Review: Are These Mika Ninagawa X FANCL Cleansers As Good As They Look? | Clozette


In #TeamClozette, I can say that I'm the resident Japanophile. While many people raved about K-culture, my allegiance towards J-dramas, animé, and of course, J-beauty never wavered. This is why I'm happy that J-beauty is finally getting the recognition it deserves, aside from global favourites like Shiseido and Shu Uemura.


However, I have to admit that since J-beauty is still hard to access here in the Philippines, I only tend to stock up on my skincare and makeup picks whenever I visit the Land of the Rising Sun. Some of the things that I hoard like crazy? Cleansers. While K-beauty is known for their famous balm cleansers, I've always loved Japan's take on oil-to-liquid cleansers, as well as the fascinating powder-to-foam washes. So you can just imagine my excitement when I was asked to review the Mika Ninagawa x FANCL Special Edition cleansers


Made in collaboration with Japanese photographer Mika Ninagawa, the FANCL Facial Washing Powder and Mild Cleansing Oil were given a packaging that will entice you to pick them up. But is their pretty packaging as good as their performance? I draw my conclusions below. 


Packaging


As I said earlier, by the packaging alone, this collaboration owns some bragging rights. After all, Mika Ninagawa is a renowned photographer and film director in and out of Japan, earning fame for her stellar flora and fauna photography, plus a couple of visually stunning films like Sakuran (2006) and Helter Skelter (2012). 



Her signature "vivid nature" aesthetic is evident in the cherry blossoms featured in the collaboration's packaging. However, only the Mild Cleansing Oil featured a realistic image. The Facial Washing Powder only followed the collab's colour scheme, playing with pink and blue with a touch of small cherry blossom detailing in front of its bottle. While these two definitely added flair to my vanity, I'd say that the Mild Cleansing Oil's bottle wins, packaging-wise simply because it stuck to the theme.


Review: Mika Ninagawa x FANCL Cleansers Packaging


As for the other features, I'm quite used to Japanese oil cleansers having a clamp at the nozzle to avoid accidental spills and I'm glad that the Mild Cleansing Oil has it. As for the Facial Washing Powder, it's my first time to try this type of product because I've steered clear of these whenever I buy skincare products in Japan. I'm just scared of spilling products (I'm a klutz, tbh) and feel like powders are more prone to spillage than traditional foam cleansers. I know there are packet-types from other brands, but I just never really got around to buying one. I hoped that in trying this out, I'll change my mind. 


Scent and texture


Both cleansers don't really have scents, which is a major plus in my book. I've tried a couple of Japanese cleansers that put me off because of their weird smell so I'm really glad these don't smell bad.


Review: Mika Ninagawa x FANCL Cleansers Texture

Left: the FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil is clear, lightweight, and non-sticky; Right: the FANCL Facial Washing Powder is finely milled, non-grainy, and turns to smooth, rich foam at upon contact with water


As for the texture, the FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil is actually pretty lightweight for an oil cleanser and didn't really feel icky or too thick in consistency, which is great. The FANCL Facial Washing Powder, meanwhile, is very finely milled and didn't feel grainy at all. I find this highly positive since it didn't seem to be too harsh to cause skin abrasions, nor did it ball up when I start rubbing it against my skin. 

Claims and usage


Let's start with the FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil. It is said to dissolve and remove even the most stubborn makeup along with pore-clogging oils and dirt instantly. It also promises to leave no residue and no sticky feeling whatsoever while ensuring that the skin is not stripped of moisture post-cleansing. 


As a fan of oil cleansers, I'd say that the Mild Cleansing Oil performed beautifully. For two pumps, I easily got rid of a full face of makeup, including my waterproof Heroine Make Mascara, which can be tough to remove even for other heavy-duty cleansers I've tried before. It didn't sting my eyes nor left any weird sensations on my sensitive skin. Plus, my skin felt refreshed, clean, but not dry at all. 



Left: swatches of liquid lipstick, waterproof mascara, pencil liner, and full-coverage concealer; Right: FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil in action, wiping everything off without any hard rubbing or scrubbing


Moving on to the FANCL Facial Washing Powder. It promises a rich, creamy foam upon contact with water. It's quite similar to the Mild Cleansing Oil when it comes to its claims, except for the makeup removal part. It is said to work best with their recommended Facial Washing Puff (which is sold separately). 


I don't really use electronic face brushes nor do I have their washing puff so I went about it in two ways. One, I directly used my fingers to see if it will sud up without any aid. Two, I used my facial brush. The thing I noticed is that it can be a bit tricky to control the water ratio when using your fingers, so having a face washing tool with this is a lot better. My face brush gave me the nice, sudsy texture I was looking for and it performed quite close to a typical face foam but with a lighter and gentler feel. 



The FANCL Facial Washing Powder when applied using a wet facial brush


However, if there's one thing to note about the Facial Washing Powder, I'd say it's easy to lose control when pouring out the product. This is especially so when compared to other products like the Suisai Beauty Clear Powder Cleanser, which has individual packets. With this, I'd say that while it's a nice novelty pick, I won't be using it as my daily cleanser but rather as something I would take with me when travelling. I like the idea of convenience and practicality it gives, versus a foam cleanser that could burst in my luggage. 



Overall thoughts


Let's go back to my initial question. Are the Mika Ninagawa x FANCL Special Edition Cleansers as good as they look? 


