Japan is known throughout the world as a technological mecca. It is a country that constantly surprises the rest of the with their creativity and development. So it only makes sense that their innovative spirit translates into their beauty and lifestyle markets as well. You may think that your makeup bag is complete as is, but you just might reconsider after checking out these incredible Japanese products.
Chocola BB Drink
In the States, we rely on topical creams and serums to improve our skin. But in Japan, it’s not always what’s on the outside that matters most. According to Alyssa Reeder, a writer at Into The Gloss who actually travelled to Japan in search of amazing Japanese beauty products to bring home, drinkable tonics are a staple of Japanese skincare. In fact, they’re so popular that you can easily find them at virtually any Japanese drugstore.
To the American eye, a beauty drink can seem strange, but many Japanese people rely on tonics like the popular Chocola BB Drink to improve and nourish their skin. How does it work? Reeder writes, “Chocola BB Drink alleviates acne with vitamin B2, B6, and B1 to promote healthy turnover in skin cells.” Used as part of your daily routine, it is supposed to improve the quality and clarity of your skin. It also has an energizing effect, which is actually what the product’s initial purpose was. According to Reeder, “It was made particularly for women to boost energy and their immune systems.” Talk about a one-two punch! If you’re interested in giving it a trial run, you can order Chocola BB Drink from Rakuten Global Market.
Baby Foot Peel
We admit, this product is a strange one, but it’s also pretty fascinating. The Baby Foot Peel came up when New York Magazine’s The Cut talked to professional makeup artists Yumi Mori (whose client list features Julianne Moore and Gisele Bündchen) and Munemi Imai (Solange Knowles) to get the scoop on the need-to-know Japanese beauty products on the market.
The bottom of all of the foot is obviously not the most lovely part of the body to look at. The skin there can be coarse and uneven. The skin on your feet may sometimes naturally start peeling in certain spots on its own. What Baby Foot Peel does is it puts that peeling process into your own hands. It sheds the dead skin from your feet over a few days to reveal the soft, healthy skin underneath. The peeling process itself is kind of gross, but when it’s done you’ll love your feet like never before. Just be sure to let it take it’s natural course. Don’t start peeling it yourself!
Brilliant Loveheart Lip Care 3 Step System
This product is similar to the foot peel, but it’s specifically for your lips. It does the same job of exfoliating and removing dead, peeling skin for a smooth, healthy look. If you’re the kind of person who constantly battles chapped lips, this should be on your list. It’s a simple 3-step process, complete with exfoliating cream, hydrating mask and nourishing lip gel.
A writer named Bethany at Beauty Junkie tried this product for the purposes of review and, according to her, “The Brilliant 3 Step System does exactly what it promises to do. It turned my lips from a total disaster into a smooth canvas in around 20 minutes.” The only downside is that the results apparently only last for a few days if you’re prone to dry lips. But considering that this exfoliating process only takes about 20 minutes to accomplish, it’s not that hard to do once a week.
Paper steam mask
Another The Cut recommendation is something that, loosely translated, is called a paper steam mask. The purpose of this eye mask is to soothe and rejuvenate the eyes and the surrounding skin. You can find this product at a Japanese drugstore, or you can order it online in case you’re not roaming around Tokyo.
Apparently it functions like a hot steam eucalyptus mask, except it’s totally dry! The Cut says it is “a great way to recover from the eye strain of staring at devices and computers all day.” In our modern age where the digital work day and social media are practically unavoidable, this is a great relaxing product to enjoy before bed. Creating a home spa routine for yourself won’t just help the appearance of your skin, but it will make you feel better after a long day.
Eye whitening drops
Part of what makes some Japanese beauty products amazing to a foreigner is that they are products you never would have thought to use before. It’s this amazement with the bizarre that brings us to our next product. Japanese brand Rohto sells eye drops that literally whiten your eyeballs to make your look brighter and more youthful. You may be asking, Who would ever need this? Well, the pros do!
The Cut writes that these eye drops are actually used professionally all of the time in the beauty and fashion industries. They call this whitening formula “the secret weapons of photo shoots.” This product also functions as a regular eye drop to help with dry eyes. Writer Annie Kreighbaum over at Into The Gloss also enthusiastically backs Rohto’s Lycee drops. She uses them on a regular basis to both enhance her vision and to whiten her eyes. The only drawback to this product is that it is said to burn a little bit at first, but Kreighbaum reports that it’s actually more of a cooling feeling — a sensation that you easily get used to.
Creamy Bubble Hair Color
Most Americans dye their hair with products that mostly resemble a kind of cream. There is a Japanese hair color product, though, that foams instead, and it is apparently much easier to use (and still works!). It can turn dark hair into 20 different shades, from red to orange to beige.
