• 10 Best Tried and True Japanese Anti-Aging Serums in 2022 (Beauty Expert-Reviewed) 1
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  • 10 Best Tried and True Japanese Anti-Aging Serums in 2022 (Beauty Expert-Reviewed) 3
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10 Best Tried and True Japanese Anti-Aging Serums in 2022 (Beauty Expert-Reviewed)

We might not be able to prevent aging altogether, but we can still age gracefully. That feels like the consensus here in Japan, where anti-aging skincare is popular and constantly evolving. As time goes by, our skin undergoes certain changes–hormones are thrown out of balance, certain functions are dulled–and serums that you used once may no longer be as effective. You might notice that your skin has aged a little bit from some signs such as dryness, dullness, slight sagginess, and uneven skin texture. Well, we recommend using anti-aging serums to moisturize the skin to give it more elasticity and glow.

So which serums target the signs of aging and will actually work for you? There's a wide variety of Japanese anti-aging products, from affordable brands like Chifure, Muji, Minon, and Curel, to luxury brands like POLA, making it difficult to know what to look for. In order to answer that question, we ordered the most popular anti-aging serums from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. 

We tested each product for the following:

  1. Moisturizing ability
  2. Anti-aging ingredients
  3. Gentleness on the skin
  4. Feel

Continue reading to find our more about the best Japanese anti-aging serum!

Featured in this article

Kaori
mybest US Editors
  • Last updated: 08-18-2022
Table of Contents

What Exactly Does an Anti-Aging Serum Do?

What Exactly Does an Anti-Aging Serum Do?
The main thing an anti-aging serum does is hydrate. While they offer similar features, anti-aging serums tend to not only have ingredients that have anti-aging properties but also feature more moisturizing ingredients.

Dehydration is said to be one of the biggest culprits behind the various signs of aging. And it’s not just the wrinkling and the sagging; when your skin is dehydrated, its natural barrier gets worn down, which in turn leads to hyperpigmentation and acne.

Furthermore, as your skin ages, it loses its ability to hold on to water. When your skin starts losing its firmness and elasticity or when spots and dulling start to become apparent is when you need to pay attention to hydration more than ever. When it comes to anti-aging, the most important thing is to use products that help with water retention.

That isn’t to say that other things, such as ingredients that help firm up skin or prevent age and sun spots, aren’t important; they are. But they’re more like the cherry on the sundae. At the end of the day, the first question you should ask yourself is, “Does my anti-aging serum keep mature skin properly hydrated?”

How to Choose a Japanese Anti-Aging Serum – Buying Guide

There are a whole lot of anti-aging serums out there. Let’s talk about how to narrow down the choices and find one that’s right for you.

Look for Something Hydrating, Firming, and Brightening

Look for Something Hydrating, Firming, and Brightening

Moreover, check for ingredients such as niacinamides, astaxanthin, collagen, plant extracts, and fermented extracts, as these can help improve wrinkles and other signs of aging.


Moreover, the older we get, the more prone our skin becomes to developing blemishes. Products that feature brightening ingredients like placenta extract, vitamin C derivatives, 4MSK, and tranexamic acid can help minimize the appearance of those pesky spots!


Additionally, proteoglycans have enjoyed tons of popularity in recent years. The poster child of proteoglycans would be aggrecan, found in articular cartilage.


That’s would explain why it’s highly elastic; it has exceptional water retention. It has also been experimented on and proven to help with collagen synthesis–truly a superstar when it comes to anti-aging.

Those With Sensitive Skin Should Check for Potential Irritants

Those With Sensitive Skin Should Check for Potential Irritants

If you end up looking for the strongest ingredients that can help your address your concerns with signs of aging, but end up irritating your skin, you'd be doing yourself a major disservice.


If you find a product that lists ethanol, plant extracts, or essential oils near the top of the ingredients list, watch out, as it could potentially irritate your skin. As a general rule of thumb, the earlier an ingredient appears in an ingredients list means the more of it is included in the product.


If you've ever had an experience where a product has irritated your skin in the past, we recommend doing a patch test somewhere discreet, such as on the inside of your arm, before you start using the product.

