Japan is known throughout the
world as a technological mecca. It is a country that constantly surprises the
rest of the with their creativity and development. So it only makes sense that
their innovative spirit translates into their beauty and lifestyle markets as
well. You may think that your makeup bag is complete as is, but you just might
reconsider after checking out these incredible Japanese products.
BB Drink

In the States, we rely on
topical creams and serums to improve our skin. But in Japan, it’s not always
what’s on the outside that matters most. According to Alyssa Reeder, a writer
at Into The Gloss who actually travelled to Japan in search of amazing Japanese
beauty products to bring home, drinkable tonics are a staple of Japanese
skincare. In fact, they’re so popular that you can easily find them at
virtually any Japanese drugstore.

To the American eye, a beauty
drink can seem strange, but many Japanese people rely on tonics like the
popular Chocola BB Drink to improve and nourish their skin. How does it work?
Reeder writes, “Chocola BB Drink alleviates acne with vitamin B2, B6, and
B1 to promote healthy turnover in skin cells.” Used as part of your daily
routine, it is supposed to improve the quality and clarity of your skin. It
also has an energizing effect, which is actually what the product’s initial
purpose was. According to Reeder, “It was made particularly for women to
boost energy and their immune systems.” Talk about a one-two punch! If
you’re interested in giving it a trial run, you can order Chocola BB Drink from
Rakuten Global Market.
Foot Peel

We admit, this product is a
strange one, but it’s also pretty fascinating. The Baby Foot Peel came up when
New York Magazine’s The Cut talked to professional makeup artists Yumi Mori
(whose client list features Julianne Moore and Gisele Bündchen) and Munemi Imai
(Solange Knowles) to get the scoop on the need-to-know Japanese beauty products
on the market.

The bottom of all of the foot
is obviously not the most lovely part of the body to look at. The skin there
can be coarse and uneven. The skin on your feet may sometimes naturally start
peeling in certain spots on its own. What Baby Foot Peel does is it puts that
peeling process into your own hands. It sheds the dead skin from your feet over
a few days to reveal the soft, healthy skin underneath. The peeling process itself
is kind of gross, but when it’s done you’ll love your feet like never before.
Just be sure to let it take it’s natural course. Don’t start peeling it
Loveheart Lip Care 3 Step System

This product is similar to the
foot peel, but it’s specifically for your lips. It does the same job of
exfoliating and removing dead, peeling skin for a smooth, healthy look. If
you’re the kind of person who constantly battles chapped lips, this should be
on your list. It’s a simple 3-step process, complete with exfoliating cream,
hydrating mask and nourishing lip gel.

A writer named Bethany at
Beauty Junkie tried this product for the purposes of review and, according to
her, “The Brilliant 3 Step System does exactly what it promises to do. It
turned my lips from a total disaster into a smooth canvas in around 20
minutes.” The only downside is that the results apparently only last for a
few days if you’re prone to dry lips. But considering that this exfoliating
process only takes about 20 minutes to accomplish, it’s not that hard to do
once a week.
steam mask

Another The Cut recommendation
is something that, loosely translated, is called a paper steam mask. The
purpose of this eye mask is to soothe and rejuvenate the eyes and the
surrounding skin. You can find this product at a Japanese drugstore, or you can
order it online in case you’re not roaming around Tokyo.

Apparently it functions like a
hot steam eucalyptus mask, except it’s totally dry! The Cut says it is “a
great way to recover from the eye strain of staring at devices and computers
all day.” In our modern age where the digital work day and social media
are practically unavoidable, this is a great relaxing product to enjoy before
bed. Creating a home spa routine for yourself won’t just help the appearance of
your skin, but it will make you feel better after a long day.
whitening drops

Part of what makes some
Japanese beauty products amazing to a foreigner is that they are products you
never would have thought to use before. It’s this amazement with the bizarre
that brings us to our next product. Japanese brand Rohto sells eye drops that
literally whiten your eyeballs to make your look brighter and more youthful.
You may be asking, Who would ever need this? Well, the pros do!

The Cut writes that these eye
drops are actually used professionally all of the time in the beauty and
fashion industries. They call this whitening formula “the secret weapons
of photo shoots.” This product also functions as a regular eye drop to
help with dry eyes. Writer Annie Kreighbaum over at Into The Gloss also
enthusiastically backs Rohto’s Lycee drops. She uses them on a regular basis to
both enhance her vision and to whiten her eyes. The only drawback to this
product is that it is said to burn a little bit at first, but Kreighbaum
reports that it’s actually more of a cooling feeling — a sensation that you
easily get used to.
Bubble Hair Color

Most Americans dye their hair
with products that mostly resemble a kind of cream. There is a Japanese hair
color product, though, that foams instead, and it is apparently much easier to
use (and still works!). It can turn dark hair into 20 different shades, from
red to orange to beige.

