Try These: Holy Grail Japanese Skincare Products | Clozette

As the rigorous Korean 10-Step Skincare craze slows down and “skipcare” becomes the order of the day, another international beauty segment is on the rise: Japanese Beauty. The underrated neighbour of the K-Beauty phenomenon, J-Beauty has been quietly enjoying its success among insiders.

Known for its minimalist approach and having highly strict requirements in its personal care and cosmetic product regulations, it’s no surprise that Japanese skincare performs as well as it claims (no overselling labels here!). Add to that the porcelain-like skin of Japanese women and they’ve got us convinced. With Japan being one of the go-to destinations every season, we’ve come up with a guide to the holy grails of Japanese skincare that you must keep an eye out for on your next trip to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen

anessa sunscreen

Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk 60ml, SGD39.90/~USD29 (

Said to be the best sunscreen of all time, Anessa’s Perfect UV Sunscreen has secured the top spot in sunscreen ranking in Japan for a solid 17 years. Not only does it boast of a high SPF but it's also packed with skin-nourishing ingredients like marine collagen and hyaluronic acid to keep your face hydrated. It’s sweat-proof, waterproof, and non-sticky to boot making it a beloved essential in Japanese women’s daily skincare routines. It even has a mild range — perfect for sensitive skin types, which you can find out about here.

Cure Natural Aqua Gel

cure gel japan

Cure Natural Aqua Gel, SGD29.90/~PHP1,500 (

If you’re looking for a chemical exfoliant that really makes you feel as if you’ve exfoliated, Cure’s Natural Aqua Gel is the one for you. This skin peel makes use of activated hydrogen water for some mild surface peeling. You can actually see the dead skin cells coming off once you rub the product into your skin.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

dhc cleansing oil

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil 200ml, SGD32.50/~USD24 (

Many Japanese women rely on DHC’s Cleansing Oil to remove their makeup after the end of a long day. The vitamin- and antioxidant-rich formula transforms into a wonderful milky emulsion upon contact with water for a refreshing cleanse. Skin doesn’t feel stripped afterwards as the cleanser leaves it feeling nourished and radiant.

Lululun Face Masks

lululun face mask

Lululun Classic Moisturising Face Mask 36-Day Pack, SGD26/~PHP995 (

Serial maskers will enjoy Lululun’s hydrating face masks, which come in bulk form. This ultra-moisturising variant combines a blend of hyaluronic acid, acacia honey, and avocado extract to reveal supple skin. Use it daily for a noticeable glow boost.

Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder

kanebo powder cleanser

Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder, SGD26.90/~USD19 for a pack of 32 (

One of the most hyped Japanese skincare products is the Suisai Beauty Clear Powder from Kanebo. Tourists like to stock up on these travel-friendly babies that pack a powerful mix of enzymes and amino acid cleansing ingredients into their capsules. Simply mix with water and enjoy the feeling of an efficient and effective clean.

KOSE Sekkisei Emulsion

kose sekkisei

KOSE Sekkisei Emulsion 140ml, SGD65.60/~USD48 (

Another highlight of Japanese skincare is the Sekkisei Emulsion whose whitening and hydrating properties are praised throughout the country. It features Coix Seed Extract, Angelica Extract, and White Lotus, which work to dramatically brighten skin with continuous use. The non-sticky long-lasting hydration it provides is a hit even for the most dry-skinned users.

Senka Perfect Whip

perfect whip cleanser

Senka Perfect Whip, SGD7.90/~USD6 (

Japan’s favourite cleanser is the famous Perfect Whip. This cleanser offers the most delightful cream to foam formula that lathers wonderfully onto the skin, providing effective cleansing without the dreadful stripping feeling. The addition of Shiseido’s moisture-boosting Aqua-in-Pool ingredient helps strengthen the skin barrier, protecting it from daily damage.

