If you’ve been looking into minimalism or a minimalist lifestyle, perhaps even inspired by Marie Kondo, then J-Beauty just might “spark joy” in your life! Because the J-Beauty skincare routine is all about narrowing down beauty products to the essentials with a “less is more” mentality.
Contrary to the 10-step K-Beauty skincare routine, J-Beauty is simplified to a 3-step routine — cleanse, hydrate and seal. Why so simple? The Japanese believe, as long as you nail down the essential steps every single day, there is no need to pile on loads of products onto your face. It’s not the quantity that matters — it’s the quality. That’s why it’s important to invest in quality skincare products and learn the right way to care for your skin. Today, we’ll be unveiling the J-Beauty skincare ritual from start to finish along with eye-opening tips and techniques!
Friction is your skin’s worst enemy
Before we start the J-Beauty skincare routine, there’s one thing you need to remember. You must avoid friction at all times! All the rubbing, scrubbing and even harsh massaging that goes into your skincare routine leads to inflammation, which can cause fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, redness and sagging. Every step of the J-Beauty skincare routine focuses on reducing as much friction as possible. So, write it down, share with your friends, make a meme… Just remember this as the fundamental concept of the J-Beauty routine and you’re on the right foot for skincare success!
Minimal 3-step J-Beauty Skincare Routine
Step 1: Cleanse
Out of the entire J-Beauty skincare routine, this is the step you need to focus on the most. If you’re cleansing the wrong way, skipping a step or using the wrong type of cleanser to begin with, all the products you’re applying afterwards might go to waste. So let’s get down to the nitty gritty!
What type of cleanser should you use?
With so many options out there, you can easily get lost. But it all boils down to the heaviness of your makeup. If you have heavy makeup, you should use an oil cleanser to lift away every bit of foundation and waterproof makeup. But, if you’re the type that only wears light makeup, oil cleansers will strip away too much of your skin’s natural oils leaving your skin extremely dry. Instead, we recommend you go with a milk or cream type cleanser like KITAO’s Matcha + Chia Cleansing Cream. KITAO’s skincare line is packed with antioxidant-rich superfoods like matcha, chia seeds, quinoa and acai. With powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, matcha is an absolute favorite among beauty gurus. Another reason why we love KITAO is that it uses ECOCERT certified organic matcha harvested in Kyoto, Japan — sustainable and safe for your skin and the environment. The KITAO Matcha + Chia Cleansing Cream cleansing cream effectively dissolves makeup and excess oil, transforming it into a soothing cleansing milk when water is added. The creamy formula leaves moisture on the skin and helps to protect the skin barrier. Enjoy the sweet, mild scent of matcha.
For a deeper cleanse, the UNNATURALLY NATURAL Clarify Cleansing Balm offers a vegan, clean, and cruelty-free formula that keeps your skin supple and hydrated even while melting away the most heavy-duty makeup. The lightweight cream-to-oil balm contains a blend of carefully curated plant-based extracts that help to regenerate and rebuild the skin barrier.
For oily to combination skin types, the charcoal-infused Real Bell Black Charcoal Facial Wash is ideal. The classic foam cleanser absorbs impurities and excess sebum without stripping away the skin’s natural moisture.
How to use a cleanser the right way
Take a generous amount and gently massage it onto a dry face. Make sure you’re not applying too much pressure with your fingers, because remember — friction is your enemy! For delicate areas like around your eyes, use your ring finger and pinky finger and gently massage like you’re touching a baby’s skin.
Then comes the important step most people forget. Take a small amount of lukewarm water onto your hands and gently blend it in with the cleanser. You’ll see the cleanser turn into a soft milky texture. This process is called “Nyu-ka” in Japanese and it’s super important in getting all the makeup out of your pores.
Once you’re done with this, you’re ready to rinse. Make sure you’re rinsing at least 30 times. Wait, come again? Yes, you read it right. You need to rinse at least THIRTY times to thoroughly wash out the cleanser. If you skip this step, you’ll end up leaving dirt and residue on your skin and the moisture and nutrients that follow won’t be able to penetrate into your skin.
Wash with foam, not your hands!