Kaori
Scientific Beautician
Kaori

While active ingredients that can easily penetrate the skin, such as peptides, can certainly help improve signs of aging, they can also irritate the skin for some.


If you're concerned about rough skin or feel any stinging sensations, it's best to avoid ingredients like these.

Find a Texture That's Pleasant and Packaging That's Convenient

Find a Texture That's Pleasant and Packaging That's Convenient

With skincare, consistency is key. Even the best anti-aging serum in the world will be of no help if you don’t use it every day. That’s why it’s important to find a formula that smells and feels good, wrapped up in packaging that’s easy to use.

Serums vary in density. They can be lightly or heavily scented or have no scent at all. As for packaging, you can find serums in tubes or bottles with either a pump or dropper. This all comes down to personal preference, so make sure you find something you like.

10 Best Japanese Anti-Aging Serums

Now to introduce the 10 best Japanese anti-aging serums available online, selected from a total of 34 products that we tested. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests and given an overall score ranging from 1 to 5.

Image
1
ORBIS ORBIS U Dot Lotion 1

ORBIS

2
Fancl Enrich Plus Lotion II Moist 1

Fancl

3
P&G SK-II Facial Treatment Lotion 1

P&G

4
Kao Corporation Curél Aging-Care Series Lotion 1

Kao Corporation

5
POLA B.A Lotion 1

POLA

6
Rohto Pharmaceutical Obagi X Lift Lotion 1

Rohto Pharmaceutical

7
Nuzzle Inc. Whomee Moist Aging Care Lotion 1

Nuzzle Inc.

8
Albion Co. Ltd.  Flora Drip 1

Albion Co. Ltd.