SK-II Treatment Essence

sk-ii essence

SK-II Treatment Essence 160ml, SGD220/~USD159 (

The holy grail of holy grails, SK-II’s Treatment Essence is renowned all over the world for its youth-boosting properties. Its signature ingredient, Pitera™, helps cells regenerate for brighter, smoother, younger-looking skin. Brand ambassador Cate Blanchett credits her glow to regular use of the essence. And who wouldn’t want luminous, almost-ethereal skin like hers?

If you haven't tried any of these Japanese skincare products before, now's a good time to join in the action. Many of them are already available internationally but if you have a friend/relative booking a trip to Japan, it would be a good idea to keep these on your gift list. 

(Cover photos from: @sekkisei.official and @dhcskincare)

Next, check out these Japanese practices you can include in your beauty regimen. 



Once upon a time, the French woman’s go-to shopping destination was her local apothecary. Whether it was a balm for headaches or a special draft to help her sleep better, the apothecary was a one-stop shop for cures designed to address every concern. These days, women turn to the pharmacy for pre-formulated solutions to our problems. Still, the old-world charm of the apothecary with its offering of personalised blends remains attractive. Such is the appeal of Huygens, a French beauty apothecary that launched recently at Isetan Scotts in Singapore.

Founded in 2013 by Daan Sins and Sebastian Guerra, Huygens is an up-and-coming French brand committed to creating the next generation of organic cosmetics that are 100% clean and cruelty-free. Their line-up of beauty products encompasses a wide range, covering fragrance, skincare, home aromatherapy, and even bespoke hair and body care formulas for that extra-special touch.

Clean beauty at Huygens Singapore

Clean beauty aficionados will be delighted by Huygens’s skincare products that are formulated without parabens, pegs, endocrine disruptors, mineral oil, silicones, Phenoxyethanol, and nanoparticles. Their fragrances, meanwhile, are created with flower water, organic alcohol, and natural ingredients. Their home aromatherapy range boasts of 15 high-quality essential oil blends, all of which are created under the direction of a perfumer and an aromatherapist for maximum effect.

Last but definitely not least are the bespoke hair and body care products, which are formulated with essential oil blends. You can personalise them according to your personal preference and the benefits you desire. The process is fairly simple: first, choose a scent among 15 essential oils, then select the base according to the product you need. Options for bases include oils, shampoo and conditioner, washes, lotions, and scrubs.

Huygens Body Lotion

When you’re ready, the Huygens Singapore staff will prepare your special blend for you. Pictured above is a custom-made Huygens body lotion with a Rosier scent consisting of Damask Rose, Rose Geranium, and Lavender. Whatever your preference, you’ll be spoiled for choice finding your perfect blend at Huygens Singapore. Now you can bask in a luxurious and guilt-free experience when you take home one of these products.

(Cover photo from: @huygensparis)

Visit the Huygens Boutique at Isetan Scotts Level 1.



Almost every aspect of mainstream media today talks about inclusivity and diversity. Even the beauty industry, which previously thrived in having one ideal standard, learned to adjust and cater to a wider and more 'realistic' set of audiences. Here in the East, however, it seems like there is still a struggle in overcoming unrealistic beauty standards.

Just a couple of months ago, we reported on South Korean women destroying their makeup in protest against their society's prejudicial expectations on beauty. Then, just last month in the Philippines, two ads for whitening brands were slammed for the messaging that naturally tanned skin is much more inferior to lighter skin. This makes us wonder: is it now time for us to finally discuss skin brightening versus bleaching and its bigger implications on the Asian perception of beauty?

Skin Brightening Versus Bleaching:  Pros and cons

Now, in all honesty, we believe that your beauty choices belong to you. If you love brightening products or take treatments to achieve your dream skin, you do you. If you've journeyed far (literally or emotionally) on accepting your own raw and natural beauty, you do you. After all, beauty should be empowering. However, it is also worth noting that there is a difference between wanting to be your best 'you' and actually endangering yourself in an unending pursuit to getting 'the perfect look'. 

