I remember my first year in Japan. After seeing how nicely my housemates take care of their skin, I came to realize that I should really be more of an adult and take care of my skin as well. However, when I stopped by my local drug store, I found myself completely overwhelmed by the skincare aisle. I had studied Japanese before arriving, but I found that I had no idea whatsoever about skincare vocabulary in Japanese. Moreover, I was not prepared for the huge variation in humidity levels seen in the Kanto area. The Kuroshio brings in warm, humid weather patterns in the summer but the dry, Siberian winds blow through in the winter. Once I had found my summer skincare routine, winter took me completely off-guard and left my skin dry and inflamed. Googling didn`t seem to help much either since there weren`t any articles in English about this situation.
So, through frantic googling in Japanese, searching the Cosme ranking page and Line-messaging friends, I`ve come up with a list of recommended products to help you take care of your skin and some of the most commonly seen vocabulary related to skincare!
Dry Skin 乾燥肌（かんそうはだ）
Oily Skin 脂性肌（しせいはだ）
Combination Skin 混合肌（こんごうはだ）
(My personal recommendations, since this is my skin type)
Sensitive Skin 敏感肌（びんかんはだ）
Normal Skin 普通肌（ふつうはだ）
We are all jealous of you! You can basically use whatever you`d like, but here are some popular products you might want to try!
Aging Skin 年齢肌（ねんれいはだ）
*This list applies to the parts of Japan that experience extreme humidity in the summer and extreme dryness in the winter. In Hokkaido and the Tohoku area, summers are not so humid and you can probably use any product you wish during that time. Conversely in Okinawa, winters are not so dry and therefore I would probably continue to use the summer products throughout the year.
**In Japan, skincare is less segregated by sex than it is in many Western countries. Japanese men also tend to take pretty good care of their skin. It is culturally acceptable for men to use the vast majority of these products (aside from maybe the face masks and makeup removers). Even if it`s not culturally acceptable, I say that everyone deserves to feel good about their skin and treat themselves. Go ahead and use that mask if it makes you happy!
Okay so now I know what to buy, Sydney, but where can I buy these things in Kashiwa??
Most of these things can be bought in regular drug stores, but a few can only be bought online or in specific stores. Here are some of the drug stores in Kashiwa (in no particular order):
Kashiwa Tobu Station 2F (inside ticket gate) 1-1 Suehirocho, Kashiwa-shi
柏市末広町1-1 柏髙島屋ステーションモールS館 2F
Takashimaya Station Mall S 2F 1-1 Suehirocho, Kashiwa-shi
柏市若柴175 ららぽーと柏の葉 1F 1013
Kashiwanoha Lalaport 1F, 175 Wakashiba, Kashiwa-shi
Bonus Japanese Skincare Vocabulary!
化粧水：literally “makeup water”. In context, it means toner/daily moisturizer. Despite the origins of the word, it is also used for the toners/moisturizers targeted towards men specifically.
サラサラ：silky, smooth and dry
もっちり/もちもち：mocchi-like texture, soft and supple
ぷるぷる：elastic (like youthful skin)
さっぱり：refreshing (like toner. Look for this word when trying to determine whether 化粧水 is toner or moisturizer)
Ratzilla has an incredible list of beauty-related vocabulary in Japanese along with the pronunciation and English meaning. I highly recommend checking it out .
The Cosme Ranking page has a tag for gluten-free products! I discovered this while looking into skincare products for this list. Unfortunately at the moment, the page is mostly limited to hair care and food products. If you have issues with gluten, add some tags to help it grow!
Hey guys! I’m Sydney, your friendly neighborhood foreigner! I moved to Japan in 2014, but I came to Kashiwa in 2019. Despite my name, I’m American not Australian.
When I first arrived in Japan, I was so relieved to find articles written by other foreigners about how to make my way in my new country. Now that I’ve been here a while, I’d like to share what I’ve learned as well and pay it forward.