The Japanese skincare routine is one of the most popular skincare routines in the world due to its effective methods and great-quality products.
It's been around for decades and currently widely influencing the rest of the world in the beauty industry.
Japanese skincare products are carefully curated by professionals and backed up by scientific research.
If you follow a skincare routine or are looking to begin one, we recommend following the Japanese Skincare Ladder.
It’s a skincare application method that has proven results. Let’s go through each step of the process and cover some recommended products.
What is the Japanese Skincare Ladder?
The Japanese skincare ladder is a step-by-step process to improve your skin. It’s a simple, easy way to get started with skincare, and can be followed no matter your skin type. The goal of the Japanese Skincare Ladder is to create a routine that works for your skin so you can take care of it in the best possible way.
You can customize the ladder for your skin concerns, needs, and budget. You don't have to use every step of this guide—focus on the steps that are most important to you!
Why Does the Japanese Skincare Ladder Work So Well?
There is a reason why the Japanese skincare routine ladder works so well. The products are well-formulated, gentle, and thoroughly researched.
The Japanese skin ladder involves each necessary step of skincare, from moisturizing to sun protection, all in an easy-to-follow process that won’t take too much time.
The Japanese skincare ladder incorporates protection, hydration, and cleansing into the steps.
One of the best aspects of the skincare ladder is that it places the steps in order so that each step is maximized in effectiveness. For example, cleansing is done before hydrating because it’s important to get rid of dirt and debris before applying lotions and creams.
You’ll find that your skin will improve in appearance and texture after beginning the skincare ladder. Follow our steps and let us know if it works!
Step 1: Remove Makeup
The first step in creating your Japanese skincare routine is to remove makeup before cleansing. It's best to use a gentle cleanser and cotton pads or makeup remover wipes, as opposed to harsh chemicals like micellar water or soap. When you're done, wash off the excess residue with warm water.
Homeo Beau Argan & Jojoba Cleansing Oil and Makeup Remover
This cleansing oil removes makeup and cleanses your skin at the same time, leaving it soft and hydrated.
Homeo beau Cleansing Oil uses high-quality oils and includes ingredients such as argan oil, jojoba oil, and squalene oil, which are known for their antioxidant and cleansing power.
According to a study on the benefits of jojoba oil designed for dry skin, jojoba oil even has the ability to increase the elasticity of the skin and smooth wrinkles. This makeup remover is great for those with dry skin because it’s more oil-based, as well as for those wanting anti-aging properties.
CORECO Cleansing Liquid & Make-up Remover
This makeup remover effectively dissolves oil and removes makeup without harming your skin’s protective layer. It contains natural plant extracts of licorice, lavender, orange, sage, chamomile, and mint. If you have oily skin, this makeup remover is for you due to its water base and absence of hydrophilic oils.
Step 2: Cleanse
The second step of your Japanese skincare routine is cleansing. This is where you'll be removing any remaining traces of makeup and dirt from the surface of your skin. It’s also an important part of your skincare regimen because it helps prepare your skin for moisturizing and other steps in the process.
When using a cleanser, start by wetting a cotton pad or cloth with warm water. Then, gently press the cleanser onto your face to dampen it entirely before rinsing off by splashing warm water on top of it for at least 15 seconds.
You want something that has both oil-based and water-based ingredients as well as some kind of gentle surfactants like Cocamidopropyl betaine or sodium Laureth sulfate. These two will help remove oil-based debris without leaving behind any residue or damaging dryness—a common issue when using traditional bar soaps.
HITOYURAI + 30 Premium Cleansing
This cleanser is from a professional skincare line that provides visible results. This cleanser in particular is great for aging skin due to its CDS encapsulation technology and stem cell complex.
These components encourage the skin cells to grow and renew while slowly releasing the benefits over time within deeper layers of your skin. It’s especially helpful in combating sagging, age spots, fine lines, and dryness.
WHITE ICHIGO Organic Tech-Wash
If you’re looking for a lightweight, fluffy cleanser, this product will introduce a new way of cleansing. It will gently remove impurities without disrupting your skin’s moisture barrier, making it great for any skin type.
It’s very beneficial for those with dry skin though, considering it contains other hydrating ingredients such as white strawberry, white strawberry seed oil, and organic lavender extract. A study on the viability of fruit seed oil states, “It moisturizes the upper skin layer through reduction of transepidermal water loss.”
