Following on from last weeks post about a Japanese skincare morning routine, we continue today with the basics of a Japanese style evening skincare routine.
For Japanese women, self care and taking the time to look after your skin is taught from a young age, and the evening skincare routine is important. Cleansing your face at the end of the day is a more than just the ritual of washing away the day, it is the fastest way to noticeably improve the condition of your skin. Double cleansing has long been a part of a Japanese (and many other Asian countries) skincare routine, and it now being adopted by women all around the world. Sheet face masks, sleeping masks and facial massage- all an integral part of Japanese women evening regime are now making their way into global cosmetic brand’s product lines, as the west continues to look to the sophisticated skincare techniques of countries like Japan.
Cleansing Step 1-Makeup Removal
A step dedicated to the removal of makeup is the essential. The rule of thumb is to take at least as long to cleanse makeup off your face as it took to apply. First, gently remove any lip and eye colour with a makeup remover, this could either be micellar water like Bifesta or Koh Gen Do Spa Water, or a more traditional eye makeup remover. Then cleanse remaining makeup from your skin, starting with you cheeks and moving inwards towards the t-zone. There are a number of different types of make-up removing cleansers available. In Japan, the most common types of cleansers used for this step are cleansing oils, but there is definitely a trend at the moment towards cleansing balms. Rinse clean with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Cleansing Step 2- Washing
Now that makeup has been thoroughly removed from the skin, it’s time for the double cleanse. The purpose of the second step is to wash away the any excess oil, bacteria or residue from the makeup removal products, ensuring that pores are pristine and skin is refreshed. In Japan (and many other Asian countries) women will use a foaming cleanser for the face washing step, and again there are many different types to choose from. What is unique about Japanese foaming cleansers is that you work them into a very dense foam in your hands first, and then gently cover your face in the foam to cleanse. Most traditional western type foaming cleansers are worked into a foam directly on a damp face, which makes skin far more prone to dryness. The most popular types of face washes are rice powder cleansers like Suisai Beauty Powder and mousse type cleanser like Shiseido’s very popular, Perfect Whip. If you have dry skin you have to be careful to choose a very gentle combination of cleanser and face wash that will not strip skin of much needed moisture. Once your skin has been double cleansed, it allows all of the subsequent skin care products you apply to work more efficiently.
Before bed is the best time to exfoliate, and each skin type will have a different frequency schedule for exfoliation. Some skin types will need to exfoliate a few times per week and others once every 10 days. In Japan, Peeling Gels like Cure Natural Aqua Gel are the most popular type of exfoliant in Japan (read more about Cure here). Peeling gels are quite unique as you apply the gel directly to dry skin, after gently rubbing the gel into the skin you can almost immediately see a build up of dry skin lifting off the skin. There are also more traditional gentle scrubs and lotions that contain AHA’s.
As detailed in the morning routine, lotion is an essential part of the Japanese skincare routine. At nighttime you can simply follow the same routine as the morning and simply apply lotion or you can up the ante and apply a lotion mask by soaking cotton squares and placing over the forehead, cheeks and chin.
Face masks (or packs) are a big deal in Japan. You only have to visit the local drugstore or even the convenience store to see that they are an essential step in Japanese women weekly and sometimes daily skincare routines. There is a different philosophy regarding masks in the West, where face masks are seen as a sporadic treatment or only done when part of a facial treatment at a spa. Although with the influence of Japanese and Korean skincare growing, sheet masks are becoming a huge global trend. Japanese women will apply an essence soaked mask to their skin at least one or twice a week. It is mind blowing how many different types of masks are available in Japan (I will write a whole post about Japanese masks in the next few weeks), but by far the most popular are sheet or hydrogel face masks that make the process so easy at home. You simply remove the essence sheet mask form the pack and apply directly to your face. After ensuring the placement of eyes, nose and mouth are all correct, smooth our any air bubbles. Now you wait. Application time varies depending on the type of mask you use, but generally it is between 10-30 mins.
As per the morning skincare routine serum chosen to treat an major skin concerns such as finalise or pigmentation. Apply all over the face and wait for the serum to absorb.
Again application is the same as the morning routine. Eye cream is applied to the eye contour to hydrate, protect and treat the delicate eye area.
Cream/ Night Cream/ Sleeping Pack
Again, the purpose of the final cream is to work as a barrier to lock in the nutrients and active ingredients that you have just fed to your skin in your lotion, mask and serum so that they can work their magic on your skin over night. You can just simply use your day cream again at night, or you can go for a heavier style night cream or sleeping pack to really hydrate and treat the skin while you sleep.