Often overshadowed by their buzz-worthy Korean counterparts, Japanese skincare products remain highly regarded for their premium quality, stringent research and development and exquisite textures. Beyond that, they also hold some of the most potent natural ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years to improve skin quality for firmer, smoother, plumper and more radiant skin. Here, the six ingredients you need to know about, and start using:
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Text: Joyce Cheo
1. Green Tea
A staple in the Japanese diet, green tea is a great antioxidant that works for your entire body, including improving cardiovascular health when ingested. When it comes to skincare, it is a popular antioxidant that is commonly used to strengthen skin against environmental damage.
Try Boscia Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer, $56 for 50g, a lightweight moisturiser which protects the skin against free radicals. In addition, it also contains burdock root to help absorb excess oil and regulate sebum production so your complexion remains well-balanced, matte and hydrated.
2. Rice Extract
This is commonly found in hydrating skincare ingredients thanks to its ability to support the production of hyaluronic acid within skin cells, rice extract also helps to calm inflammation.
Try SkinCeuticals Hyaluronic Acid Intensifier, $98 for 30ml, which works with licorice root extract, pure hyaluronic acid and Proxylane for short-term and long-term hydration. Expect plumper, smoother and younger-looking skin.
3. Cherry Blossom
Rich in essential fatty acids and antioxidants, cherry blossom extract is great for calming the skin and rebuilding its barrier layer.
Try Snow Fox Skincare Japanese Cherry Blossom & White Tea Smoothing Mask, about $47 for five pieces, which infuses skin with its restorative goodness to correct dullness and improve skin texture over time. This handy sheet mask is also fortified with white tea extract (another antioxidant) and hyaluronic acid to lock in moisture and protect it from dryness.
4. Camellia Oil
An ingredient that geishas reportedly swore by to protect and nourish their skin and hair, camellia oil remains a popular ingredient in Japanese skincare products for its ability to improve skin elasticity and neutralise redness.
Try Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil, $135 for 30ml, which is a blend of camellia seed oil, vitamin E, algae extract, rice germ oil and glycerin. When applied onto skin, it instantly improves skin elasticity and reinforces skin’s barrier layer, thanks to the high content of essential fatty acids. Powerful antioxidants also mop up free radical damage and strengthen skin. Plus, it also has tiny golden flakes which disintegarte upon application and meld seamlessly into skin for a subtle gleam.
5. Reishi Mushroom
A prized herb, ingested to boost vitality in the body, Reishi mushrooms are known for their high antioxidant content.
To reap the optimal benefits of this precious ingredient, try Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate, $110 for 30ml. Designed to be a booster serum which maximises benefits of all the subsequent products applied, it sets the foundation for healthy skin, thanks to its ImuGeneration Technology. Harnessing the antioxidant properties of reishi mushrooms and iris root, this powerful compound equips skin to defend itself against oxidative damage for younger-looking skin.
A delicacy in Japan, shiso is widely used in soups and tempura or drizzled over rice, thanks to its complex flavour profile. When applied onto skin, it unleashes its antioxidant powers to protect skin from external sources of damage.
Protect your skin with THANN Shiso Revitalizing Fluid, $55 for 40g. Formulated for oily, acne-prone skin, this lightweight fluid moisturiser deeply replenishes skin with moisture while shielding it from free radical damage. Meanwhile, it is also formulated with horse chestnut seed to reduce redness and soothe inflammation for a clarified and supple complexion.