Japanese Skincare Decoded

Let’s be honest. I am still trying to find the perfect products for my daily skincare and make-up regimen. I’m sure by the time I figure it out, my age will decide it’s time to mix things up again. For the time being… this is my dictionary for shopping in the beauty/skincare sections of Japanese stores. It baffles me why they bother using English terms if they are just going to change the meaning. Here we go!

  • しっとり shittori – moisture
    • for dry skin
  • さっぱり sappari – fresh
    • for normal/oily skin
  • ローション lotion – toner
    • not moisturizer, similar to make-up remover
  • ミルク milk
    • light moisturizer
  • クリーム cream
    • heavy moisturizer
  • 乳液 nyueki
    • used after moisturizer to seal in products, oil/lanolin base
  • 泡洗顔 awasengan – cleansing
  • クレンジングオイル cleansing oil
    • make-up remover, good for dry winter
  • 美白 bihaku – fair skin tone
  • emulsion
    • a moisturizer used after “lotion”
  • ニキビ nikibi – pimples
  • 化粧水 keshousui – moisturizing toner
    • If さっぱり makes your skin tight, try しっとり
  • メイク落とし meiku otoshi – makeup remover
  • うる落ち水クレンジング uruochi mizu cleansing
    • oil free makeup remover and toner in one
  • Mist/Skin Refiner/ Balancer/ Softener = Toner
  • Gel Moisture
    • For oily skin
  • Finisher
    • Goes on at end of night, or before makeup but is not a primer
  • 美容液 biyoueki – serum or essence
    • Ampoule : fast and expensive serum
    • Serum: target areas
    • Essense: weak serum
    • Booster: speedy serum or essence
  • ヒアルロン – hyaluronic
    • moisturizing with anti-aging power
  • softener
    • anti-aging

I’m sure there will be more added to this as I learn more. Stay tuned!



One comment

  1. Great job! I always get horrible skin when I’m in japan in summer so I learnt “nikibi ” but the rest is good to know. I’ll try to memorize them. I was planning to ask a friend but you answered my questions. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

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