The Best (& Strangest) Japanese Beauty Products

We came, we saw, shit got weird.

By: Meagan Wilson
Photography: Renée Rodenkirchen

While its reputation in the beauty game pales in comparison to it's neighbor, Korea (we love you Tokyo, but those women are running things, beauty-wise, right now), Japan's beauty buys are not to glossed over, either. After all, we're talking about a culture that's embraced getting naked in front of large groups of strangers in the name of higher metabolisms and glowy skin for thousands of years. And while we went in armed with Tsubaki, DHC Cleansing Oil, oodles of fake eyelashes and Cure Aqua Gel high on our to-buy list, we instead found ourselves leaving with a big beauty haul with sheet masks that, when applied, made us look like dogs. Oops.

Turns out, when in Tokyo, the weird and wonderful wins every time, and this extends to right down to beauty, too. After all, who can resist attempting to Google Translate boxes with cartoon women who inexplicably have band-aids on their noses (pore strip?) and nipples (uh... maybe not)? Not us, that's for sure.

 

Pure Smile Will You Be A Cat? Mask

 

When a beauty product straight up says "Will you be a cat?" in large bubblegum pink letters surrounded by nothing more than Japanese characters, you kind of have to try it. It's like, "Uh, yes I will be a cat tonight?" So on first impressions alone, this face mask had my vote. Once I had the sheet strategically placed around my face, I commenced my post-application routine (Bordeaux and chill, the usj) but this time as a feline. TBH, even if my skin wasn't super soft (thanks collagen, hyaluronic acid & vitamin E) after 20 minutes (okay, more like 30—I was watching Mad Men), I would still give it a ten and repurchase. If only for the cats :heart_eyes_cat: :heart_eyes_cat: :heart_eyes_cat:.

— Alicia, Editorial Assistant

 

Pure Smile Will You Be A Dog? Mask

 

Kabuki Face Pack and Will You Be A Dog face masks: As a tourist in Tokyo for the first time, I had to have these. They moisturize and look pretty funny.

— Renée Rodenkirchen, Videographer & Photographer

 

Animal Face Pack

 

Guys, I think I have to move to Japan. For the sole reason that there is a ridiculously large selection of animal-face sheet masks. As if I wasn't already obsessed enough with the #basic variety, now some genius in Tokyo goes ahead and puts panda faces on them. You know, because that's what you want to look like during a Netflix binge. To be honest, the biggest decision here was which one I was going to give my BFF (it was a two pack: panda and tiger. I chose the panda in the end). It was moisturizing and adorable. Plus, it made for a pretty funny Friday night in.

— Noah, Senior Editor

 

Pure Smile Kiwi Point Pads

 

Kiwi Point Pads: These are really cute moisturizing pads that smell like kiwi. I put them on my smile lines—it felt nice and cold, but there was too much moisture and was a tad too sticky.

— Renée Rodenkirchen, Videographer & Photographer

 

Pure Smile Strawberry Point Pads

 

Guys, I just did some work with liquid soaked pads about the shape of those cotton pads you use with eye makeup remover, but instead, are pink and feature pictures of strawberries, stuck to my cheeks and elbows. It's by far the oddest look I've worn while sitting in my bed at 9 PM on a Monday. And while the entire package, plus directions, is completely written in Japanese, here's what figured out from some Internet deep-diving and pure investigative experimentation. The Strawberry Point Pads are spot masks, meant for very specific areas of your skin that are in dire need of hydration. And while my cheeks are more likely to break out than flake from dryness, that seemed to be what the diagram on the package suggest I do. That and put them on your elbows (mine are most definitely due for some moisture—although the application process was a bit awkward) and my feet (haven't gotten that far as of yet). After 10 minutes, I removed the pads and rubbed the remaining gelly-like liquid into my skin (it's mostly hyaluronic acid, as far as I can tell). And I'm hydrated, in perhaps the most bizarre process ever.

— Emily Ramshaw

 

K-Palette 1 Day Tattoo Eyeliner

 

I saw the word tattoo and went for it... it's just a liquid eyeliner. Ha!

— Renée Rodenkirchen, Videographer & Photographer 

 

Bath Salts

 

These bath salts smelled like strawberries but looked like the opening scene from an episode of CSI. The water turned bright red as I was drawing my bath and I was worried it was going to stain my skin, but there wasn't a trace on my body or on the tub afterwards. With a small amount, I think the water would have turned a pretty light pink shade and would have still smelled amazing but other than that, there was no real take-away. Still, in spite of the fact that my bathtub looked like a crime scene and I smelled like Kool-aid, I quite enjoyed the experience. Oh yeahhh :sunglasses:

— Kelly McLeod, Analytics & E-commerce Manager

 

 

Baby Foot

 

Baby Foot is on my beauty treatment bucket list, right up there with cryotherapy and a facial at Aida Bicaj. I've admittedly been duped by knock-offs in the past and it was every bit as traumatic as you'd imagine—everyone on the Internet says the 3 or 4 days before your feet start peeling are the worst if you're impatient, and it's even more excruciating when the peeling part never actually comes.

While I could've saved my box o' Baby Foot for mid-winter, when my feet are at their peak grossness, I instead decided to slip on the plastic booties the night after shelling out for a pedicure like a real genius. As advised, again, by the Internet at large, I let them marinate in there for a little longer than the hour advised by the box. The acid peel gel smelled like florals mixed with nail polish remover, and tingled in the same way a Stridex pad would (on your face, that is). I haven't seen results just yet, but it's weird that I'm looking forward to it, right?

— Meagan Wilson, Senior Editor & Social Media Manager

 

Cogit Cassa Lift Plate

 

Ever since chatting to a mega-babe influencer on set about her beauty routine, I've been obsessed with facial massage. Her skin was insanely amazing and she told me after a month of facial massages people thought she had had work done. Soooo... seeing this facial massager in Tokyo, I had to give it a try. The stone is shaped for the contours of your face. I had to look it up online because all the writing was in Japanese (this is how I learned how to use it). Honestly, it feels really good and takes 5 mins. Hopefully I get a faux facelift after a month, too! Keep ya posted ;)

 — Renée Rodenkirchen, Videographer & Photographer

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