9
Shiseido Elixir Advanced Lotion T III 1

Shiseido

10
Kao est G.P. Conditioning Serum Lifting Moisture 1

Kao

Name

ORBIS U Dot Lotion

Enrich Plus Lotion II Moist

SK-II Facial Treatment Lotion

Curél Aging-Care Series Lotion

B.A Lotion

Obagi X Lift Lotion

Whomee Moist Aging Care Lotion

Flora Drip

Elixir Advanced Lotion T III

est G.P. Conditioning Serum Lifting Moisture

Features

A Fantastic Anti-Aging Serum With No Drawbacks

A Wrinkle-Minimizing Anti-Aging Serum

An All-Around Great Aging Care Serum

A Mild, Anti-Aging Serum for Sensitive Skin

Strong Scent, but Packed With Beautifying Ingredients

Incredibly Ingredients in One Bottle

A High-Performance Anti-Aging Serum, but Not for Sensitive Skin

Unique Ingredients and a Refreshing Fragrance

An Anti-Aging Serum With Great Ingredients

A Fantastic Moisturizing Serum, but No Notable Anti-Aging Ingredients

Price$40.00$27.00$63.00$46.57$151.52$35.82$45.13$82.25$31.71$138.62
Japaneseオルビス ユードット ローションFANCL エンリッチプラス 化粧液 II しっとりSK-II フェイシャル トリートメント ローションキュレル エイジングケアシリーズ 化粧水POLA B.A ローションロート オバジX リフトローションフーミー モイストエイジングケアローションアルビオン フローラドリップ資生堂 エリクシール アドバンスド ローション TⅢ花王 エストG.P. コンディショニングセラム リフトモイスト
Amount180ml30 ml75ml140ml120ml150ml200ml80ml170ml100ml
Main ingredientsBG, diglycerin, concentrated glycerin, honeysuckle extract, japanese honeysuckle extractBG, diglycerin, concentrated glycerin, ectoin, hydrolyzed collagen solution-4, lauroyl glutamate di(phytosteryl/octyldodecyl), collagen tripeptide FBG, galactomyces ferment filtrateGlycerin, BG, thujopsis dolabrata branch extract, hexadecyloxy PG hydroxyethylhexadecanamide, eucalyptus extract, water-soluble zingiber officinale root extract (K)BG, arginine, glycolipids, sage leaf extract, mussel glycogen, sennikoku seed extract, hydrolyzed conchiolin, hydrolyzed silk, lysine sodium dilauroyl glutamateGlycerin, BG, collagen, sodium hyaluronate, hydrolyzed white lupin protein, caprooyl tetrapeptide-3, sorbitol, squalane, hydrolyzed soybean protein, platinum, comfrey callus culture extract, hydrolyzed eggshell membraneGlycerin, BG, saccharomyces/(brown sugar/placenta extract) fermented solution, hydrolyzed elastin, hydrolyzed collagen, placenta extract, hyaluronic acid Na, ubiquinone, ceramide NG, ceramide AP, ceramide NP, ceramide EOP, cerebroside, PCA-Na, glycyrrhizic acid 2K, acetyl hexapeptide 8, human oligopeptide 1, human oligopeptide 13, retinol palmitate, ascorbyl Mg phosphate, ascorbyl tetrahexyldecanoate, fullerene, gluconobacter culture medium, platinum, bovine lean protein blood, sake lees extract, rice fermentation liquid, aspergillus/defatted soybean seed fermentation extract, hydrolyzed swallow's nest extract, ceramide Glycerin, BG, aspergillus/(artemisia annua/ araliaceae) flower/leaf/stem/(artemisia sieboldiana/melissa/tachijacum) leaf/stem) fermentation liquid, alcaligenes-producing polysaccharideDPG, glycerin, BG, soluble collagen, diglycerin, erythritol, ginkgo biloba extract, iris root extract, turmeric rhizome extractDPG, glycerin, BG, betaine, tuberose polysaccharide, ginseng root extract, ginger root extract, ectoin, hibamata extract
Active ingredientsTranexamic acidNiacinamideN/AAllantoinN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
ContainerBottleBottleBottlePump-bottlePump bottleBottleBottleBottleBottlePump bottle
Requires a cotton padNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNoNo
Other featuresPatch tested, alcohol-free, fragrance-free, pigment-free, oil-free, surfactant-freePreservative-free, UV absorber-free, petroleum-based surfactant-free, fragrance-free, artificial pigment-freeN/AAlcohol-free, fragrance-free, pigment-free, patch tested, allergy testedAllergy testedN/AFragrance-free, pigment-free, mineral oil-freeN/AN/AN/A
Moisturization5.05.05.05.05.05.05.05.05.05.0
Anti-aging ingredients4.05.05.03.55.05.05.05.04.03.5
Gentleness4.05.04.05.03.53.53.33.54.04.0
Feel4.53.33.74.53.43.43.53.33.44.0
Overall score4.394.364.244.134.094.094.023.983.973.95
Link

※Keep in mind that these products are not guaranteed to produce any positive results. If you do choose to buy any of these products, be sure to double-check the official description and purported benefits.

1
Japaneseオルビス ユードット ローション
Amount180ml
Main ingredientsBG, diglycerin, concentrated glycerin, honeysuckle extract, japanese honeysuckle extract
Active ingredientsTranexamic acid
ContainerBottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresPatch tested, alcohol-free, fragrance-free, pigment-free, oil-free, surfactant-free
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients4.0
Gentleness4.0
Feel4.5
Overall score4.39
2
JapaneseFANCL エンリッチプラス 化粧液 II しっとり
Amount30 ml
Main ingredientsBG, diglycerin, concentrated glycerin, ectoin, hydrolyzed collagen solution-4, lauroyl glutamate di(phytosteryl/octyldodecyl), collagen tripeptide F
Active ingredientsNiacinamide
ContainerBottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresPreservative-free, UV absorber-free, petroleum-based surfactant-free, fragrance-free, artificial pigment-free
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients5.0
Gentleness5.0
Feel3.3
Overall score4.36
3
JapaneseSK-II フェイシャル トリートメント ローション
Amount75ml
Main ingredientsBG, galactomyces ferment filtrate
Active ingredientsN/A
ContainerBottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresN/A
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients5.0
Gentleness4.0
Feel3.7
Overall score4.24
4

