The Ultimate Japanese Skin Care Routine: Step by Step Guide

What is Japanese skincare?

Japanese skincare is based on the ancient art of balancing your skin’s pH levels to optimize its natural renewal power, oil production, and oxygen flow for luminous, youthful-looking skin. Rebuild collagen and smooth fine lines and wrinkles by using the proper ingredients that work with your skin type – dry, oily, combination or aging.

Japanese skincare is a more holistic approach to looking and feeling your best. As the Japanese have a reverence for their ancestors, it is no surprise that skincare can be traced back in history to help imagine the origins of the rituals used today. Although many people usually focus on the face when thinking about skincare, Japanese skincare also encompasses taking care of one’s whole body, including hands, feet and nails.

The history of Japanese skincare

The history of Japanese skincare dates back to over 1000 years ago, when warriors smeared soot mixed with persimmons on their faces in an attempt to make themselves look more intimidating. Fast forward a few centuries and the men who made up the ruling class of ancient Japan were renowned for their flawless skin. This obsession with good skin was widespread across the entire country, and although the skin care routines may have differed based on region, many of the ingredients (or lack thereof) to achieve flawless skin have been passed down throughout the generations.

The History of Japanese Skincare takes a fascinating look at its evolution. Covering everything from the country’s earliest beauty rituals to the present day, including ancient tools and treatments – such as acupuncture and the use of pearl powder – that have been repurposed for modern use.

How to incorporate it into your routine

Below, we have a step-by-step guide to mastering the Japanese Skincare routine! With simple instructions, and ingredients you can buy at your local store, you can stop worrying about your skin, and start feeling confident.

Japanese skincare routine is designed to keep skin looking and feeling healthy and natural. This routine is a six-step process that treats, protects, exfoliates, and moisturizes the skin. Our Japanese skincare products and this step-by-step routine are healthy for all skin types from dry to sensitive, and they’re your best chance for achieving smooth, youthful skin.

Products to consider

A basic Japanese skincare routine consists of a double cleansing routine, a water-based cleanser, treatment essence, eye cream, an emulsion and a light moisturizer. The use of toners between the regular cleanser and moisturizer is optional with high quality water-based cleansers already containing essences, such as DHC Cleansing Oil and Cleansing Cream. The double cleanse is the most important part of your routine – this is how you remove impurities from skin and prepares it for future steps.

Skin type check (dry, oily, combination)

The concept of skin types in Asia is quite a bit different from that of Western society. Skin care products are geared towards this concept of “skin type” rather than what the skin actually needs or wants, and it can make things really confusing for the average consumer. And most Asians don’t even know about the real difference between dry and oily skin!

To start with, there is a scale to measure the skin’s oiliness. It ranges from 1 to 5. When your skin is over producing oil it is considered oily and has a rating of 4 and up. Lacking too much oil has the opposite problem in which dry is 1 and up. Combination skin is 2 on the scale because it is not as oily as 4 but not as dry as 3. The Japanese skincare routine would be different depending on the type of skin you have.

Japanese skincare is great for oily, dry, or combination skin. It comes with benefits of being much gentler and more gentle on your skin. Application is a lot lighter than your traditional European or American skincare routine. If you’re looking for a natural alternative, Japanese skincare is a good option to try!

Application tips

  • Exfoliate to reveal brighter skin.
  • Use a flat brush when applying foundation and powder.
  • Get soft hands and feet.
  • Warm water is not good enough!
  • Don’t use soap on your face, this breaks down the skin’s natural barrier. Instead, try using a gentle tsubaki oil soap.
  • Pre-hydration with a softener sheet.
  • Use an applicator pad for serums and ampoules.

Routines for different age groups

  • Gentle skincare for sensitive skin (under 20s).
  • Gentle skincare for dry and combination skin (20s and 30s).
  • Power skincare for mature skin.

How to choose the right Japanese skincare products for your skin

  • You must use products that are tailored to your skin type and needs. You must match your skincare regime to what you need from it.
  • Look for products with quality ingredients.
  • Know what you want to achieve from your skincare routine.
  • Go natural or mild to avoid irritation.
  • Watch out for products with too many chemicals and alcohols.
  • Figure out the order in which to apply products.
  • Know your ingredients from A to Z.