Step 3: Lotion/Toner
The next step in your routine is lotion or toner. This is used to remove any remaining dirt or oil from your skin. In addition, it can help to improve the appearance of your skin and provide a soft, glowing look.
Toner is a liquid that you apply with a cotton ball or pad. Some people prefer to make their own toner using ingredients from the kitchen, but buying from a beauty company ensures you’re using effective ingredients.
MYUFULL Natural Lotion
MYUFULL Natural Lotion is a new product that has been developed specifically for dry and sensitive skin.
This cream contains only natural moisturizing ingredients such as Arabian gum, marine collagen, and natural preservatives like sodium anisate (extracted from corn and basil), so it is suitable even for people with allergies or sensitive skin.
Moreover, it has an antibacterial effect, which is extremely important in the fight against acne and pimples.
HYAKKASO Facial Toner
If you have dry skin, this toner is for you. It’s based on hot spring water, which softens rough or dry skin and nourishes it with minerals.
It’s stated in a study on Thermal waters as cosmeceuticals that “thermal spring water induces accelerated healing, softens the outer skin layer, and reduces itching and vasomotor pains”.
This toner also includes hyaluronic acid (a favorite ingredient for moisturizing), as well as lemon extract and Alpinia zerumbet extract. It’s still suitable for oily and acne-prone skin types as well though.
Step 4: Serum
This step includes a serum, which can be chosen based on the benefits it provides or your specific skin type. Serums are more concentrated than lotions and are used to target specific skin concerns.
You can apply serums on top of moisturizing products or apply them alone. If you have oily skin, use an oil-free or water-based serum; if you have dry skin, opt for an oil-based product. Serum should be applied after lotion but before sunscreen and makeup.
AVEAUTE Booster Face Up Serum
AVEAUTE Booster Face Up Serum is a skin serum that can be used on its own or with other products to enhance its effectiveness.
The stem cell extract provides a powerful lifting effect while the nano-sized gold reduces inflammation and minimizes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, making it great for aging skin.
The formula also contains raw soluble collagen which produces a water-rich film on your skin giving it great hydration, making it nice and smooth, and reducing trans-epidermal-water loss.
AVEAUTE Deep 2SC Serum
While many serums may feel heavy and oily, the AVEAUTE serum is neither. It increases the moisture of your skin and gives elasticity and radiance, without being wet or oily.
For this reason, it’s great if you have oily skin, dry skin, or a combination. The raw collagen peptide is easily absorbed into the skin and the stem cell extracts help produce more collagen. Fullerene provides antioxidant protection while retinol and proteoglycans provide moisturizing and wrinkle reduction.
Step 5: Cream
Step 5 in the skincare routine is a cream, which seals everything together and protects your skin from daily elements. Creams also help with hydration, but not as much as a serum or lotion would. This is because creams are thicker than serums and lotions.
If you're having trouble choosing what cream to use, here are some guidelines:
- Go for something lightweight that doesn't feel heavy on your skin - this way it won't clog up pores or cause any irritation
- If you have sensitive skin or are prone to breakouts, then avoid thickening agents such as beeswax or shea butter
- Test out different types until you find one that works best for your needs
KYOTO KOMACHI Sakura Anti-Aging Care Cream
The Sakura Anti-Aging Care Cream is a lightweight, non-greasy cream that moisturizes and nourishes your skin. It contains a blend of ingredients that work together to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, firm your skin, and restore elasticity.
The formula also contains an antioxidant complex that helps protect against free radicals and environmental stressors that can cause premature aging. That’s what makes this such a great anti-aging cream.
Spa Treatment Nano Essence Cream
The Spa Treatment Nano skincare series truly makes you feel like you’re at the spa. The nano formula accelerates the process of cell renewal, increases moisturize levels, and provides an antioxidant effect.
The hydrolyzed silk has a deep moisturizing effect, as does the hyaluronic acid. This cream is great if you have dry or aging skin. It’s also effective for oily skin as well though since it’s thicker.
Step 6: Eye Treatment
Eye creams are a little different from face creams in that they tend to be lighter and more emollient. Because of this, they should be applied sparingly with gentle patting motions, not rubbed or massaged into your skin. Simply apply eye cream starting at the inner corner of your eye and moving outward toward your brows.
