It’s a long running gag in the expat community that Japanese are quick to tell you that Japan is a country of four seasons. But, I’ve yet to run into a Japanese person who can tell me why this country is so darn humid in the summer — and dry as a bone in the winter. In fact, the humidity can get as high as 80+% percent, but come winter it drops all the way down to 10%! Get ready to fight winter dryness with these 30 skincare items from Japan.
Why does this matter? Skin is our largest organ and it needs to treated with the best care. Our skin is particularly vulnerable when humidity is low. Low humidity can lead to dry skin and uncomfortable symptoms like cracked, sore skin, redness, and itchiness.
It’s easy to cover up your body and hands with clothing and gloves, but there’s little do do when it comes to the face, unless you want to walk around in sunglasses and a face mask. (To be fair, though, Japan is probably one of the few countries in the world where you can get away with such an appearance…! Especially these days!)
To combat winter dryness, I’ve stepped up my skincare regime. If you’re curious about the world of J-beauty or are looking for some new Japanese products to try, read on! For winter skincare tips, see this post: The Ultimate J-Beauty Guide to Winter Skincare.
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Fight Winter Dryness With These Skincare Items From Japan
Utena Premium Puresa Jelly Mask in Cherry Blossom
A messy and gooey but extremely hydrating product that boasts a rich combination of collagen, royal jelly and hyaluronic acid. Not only does the cherry blossom scent let you know that spring is on its way, this set of Utena Premium Puresa Jelly Masks also heals. Pair with a silicone mask for an extra boost!
Minon Amino Moist Sheet Mask
Formulated for parched and sensitive skin, Minon Amino Moist Sheet Masks contain 9 amino acids and hyaluronic acid to deeply moisturize and clarify skin. The fabric of these sheet masks are soft to the touch and fit to the face in order to lock in moisture.
Lululun Precious RED Sheet Mask
The moisture-rich sheet masks in the Lululun Precious series, the RED series uses 4 different kinds of rice-derivative ingredients to nourish the skin. Use in tandem with the Precious Cream as the final step in a nighttime skin routine for extra moisturizing boost overnight.
KOSE Clear Turn Moist Charge Eye Zone Mask
This is a package of 32 crescent shaped patches that you apply to the area under the eyes when sheet masking or in the morning for a quick boost. Retinol, a derivative of Vitamin A, along with collagen and hyaluronic acid hydrates and plumps the under eye area and can be used on smile lines as well.
Keana Nadeshiko Rice Mask
Kose Clear Turn Princess Veil Rich Moist Mask
I’ve been living in Japan for years and only recently made the switch from K-beauty to J-beauty. Now, I’m all about Japanese, and the first sheet masks that I discovered are these Clear Turn Princess Veil Rich Moist Mask by Kose!
Lightly scented with floral fragrance, these best-selling masks combine 5 skin care products: lotion, emulsion, face pack, serum, and cream. Although it’s a three-layer mask, it is surprisingly thin yet fits snugly on the face. I find it is great for minimizing the pores on my nose and cheeks and hydrates my skin, thanks to the moisturizing ingredients like honey and lychee.
FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil
A lightweight oil cleanser that does its job without leaving behind any residue, FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil gently cleanses without stripping your skin of its natural oils. The result? Clean skin that’s soft and moisturized.
Curel Intensive Moisture Care Foaming Wash
My daughter suffers from severe atopic dermatitis, with occasional flare ups these days. One brand that I’ve consistently used on her skin for the past 4 years is Curel. It’s a skincare brand formulated for sensitive skin to help it restore and retain ceramides. This foaming face wash is free of fragrances, colorants, alcohol, and is hypoallergenic, making it a suitable choice for even painfully dry skin.
Meishoku Detclear Facial Peeling Jelly
Tackle dry and rough skin with exfoliation 1-2 times a week to remove the outer layer of dead skin cells and promote cellular turnover and smooth, healthy skin underneath. Meishoku Detclear Facial Peeling Jelly uses fruit-derived AHA and plant-derived BHA to gently remove impurities on the skin’s service. Be sure to grab the fragrance-free version so you don’t irritate sensitive skin.
MUJI Light Toning Water
MUJI Light Toning Water is made with spring water sourced from Kamaishi, in Iwate Prefecture. It also contains moisturizing ingredients like grapefruit seed extract and purslane to combat daily damage from the sun’s harmful UV rays and airborne particles. As an added bonus, it does does not use parabens, mineral oils, fragrances, alcohol, nor dyes.
Hada Labo Gokujun Premium Hyaluronic Toner
Hadalabo Gokujun Premium Hyaluronic Solution is a Japanese “toner” or keshousui, which means that it works by boosting hydration levels when applied to a freshly washed face. It’s a gel-like substance that uses 5 different kinds of hyaluronic acid to deliver an intensive dosage of long-lasting deep hydration and dewey, plump skin.
*Only available as a set of 3 or 5
Hada Labo Gokujun Premium Hyaluronic Emulsion
After applying a “toner” to your face, you’ll want to add another layer of hydration with a sheet mask. But if you’re pressed for time, you can skip right to an emulsion, or nyuueki, a milky substance that acts like a super lightweight cream. Hada Labo Gokujun Premium Hyaluronic Emulsion uses 7 kinds of hyaluronic acid to keep skin smooth and moisturized with no sticky or tacky feeling.
11. Curel UV Essence
When it comes to your daytime winter skincare routine, you don’t want to forget sunscreen! UV rays are a major contributor to skin damage, so protect your skin by keeping the sun at bay. Finding an appropriate sunscreen for dry and sensitive skin can be difficult but Curel UV Essence is a wonderful option that provides ceramide care, plus it’s SPF30 PA+++.
Meishoku Ceracolla Perfect Gel
A light, but hydrating product with ceramides and collagen, Meishoku Ceracolla Perfect Gel is an “all-in-one” gel that can be used as a standalone product or as the final step in a nighttime skincare routine. Ideal for combination skin types, it moistures without clogging pores, leaving skin fresh and smooth in the morning.
Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Perfect Gel
Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Perfect Gel is a great alternative to night creams for those who don’t like the “heavy” feeling of creams and oils (raises hand). In fact, it’s an “all-in-one” product that can be used right after washing your face. Like the other products in the Hada Labo Gokujyun series, this gel uses hyaluronic acid to hydrate. Additional ingredients include squalene, ceramides, and sacran.
Curel Intensive Moisture Cream
For extremely dry and irritated skin, there’s Curel Intensive Moisture Cream for overnight nourishment. It has a creamy texture that glides on effortlessly and absorbs easily into the skin. Not only does this product hydrate, it also soothes and heals.
DHC Olive Virgin Oil Essential Cream
Formulated using DHC’s best selling product Olive Virgin Oil, DHC Olive Virgin Oil Essential Cream is a luxurious, moisturizing cream that uses botanical ingredients. It absorbs quickly into the skin, leaving it feeling hydrated, smooth, and refreshed.
SANA Nameraka Isoflavone Wrinkle Eye Cream
SANA Nameraka Isoflavone Wrinkle Eye Cream makes frequent appearances on my Instagram stories, especially during #selfcareSunday. It’s a very hydrating cream that blends retinol, soy milk, and vitamin E to nourish the skin. I apply to the area under my eyes as well as my smile lines as the very last step in my skincare routine. This little tube lasts about 2 months, and you won’t be disappointed that you tried it!
Hands & Lips
Hada Labo Gokujun Premium Oil Jelly
Hada Labo Gokujun Premium Oil Jelly protects and moisturizes rough areas of skin thanks to its formula that includes “super soft petroleum jelly” and 5 types of Hyaluronic acid. It comes in a thin aluminum tin and would be ideal for the bed stand or powder room so it will always be within reach.