A beauty blogger named Mhisha
Cuyson wrote about Liese Creamy Bubble Hair Color product for her website, The
Touch of Yellow. Not only did she review the product, but she was also invited
to attend the brand’s launch event a little over a year ago. Cuyson’s personal
experience with the hair dye was very positive. Because it is a foam formula,
it essentially acts like a shampoo, so it is extremely easy to apply.
She writes: “What we both
love — me and my sister — is that Liese doesn’t leave a strong chemical scent
on our hair. There wasn’t [an] itchy feeling on our scalp the way cream-types
do. It also didn’t make our hair dry and frizzy. Our hair feels smooth and soft
after washing it. We also notice that the color stays intact, without fading
after a week of shampooing it. Plus, it’s so easy to use!”
and Charcoal Scalp Conditioner

Charcoal may seem like an
unlikely or even an odd ingredient to include in your beauty routine, but it is
actually gaining incredible hype. Activated charcoal powder apparently has
amazing effects for both your skin and your hair. For right now, let’s focus on
adding the ingredient to your haircare routine. The Pelican Mud and Charcoal
Scalp Conditioner is a Japanese product that can be found on the huge beauty
website Takaski. This hair care product starts directly at the scalp to nourish
and hydrate dry scalps, ease dandruff and make hair healthier from the root.

So why charcoal? According to
Best Health, it has properties that play a huge role in healing and purifying
your skin and hair. The Reader’s Digest subsidiary writes, “Because toxins
stick to the activated charcoal, it makes a good candidate for a deep cleanser
and detoxifier. It’s all-natural and won’t add new chemicals to your skin and
hair when you use it.”

Charcoal is used in tons
Japanese beauty products (like the hair care product mentioned earlier).
Charcoal soap is hugely popular in Japan because it helps rid pores of dirt and
leaves your skin looking healthier, shinier and more even-toned. Allure writer
Veronica Gledhill is another beauty professional who made the trip all the way
to Japan to investigate the country’s products, how they work and what is most
popular. Being of Japanese heritage, this was an especially intriguing mission
for her.

She writes of the charcoal
soap bar, “The powder in this soap comes from the Kishu region of Japan.
It’s made through a process that involves burning oak branches for several days
and then cooling them down.” That’s a lot of work to go to for soap! But
according to her, it’s totally worth it. The charcoal soap bar’s unique
properties transforms the quality of your skin. Gledhill recommends the Sumi
Haigou Settuken Charcoal Bar Soap. Give it a try by easily ordering the product
from Amazon.
Rose Quartz Massage Plate

This is another product that
Allure writer Veronica Gledhill recommends from her trip to Japan. It’s a
product that facilitates one of the most traditional beauty routines in
Japanese culture. Gledhill writes, “A considerable chunk of the Japanese beauty
market is devoted to different methods of facial massage, a practice believed
to stimulate the lymphatic system and firm the muscles of the face.”

While you could just use your
hands to massage your face, many woman use this Rose Quartz Massage Plate as an
aid. The Japanese do this because massaging the muscles and the skin of the
face is supposed to improve blood circulation for a more glowing, radiant look.
It is recommended that you give yourself these facial massages several times
per week. You can get the product here.

Even an American who doesn’t
know much about Japanese culture is most likely familiar with the iconic figure
of the geisha. While many may mistake geisha as a kind of Japanese prostitute,
these woman are expertly trained in the arts of conversation and entertainment.
They use singing and dancing to charm their clients and give them a traditional
Japanese experience of female beauty. While Americans may not know much about
the life of a geisha, the look of one is hard to miss. According to
professional NYC makeup artist Denise Del Russo, this is what inspired the
beauty company TATCHA to create their products.

“One of my absolute
favorite brands for Japanese beauty is TATCHA,” she told me. “Japan’s
geisha is known for their beautiful, porcelain skin. TATCHA pays homage to
these icons of Eastern beauty, and their products include the very best green
teas, Okinawa red algae, and rice bran. The secret ingredients of the geisha
beauty regimen!”
Del Russo talked to us about
some of her absolute favorite TATCHA products that she claims are must-haves.
This beauty expert swears by the brand’s Polished Classic Rice Enzyme Powder,
their Luminous Dewy Skin Mist and their Gold Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm.
“The powder is activated by water and once applied it becomes creamy and
leaves skin feeling so clean and baby soft,” she says. “It’s great
for uneven, textured skin.” The skin mist is kind of like a makeup setting
spray, but Del Russo says it also gives the skin “a natural, glowy
look” as it keeps your makeup in place all day long.
As for the Gold Camellia
Nourishing Lip Balm, they really do mean gold. Not only does it nourish your
lips, but the balm also contains “hand-laid 24-karat gold leaf to add a
touch of golden shimmer.” If that’s not pampering, we don’t know what is.

If you ever happen to find
yourself in Japan, make it a point to stop into a Japanese drugstore for beauty
supplies that will revolutionize your makeup kit. It may not sound glamorous,
but what you find will leave you feeling like you could walk the red carpet.
Even if you don’t have travel plans, you can get all of the products that we
listed online. Seeing as how several beauty experts and professional makeup artists
swear by Japanese cosmetics, it’s definitely worth exploring.

Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.