Home Skincare American Vs. Japanese Skincare Routines
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American Vs. Japanese Skincare Routines

by Sandy Taylor

Japanese skincare routines have invaded the mainstream! Inspired by the Korean skincare revolution, beauty lovers everywhere have turned their attention to metropolitan Asian countries, like Japan, for tips and tricks to smooth and poreless “glass skin.” So what are Americans missing out on? There are vast differences between the American take on skincare and the Japanese method. There are more steps involved in a typical Japanese skincare routine, as well as more products, but the results are beyond worthwhile!

Japan Takes a Gentler Approach

In Japan, beauty gurus approach the business of removing makeup a bit differently than folks do in America. Specifically, they’re much gentler when they remove their eye makeup. In the States, we’re so careful to delicately dab on our eye creams and concealers, yet we’ll scrub the heck out of our eyes with a makeup wipe or a soaked cotton ball. All that scrubbing and pulling is horrible for the fragile, thin skin around your eyes. In fact, all these years, you’ve probably been attributing to the signs of aging without even realizing it!

It’s better for your eyes—and your youthful appearance—to copy the Japanese method. Soak a cotton ball with makeup remover or facial oil, then hold it against one of your eyes. Press it gently until the product dissolves your make-up then softly wipe. Repeat as necessary until your face is clean.


Two Cleanses Are Better Than One

In the United States, washing our faces is all about efficiency. We pick our favorite cleanser or scrub, wash morning and night, and then move on. In theory, that’s fine, but in reality, Stateside cleansers can dry out your skin. 

The Japanese method involves cleansing twice every day. For the first round of cleansing, you need an oil-based cleanser. Don’t worry — it does clean your face! More importantly, oil cleansers wipe away makeup and other gunk while also nourishing your skin with essential fatty oils. At this point, you can either cleanse just with water to rinse any remaining oil residue; or you can follow with a soapy cleanser full of natural ingredients to remove any remaining residue on your skin.

Two Times the Toner

Convenience and quickness seem to be the cornerstones of American skincare routines. The praises of toner are sung in the United States, but not nearly enough. The standard technique for applying toner here involves soaking a cotton pad with toner then wiping your face to death. Although the skin of your face is a bit more durable than the skin around your eyes, it still can’t handle that sort of rough treatment. 

Once again, the Japanese application of toner is much gentler. In a Japanese skincare routine, you apply the toner to your hands and then gently blot onto the skin. The Japanese also amplify their toner usage by following up with a facial sheet mask. Facial masks are packed with toner, along with botanical extracts and hydrating essences that seal in the amazing benefits of your toner.


A Difference in Lotion

There’s an enormous difference between American lotion and what you find in Japan. Generally, American lotion is more like thick cream. In contrast, Japanese lotions are more like a liquid; some people even describe them as “watery.” Like an American skincare routine, however, a Japanese skincare regimen also includes applying your lotion after cleansing and toning.

The Essence of Essence

Essences don’t really exist in American skincare. Caught somewhere between a serum and a toner, an essence is a little known secret ingredient in the Japanese beauty routine. While American skincare doesn’t have an equivalent, you can easily bring this Japanese powerhouse into your bathroom. Japanese beauty aficionados use essences to brighten their skin and prevent signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines.

Serums and Skincare

Serums aren’t unheard of in the United States, but they tend to be something we buy, use for a few weeks, then forget. In Japan, however, they’re a vital aspect of daily skincare! One reason for their popularity is their ability to target any (and all!) areas of concern. For example, you can get a serum to deal with fine lines, dry skin, or an uneven complexion.


The Value of Tea

In America, green tea is not exactly our beverage go-to. In Japan, however, green tea is a way of life, especially matcha tea! Matcha’s antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties can balance your complexion, banish redness, protect your skin from UV rays, potentially prevent cancer, and hydrate your skin—and that’s just from drinking it! The Japanese best-kept beauty secret involves brewing a cup of green tea, giving it time to cool, and then applying it to the face as a toner — or just enjoying a cup every day!

America has a bevy of skincare products to choose from, but Japan proves that they aren’t always necessary. The main difference between American and Japanese skincare is that Japanese skincare takes time and involves investing in fewer, but more high-quality, products that leave you with glowing, “just woke up this way” skin!


Author Bio: Katie Tejada is a writer, editor, and former HR professional. She enjoys writing about events, travel, decorating trends, and innovations for the home, but also covers developments in HR, business communication, recruiting, real estate, finance, law, and investing.

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