It’s a long running gag in the expat community that Japanese will be 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.
Tokyo is particular, is a nightmare. The humidity can get as high as 80% percent, but come winter it drops all the way down to 10%!
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…!
To combat winter dryness, I’ve stepped up my skincare regime with products that can be purchased for around 1,000 yen. If you’re curious about the world of Asian beauty products or are looking for some new Japanese products to try, read on!
MUJI High Moisture Light Toning Water (700 yen) and Moisturizing Milk (780 yen)
無印良品化粧水・敏感肌用・高保湿タイプ & 乳液 敏感肌用・高保湿タイプ
I recently became a fan of MUJI after reviewing their skincare and cosmetics line for a project. MUJI is a Japanese lifestyle retailer known for its products that come in simple, frills-free packaging.
What makes MUJI’s products so great is that all products are made from spring water sourced from Iwate Prefecture. It contains momoisturizing 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, their skincare line does not use parabens, mineral oils, fragrances, alcohol, nor dyes.
The toning water goes on smoothly and leaves my fingers with a powdery-like touch. When I have a bit of time at night, I do a face mask afterwards. Normally, however, I simply follow up the toning water with the Moisturizing Milk to enhance my skin tone and quality. Read more about MUJI’s skin care and cosmetics lineup on Live Japan (written by yours truly, of course!)
MUJI High Moisture Light Toning Water and Moisturizing Milk can be found at MUJI stores OR at Family Mart convenience stores.
Kose Clear Turn Princess Veil Rich Moist Mask (350~ yen)
コーセクリアターン プリンセスヴェール リッチモイスト うるおいマスク
I’ve been living in Japan for years but it’s only until now that I’ve ventured out into the world of Japanese sheet masks. As I slowly navigate drugstores in search of products that suit me, these Clear Turn Princess Veil Rich Moist Mask by Kose have grown on me.
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.
I found the lack of essence startling at first — Korean sheet masks are usually dripping in excess essence that I like to rub all over my body. Despite the lack of essence, this mask effectively hydrates my skin, thanks to the moisturizing ingredients like honey and lychee.
Kose Clear Turn Princess Veil Rich Moist Mask can be found in drugstores across Japan.
Its’ Demo All-In-One Face Cream (1,300 yen)
I find that Japanese sheet masks and other skincare items often have an “all-in-one” feature to accommodate the needs of on-the-go city women. One such product is this hydrating night cream from novelty cosmetics, stationary and clothing retailer Its’ Demo.
I never paid much to Its’ Demo as a majority of its cosmetics are collaboration items with Disney, Sailor Moon, and Hello Kitty that seemed more focused on kawaii than practical. Oh, how wrong I was! I snagged this one because of the novelty factor — it features old school pokemon! The container of this cream may change depending on seasonal collaborations, but the ingredients are always the same.
I was surprised at how great this made my skin feel the next morning. You can use this moisturizing cream all over the body. It contains hyaluronic acid, collagen and placenta extract. I suggest using it at night on your face only as it can be a bit too thick to use before applying makeup.
It has a pleasant light fragrance that is not too overpowering or irritating for me. It leaves my skin supple to the touch, giving me the mochi hada I’ve always dreamed about!
When I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror, my skin looks fresh and radiant, with visibly smaller pores. It pairs perfectly with the Kose Clear Turn Princess Veil Rich Moist Mask!
*Mochi hada is a term that literally means “mochi (Japanese rice cake) skin,” referring the springiness of freshly made mochi.
Its’ Demo All-In-One Face Cream can be found at Its’ Demo shops across Japan.
Bath Roman Skincare Shea Butter and Hyaluronic Acid (450 yen)
バスロマン スキンケア シアバター＆ヒアルロン酸
The MVP of this list is this canister of bath time relaxation. Bath Roman Skincare Shea Butter and Hyaluronic Acid are not bath salts, but rather a fine powder.
I’m a longtime fan of the Bath Roman series, which come in a variety of fragrances and help ease ailments like shoulder ache, back ache, cold and physical fatigue.
It contains two hydrating ingredients, shea and hyaluronic acid, a powerful combination that hydrates the skin and locks in moisture.
Little Kaiju has skin issues and I’ve tried nearly everything to ease her itchiness. Baby oil in water is a tried and true trick, but not when I’m home by myself with the baby. I certainly don’t want to slip and fall when getting us out of the tub! So I like this product because I get an oil like layer on my skin that is not slippery. Plus the powder dissolves easily, making clean up a breeze.
The lid functions as a measuring cup and I always put 2 generous scoops in a bathtub full of 38C degree water. 2 heaping scoops transforms the bath water into a fragrant, translucent milky bath that leaves our skin feeling silky smooth.
Bath Roman Skincare Shea Butter and Hyaluronic Acid is available at drug stores across Japan.
Fight Winter Dryness With These 4 Skincare Items From Japan
Check out this post on Japanese products and tips on winter in Japan:
10 Best Hand Creams for Winter in Japan (Best Living Japan)
Preparing for Winter – Top 10 Japan Essentials (Best Living Japan)