Eye creams should be used daily as part of your skincare routine. Since they're so delicate and sensitive, it's best to apply them after toners/essences rather than before or as part of cleansing (unless you want an extra dose of hydration).
DIREIA Stem Repair The Eye Cream
This particular cream uses a unique complex of more than 200 types of stem cells and peptides with a refined formula for deep penetration of active ingredients.
The cream increases the production of collagen and elastin which helps your skin tighten. It fills in wrinkles, makes your skin noticeably smoother and more elastic, and inhibits the production of melanin, which leads to the appearance of pigmentation. Many eye creams combat aging and this one shows results.
AXXZIA Beauty Eyes Day Care Cream
This eye cream stands out as one of the best for dry and aging skin. The vitamin C ingredient acts as an antioxidant, eliminates pigmentation, and gives a youthful appearance to your skin.
As for the hydrating effects, squalane and hyaluronic acid moisturize the deep tissues of the dermis and provide moisturizing benefits. It also contains chamomile, rosemary, and licorice extracts to soothe and brighten your skin.
Step 7: Mask/Peel (1-2x per week)
Now that you’ve cleansed and moisturized, it’s time to give your skin the extra care it deserves. Masks are a great way to treat your skin and even out your complexion. They can be done at home or in a spa, with either store-bought masks or homemade ones. We recommend applying a face mask only 1-2 times per week though. There are several types of masks you can try:
- Sheet mask – Made with natural ingredients like plant extracts, these are typically one-time-use masks that adhere directly to the face using an adhesive backing
- Clay mask – Also one-time use but thicker than sheet masks due to the clay ingredient
- Peel – Usually comes as an at-home peel pad
Organic Face Masks RUHAKU
This organic face mask is infused with a thick milky lotion that deeply moisturizes your skin, smooths its texture, and supplies your skin with several essential nutrients.
It works to boost your skin to appear healthy, well-moisturized and nurtured. The main ingredients include aloe vera juice, ghetto leaf water, and squalane.
KYOTO KOMACHI Matcha Face Pack
This matcha face pack helps maintain clear skin and a glowing complexion. The organic matcha green tea is a great ingredient for reducing inflammation and the adzuki red bean extract contains a natural exfoliant that draws out sebum and dirt and soothes your skin.
The face pack is loaded with nourishing, hydrating ingredients. Overall, it’s perfect for any skin type.
Step 8: SPF
It’s the most important step in your skincare routine, yet the one that’s often neglected the most. Sun protection is crucial to maintaining healthy skin because it keeps harmful UV rays from penetrating the skin and causing damage.
The sun's rays can cause premature aging, wrinkles, dark spots (i.e., liver spots), and pigmented areas on your face that make you look older than you are. SPF should be applied every single time you go outside (even if it’s cloudy) because it takes less than 15 minutes for UVB rays to damage your skin.
Cica Method UV Base Milk SPF 50+ PA ++++
UV Base Milk is a lightweight, easily blendable foundation that gives you a matte finish.
It provides a high level of protection (SPF 50+ PA ++++) from the harmful effects of the sun and also gives your skin a transparent complexion by covering dullness, pores, and uneven skin tone.
Due to the Cica's anti-inflammatory properties, it also reduces irritation, and redness, and prevents clogged pores.
CORECO Perfect CC Cream (with Natural Extracts SPF 50 + PA ++++)
If you’re looking for a foundation or CC cream that incorporates SPF, the CORECO CC Cream is a great option. It combines two steps into one and eliminates the worry of adding sunscreen.
As long as you put the CC cream on, you’ll cover up your skin while protecting it. The cream uses the extract of placenta and hyaluronic acid, which deeply moisturizes your skin. It’s suitable for all skin types, including oily skin.
Following the skincare ladder will improve your skin.
The skincare ladder is a very effective way to improve your skin. Many people think that it’s necessary to spend a lot of money on skincare products, but even people with low budgets can see great results by following this process.
You don’t need to buy all the items at once, and you can use them for years if you take care of them well. Japanese-style skincare products are made from natural ingredients, so it is worth investing in them because they will last longer than other types of cosmetics.
We hope this guide has helped you understand the Japanese skincare ladder and what it can do for your skin.
It’s truly a great method for gaining the results you’re looking for and can provide a new way to approach skincare.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them in the comments section below or contact one of our Beauty Ninjas.