearly scrubs, so you know how to use them and how they feel.
The Cure one looks like a normal facial wash with jelly-like consistency. Even though it looks like your typical facial wash, it removes dead skin like magic. And the Kanebo one can be used as scrub or gentle facial wash depending on how much water you add to it. I’ll write more detail about the Cure and the Kanebo on another post I’ve planned so make sure to follow this blog if you don’t want to miss it!
Toner helps restore moisture to our skin after cleansing and exfoliating. It also helps balance our skin’s pH because cleansing our face with facial wash increases our skin pH (remember, soap is an alkaline so it has high pH). However, actually if we use gentle facial wash, it’s not as harsh as usual facial wash that is made of soap, so toner can be skipped. But toner also helps prepare our skin for the next products that are going to be applied to our skin. Therefore, for me this step is also a MUST.
For this past months, I’ve only been using The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner. I never use a cotton pad to apply my toner because I feel it absorbs a lot of liquid so I think it’s a waste of product. I always use my hands to apply my toner.
The one common question about essence is “what is the difference between essence and serum?”. Generally, essence is liquid product that has consistency between toner and serum. If you know SK-II Facial Treatment Essence or Missha Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence, both of them have the similar liquid-y consistency, which is a bit thicker than a toner, but not as viscous-y as a serum.
In terms of composition, according to Fashionista on their article here, technically essence and serum are actually the SAME thing! Both of them have key ingredients that are formulated to resolve certain skin problems. I mentioned about texture above, but recently (according to Fashionista also) essence is getting thicker while serum is getting more lightweight, so the consistency line is getting blurry.
In summary, since both of them don’t have distinctive difference, IMHO, if you’re on a budget (just like me!) you can choose only one of them. I personally completely SKIP essence, and go straight to serum after my toner.
As I mentioned briefly above, serum is a liquid product that has key ingredients that are formulated to resolve certain skin problems, such as acne, hyper-pigmentation, dark spots, wrinkles, etc. For me personally, I’ve been using this same serum for 8 months, which is The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, that has brightening effect and also reduce the appearance of blemishes and balance sebum activity. For more detail information about this product, please refer to this link.
I started to use this serum because before I was using them, I had severe acne scars problem. Before, I always broke out during menstruation. And after that, it left acne scars every where on my skin. Although it is said on the website that this doesn’t have direct properties to reduce acne, after using this (and other products I mentioned and will be mentioning here), I rarely break out these days. And my old acne scars is getting disappear!
So clearly, this step is a MUST, and you can use any other serum that suits your skin needs! I do recommend checking out The Ordinary, though, because they are fairly affordable, cruelty free, and a lot of their products are paraben free, gluten free, and vegan!
Again, I’m not sponsored to say this XD I truly am in love with this product and will keep repurchasing it in the future. Now I’m already on my third bottle, by the way!
Actually, sheet mask is just a mask that is soaked into an essence or a serum. The natural way of using it (by putting it onto our face and leave it for a couple minutes) is able to prolong the contact of that essence/ serum to our skin, thus enable our skin to fully absorb the ingredients and moisture. So actually, we can ALTERNATELY CHANGE the usage of sheet mask with our essence/ serum. When I use my sheet mask, I don’t use my serum, and vice versa. I only use sheet mask once or twice a week.
I’ve tried so many sheet masks from different brands, but recently, I’ve been using and keep repurchasing these sheet masks by Etude House. It has very thin layer and it sticks well onto my skin so I never feel it slips off my face whenever I’m using it. It also has perfect size for my eye and mouth holes.
Our eye area is the most gentle part of our skin. When we’re getting older, this is the part that gets wrinkly first, so taking care of it as early as possible is a MUST. Eye cream is formulated to hydrate eye area, reduce the appearance of wrinkle, and prevent dark circles or puffiness.
I used Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream for months before completely running out of it just a month ago. For now, I’m using Safi Age Defy Eye Treatment because I wanted to try more affordable eye cream. The Safi one definitely is more lightweight thus it’s suitable for using on AM routine underneath our makeup. The Innisfree one is much more thicker, and I must say it’s better to be used on PM routine only.
When I run out of my Safi one, I think I will buy both of them because I feel the Innisfree one is more hydrating, thus I need it on my PM routine much more than the Safi one. Of course currently I can’t say many related to the long time result, but I’ve been enjoying the two of them so far, and I rarely had a problem with dark circle or puffiness!
Moisturizer, just like its name, is mainly used to provide extra moisture to our skin. There are many kinds of moisturizer on the market, so my advice is to choose one based on the ingredients or the consistency that suits your skin needs. For me who have normal to oily skin, I chose the one that has lighter consistency, so that it won’t add too much moisture to my skin that is fairly hydrated.
