The Japanese Beauty Trends and Products You Need in Your Life
After 10 excruciating hours on plane from Vancouver to Tokyo, I can feel the recycled air drying my dull, tired-looking skin. Not a cute look, especially since I was sitting beside a young, handsome Japanese lad. Just my luck.
I found myself envying his thick black hair and dewy skin. He looks more put together than I do, on a good day. #goals. Upon landing in Tokyo, he shuffled through his Tom Ford toiletry bag (ugh he would, right?) and pulled out a bottle that he spritzed all over his face. “Excuse me?” I asked quietly. “May I ask what you’re using?” pointing to the spray. He didn’t speak much English, but showed me a turquoise bottle that read, DHC Q10 Water Mist ($29, dhccare.com). If this was his secret to his healthy glowing skin, sign me up!
We all know Asia is on the forefront of beauty innovation, and my mission is to find the latest trends and products from different parts of the continent. Read on as I tour Japan and round up current products and trends that will change your beauty routine.
DHC is one of Japan’s top skincare companies, and their Q10 Water Mist is the perfect travel companion (thank you for the tip, handsome Japanese man). Mists are handy when you need a quick refresh whether traveling, at work or the gym. You want to have as little finger to face contact as possible since germs on your hands can quickly cause breakouts so, mists would be better than moisturizers for this reason. You can also check out Lush Eau Roma Water ($11, lush.ca) and Pure Anada’s Marine Mineral Toner ($20, thepureboutique.com) for great, natural mists closer to home.
An older Japanese man introduced me to horse oil while I was browsing through a beauty store in Osaka (it seems like Japanese men have a high caliber of beauty knowledge). He purchases horse oil every winter and told me it comes from horse fat, extracted from under the horse mane and refined down to oil. It is widely used for dry and chapped skin. I would have bought a jar for myself but the Pure BA-YU Cream ($128, nagisa.com) has a steep price point. Horse oil is popular for its fatty acids that treat your skin beautifully, especially if you have eczema. I tried it out at the store and found the unscented oil-based cream left my hand a little greasy but undoubtedly soft.
Every high-end Japanese beauty store had a plethora of products featuring tiny gold flakes. As a luxurious product, the Alsian Gold Leaf Bright Lotion ($180, rakuten.com) is one of Japan’s best sellers and features gold particles that become invisible as you blend into your skin. Gold flakes supposedly aid with brightening skin, as it helps reflect light luminously. Japanese men and women love white, bright, clear skin and gold flakes seem to do just the trick. If you want to look for a product a little closer to home, Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil ($144, sephora.ca) is a good 24-karat gold option.
If you’re searching for the perfect winter cleanser, look no further than hot cleansers. I stumbled upon Shiseido Benefique Hot Cleansing ($49, amazon.com) while in the Ginza district, Japan’s high-end shopping area. Essentially, it provides a thermal cleansing that is ideal if you want to open those pores to get a deep clean and moisturize simultaneously. It is recommended you indulge yourself in a facial massage (very popular in Japan) with this product, and who would say no after a long day in cold? No one. That is who.
Japan’s #1 selling exfoliator
One bottle of Cure Natural Aqua Gel ($39, amazon.com) is apparently sold every 12 seconds. This stuff has to be good. When you exfoliate with this gel, it comes out as a clear liquid but as you rub it into your skin, it formulates little tiny particles that look like dead skin rolling off your face. Odd. It seems a little odd, but those particles are not actually your skin, they are formed from the ingredients in the gel rubbing together and help with the exfoliation process, leaving skin squeaky clean without harsh chemicals or alcohol. Best used 2-3 a week.
I was in a department store in Japan when I passed a photo of Cristiano Ronaldo. I asked myself, “what is Ronaldo doing in a women’s beauty section?” Then I discovered, PAO Facial Fitness ($170, shlab.com). This is probably the weirdest beauty contraption I’ve ever discovered and after you watch this YouTube video, you’ll know what I mean. You hold the PAO in your mouth and rhythmically shake it up and down to exercise the muscles in your face to enhance facial muscle tone. Who needs contouring when you can PAO it out? Oh Japan, you cease to amaze me.