I'd say yes. The FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil is definitely a new favourite for me. It trumps my longstanding pick, the Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil, when it comes to aesthetic and size. It also ticks off all the boxes when it comes to fragrance, gentleness, and of course, great performance.



The same goes for the FANCL Facial Washing Powder. While I do have reservations about using it as my daily cleanser, I think its pros still make it worth a lot of praise. I brought it on a weekend excursion and it proved to be a better choice for travelling than a liquid/foam cleanser. Plus, according to my research, powder cleansers are also a lot better than foam cleansers when it comes to gentle exfoliation because of their dry particles. This makes it a great pick for people like me who want to trim down their routines to include gentle yet efficient products that are multi-purpose.


With that said, along with the added bonus of both products having nice aesthetics, the Mika Ninagawa x FANCL Special Edition Cleansers prove to be solid additions to my list of top Japanese beauty product picks. While the experience may vary from one user to the next, I can honestly say that these are worth considering if you're looking to build your J-beauty vanity. 



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Nail wraps and stickers are nothing new, but these days they're getting some extra attention. And why not? Theoretically, nail wraps are a heaven-sent alternative to the traditional lacquer. No more waiting for the polish to dry, chipping won't be an issue, and it's an easy, mess-free way to give your tips some nail art. All you have to do is paste the wrap, file and you're good to go. There's really no harm in giving it a try! Keep reading to know where you can get the best nail wrap sets in our region.


Incoco Japan



Incoco Japan provides an array of cute and dainty designs that will surely catch your fancy. From ethereal florals to sparkling glitters, there's no shortage of adorable looks in their catalogue. Their products are available in over 30 stores in Japan so getting one won't be an issue when you're visiting the country. Be sure to check out their Ornate Collection, which features beautiful ombre options.


EMMEzing Nails



The edge of EMMEzing's nail wraps is their "3 in 1 material" system where each wrap already comes with a base and top coat along with the design. This innovation will certainly cut down your manicure time by almost half, which is always a plus in our books. They also offer nail wraps in special edition designs that celebrate local culture like the "ILY, Ondeh-Ondeh!" set inspired by the tasty Southeast Asian snack called Onde-onde. International shipping is available so you can gift this to your friends overseas.


Ki-Kai



Based in the Philippines, Ki-Kai (a play on the Filipino word "kikay" meaning girly) has just launched a year ago and is now beginning to expand to more locations nationwide. But although they're a newbie player, Ki-Kai already offers a wide variety of designs ranging from minimalist to bold and geometrical. They even have a tropical-inspired collection that's made in collaboration with local influencers Kally Araneta and Chelsea Robato. 


Nail Pop



Gals in Malaysia can get their nail wrap fix via Nail Pop. They have several outlets in Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya, but you can also just order the goodies online (for Malaysia delivery only). Some of their must-haves are the embellished nail wraps that include little gemstones in the design which are perfect for complementing any glam look. 


(Cover photo from: kikaiph/@incocojapan)


Next, discover these underrated brands that you should know about.


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Rihanna continues to break down barriers with her recent campaign for Fenty Fashion. As she dropped her first-ever collection online, fans were quick to notice how the singer continues the fight for body-positivity and inclusivity. On the cover of the Fenty’s fashion jewellery section, you’d see Sudanese model Aweng Mayen Chuol with her facial scars untouched by Photoshop. It’s another huge step for the acceptance of unedited beauty, a revolutionary movement in a world where flawlessly perfect looks are perceived as beautiful.


A model with facial scars poses for an unedited beauty campaign

(Photo from: fenty.com)



Towards unedited beauty



Besides Fenty, other fashion and beauty brands have already attempted to normalise what’s real. Back in 2014, lingerie brand Aerie made the commitment to feature only unretouched photos. Aside from that, they featured the most inclusive line-up of models and ambassadors. #AerieREAL casted women of all sizes and colour, as well as those with various medical conditions and different abilities. Other than that, there’s Gucci, which, just this last May, became the first major luxury brand to do an unedited beauty campaign. Their ‘80s-themed lipstick campaign featuring close-ups of crooked teeth made imperfections a part of beauty. These game-changing moves were applauded because they inspired empowerment in diversity.  


Photoshopping standards



Still, most models and celebrities usually featured in fashion and beauty campaigns fit the conventional idea of beauty — but that doesn’t mean they’re already safe from digital retouches. Most of the time, their photos are still heavily edited to push their perfection to be ridiculously unattainable. Seeing this almost every day creates unrealistic beauty standards for all — so much so that even these celebrities feel compelled to edit photos they upload on their personal Instagram accounts. And for the people whose feeds are filled with them? Well, they’re forced to yearn for this unattainable beauty too. We’re used to seeing this inhuman perfection that we become unsettled when we see real bodies instead.



Inclusivity rules



Everyone can agree that edited beauty puts so much pressure on everyone. The unattainable body standards they impose breeds insecurity in all. It seems as if you’re not beautiful if you aren’t tall and slim with smooth, light skin. This toxic cycle is exactly why unedited beauty initiatives like Fenty’s are a huge deal for us. Everyone is born different, so beauty shouldn’t look the same as well. Normalisation of real bodies is important so we could be more accepting towards ourselves.



With big brands like Rihanna’s Fenty, Gucci, and Aerie paving the way for unedited beauty, hopefully other brands will follow suit. Imperfections exist in all — we have no other choice but to embrace them.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that soon, a model with untouched scars is no longer news, but the norm. 


(Cover photo from: fenty.com)

Next, here are some body-positive influencers you can follow. 
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