Makeup is said to be only the second frontier. The initial and absolute goal should be to have healthy glowing skin, and the billion dollar skin care industry has a lot to say about that. I’ve tried more than enough in my lifetime and while I have listed a few of my favorite Japanese makeup finds, their skin care counterpart deserves their own list.
1. Juju Cosmetics Aqua Moist Vitamin C Toner. According to Sasa.com, this is really what the product is called. A mouthful, I know. It is a lotion and not really a toner, meaning it is soft and easily absorbed by the skin, not abrasive like the usual alcohol-based potions. Important thing lost in translation: Japan’s cult hit is a brightener and not a whitener. And that is why you will love it. Virtually colorless and odorless, it spreads on the skin like cool water on a hot summer day. It will not give you skin as pale as a geisha, but through consistent use, it lightens dark spots and even fights a bit with freckles. And oh yes, your face will be soft as a baby’s bottom you cannot help but touch it. A reasonable find at $17.
2. Bifesta Cleansing Water. Dubbed the number 1 water-based cleanser in Japan (everything seems to be number 1 out there, doesn’t it?), I first saw the Bifesta brand on a magazine ad. So yes, that works too. And so does strategic product placement in malls. I walked past this bottle a few times in SM (sold at about P400) before I finally gave in and bought it. Since it is a cleansing water, it gives no oily residue the way Shu Uemura‘s celebrated cleansing oils do. And for someone plagued with oily skin like me, that (plus the cheaper price) is where it tips the scale. Smells and feels fresh, Bifesta clears away all makeup including your eyeliner and mascara with only 2 pumps. Downside: the pump likes to spill stuff, so make sure your flat cotton catches it all nicely. This product is best for girls who are so tired they fall asleep mid-skin care ritual. I swipe this on my face and get the makeup off as soon as I step in the room. And even if I fall asleep without washing my face, I don’t get breakouts. Don’t make a habit of that though.
3. Cure Natural Aqua Gel exfoliator. Another best-seller, Cure is a physical exfoliator, basically requiring the user to pump out a small drop of the product, apply the clear gel on the skin, and move it around the area gently. White beads – removed dead skin cells – come off, and as promised, leaves the skin softer and clearer. The after effects also make the skin the perfect canvas for makeup, and helps it absorb toners and moisturizer better. This product claims to be preservative-free, artificial fragrance-free, mineral oil-free and coloring-free. Don’t ask me how they managed that, but it probably helps that the product is 90% water. The price may seem a bit steep at P1,500 for 250ml, but since you only need to use it once, maybe twice a week, it will last a lifetime. Or maybe just a good 3-4 months, to be realistic.
Like all lists you will find in this blog, this is in no means exhaustive, but more of the tried-and-tested, and here-to-stay variety. Japan is the land of both the rising sun and the poreless beauties, and definitely has more (expensive) skin care loot out there for the taking. Stay tuned.
Bifesta products are available in Watsons, Landmark and SM Department stores. Aqua Moist is available through Sasa.com or your friendly neighborhood online reseller. Cure is exclusively distributed by Beauty Bar. Photo credits to their owners.