A couple of months ago Allure had a slideshow of Japanese cosmetics the magazine claimed "Will change your routine forever". I liked a previous list of Korean products, and I'm a huge fan of Asian beauty in general, so I did some further investigating. And shopping. I didn't buy all thirteen items, and I added a couple of others for good measure, since I was ordering through Amazon and their "you might also like" feature is scarily effective. Here are my impressions of the stuff I tried:
Kanebo Suisa Beauty Clear Powder. Individually-packed doses of cleansing powder. You pour it into your palm, add a bit of powder and wash your face with it. The result is kind of soapy and incredibly effective without drying my face too much, so it's great for thorough removal of sunscreen, cleansing oil, and skin debris. I've also used it with my Clarisonic brush with good results. Perfect for travel.
LuLuLun Balance Moisture Masks. I've been using sheet masks for years, both store-bought and ones I've made myself, and I have to say that these LuLuLun ones are among the least effective I've come across. The hydrating serum is weak and does nothing for my skin; I can't even say that it's particularly moisturizing. To add an annoyance, the masks are not individually packed, just float together in the main packaging so you need to makes sure you reseal it properly. To make a better use of them I added various other serums under the masks, which worked well enough. Try Instead: Hada Labo masks.
Ichikami Kracie Hair Treatment Water. Rice water for the scalp. It's an interesting idea, and I've found that this product works as a really good scalp serum. It's calming while softening my hair. The downside is that at least for my hair the next morning I can tell that my hair has lost its shine and needs to be washed. Also, the dispensing mechanism breaks easily, so I need to pour directly from the bottle. Still, it's an interesting concept and worth trying.
Since I was already at it, I also bought other Ichikami Kracie hair products: Rice Bran Hair Care Set - Shampoo & Conditioner, and the hair mask. The shampoo and conditioner are okay, but not impressive. I can't say that they perform any better than any gentle drugstore equivalent items. I'm also not crazy about the very synthetic floral smell, though the husband liked it in my hair. The hair mask (Ichikami Premium Hair Mask), on the other hand, is wonderful. It provides extra nourishment and leaves the hair feeling healthy and soft.
Tatcha Camellia Nourishing Lip Balm. Like any other Tatcha product I've tried so far, this is a great balm, even if I'm not a fan of the jar packaging (it's a balmy gel, so I don't know why it doesn't come in a tube, either a squeeze one or with an applicator like a lip gloss. I'm also not sure the gold is really necessary, but it's a nice touch that makes this otherwise basic product feel more luxurious.
And one bonus item from the list, which I've used in the past but didn't buy this time: DHC Deep Cleansing Oil. I think many of you are already familiar with this classic product.I'm a fan of both DHC and of oils, but this one is not necessarily my favorite. It's basically an olive oil, so I don't see the point of packaging with a heavy markup. Personally I find olive oil to be too heavy for my needs, so I passed. Try instead: Tatcha Cleansing Oil or Aroma M Camellia Oil.
Photo: Shinichi Suzuki- Japanese Woman in Traditional Dress Posing with Cat and Instrument, 1870s. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.