Japanese skincare ingredients list

  • Hyaluronic Acid: Holds 1,000 times its weight in water due to its intense molecular size.
  • Vitamin-C; lightens skin.
  • Low pH water
  • chemical exfoliant
  • Clarisonic
  • Niacinamide
  • Amino acids
  • Collagen
  • Sodium hyaluronate

Benefits of a Japanese skincare routine

  1. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars a month for great skin, it’s actually easy to create your own routine at home using high-quality products that you probably already have at home.
  2. It will change your skincare routine for the better.
  3. By understanding what type of skin you have, you can pinpoint exactly which skincare products will work.
  4. Your skin will thank you for trying the Japanese skincare routine.
  5. You will look younger and healthier with this routine.
  6. Japanese skincare routines are a beautiful way to express connection with the environment as well as the sense of inner calm and serenity.
  7. Japanese skincare products are gentle, simple, but effective.

My Japanese Skincare Routine: Step by Step Guide

Time needed: 23 minutes.

Solve your skincare woes with this step by step Japanese skincare routine! Learn how to do the Japanese skincare routine with these step-by-step guide and tips.

This article is written by a beauty enthusiast and reviewed by a cosmetologist to help you learn about all the steps in a Japanese skincare routine.

Below is a step by step guide of how I do my Japanese skincare routine. By following these steps, you can achieve healthy skin that everyone will be jealous of!

My skin has never been better since I’ve started this skincare routine. I used to have pretty bad acne as a teenager but once I started practicing this Japanese skincare routine, my skin cleared up fast.

Doing the same skincare routine day in and out, without getting the results you’re looking for? Re-vamp your regime to something more suited to Japanese skincare with this easy step by step guide!


    Step one of a successful Japanese skincare routine is double cleansing. Now, I know this can be intimidating for some but the reality is that double cleansing is not as hard as it seems…

    It’s the foundation of good skin that won’t break, and will keep you looking fresh and awake all day. In my experience, double cleansing is the best way to remove makeup and significantly reduce the amount of products you’re putting on your skin. There are two different products I use for oil-based and water-based items (i.e. face cream + waterproof eyeliner) but they work in similar ways.

    Double cleansing is a step in the Japanese skincare routine that precedes all further steps. For many women, double cleansing can seem strange and uncomfortable at first. But whether you’re accustomed to Western-style skin care or not, it’s worth introducing double cleansing into your skin care regimen anyways. You have to start somewhere, right?

    Before we get to the double cleansing method itself, one thing I should mention is the need for using a cleanser with low pH. Now, for those of you who aren’t familiar with what that means, fear not! We don’t have to delve into the intricacies of chemical equilibrium and universal dissociation constants here. The pH scale goes from 0-14, where lower numbers indicate a more acidic solution and higher numbers indicate a more basic one.

    Double cleansing is a step-by-step process that cleanses your skin twice to remove all impurities and makeup. Clarifying before or after this process is not needed if you double cleanse. However, if you’re looking for additional ways to treat your acne, you may want to try oil cleansing.



    After cleansing, the second step in your Japanese skincare routine is moisturizing. This step is crucial for both preventing and treating aging skin.

    With hydration being a key element to having healthy, glowing skin, it’s important to hydrate your skin every day. We’ve already talked about the importance of facial cleansing, and how it could be detrimental to your skin if you’re not doing it correctly. This is step 2 of our skincare routine for oily/combo skin types where we will be talking about moisturizing our skin.

    All skincare routines culminate in moisturizing. This is the step that leaves your skin soft, supple, and glowing. Moisturizers not only hydrate your skin, they help you combat wrinkles and fine lines through their collagen-building properties.

    It’s time to kick things up a notch. You’ve been diligently cleansing your face multiple times a day and exfoliating every time you shower. Sadly, doing those two things alone won’t make your skin glow. Now you need to add step two: moisturizing. Don’t get me wrong; this is not the fun part. In fact, it’s fairly boring, and you probably won’t see any immediate results. Like I mentioned earlier, you want those (see what I did there?) long-term results and for that, we need something that extends way beyond your typical day-to-day routine.

    This step is also very important, and yet so many of us forget about it. When you’re thinking about your beauty routine, chances are that you make sure to include a cleanser, toner, moisturizer, and maybe an eye cream or gel or serum or whatever. In fact, I hope most of us do that. But just as important as those other steps are is moisturizing.

    Moisturizing should not be an afterthought, nor should it be rushed through. It’s a critical step for keeping your skin fresh and healthy-looking.


  3. SERUM

    The third step in your skincare routine is the serum, which usually comes after moisturizing. This is the step where your skincare products like essences, toners, and sheet masks come into play. Serums give a final boost of hydration and concentrated nutrients that keep your skin healthy and prevent aging.

