Five Top Japanese Beauty Products to Try in February
Tokyo’s cold and dry winter is in full force in February, so this month I was all about finding products to soothe, moisturize and smooth dry skin. What I came up with were five great products for the face, hands, lips and even the feet.
As you are not likely to be showing off your feet in sandals anytime soon, now is the perfect opportunity to undertake some at-home foot care. One of the most equally disgusting and fascinating Japanese beauty products I have tried since living in Japan is Baby Foot. Baby Foot (¥1,728) is basically a chemical peel for your feet, removing the heavy buildup of dead skin cells that tend to develop into unsightly callouses. Each pack of Baby Foot has two plastic booties that contain an exfoliating gel packed with glycolic and lactic acids. You simply cut off the top of the booties as directed and place your foot inside. You then follow the instructions to wrap the booties firmly around your foot and then you wait. One important thing to note is that there are two different types of Baby Foot available: 60 minutes and 30 minutes. This is the time that you leave the Baby Foot on to work its magic. Don’t be tempted to leave the booties on for longer than the required time, as it can result in very sore feet! Also, I have heard of a few reactions to the formula, so it’s definitely worth doing a quick patch test before you use Baby Foot (they thoughtfully provide one within the pack). So after 30 or 60 mins you remove the booties and wash away any excess gel from your skin. Winter is the perfect time to use Baby Foot as the peeling takes between seven and 14 days to be completed, and there is a lot of peeling! After about three to five days, a significant amount of skin will flake off your feet and this will continue for about a week. The results are really amazing. There was a significant improvement in the dry skin on problem areas (heels and little toes) and my feet felt so soft. So, next time you settle in to catch up on your Netflix, multitask and apply Baby Foot.
Atrix Extra Protection Hand Cream
Dry skin on your hands is definitely not ideal any time of year, but in winter months it can become so extreme that it’s painful. A friend told me about Atrix hand cream months ago, and this month I finally tried it and I’m so glad I did. The Atrix Extra Protection hand cream is formulated especially for those who can’t (or don’t want to) apply hand cream throughout the day, and for those whose hands are frequently in water (hairdressers, mothers, etc.). The Atrix cream absorbs rapidly into the skin and forms a protective barrier that stays in place, even when hands are submerged in water. It’s also perfect for people who are always on their computers and smartphones (which is just about everyone), as the cream absorbs so quickly you are not left with sticky residue on the keys and screen. Best of all, it is readily available at all drug stores for a reasonable ¥860.
SK-II R.N.A. Power Radical New Age Moisturizer
Always at the forefront of anti-aging skin technology, SK-II’s latest offering, the R.N.A. Radical New Age Power moisturizer (¥12,400 for 50 grams) promises to improve multiple signs of aging and deliver a new level of firmness to the skin. While traveling over the holidays, I took the opportunity to pick up the R.N.A. Power moisturizer at a duty free store and tested it while traveling through extremely different weather environments. Over three weeks, my combination/ sensitive skin was exposed to temperatures ranging from 42 degrees celsius to -11 degrees celsius, not to mention hours of air travel and a little too much good food and wine. After a month of use, my skin is definitely hydrated and has a nice glow after application. The texture of the product is a combination of a cream and a gel, which is extremely pleasant to apply. It’s rich enough to feel that the skin is being nourished and protected (especially in cold and dry environments), but penetrates the skin beautifully so you don’t feel a heavy layer of residue. My skin does appear plumper and firmer, and I my foundation applies really well in combination with this cream. There is no build up and the cream helps to create a nice healthy dewiness to the finish. On the anti-aging side, of course it is too soon to tell if there is any real reduction in fine lines, but I am encouraged enough by the results to date to continue in hope.
Shiseido Maquillage Dramatic Lip Treatment
Lip treatments are essential all year round, but especially when there are such dry, cold conditions outside. Maquillage has launched the new Dramatic Lip Treatment (¥2,100) just in time to save your pout. The formula helps to soothe lips and give them moisture, but also seals the moisture into the lips so it can’t easily evaporate. The rose oil rich treatment melts into the lips and gives them a plumper appearance and a silky smooth feeling. You can wear it alone as a balm or as a moisturising primer under lipstick. For best results apply Dramatic lip treatment before bed, and wake up with a soft, smooth pout.
My Lip Tint Pack
Korean beauty products are starting to appear in more Japanese beauty stores now, and I couldn’t resist trying the My Lip Tint Pack (¥1,296) when I recently saw it in Harajuku. My Lip Tint Pack creates an ombre lip color effect on your lips, which has been a popular trend among women in Korea for a while, and is now making its way into other countries as well. Perhaps the most interesting thing about My Lip Tint Pack is how it works. The tube looks like many other lip glosses and tints out on the market, but the way you apply it is very different. First you apply a layer of tint to your lips, just like a normal lip gloss. Immediately you will notice that the consistency is tacky and the color very dark. Once applied, you leave the gloss to dry on your lips for five to 10 minutes, being careful not to rub your lips together. Once dry, you peel the lip pack off your lips, revealing vibrantly tinted lips. Apply lip gloss or balm on the top to add a slight shine. The tinted color on the lips is extremely long wearing, and does stay on the lips for hours despite eating and drinking. To be honest the difficulty came when I tried to take the tint off, and it did take some work. In the end Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water and a light exfoliation did the trick. This product is lots of fun, and great to wear if you have a night out and want a pop of color on your lips without having to worry about reapplying. I love the Sexy Red and Pure Pink shades.