Lucy’s Japanese Beauty Picks
You’ve probably heard it countless times – Asia pretty much laps the Western world when it comes to advancements in technology and science. While this might be up for debate (I’m sure as hell no expert), I can vouch that my experience with Asian beauty and skincare has been a success. Maybe it’s the thrill of using an exotic product with instructions I literally can’t read, or perhaps it’s the underlying knowledge that painfully extensive research went into its production – either way, some of the stuff is AMAZING.
The Japanese in particular have nailed the scientific art of fusing product innovation with chic packaging and presentation. I remember popping into Japanese supermarkets in New York City as a young teenager, perusing the aisles while trying to decipher labels for any indiction on what things were or how to use them. The beauty and candy aisles always fascinated me (not much has changed ten years down the line), and the only items I was brave enough to try were the Kiss Me mascara accompanied by a side of Pocky (delish candy-coated biscuit sticks).
Fast forward several years and Japanese beauty products are all the hype; the Western World followed suit, producing their own versions of Japanese cleansing oil, algae-infused moisturizer, hyaluronic acid serums, BB creams and MORE. As a self-proclaimed product junkie with a knack for cultural exploration, I had to try everything. New York offers a decent selection of Japanese markets, but LA’s massive Asian community has made for a goldmine of shopping destinations. After extensive trial runs, I’ve decided to add some essential products to my beauty arsenal – read on for my special Japanese beauty picks:
Oshima Tsubaki Camellia Oil - $18.50
Japanese women have purportedly used this suuuuuuper concentrated cold-pressed oil on their hair for years to give it that signature shine. Tsubaki oil is a main ingredient in many Japanese haircare products for its conditioning and smoothing properties, but I like using just a FEW drops on my long, color-treated hair when it’s damp.
Juju Aquamoist Essence – $20 – 30
This superlight gel is meant to be applied after cleansing and toning in order to smooth skin and prep it for moisturizer. This is a really lovely, non-irritating serum that helps improve the appearance of my skin keeping it bright, plump and fresh.
Said to “to lock in the moisture of an ocean,” this toner uses the exfoliation power of hyaluronic acid while infusing moisture back into the skin so as not to irritate or dry it out.
Missha Perfect Cover BB Cream – $24 – 30
You’ve no doubt heard of the “BB Cream” craze that’s taken the beauty industry by storm over the last couple of years. Essentially, “BB” stands for “beauty balm,” a formula meant to improve the condition of skin while camouflaging flaws with added SPF protection. The Perfect Cover BB Cream from Missha gives the most unbelievable “no makeup” look, keeps oil at bay, and has surprisingly decent and buildable coverage.
Shiseido Facial Cotton – $7 – 10
You might be thinking, “what’s so special about facial cotton?” Fair question, but let me tell you this stuff is exquisite. It feels like velvet on the skin and better distributes the product to the face. Welcome to the luxe league ladies because regular cotton pads will NEVER feel the same.
Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil - $10 – 14
Next to mascara, this cleansing oil was one of the first Japanese beauty products I’ve tried and it remains a staple in my arsenal to date. Terrified at the thought of washing your face with oil? I was too – cleansing oils emulsify and break down the oil and oil-based products on your face for a better, deeper cleanse. Trust me on this.
Applying Japanese mascaras is comparable to dying and extending your lashes. They do NOT budge. This formula adds unbelievable volume and length to lashes for a doe-eyed, doll effect.
Salux Beauty Skin Cloth – $4-5
The Japanese are notorious for creating solution products – think AS SEEN ON TV stuff. These scrub cloths by Salux are designed to help you exfoliate every nook and cranny of your body with a windshield wiper motion. I actually laugh out loud every time I use it, but hey it really helps slough off dead skin!