Glowing skin should be affordable – and it is! Get inspired by My Budget Japanese Skincare Routine for wallet-friendly J-beauty options in order to transform your skincare routine and embrace your natural beauty while saving big! From time-tested traditions to modern innovations, my favorite budget Japanese skincare products embrace simplicity, quality, and a natural approach to beauty.
You’ll find heavy overlap with products listed on this post: 10 Best Japanese Skincare Products Under 1000 yen. However, my current skincare routine focuses on anti-aging care and prevention, which is detailed in Learning From the Japanese Approach To Anti-Aging Skincare.
Everything on this list is priced under 1,500 yen, and most products last me 1-2 months!
My Budget Japanese Skincare Routine
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Perhaps the most important part of any skincare routine is cleansing. I swear by the double cleansing technique, which involves two different facial cleansers.
The first product is a cleansing oil or balm to primarily remove daily grime, along with sunscreen, foundation, mascara, eyeshadow, lipstick, etc. The second cleaning product is a gel or foaming face wash to gently cleanse and restore/replenish the skin’s natural moisture levels.
Here’s how I double cleanse without doubling my expenses!
Softymo White Cleansing Oil, despite what its name may imply, is not a Japanese whitening product in the sense that it will drastically alter your skin color. Rather, it reduces melanin production to create a clear, spot-free complexion.
With that said, Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil is comparable to DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, though it has a lighter texture and is far more affordable. It’s effective at removing most makeup, uses 5 different moisturizing ingredients (shea butter, jojoba oil, sesame oil, safflower oil, and olive oil).
A 200 ml bottle of DHC Deep Cleansing Oil is around 2,000 yen on Amazon Japan, but a 230 ml bottle of Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil is 627 yen! (I, however, sometimes can’t resist splurging on the kawaii Pokemon version when it’s bonus point day at the drugstore!)
Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil is available on Amazon & Amazon Japan.
The second cleansing product I use in my budget Japanese skincare routine is Melano CC Deep Clear Enzyme Wash.
If “Melano CC” sounds familiar to you, then you’re right! This is another Rohto product in the Melano CC family, which all use Vitamin C derivatives for banishing dark spots and brightening skin tone. (It’s also one of my 7 Best Skincare Products For Summer in Japan)
Apparently Melano CC Deep Clear Enzyme Wash is the first Japanese facial cleanser that uses a mixture of clay, enzymes and Vitamin C to suck in impurities in the pores. Vitamin C as an anti-aging skincare ingredient is a powerful antioxidant that can repair skin damage. It also proctors the skin from environmental damage like UV rays, pollution, and blue light,
I actually started using this in November 2023, and love how it leaves my face feeling fresh and clean without any tightness or like there’s any leftover residue.
Regular exfoliation removes dead skin from the surface of the skin and unclog pores. Exfoliation also makes it easier for your products to penetrate the surface of the skin and allows for a smoother application of foundation.
My favorite budget exfoliating product is Det Clear Peeling Jelly. The Amazon Japan version is right around 800 yen (at the time of writing), and when used 2-3 times a week, lasts about 2 months! (It’s also one of my 7 Best Skincare Products For Summer in Japan)
I’m also a huge fan of TUNEMAKERS Undiluted Solution Peeling Lotion, which uses AHA/BHA and ceramides to remove dead skin cells and add moisture. It’s basiclaly a concetrated wope off toner,It’s just a bit over 1,500 yen, but definitely worth splurging for, as with all TUNEMAKERS products! Learn more about Tunemakers, the Custom Skincare Brand From Japan
Det Clear Peeling Jelly is available on Amazon Japan.
Hydrate & Moisturize
Any skincare routine needs a quality toner and moisturizer that uses hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid. This is because our skin loses its collagen support and natural moisture balance on the surface as we age. Add in extreme heat or coldness, and our skin becomes even more susceptible to external damage.
The skin around the mouth and eyes are the first areas to show the signs of aging, which is why it’s important to moisturize. Most Japanese toners do a great job of this as they are water-based and use nourishing ingredients for hydration and balance.
My current budget J-beauty must-have is Muji High Moisture Light Toning Water. In true Muji fashion, there’s nothing remarkable about the packaging, but please don’t judge a book by its cover! Muji High Moisture Light Toning Water is especially formulated for sensitive skin, but I recommend it for all skin types, as it softens the skin and helps it retain moisture. I like to think of it as a dupe for Ipsa Time R Aqua toner, but much more wallet-friendly!
Muji High Moisturizing Light Toning Water is available on Amazon & Amazon Japan.
Rather than using a milky essence to lock in moisture after hydrating, I prefer to use an all-in-one night cream. Hada Labo Gokujyun Lift Cream uses niacinamide and 3 types of hyaluronic acid to plump and lift the skin and boost moisture levels. It’s a very rich, nourishing cream that leaves my skin feeling silky smooth in the mornings.
Hada Labo Gokujyun Lift Cream is available on Amazon Japan.
Why do we need to wear sunscreen? Just let me put it this way — if you can see the sun, the sun can see you! UV care is a fundamental step of any Japanese skincare routine, and when you’re on a strict budget, prevention is worth its weight in gold.
I’ve long been a fan of Nivea sunscreen products, but these days I’m all about Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care. It’s SPF50+ and PA++++, which means it protects against harmful UVA and UVB rays.
Extra ingredients include Japanese honeysuckle extract and pearl extract which moisturize while blocking the formation of freckles and sunspots caused by UV exposure.
Plus, it’s a sweat-proof gel formula that minimizes the appearance of fine lines caused by dryness.
Nivea UV Deep Protect & Care is available on Amazon Japan.
Bargain sheet masks make weekly – or even daily– masking a wallet-friendly ritual! In fact, I’ve even curated a list of 10 Anti-Aging Sheet Masks From Japan.
My current obsession is Kose Clear Turn 6-in1 Retinol Sheet Masks, which use retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, to accelerate skin renewal and reduce signs of aging.
There’s 50 sheet masks in this resealable package, and I use them as a part of my day and nighttime skincare routine. As a 6-in-1 skincare product, these sheet masks are the most cost-effective way to reduce clutter and stretch your money!
In the winter, I switch to Kose Clear Turn Ultra-concentrated Moisturizing Mask EX. It’s made of a softer, thicker fabric packed with a milky serum that targets areas that show the first signs of aging.
Kose Clear Turn 6-in1 Retinol Sheet Masks is available on Amazon & Amazon Japan.
My Budget Japanese Skincare Routine
Achieving glowing skin on a budget is not just a dream—it’s a Japanese skincare reality! By focusing on quality ingredients and not quantity, my budget J-beauty routine showcases that radiant skin is attainable without straining your finances.
Remember, you are what you eat when it comes to skincare! Check out my guide to anti-aging Japanese foods here: