It’s time for another beauty post, but I won’t be talking about skincare or makeup. I’m introducing the Japanese products that I use on my natural hair.
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Little Kaiju and the demands of working mom life were a big push in helping me make the decision to go natural.
Two years later, I’m glad I made this choice. Factor in the fact that my daughter will grow up in a society where she is “different” and that some Japanese schools demand that students color/straighten* their hair, I’ve got to foster her confidence, and that starts with accepting my own hair texture.
(*You might find it hard to believe but a lot of Japanese kids are born with brown or dark brown hair and even curly hair, too! Truthfully there are plenty of kids that I’ve met in my teaching career that I thought were mixed, but they’re actually not. )
Now, accepting my hair texture is one thing, styling it is a completely different matter! Factor in being abroad and it really can be tough finding the right products for my hair.
I experiment with hair oils and conditioners when I’m back in the US and stock up on my favorites. But, here are the Japanese products that I use on my natural hair (and little Kaiju, too!
For what it’s worth, I have 3c/4a/4b hair, mainly 4a/4b, with random patches of straight(?!) hair near my temples. My daughter has 3a/3b hair.
Japanese Products That I Use on My Natural Hair
This post was originally written in July 2019. But this May 2020 update comes with a few new finds, along with my tried and true favorites.
Tsubaki Premium Moist Shampoo
TSUBAKI プレミアムモイスト シャンプー
Try it! Available on Amazon Japan
Shiseido Tsubaki shampoo does a great job in helping my hair retain moisture. As a bonus, the scent is light and pleasant and doesn’t compete with the scent of other hair products.
(Note: “Premium Moist” is not available on Amazon US at present. It’s the updated version of Tsubaki Extra Moist Shampoo )
Tsubaki Premium Repair Conditioner
TSUBAKI プレミアムリペア ヘアコンディショナー
Try it! Available on Amazon Japan
I use this to detangle my hair after washing with Tsubaki Premium Moist Shampoo. It makes my hair feel so silky and soft and I use it as a partial leave-in-conditioner for little Kaiju.
(Note: Tsubaki Premium Repair Conditioner is not available on Amazon, but it is the updated version of Tsubaki Damage Care Conditioner. )
Tsubaki Premium Repair Hair Mask
This is the final step of my wash routine on self-care Sunday. I use after conditioner to moisturize and give my hair a glossy finish. It’s not a leave-in-conditioner, nor do I need to leave it on my hair for 10+ minutes, which saves me a lot of time!
Oshima Tsubaki Hair Water
Oshima Tsubaki Hair Water is what I use to refresh dry curls in the morning. I also use this when I need to detangle Miss Kaiju’s curls. It doesn’t have much of a camellia scent, but it gets the job done! (I’m keen to know how Tsubaki’s Premium Hair Water compares, so I’ll be using it throughout the month.)
Tips For Finding Japanese Products For Natural Hair
What works for my hair may not work for you, but one thing that naturalistas have in common is that our hair CRAVES moisture!
You’ll notice that almost everything on this list is “tsubaki.” Tsubaki (椿) is the Japanese word for camellia, and camellia oil is one of Japan’s oldest beauty secrets. It’s absorbed quickly by hair (and skin!) so use it on dry hair or damp hair to lock in moisture.
Oshima Tsubaki Oil is made by the same company that makes the hair mist that I use. It’s 100% pure and made in Japan.
Oshima, by the way, is one of Tokyo’s islands and is home to Japan’s largest camellia garden. (It’s also a great place to check out hydrangeas as well.)
There’s plenty of camellia oil products here in Japan so definitely try a few to see if it helps with your hair, too!
In addition to camellia oil, when I’m looking for new products to try, I stick to products that have “uruoi” (潤い or うるおい) on the label as they’re formulated to keep hair moisturized.
One more thing I like to look out for is damage repair: “ダメージ 補修” (dame-ji hoshuu).
I’ll definitely be updating this post as I come across more Japanese products suitable for my natural hair.
Discovered any Japanese hair products that work wonders for your natural hair? Please share — I’d love to know!