J-beauty is among the best-selling products in the market. Here are the 15 best Japanese Skincare brands to buy your new products from!
J-beauty [Japanese beauty] products are some of the most effective at affordable prices. Japanese drugstores are similar to their Parisian counterparts, with a huge focus on skincare and beauty. This is because, much like Parisian beauty, Japanese women focus on natural beauty – and so that’s exactly what all these products aim for.
The majority of the best skincare products in Japan are suitable for all skin types, considering most are gentle and include natural, herbal ingredients. If Korean beauty has ‘glass skin’ – Japanese beauty has ‘mochi skin’. For those unfamiliar with the Japanese delicacy, Mochi is a soft rice cake, smooth and pillowy to the touch.
To achieve ‘mochi skin,’ the general rule is a simple routine. Starting with a double cleanse, usually an oil-based cleanser, so as not to dry out the skin. Next is a good toner [also known as ‘essence’]. The job of a good toner is to lock in moisture to keep your skin supple and hydrated. Next is the serum; in Japan, this would be your ‘lotion’ step. The product is usually rich in texture but will absorb into the skin easily. And last, but not least, your moisturizer.
Whether you have sensitive skin, dry skin, or anything in between – Japanese skincare brands have you covered. Luckily, these products are now readily available, given their popularity in the US and beyond!
The only problem is that there are almost too many to choose from, and with sometimes minimal information being available online, or all the ingredients being in Japanese – it can be difficult to know which are worth trying. So we’ve put together our favorite brands and the best Japanese skincare products from those brands to have you saying, ‘I woke up like this’!
15 Japanese Skincare Brands You Need to Try
SK-II is one of Japan’s most successful global brands. The science behind their signature secret ingredient ‘PITERA™’ came from a discovery in the 1970s. This fermentation bi-product is packed with vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids and is featured in numerous SK-II products.
Their cult favorite product ‘Facial Treatment Essence’ works on every skin type and promises to remedy dark spots and dull skin. The concept of essence is common in Asian beauty. It is used before serums and after toner and usually contains potent – skin [and life-changing] ingredients.
2. Clé de Peau Beauté
Clé de Peau has been creating both skincare and makeup products since 1982, with the aim to combine science and beauty, and is a strong contender for the best Japanese beauty brand. Loosely translating to ‘key to skin,’ the brand unlocks the bridge between natural beauty and products through its line of makeup products with skincare ingredients.
Their best-selling ‘La Crème’ is one of the most expensive facial creams on the market, but boy, it packs a punch. The star ingredient is Clé de Peau’s skin-empowering Illuminator works with your skin’s nighttime reparative process so you can wake up with beautiful skin, guaranteed.
This is one of the most famous cosmetics brands on our list – and worldwide. Founded in Ginza, Tokyo, SHISEIDO represents the core of Japanese beauty through products that help to express your inner beauty on the outside.
Due to its positioning, Japan has a high UV index – so it’s no surprise some of the best SPF products come from Japanese skincare brands! From makeup to skincare, SHISEIDO offers a wide range of products – however, a must-try is the Clear Sunscreen Stick.
TATCHA is a familiar brand in the United States. Founder Vicky Tsai suffered from acute dermatitis that required harsh daily medication in the form of steroids and antibiotics. Miraculously on a trip to Kyoto, her skin healed – and so the idea for TATCHA was born.
She studied natural Japanese ingredients and beauty practices, which are an integral part of every TATCHA product, which includes a balance of superfoods, amino acids, and Hadasei-3™ – a complex of rice, green tea, and algae.
With over 3000 five-star reviews, their most popular product is “The Dewy Skin Cream.” The product does exactly what it says on the package – apply this on dry skin and be ready to welcome your new dewy complexion.
5. HADA LABO
HADA LABO has been creating pharmaceutical cosmetics since 2004. HADA LABO translates to “Skin Lab”. Japan is known for its technological advances, and this stretches to Japanese cosmetics too.
The majority of their products use Super Hyaluronic Acid to create hydrating products at affordable prices – this comes in the form of sheet masks, cleansers, gels – you name it!
Their most notable face lotion is the #1 in Japan, with one being purchased every two seconds. The Hyaluronic Acid Lotion instantly hydrates the skin and improves the skin’s texture.
SENSAI is an ultra-luxury brand popular amongst women in the Middle East and Europe. If you think La Mer is the pinnacle of luxury beauty, this is definitely one to check out.
Japanese skin care products have an almost ceremonial feel, and it was brands like SENSAI that brought techniques like Double Cleansing to Europe.
Their most innovative product is the SENSAI AS Micro Mousse Treatment – a facial lotion that foams and melts into the skin for a silky touch, similar to the sensation of Koishimaru Silk – the inspiration of the brand.