This step is a MUST for PM routine, and I’ve been using Laneige Water Sleeping Mask as my moisturizer since it’s very lightweight and absorbed pretty fast. But according its manual, this sleeping mask is not for everyday use, so I just use it three times a week.
You know what it is, it’s to protect our skin from damage caused by UV rays. This step is clearly a MUST for AM routine. Don’t forget to apply it not only on your face, but to all skin area that is exposed to the sun light during your daytime activity.
Sun protector or sun screen was the first skincare product that I owned, long before I know toner, serum, etc. And believe me, I’ve tried so many different ones, from Indonesian brands, to Korean brands, to western brands, but the best one yet is the one that I’ve been using now, which is Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++.
This one is perfect to use underneath makeup. It’s absorbed fast, not greasy, and not sticky at all but still helps add more adhesion to our makeup. 10 out of 10!
Face Oil (Additional)
I add an additional step to my PM skincare routine which is face oil. Having oily skin doesn’t mean we don’t need face oil. By adding face oil, it helps decrease the secretion of our natural oil during the night. After I incorporate this step as my very last step of my PM routine, I feel my face is less oily now, and I suppose that’s why I also don’t break out as much as before.
The face oil that I’ve been using is The Ordinary Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil. I only use it three times a week and a little goes along way. I’ve been using it for eight months but still have 2/3 left. This step is an ADDITIONAL step but I highly recommend you try it out!
So, to summarize all of the things I mentioned above, here are my AM and PM skincare routine for the past eight months that helps me reduce my break out, makes my face less oily, and brighten up my face, thus help my face look younger (according to the people I met on the street):
Water-based cleanser (everyday): The Body Shop Tea Tree or Cetaphil Gentle Facial Wash
Toner (everyday): The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner
Serum (everyday): The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Eye cream (everyday): Safi Age Defy Eye Treatment
Sun protector (everyday): Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ PA++++
This AM routine only has 5 steps!
And if you want to see me applying this routine, check it on my video here!
Oil-based cleanser (everyday): Banila.co Clean It Zero or Garnier Oil-infused Micellar Water
Water-based cleanser (everyday): The Body Shop Tea Tree or Cetaphil Gentle Facial Wash
Exfoliator (twice a week): Rotation between Freeman Charcoal + Black Sugar Gel Mask + Scrub, Skinfood Strawberry Black Sugar Mask Wash Off, Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder, and Cure Natural Aqua Gel.
Toner (everyday): The Body Shop Tea Tree Toner
Serum (everyday when I don’t use my sheet mask): The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%
Sheet mask (once or twice a week): Etude House
Eye cream (everyday): Safi Age Defy Eye Treatment or Innisfree Orchid Eye Cream
Moisturizer (three times a week): Laneige Water Sleeping Mask
Face oil (three times a week): The Ordinary Organic Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil
This PM routine has 5 steps that I do everyday, and 4 other steps that are alternately change with each other.
Thank you so much for you who made it until this part! Such a long post, isn’t it, but I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I love sharing it with you. My final advice would be:
It’s important to know the “why” before actually implementing a particular skincare routine.
Choose products based on your skin needs. Check the ingredients and don’t buy/ use something just because the hype of it. Just because we’re on our late 20, doesn’t mean we ONLY need to use products that have anti-aging properties in it. If you, for example, have severe acne scars or break out, fix that problem first, because clearer skin looks healthier thus makes you look brighter in general.
Choose products based on your skin condition. For me who has more of a normal-oily skin, I tend to choose products that is not really thick, not greasy, and absorbed fast.
Apply the products from lighter to heavier consistency.
Be consistent! I’ve been implementing this skincare routine for eight months before sharing it with you as now I can see clear result on my skin.
“You are what you eat”. Recently I also have been trying to eat “okay” (I want to say “healthy” but I don’t think I’ve reached that level as for now) . I’ve been drinking 2 L of water everyday, and also avoiding processed food as much as I can. I believe what comes from inside is also important to maintain what is seen from the outside.
Be happy! Surround yourself with positive people and positive activities!
So yeah, that is all for today’s post! I hope you don’t feel overwhelmed by so many products I mentioned here. That’s just because I love trying skincare products, so I try to rotate them as much as I could to be able to finish all of them. But, among all of skincare products I’ve tried, the ones I mentioned here are the ones that have clear positive impacts to my skin.
I hope this post is somehow helpful for you and don’t hesitate to correct me if I’m wrong.
What is your current skincare routine? Will you implement this routine to your routine? Did you find your holy grail products here? Let me know on the comment section below!