Welcome to the last day of our Japan Issue- a celebration of beauty, dedicated to the culture that brought us Sailor Moon, Pocky, Tomoko Spa, and much, much more. For the next few days, we’ll be exploring all the best beauty that Japanese Drugstores have to offer. Oh, and on Instagram, we’re rounding up all the Japan inspiration you’ll ever need if you’re into art, models, photography, food, and travel from that part of the world, too. We’ve covered bath & both, makeup, and now, what you’ve all been waiting for… [drum roll] skincare! 


What if I told you that you could buy La Mer’s eponymous Lotion for $12. I’m serious! What a world that would be. Now what if I told you that’s the world you currently live in!? Crazy, right? Are you freaking out yet? I have been for the past two weeks, ever since I first tried Rosette Skin Care Aqua Ceramide Gel, which is the $12 Japanese dupe to La Mer. I would even go so far as to say it’s better than the OG La Mer (!!!). My skin soaks this shit up, even though I’m oily and acne prone. Most moisturizers that are tailored to my skin type aren’t hydrating enough, so when I’m using hard-core products to get rid of spots, my skin gets overly dry. But no more! I’ve read it also works great for normal to dry skin types if that’s where you’re at, and it is picture perfect to use post-peel or exfoliation since it has barrier-restoring properties. An informational tidbit for application: Japanese products are meant to be gently tapped into skin, not rubbed, and that’s especially true with this product as rubbing it leaves you sticky. Not sure why, but so it goes. Also, you need a tiny amount, like, half of what you would use with a normal moisturizer. And use the little spoon that comes in the package to scoop the product! Using your fingers in the jar is gross and unhygienic on so many levels.

2. KOSE Softy Mo Facial Cleansing Oil Speedy

Using an oil cleanser when you’re oily and tend towards breakouts is a truly terrifying experience, especially considering most American oil cleansers have a consistency akin to olive oil. But I hate beating my eyes up when I wash my face after I wear mascara, and even when I cleanse extra thoroughly, there’s a lingering feeling that the rest of my skin isn’t completely clean. If I was going to dabble in the world of oil cleansers, I was going straight to the source, and no one does it better than the Asian Beauty market. The best one I’ve tried is, hands down, KOSE Softy Mo Facial Cleansing Oil Speedy. The ‘Speedy’ might seem innocuous, but it’s actually a hugely important differentiator. A deep dive on Reddit taught me there are several versions of Softy Mo, but ‘Speedy’ is the best if you don’t want to risk irritation or breakouts.  As you rub, it’ll turn into a milky-consistency, but don’t let the thickness scare you. As soon as water hits this stuff, BOOM!, the oil and everything else that was on your face will be 100% gone. There’s 0 trace leftover, speaking from someone who has an aversion to all things oily and greasy and describes her ultimate clean as squeaky. Guarantee that your face will feel cleaner than it’s ever felt, or your money back come back and leave me a comment, but I promise you won’t have to!


I’d hedge my bets that if you ask around, most people you know would pretty confused as to what a toner is. We’ve all used them at some point- hands in the air for Proactiv’s lovely lime green solution!- and yet their true purpose still remains one of life’s greatest mysteries. We’ll dive deeper into toners in a future post, but for now it’s important to know that there are three types of toners- hydrating, astringent, and soothing/calming- and all serve similar purposes of removing any lingering impurities after your cleanser and balance the pH of your skin. Kikumasamune’s comically large and brilliantly packaged Skin Sake Lotion falls in the hydrating category- it’s insane. I don’t care much for most toners because they’ve never done anything notable to my skin, but this one feels so good, even if it did nothing, I’d use it just for the soothing sensation. Luckily, it does do something- it’s like a magic eraser for pores! I have exactly zilch science to back this up, but they for sure look smaller when I remember to use it. It also combats redness and irritation, which I am oft-plagued with since I try so many products, and it’s perfect for summer when all I really want is something refreshing to add to my routine. And did I mention that packing? So good.


Team Highbrow
  • Kylie Vincent-Hall

    I’ve been using the rosette ceramide gel for over a year now. I panic when I have less than one jar as a backup. My skin is noticeably different when I don’t use this product. It’s my only ever official HG