7. KOH GEN DO
Koh Gen Do started in the most unlikely of ways. A Japanese actress, Ai Saotome, was becoming concerned about her skin. She was spending the majority of her days in heavy makeup – and was lacking that ‘inner glow’ that Japanese consumers love.
Koh Gen Do’s products amplify your skin’s natural abilities to repair and restore.
She wanted to find a way to make cosmetic products that would help you look better without them too! Her first celebrated product was the Maifanshi Moisturise Foundation.
8. Manakai Beauty
Born in 2004, Makanai Beauty is a tribute to the old tradition of gold leaf production in Japan. Working conditions weren’t exactly favorable. However, they found that the foundry workers’ hands were decades younger than their faces.
The production process means that workers would submerge their hands into a fermented paste used how making the thin paper sheets placed between gold lead squares.
The women working at the foundry realized this and started making their own skincare products from this material – a recipe passed down from generation to generation.
Their bestseller Skin Jewel Oil Serum includes Pure 24K Gold Leaf Flakes, and rosemary leaf oil is reminiscent of the brand’s humble beginnings.
One of Japan’s favorite cosmetic brands, DHC is committed to creating gentle products which are backed by science. Natural ingredients are a cornerstone in most DHC products which use the power of olive oil and its natural hydrating abilities.
The Japanese skincare brands created the concept of double cleansing with gentle cleansing oils, and the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is one of the best in the market. It can be used as a one-step product for no-fuss makeup removal while cleansing your skin of any other impurities.
SUQQU comes from the Japanese expression “a figure rising to their full height,” in this case, signifying becoming the best version of oneself. The brand also created the world-famous Gankin facial massage technique, originally developed as a quick backstage beauty technique to improve the radiance of artists.
Luckily, even if you’re not an a-lister, SUQQU has formulated a line of products to enhance the 3-minute facial to improve blood flow and circulation for a glow from within. The Designing Massage Cream is specifically for the facial message and can be easily wiped off once the time is up!
Founded by Giselle Go and Philippe Terrien, DAMDAM is Japan’s leading clean skincare brand, honoring traditional ingredients and techniques. The products are modern and simple but still purposeful – embracing heritage and supporting Japanese culture and craftsmen. From start to finish, from formula to packaging, DAMDAM is made in Japan.
Like Tatcha, their best-selling Hydrating Essence contains a naturally occurring AHA from Japanese rice and will improve skin elasticity and shrink pores.
Naturie is a brand focusing on moisturizing and healing the skin’s natural barrier – perfect if you have damaged skin from pollution, acne, or incorrectly using potent products. Their skincare line has only three products and can be used together as your routine or individually incorporated as your wish.
The main ingredient [Job’s Tear extract] is a popular ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine and is extracted from Job’s Tear seeds; used for reduced inflammation, swelling, and congestion.
Their best-selling Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioning Gel can be used as an essence after applying toner. The gel texture turns into a water-like consistency when applied. This protective film will hydrate your face whilst leaving no uncomfortable greasy feeling.
Founded by Japan-born Gen Inomata in 2002, Boscia was born from the belief that skincare should be nontoxic, effective, and fun. While committing to being vegan and cruelty-free, Boscia has created some of the industry’s most popular clean beauty products.
Since his daughter, Lan Belinky joined the team after graduating college, they have introduced more cultural heritage into the brand, like the Sake collection. Their notorious Luminizing Black Charcoal Mask was also the brainchild of the new skincare mogul – and was one of the first ‘good-for-skin’ peel-off masks on the market.
KANEBO is one of Japan’s OG makeup brands. They started out by trading cotton in 1887 and later launched as a cosmetics company in 1937.
Their ethos stands strong in that cosmetics are an act of empowerment, strength, and willingness to elevate your life. They represent pride in oneself and with made with eco-friendly materials – pride in serving the environment too.
KANEBO owns many brands in the Japanese cosmetics industry. However, their own line boasts an array of popular products. Remember when we said SPF products in Japan are unrivaled? The KANEBO Cheering Mist UV SPF 50 is what sun protection dreams are made of.
SEKKISEI plays off the aesthetics of the traditional Japanese aesthetic concept “miyabi” – one of aristocratical elegance. Since 1985 they have formulated easy-to-use products with ancient herbal remedies hailing from Asian culture. Their best-selling range of products contains over 100 types of plants and natural ingredients.
Including their best-selling miracle product is their “Herbal Gel,” which can be used as a gel cream or even a sleeping mask. It contains anti-inflammatory ingredients to hydrate the skin while improving blood circulation to create lasting suppleness.
We hope this was helpful in discovering your next Japanese skincare shopping spree or maybe even inspired a trip to Tokyo to see it for yourself!
If you’re looking for more new skincare product recommendations, take a look at our beauty coverage below.