In Japan, the skin is the ultimate identity card. It is socially unacceptable to neglect it. Therefore, Japanese women take care of themselves with discipline. Skincare is as part of their daily lives as the bathing ritual. The time devoted to these self-care rituals is integrated into their schedule. Yet, they never deviate from it.
The steps of layering
To learn more about Japanese skincare, the layering technique is the primary step to master. However, it is only a small part of Japanese women's care for their skin. The principle consists of layering skincare products to provide all the nutrients the skin needs in the following order: double cleansing, lotion, serum, eye contour, cream, and UV protection.
The type of skincare changes depending on when during the day it is applied. For example, sunscreen is used in the morning and during the day. Next, add masks, double cleansing with oil and soap, and photo-sensitizing products such as Vitamin C in the evening.
The double evening cleaning:
Oil allows for deep cleansing of the skin's pores by removing makeup and fine particles accumulated with the pollution. Before cleansing the skin with soap, the oil's texture allows it to mix with its sebum and effectively penetrate the pores. This additional cleansing is, therefore, only done in the evening. In the most used oils and the most affordable brands, we find Bioré, Kosé, DHC, Muji.
For the more expensive brands, we find more costly ranges of Kosé, such as Sekkisei. Other famous brands such as RMK, IPSA, Attenir, Three, Fancl, Dr.Ci-Labo, Chifure, or SK-II, which despite its price remains the great favorite of the surrounding Asian countries.
Face Wash and Foaming powders
Immediately after the oil cleansing, the face wash (or foaming powder) cleans deeply once the pores have been unclogged. The brands mentioned in oils have all the corresponding soap in the most common and affordable products. In addition, we can add Ishizawa Keana Nadeshiko (unbeatable against blackheads), which offers both soaps and foaming powders. Shiseido with its Senka line, Kracié, Hadalabo, Curél, LuLuLun or Momo Puri for a peach complexion.
If you are not familiar with foaming powders, they are also an alternative to soaps because they are less aggressive. They have a soft and pleasant texture and must be mixed with water to lather.
Japanese women use them every day after double cleansing, just before lotion. The packs provide for daily use for about a month. Another popular method is to put one on during the evening bath because the skin's pores are opened by the steam, which allows the active ingredients to penetrate more deeply. Relaxation guaranteed!
The role of the lotion is to prepare the skin for treatment. It will moisten the skin and retain the serum on the surface to penetrate deeper without evaporating. It also dissolves the calcium that clogs the pores. Do not wait for the lotion to dry before applying the serum. The two products must interact.
Among the most commonly used brands, we find Aqualabel (a line of Shiseido). Muji is also famous in this category, Naturie (which uses ingredients such as Coix seed), Hadalabo, Nameraka Honpo, Suhada Shizuku, or Momopuri for the most affordable ones.
For the luxury category, special mention for SK-II, which is very popular in Asia for the emblematic SK-II Japan Facial Treatment Clear Lotion.
The serum step comes once the lotion has prepared the skin. The serum(s) choice is essential. This is the step that will stimulate cell regeneration. According to the specific needs of each one, one can combine a multitude of variants: anti-aging, anti-acne, anti-spot...
One point to note: most anti-aging serums can also be applied to the eye contour area without necessarily using a cream specifically for this part of the face.
Among the serums preferred by Japanese women, we will find Takami, known for its clarifying and exfoliating power. Melano CC and Obagi, rich in vitamin C. Transino and Sekkisei, anti-spot references, and Acseine and Shiseido d-program, acne specialists.
In the last step of the evening routine, the cream seals the benefits of the other products. It retains the active ingredients for better penetration and absorption during the night. In the morning, on the other hand, it is the step that precedes sun protection, allowing the hydration of the skin and protection against external aggressions and cellular oxidation.
All of the brands mentioned above have creams that correspond to their step-by-step routine. However, you don't have to use the same brand throughout the ritual. The best way to find your favorite combination is to go ahead and test it!
UV protection is an institution in Japan. Keeping your skin immaculate all year round requires daily use, even in winter. Unlike the western countries where sun protection is reserved for the beach, in Japan, in addition to creams, women also wear long-sleeved anti-UV clothing even in summer. As you can see, for preserved and young skin for a long time, the basis of anti-aging lies in sunscreen application.
Among the most widely used and reputed brands, we find Bioré UV, Skin Aqua, Anessa, Allie, and OrbiUV.
This was only the first step of Japanese beauty. To get even better results, you can check part 2 of this article, talking about food supplements and Japanese hi-tech beauty devices.
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