A beauty blogger named Mhisha Cuyson wrote about Liese Creamy Bubble Hair Color product for her website, The Touch of Yellow. Not only did she review the product, but she was also invited to attend the brand’s launch event a little over a year ago. Cuyson’s personal experience with the hair dye was very positive. Because it is a foam formula, it essentially acts like a shampoo, so it is extremely easy to apply.
She writes: “What we both love — me and my sister — is that Liese doesn’t leave a strong chemical scent on our hair. There wasn’t [an] itchy feeling on our scalp the way cream-types do. It also didn’t make our hair dry and frizzy. Our hair feels smooth and soft after washing it. We also notice that the color stays intact, without fading after a week of shampooing it. Plus, it’s so easy to use!”
Mud and Charcoal Scalp Conditioner
Charcoal may seem like an unlikely or even an odd ingredient to include in your beauty routine, but it is actually gaining incredible hype. Activated charcoal powder apparently has amazing effects for both your skin and your hair. For right now, let’s focus on adding the ingredient to your haircare routine. The Pelican Mud and Charcoal Scalp Conditioner is a Japanese product that can be found on the huge beauty website Takaski. This hair care product starts directly at the scalp to nourish and hydrate dry scalps, ease dandruff and make hair healthier from the root.
So why charcoal? According to Best Health, it has properties that play a huge role in healing and purifying your skin and hair. The Reader’s Digest subsidiary writes, “Because toxins stick to the activated charcoal, it makes a good candidate for a deep cleanser and detoxifier. It’s all-natural and won’t add new chemicals to your skin and hair when you use it.”
Charcoal is used in tons Japanese beauty products (like the hair care product mentioned earlier). Charcoal soap is hugely popular in Japan because it helps rid pores of dirt and leaves your skin looking healthier, shinier and more even-toned. Allure writer Veronica Gledhill is another beauty professional who made the trip all the way to Japan to investigate the country’s products, how they work and what is most popular. Being of Japanese heritage, this was an especially intriguing mission for her.
She writes of the charcoal soap bar, “The powder in this soap comes from the Kishu region of Japan. It’s made through a process that involves burning oak branches for several days and then cooling them down.” That’s a lot of work to go to for soap! But according to her, it’s totally worth it. The charcoal soap bar’s unique properties transforms the quality of your skin. Gledhill recommends the Sumi Haigou Settuken Charcoal Bar Soap. Give it a try by easily ordering the product from Amazon.
Sosu Rose Quartz Massage Plate
This is another product that Allure writer Veronica Gledhill recommends from her trip to Japan. It’s a product that facilitates one of the most traditional beauty routines in Japanese culture. Gledhill writes, “A considerable chunk of the Japanese beauty market is devoted to different methods of facial massage, a practice believed to stimulate the lymphatic system and firm the muscles of the face.”
While you could just use your hands to massage your face, many woman use this Rose Quartz Massage Plate as an aid. The Japanese do this because massaging the muscles and the skin of the face is supposed to improve blood circulation for a more glowing, radiant look. It is recommended that you give yourself these facial massages several times per week. You can get the product here.
Even an American who doesn’t know much about Japanese culture is most likely familiar with the iconic figure of the geisha. While many may mistake geisha as a kind of Japanese prostitute, these woman are expertly trained in the arts of conversation and entertainment. They use singing and dancing to charm their clients and give them a traditional Japanese experience of female beauty. While Americans may not know much about the life of a geisha, the look of one is hard to miss. According to professional NYC makeup artist Denise Del Russo, this is what inspired the beauty company TATCHA to create their products.
“One of my absolute favorite brands for Japanese beauty is TATCHA,” she told me. “Japan’s geisha is known for their beautiful, porcelain skin. TATCHA pays homage to these icons of Eastern beauty, and their products include the very best green teas, Okinawa red algae, and rice bran. The secret ingredients of the geisha beauty regimen!”
Del Russo talked to us about some of her absolute favorite TATCHA products that she claims are must-haves. This beauty expert swears by the brand’s Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder, their Luminous Dewy Skin Mist and their Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm. “The powder is activated by water and once applied it becomes creamy and leaves skin feeling so clean and baby soft,” she says. “It’s great for uneven, textured skin.” The skin mist is kind of like a makeup setting spray, but Del Russo says it also gives the skin “a natural, glowy look” as it keeps your makeup in place all day long.
As for the Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm, they really do mean gold. Not only does it nourish your lips, but the balm also contains “hand-laid 24-karat gold leaf to add a touch of golden shimmer.” If that’s not pampering, we don’t know what is.
If you ever happen to find yourself in Japan, make it a point to stop into a Japanese drugstore for beauty supplies that will revolutionize your makeup kit. It may not sound glamorous, but what you find will leave you feeling like you could walk the red carpet. Even if you don’t have travel plans, you can get all of the products that we listed online. Seeing as how several beauty experts and professional makeup artists swear by Japanese cosmetics, it’s definitely worth exploring.