Japanese Skincare Routine: A Step-By-Step Guide | CoolJapan

The Japanese skincare routine is big on hydration. Each step involves products with ingredients that aim to nourish and moisturise. If you’re used to other types of regimens, you may find this utmost emphasis on hydration a bit odd. However, it’s less strange when you think about the end goal of a Japanese skincare routine — mochi-hada. Also known as mochi-mochi skin, it refers to a complexion that’s smooth, bouncy and soft to the touch just like its namesake rice cake dessert. Sounds like something you’d want? Keep reading to find out how to do the Japanese skincare routine.

Step 1: Do double cleansing

In a Japanese skincare routine, double cleansing is better than just cleansing one time. You may think that doing this would result in dry skin, but the goal of doing a double cleanse is to get rid of all the makeup and dirt while maintaining hydration. How is this possible? By using an oil cleanser and then a water-based cleanser. The oil cleanser will wash away any makeup and surface dirt while the follow-up water-based cleanser’s job is to remove other impurities that may have been left behind by the oil cleanser. The result is hydrated, clean skin.

This cleansing method has been practised for centuries in Japan. Geishas would remove their thick white makeup by applying camellia oil and then afterwards wash their faces with a separate cleanser. It caught on and remains part of the Japanese skincare routine in the 21st century. Looking for a good cleansing oil to pair with your water-based cleanser? Try the beloved cult-classic DHC Deep Cleansing Oil® which has a 100% organic olive oil-based formulation that will leave your skin plump but not greasy.

Step 2: Pat on some hydrating lotion

Japanese hydrating lotions are often compared to toners. However, they are not the same. While both aim to bring back the skin’s pH balance after cleansing, a lotion isn’t an astringent. What it does is moisturise the skin and prep it for the next steps. Instead of wiping it with a cotton pad (as one would do with a toner), pour the lotion onto your cupped hands and gently pat the product on your skin. Some hydrating lotions also deliver other benefits such as caring for sensitive skin (Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion), brightening the skin (Kose Sekkisei Lotion) and so on. Read our guide to hydrating lotions to know more about this step.

Step 3: Apply serums

Some would consider this step as optional, but adding serums to your skincare routine is beneficial if you have specific skincare concerns. A variety of Japanese serums are available to address dark spots, acne and so on. There are also some that are preventative and guard your skin against premature ageing and daily damage. Each serum typically features a unique Japanese ingredient. For example, the award-winning Shiseido Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate is formulated with reishi mushroom which is called “the mushroom of immortality” because it’s high in antioxidants.

Before applying a serum, you have to let the lotion be completely absorbed by the skin first. Then, gently massage two to three pumps of the serum onto the skin.

Step 4: Lock in with a moisturiser

Once you’ve reached this step, your skin is already feeling hydrated. Be that as it may, you shouldn’t skip the moisturiser. Its purpose is to lock in all the hydration from the liquid lotion and serum so you can achieve that mochi-mochi skin. A pea-sized amount would suffice. Some who use a beauty tool would prefer to apply a generous amount of moisturiser so the tool glides on easier.

Kiko Mizuhara uses Panasonic Enhancer Microcurrent 3-in-1. 

Look for a moisturiser with a cream formulation that blends well into the skin and won’t clog pores like Kanebo’s Cream In Night. If you’re doing a night routine, this would be the last step and you can already doze off to sleep after. On the other hand, a Japanese skincare routine for the day would include the next step.

Step 5: Don’t forget sunscreen

Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, applying sunscreen is an essential step in a morning skincare routine. Because we live in the humid tropics, you may skip the serum and moisturiser and opt for just lotion and sunscreen so your skin won’t be overwhelmed with moisture.

There are a lot of good Japanese sunscreen products to choose from. For those with oily and combination skin, something lightweight and mattifying like Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ is a good pick. For those sensitive and dry skin, the new Anessa Perfect UV Mild Milk and Moisture UV Mild Gel are perfect as it protects your skin without aggravating it.

And there you have it. The Japanese skincare routine isn’t complicated but it’s effective in keeping skin healthy and hydrated. Say hello to mochi-mochi skin!