Now that the makeup has been removed, you’re ready to move on to washing. In Japan, “Awa Sengan” which literally means washing with bubbles or foam is the standard washing method. Remember our key concept here. Friction is your skin’s worst enemy. That’s why the Japanese swear by creating the creamiest foam puff with a foaming net acting as a soft cushion between your hands and face.
KITAO’s Matcha + Chia Enzyme Powder is the perfect face wash for this step. After wetting your face, take the loose powder onto the foaming net, add some water and scrunch it a few times until you get a puff ball with a whip cream-like texture. (If you don’t have a foaming net, you can simply use your hands) Press the puff ball against your wet skin so only the foam is touching your skin. Here’s the trick — don’t move your hands side to side or in circular motions. Just by pressing the puff onto your skin will remove dead skin and impurities trapped deep within your pores.
Now that the most important step is done, your skin is in the perfect condition to hydrate!
The KITAO Matcha + Chia Enzyme Powder transforms into a dense foam when applied to wet skin. Its gentle granules help buff away dead skin and impurities trapped deep within the pores, while gentle papaya extract brightens and refines.
Step 2: Hydrate
If K-Beauty strives for “Glass Skin”, J-Beauty strives for “Mochi Skin”. In Japanese, “Mochi Hada” means soft and plump skin like mochi. In order to achieve Mochi Skin, you need to maintain a healthy balance of water and oil. Here are two products you should use to maintain that balance.
The Essence Toner
With a water-like texture, an Essence Toner is packed with essential ingredients for hydration. It also softens your skin to allow all the nutrients to permeate deep inside your skin.
Take a quarter-sized essence toner and warm it up in your hands. Next, envelop your face with your hands. Gently press the essence onto your skin as if you’re hydrating each and every pore on your face. It’s important you’re not gliding your fingers side to side or patting your face because…you guessed it! No friction! When your entire face has absorbed the essence, you’re one step closer in reaching “Mochi Hada” status!
The Naturie Hatomugi Skin Conditioner is a cult-favorite in Japan. It deeply penetrates the skin to hydrate, soothe, and prep the skin for serums and moisturizer. This facial essence is rich in vitamin B and amino acids, to boost hydration and achieve soft, mochi-like skin.
The EDOBIO Fresh Balancing Toner is a lightweight spray that doubles as an essence as well as a hydrating mist that can be used any time of day. It’s the perfect gateway for first timers who want to try integrating JBeauty essences into their routines.
The KITAO Matcha + Chia Essence Lotion is a classic essence that softens the skin, floods it with superfood-derived nutrients, and preps and primes the skin for denser products like emulsions, serums, and creams.
Remember that your skin needs to maintain a healthy balance of both water and oil? The emulsion is the key product in achieving this balance. Because it’s made of both water and oil, it has a lighter texture than a moisturizer or cream. Layering this emulsion after the essence toner is a must in J-Beauty. Use the same steps as the essence toner to apply the emulsion.
The La Vie Précieuse MOIST A.P.G. Emulsion is the key in achieving a healthy balance of water and oil in your skin. The milky, gel-like texture creates a veil of moisture and nourishes your skin with essential oils.
Step 3: Seal
Now, you’re ready for the final step. It’s time to lock in all the moisture and protect your skin with a cream. All the love you gave your skin will mean nothing if you don’t seal it all in. Here, you’re taking the same method as the essence toner and the emulsion. Take a small amount of cream, warm it up in your hands and gently press onto your skin.
The KITAO Matcha + Chia Facial Cream quenches dryness while replenishing the skin with potent antioxidants and firming ingredients. It helps maintain skin moisture while balancing oil throughout the day.
Formulated with skin superhero proteoglycan, which is said to be able to retain water 1.3 times more than hyaluronic acid and help stimulate collagen production, the La Vie Précieuse MOIST A.P.G. Cream is a best match for mature and dry skin types.
If you don’t like the feel of heavy creams but want to seal while you snooze, the EDOBIO Glowing Night Gel Mask takes beauty sleep to a new level. This gel sleeping mask replenishes moisture and rejuvenates the skin overnight, so that you wake up with a radiant glow.
There you have it! The ultimate 3-step J-Beauty skincare routine for the minimalist. Depending on your skin condition, there are of course other products you can add to this basic routine like serums and face masks. But as long as you follow this fundamental routine, every single day, your Mochi Skin will be thanking you!