Beauty as a status symbol

In a YouTube documentary done by Refinery29, countries in Asia are the biggest markets when it comes to skin whitening products. The Philippines, specifically, holds the majority of the record when it comes to sales. World-renowned cosmetic dermatologist and beauty personality Dr. Vicky Belo said that this is because having lighter skin is comparable to "owning a Hermes bag." It's a status symbol that can change the game for an individual. This is why procedures — including famous glutathione treatments — have grown in demand since 2016. 

Skin Brightening Versus Bleaching:  Status symbol

Skin brightening versus bleaching: what's the difference?

Speaking of glutathione treatments, they can refer to a procedure done by injecting the antioxidant glutathione along with Vitamin C directly to the patient via an IV drip. This is done to facilitate brightening effects from within the body. It was explained that while, at the moment, only glutathione capsules are FDA-approved (not the injectables), it's said to still be a lot safer than relying on products and procedures without any medical supervision or recommendation. 

This is because glutathione is already an antioxidant found in our cells, composed of various amino acids. Some of its advantages include assisting in regenerating vitamins C and E, helping the liver and gallbladder break down fats, deal with free radicals, and many more. And getting a boost of it through medically issued treatments or certified capsules bought over-the-counter is quite comparable to how and why we take vitamin pills daily — just with a heftier price tag considering its high demand. On a larger scale, brightening is just a side effect of its natural functions within the body. It's neither forced nor is made for the sole purpose of just lightening the skin. 

Skin Brightening Versus Bleaching: Facts and dangers

The same principles apply to beauty products that are backed by medical research and are approved for distribution after undergoing certain safety standards. These products talk more about cell regeneration, rejuvenation, and repair than just 'getting whiter in x number of days'. Usually, it also discusses its ingredients in detail and how that can result in possible skin brightening effects. Vitamin C, kojic acid, and glycolic acid are just some of the ingredients familiar to us. Again, similar to the glutathione scenario, brightening is merely a side-effect.

On the other hand, skin bleaching products are a lot sketchier. Aside from skin whitening being its only known feature, it's also usually sold outside of beauty counters or drugstores and typically come with a very cheap price tag. This is because aside from lacking the proper lab testings and medical approvals, it also uses a more inexpensive yet deadly ingredient to deliver skin lightening: mercury. This chemical has been proven to be lethal in the smallest dosage and can cause skin cancer, blood poisoning, and even cause danger to your future pregnancies. 

In hindsight, it's clear why skin bleaching, in contrast to brightening, draws in many people. Brightening procedures and products can be quite the investment and the accessibility and affordability of skin bleaching products have become its leverage. But vanity aside, there's also one more thing to consider about why skin bleaching is such an appealing option.

Skin Brightening Versus Bleaching: Products and treatments

Historically, Asian countries have favoured those with lighter skin, especially since the hue of the complexion used to define societal hierarchy. In fact, this still translates today. Whether in mainstream media, pop culture or just in daily life, skin colour is a factor in setting first impressions. This makes a quick and more affordable approach to lightening one's skin — despite its dangers — look like a clear escape route to make the odds work for one's favour. And for something that has been embedded in our cultures for hundreds of years, it is clear why it's still difficult to shift perceptions on the matter even when the other side of the world is already particularly vocal about it.

Asia's slow but steady approach to shifting beauty perceptions

There's no denying that there is still a lot to be challenged when it comes to Eastern beauty standards. Still, it's interesting to see that some brands and personalities are finally taking the lead in changing this landscape. In the past year, there has been a notable shift on how Asian ads have been geared towards promoting self-confidence and taking charge of your own definition of beauty rather than the simple message of deep versus light skin. There are still blunders along the way, but hey, that's a vital step in learning. 

Skin Brightening Versus Bleaching: Changing the narrative

People are also becoming more cautious of beauty ingredients and terminologies. This results in skin brightening being treated more like a potential side-effect than an end goal. What's good about this is that we are learning not to antagonise brightening while still not being dismissive of our own natural beauty. Of course, the lows on societal perception of beauty is still yet to be overturned on a large scale. But if each of us learns to accept our beauty as our own and to prioritise our health should, then we are definitely on the right path to fixing this narrative.