    Once your toner has done its job in calming any redness or irritation on your face, it’s time to move onto the next step in your Japanese skincare routine: serum. Serum helps brighten and nourish the skin, thanks to ingredients like Vitamin C or Licorice Root Extract. So if you’ve got dull, tired-looking or aging skin then it’s time to get started with incorporating serums into your routine.

    Typically, we think of serum as the third step -after cleanser and toner in your skincare routine. The main function of serum is to replace your normal skin oils that are usually supplanted by water when you wash your face.

    A serum is one of the most important parts of a Japanese skincare regime and this step is an integral part of keeping your skin in top condition. The reason why a serum is given so much attention is because the skin has a natural surface which is used by your body to protect itself.

    No matter how many times you cleanse with facial soap and water, every time you rinse it off and return your skin to its normal state, there will always be some sort of residue left behind. It could either be from leftover makeup, bacteria or even sebum secretions (natural oils produced by our body).



    So now you have cleansed your face, toned it and moisturized it. The fourth step in your Japanese skincare routine is the emulsion step. An emulsion is a product you put on right after serum and is usually a thicker cream.

    Step four is all about layering, and emulsion is the way to do it. Start by applying an appropriate amount to your palms, then work by gently patting over your face.

    How much you use will depend on your skin type and the season. If in Summer you want to hint at a little sunlight, go for a lighter application; in Winter, use a little more for that soothing feeling as well as hydration. It’s almost like the day cream version of toner. The purpose of emulsion is to act as a ‘booster’ of sorts for your serum, helping get your skincare act together after cleansing and before applying serums.

    The emulsion I’m using is from the Kracie line of beauty care. This product is unique because it’s packaged in a plastic bottle with a pump and it’s recommended to use only half the amount the pump dispenses.

    This is definitely the most glycerin-heavy emulsion I’ve tried. At first it was kind of annoying because it left my skin feeling a little sticky, but I soon realized that the stickiness had lots of benefits. For one thing, it meant that my makeup went on really nicely after using this. My foundation never looked cakey or patchy, and it didn’t shrivel after a long day at work. The stickiness also seems to have an added benefit in that even when I have dry patches, they somehow seem to be moisturized in between applications of emulsion.


  5. CREAM

    Cream is moisturizing and velvety while also providing a smooth canvas for makeup application. Creams have more oil-based ingredients, so they are thicker in consistency than essences. If you’ve had problems with your skin being greasy and shiny after using a toner or serum, or need something closer to an “anti-aging” skincare routine because you’re older, creams can help with that.

    This is the sixth step in our 6 Step Japanese skincare routine. This is where we apply the actual cream to our skin, although this step would also serve as a great base before putting on foundation.

    It is designed to hydrate and help reduce wrinkles on the face and neck area. I always use this step on my face after applying toner and serum. The skin on my face is really sensitive, and can still feel tight and dry after I apply my other products, but using a good cream will always help those issues.

    A good cream is a make-up bag must-have, especially in Japan. The Japanese are so big on moisturizing they even have a whole step for it in their skincare routine that we don’t get in the West. On top of this, winters here can be really dry and cold and I know my skin gets really dry and tight – especially around my smile lines. In an effort to combat this I try and use a richer cream.



    So we’ve come to the end of my Japanese beauty routine series, and I think it’s safe to say that many people were excited to see this part. Whether you’re new to Japanese beauty or a seasoned veteran, sunscreen has become just as important in your skincare as any other step.

    Phew! At this point, your skin should be glowing with radiance and awesomeness. In the last step, we focused on nourishing the skin and healing blemishes with a chemical exfoliant. Now it’s time to protect it from the harmful UV rays of the sun using sunscreen.

    The final step in my Japanese skincare routine has to be sunscreen. The SPF (sun protection factor) is probably what most people are looking for when choosing a sunscreen, but SPF does not tell you how effective the product will be. This is where my Japanese skin care routine differs from western ones. The majority of Japanese sunscreens are made with physical filters that act as barriers to UV rays, unlike western sunscreens that mostly get their effects from chemical filters.

    The Japanese skincare routine you’ve been reading about is in full swing, and now we arrive at the final step of incorporating sunscreen into your routine. If you’re noticing that your skin is brighter than ever, that is because you are now using brightening products as directed.

    Japanese women are some of the most beautiful women in the world. They also have an obsession with keeping their skin smooth and wrinkle free. How do they accomplish this feat? By starting at a young age and following a skincare routine that includes sunscreen.


Step by step Video Guide

What is your reaction?

In Love
Not Sure

You may also like

More in Skin Care