Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that all effective skincare routines start with a thorough cleansing. This could not be more true in Japanese skincare, where cushion foam cleansing or foam cleansing is perhaps the most important step of all. A shoddy make-up wipe pat down or hurried rinse with water simply won’t do – the key is to gently draw out toxins and dirt from the pores without touching the skin at all, and allow the foam generated (like this one in the blog) by the cushion foam cleanser to do all the work. But once you’ve mastered the cushion foam cleanse, what comes next?
Before we proceed, it’s important to first note that if you’ve done your cushion foam cleansing properly, your skin should already be hydrated before layering on products. In fact, the whole point of the foam “cushion” isn’t just to purify the skin, but to protect the skin from being stripped of its natural oils and moisture, which can happen when we harshly rub, pull, or tug at the skin. The result is that Japanese aftercare gets simplified to a short-and-sweet process, with just a few steps. Let’s explore them below.
Step 2: Hydrating essence toner
The J-Beauty essence toner such as the KITAO Matcha + Chia Essence Lotion is a lightweight watery substance that conditions the skin and restores it to its natural soft and hydrated state. Unlike conventional toners or micellar waters, essences aren’t designed to wipe off lingering dirt and makeup from the skin (that’s what cushion foam cleansing is for!) Instead, essences help to balance skin pH and prime the skin to better maximize the performance of denser products, like emulsions, serums, and moisturizers.
Step 3: Emulsion
Heavier than the essence toner yet lighter than a cream, the J-Beauty emulsion such as our La Vie Précieuse MOIST A.P.G. Emulsion is a water-based moisturizer with a milky appearance. Its unique gel-like formulation makes it quick-absorbing, so you’ll never find your emulsion sitting on the surface of your skin, feeling greasy. Instead, it travels easily into the deeper layers of the skin to deposit a concentrated dose of essential oils and nutrients. People living in humid climates, acne-prone, and oily skin types often find that emulsions provide enough hydration, and they wrap up their routine in just (gasp) 3 steps!
Step 4: Moisturizer (optional)
Although moisturizing creams are often optional in J-Beauty, dehydrated, dry and mature skin types, along with people living in colder climates, may find it necessary to apply an extra layer of hydration. Moisturizing creams, especially our La Vie Précieuse MOIST A.P.G. Cream, do a great job of locking in the hard-earned moisture from essence toners and emulsions, and they help fortify the skin barrier. In other words, they help seal the deal for long-lasting hydration.
As crazy simple as it might seem, Japanese skincare routines are designed bare-bones minimalist for a reason. It’s partly because of a no-fuss philosophy that beauty should be low maintenance and sustainable, but also because moisture retention is built into the routine from the very first step – cleansing. And in case you’re wondering how that exactly works, check out our blog on Japanese cushion foam cleansing.