Embrace the pleasingly pared-back and ritualistic world of Japanese beauty
With an arsenal of revolutionary ingredients, state-of-the-art technology and super-cute packaging, K-beauty vibrantly catapulted into our lives in 2015. We were suddenly hooked on Korea’s cure-all sheet masks and 10-step routines, as we slathered our skin in snail extract and firming jelly. We used K-Beauty to educate ourselves on the intricacies and innovation of skincare, while brightening up our bathroom cabinet no end.
As the cultural attitude has shifted however, so has our desire for a less-is-more, natural approach to skincare, craving clean ingredients and efficiency with our beauty routines. Step forward J-beauty – K-beauty’s sophisticated, serene older sister with a panoply of harmonious, results-driven products.
Japanese beauty doesn’t follow trends; it is steeped in tradition. The Japanese beauty industry is one of the oldest in the world, anchored by a commitment to historic rituals. Authentic Eastern ingredients that have been relied upon for centuries, like calming camellia oil, restorative, antibacterial green tea and anti-ageing cherry blossom, are paired with an ever-advancing, technological knowledge of extraction, resulting in a process that has been perfected over generations.
"Japanese people have a consistent image of ideal skin and they know what products and ingredients they need to achieve that state," explains Japanese beauty blogger Nicole, founder of Beau Tea Time In Tokyo. "I would describe Japanese skincare as authentic; unlike Korean skincare which is cutting-edge and very innovative, Japanese products always have mechanism and research behind their development."
J-beauty is satisfyingly simple. Gone are the gimmicky face masks and harsh exfoliants, replaced by a refined and structured skincare routine that supports gentle nourishment and long-term results. A calming sense of harmony surrounds the products, while packaging is pleasingly clean and elegant.
The Japanese beauty routine comprises of a double cleansing system using oil, essences, moisturisers and serums. J-beauty primarily focuses on hydration, with the aim to use natural, effective ingredients in as pure a form as possible. The result? Bright, healthy skin that requires minimal make-up.
With its rising popularity, there are plenty of luxury Japanese beauty brands to shop in London. From Shiseido and Sensai to Decorté and DHC, find our pick of products below.
7 of the Best Japanese Skincare Products
Sensai Silky Purifying Cleansing Oil
Any good Japanese skincare routine starts with a cleansing oil, and this rich and luxurious cult cleanser by Sensai is one of the best. It is created with the brand’s signature ingredient, Koishimaru silk extract, to thoroughly clean and nourish the skin, removing make-up for a fresh finish. Apply in the evenings by gently massaging onto skin before rinsing away.
Decorté Prime Latte
Kate Moss is the global face of Decorté, which is famed for using onsen water from geothermal volcanic waters to infuse skin with magnesium, potassium, sodium and other vital elements. Formulated with fruits and botanical oils, their Prime Latte comes in a milky formula that transforms complexion for alluring softness and smooth skin. Use every morning and night after applying lotion. Dispense two pumps onto a cotton pad and smooth gently over your face.
Japanfusion by Beauty Pie
The Japanfusion cleanser was hailed as the best newcomer of 2018 by Vogue, and with good reason. The new four-step collection from Beauty Pie is fast reaching cult status for its blend of effective natural ingredients including jabara fruit extract for Vitamin C and antioxidant grape extract.
From £25 per product, beautypie.com
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
DHC prides itself on its continuous innovation and quality ingredients, without parabens, colourants or added fragrance. The brand’s skincare line uses organic olive virgin oil to creat premium products. This deep facial cleanser emulsifies into a cleansing milk to remove make-up and dissolve dirt, leaving skin smooth, refreshed and balanced. Dispense into dry hands, then massage onto dry skin. Rinse thoroughly with lukewarm water and follow with a cleanser.
Tatcha Luminous Dewy Skin Mist
Tatcha takes its inspiration from the oldest beauty book written in Japan. Combined with science technology, each product is created from scratch, advancing time-honoured beauty practices for modern life. The Luminous Dewy Skin Mist rehydrates and refreshes skin with an instant softening and smoothening effect. Spritz 2-3 times right before applying makeup to help achieve a flawless finish. Take it with you for easy touch-ups on the go.
Tatcha Aburatorigami Blotting Papers
Another beautifully packaged Tatcha hero product. Made from all-natural abaca leaf which doesn't overly dry the skin, Tatcha's blotting papers are for an instantly oil-free, glowing complexion. Ideal for midday touch-ups, this product contains 23k gold flecks to remove excess oil. Simply blot your face and T-zone whenever needed.
Shiseido Bio Performance Glow Reviving Serum
A super-serum from an internationally loved brand. Shiseido excels in skincare, offering the highest quality products in brightening and anti-ageing. Their Bio Performance Glow Reviving Serum directly targets multiple skin concerns including redness, dullness, uneven skin tone and ageing. Apply daily by dispensing serum into the palm of your hand and smoothing evenly over entire face and neck.