DHC Medicated Lip Cream
There’s a good reason why beauty bloggers rave about DHC Medicated Lip Cream! It’s a balm that uses lanolin and beeswax to create a smooth layer of moisture on the lips. I like to use this as a lipstick primer and my daughter has her own personal tube that she carries in her backpack.
YUSKIN-A Family Medicated Cream
You might know YUSKIN-A Family Medicated Cream as “Yu-Be,” which is how it’s marketed and sold in the US. It’s a classic hand and body skincare product that’s been sold in Japan for more than 60 years! (I like how they’ve kept the old-school, retro packaging!) Use it to treat a variety of skin concerns like cracked, itchy, dry and red skin. Put this 120 gram jar in your kitchen or bathroom so you’ll remember to apply YUSKIN-A after doing the dishes or washing your hands.
NIVEA Soft Skin Care Cream
A different take on the Nivea in the blue tin, NIVEA Soft Skin Care Cream is a versatile product useful for moisturizing the face, hands, and body. It contains jojoba oil and Vitamin E and is not as thick as “classic” NIVEA and is more easily absorbed into the skin. Like many of the NIVEA products available in Japan, this one is also manufactured in Japan.
Bath & Body
House of Rose Original Oh Baby! Body Scrub
Just like your face, the skin on our bodies need exfoliation in order to remove all those dead skin cells accumulating on the surface. I bought House of Rose Original Oh Baby! Body Scrub a while back, and it took me almost a month to get through one jar (when used 2-3 times a week.) Unlike traditional sugar scrubs or body scrubs, the granules in this product are fine, almost like a paste, and do not scratch or irritate the skin. Plus, the scent is not overpowering, either.
Bath Roman Sensitive Skin Care in Shea Butter & Hyaluronic Acid
Bath time is a big part of my self-care Sunday routine because it allows me to relax and bond with my mini-me. She unfortunately has very sensitive skin, so it’s been a challenge finding bath salts that won’t irritate or dry out her skin. I’ve tried all the bath salts in Bath Roman Sensitive Skin Care series, but I think I like this one best. These bath salts combine shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and squalane to leave a silky layer of moisture on the surface of the skin.
Another variety of bath salts under the Bath Roman series is Premium Salt Moist Skin Care in Vanilla Floral. It has a very fragrant vanilla aroma, so I can’t use it with my daughter. But, when I’m lucky enough to get some solo bath time I like to use this one instead! If your skin isn’t irritated by fragrances this is a very nice one to try. It contains 10 kinds of moisturizing ingredients, including shea butter, royal jelly, ceramides, placenta, hyaluronic acid, milk protein, and rosehip oil.
Curel Moisture Cream
Not to be confused with Curel Intensive Moisture Face Cream, Curel Moisture Cream is formulated to target on problem areas of the body. It has a very different consistency and may cause irritation or breakouts if used on the face. However, when applied to the knees or elbows or heels, Curel Moisture Cream is very effective in smoothing and moisturizing dry, flaky patches of skin.
Perorin Foot Peeling Pack
Our feet often experience the brunt of winter dryness, so I’ve got something for you! If you haven’t ever tried these “foot peeling” booties from Japan, here’s how they work. Simply place your feet in the plastic booties, secure the openings to the ankle with the tape provided, and let your feet soak for an hour.
You won’t see immediate results, but after a few days, the skin on the soles of your feet will peel away to reveal super soft and smooth underneath! (And yes, it’s as gross as it sounds to see yourself molting, but the results are SO worth it! Just don’t go over the allocated time or you could actually get chemical burns.)
Fight Winter Dryness With These Skincare Items From Japan
For winter skincare tips, see this post: The Ultimate J-Beauty Guide to Winter Skincare
For even more Japanese skincare products to keep your skin hydrated all winter long, check out the selection in my Amazon Storefront: Sayonara, Winter Dryness!
Be sure to check out my posts on How To Talk About Cosmetics and Skin Care Products in Japanese and Where to Buy Skincare Products in Japan.
Fight Winter Dryness With These Skincare Items From Japan