Kao CorporationCurél Aging-Care Series Lotion

$46.57

Japaneseキュレル エイジングケアシリーズ 化粧水
Amount140ml
Main ingredientsGlycerin, BG, thujopsis dolabrata branch extract, hexadecyloxy PG hydroxyethylhexadecanamide, eucalyptus extract, water-soluble zingiber officinale root extract (K)
Active ingredientsAllantoin
ContainerPump-bottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresAlcohol-free, fragrance-free, pigment-free, patch tested, allergy tested
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients3.5
Gentleness5.0
Feel4.5
Overall score4.13
5
JapanesePOLA B.A ローション
Amount120ml
Main ingredientsBG, arginine, glycolipids, sage leaf extract, mussel glycogen, sennikoku seed extract, hydrolyzed conchiolin, hydrolyzed silk, lysine sodium dilauroyl glutamate
Active ingredientsN/A
ContainerPump bottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresAllergy tested
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients5.0
Gentleness3.5
Feel3.4
Overall score4.09
6

Rohto PharmaceuticalObagi X Lift Lotion

$35.82

Japaneseロート オバジX リフトローション
Amount150ml
Main ingredientsGlycerin, BG, collagen, sodium hyaluronate, hydrolyzed white lupin protein, caprooyl tetrapeptide-3, sorbitol, squalane, hydrolyzed soybean protein, platinum, comfrey callus culture extract, hydrolyzed eggshell membrane
Active ingredientsN/A
ContainerBottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresN/A
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients5.0
Gentleness3.5
Feel3.4
Overall score4.09
7

Nuzzle Inc.Whomee Moist Aging Care Lotion

$45.13

Japaneseフーミー モイストエイジングケアローション
Amount200ml
Main ingredientsGlycerin, BG, saccharomyces/(brown sugar/placenta extract) fermented solution, hydrolyzed elastin, hydrolyzed collagen, placenta extract, hyaluronic acid Na, ubiquinone, ceramide NG, ceramide AP, ceramide NP, ceramide EOP, cerebroside, PCA-Na, glycyrrhizic acid 2K, acetyl hexapeptide 8, human oligopeptide 1, human oligopeptide 13, retinol palmitate, ascorbyl Mg phosphate, ascorbyl tetrahexyldecanoate, fullerene, gluconobacter culture medium, platinum, bovine lean protein blood, sake lees extract, rice fermentation liquid, aspergillus/defatted soybean seed fermentation extract, hydrolyzed swallow's nest extract, ceramide
Active ingredientsN/A
ContainerBottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresFragrance-free, pigment-free, mineral oil-free
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients5.0
Gentleness3.3
Feel3.5
Overall score4.02
8
Japaneseアルビオン フローラドリップ
Amount80ml
Main ingredientsGlycerin, BG, aspergillus/(artemisia annua/ araliaceae) flower/leaf/stem/(artemisia sieboldiana/melissa/tachijacum) leaf/stem) fermentation liquid, alcaligenes-producing polysaccharide
Active ingredientsN/A
ContainerBottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresN/A
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients5.0
Gentleness3.5
Feel3.3
Overall score3.98
9

ShiseidoElixir Advanced Lotion T III

$31.71

Japanese資生堂 エリクシール アドバンスド ローション TⅢ
Amount170ml
Main ingredientsDPG, glycerin, BG, soluble collagen, diglycerin, erythritol, ginkgo biloba extract, iris root extract, turmeric rhizome extract
Active ingredientsN/A
ContainerBottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresN/A
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients4.0
Gentleness4.0
Feel3.4
Overall score3.97
10

Kaoest G.P. Conditioning Serum Lifting Moisture

$138.62

Japanese花王 エストG.P. コンディショニングセラム リフトモイスト
Amount100ml
Main ingredientsDPG, glycerin, BG, betaine, tuberose polysaccharide, ginseng root extract, ginger root extract, ectoin, hibamata extract
Active ingredientsN/A
ContainerPump bottle
Requires a cotton padNo
Other featuresN/A
Moisturization5.0
Anti-aging ingredients3.5
Gentleness4.0
Feel4.0
Overall score3.95

How We Tested the Anti-Aging Serums

How We Tested the Anti-Aging Serums
After gathering the most popular anti-aging serums from popular e-commerce sites in Japan like Amazon, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping, we tested each for the following:

  1. Moisturizing ability
  2. Anti-aging ingredients
  3. Gentleness on the skin
  4. Feel

Test ① Moisturizing Ability

Test ① Moisturizing Ability

First off, we tested each product's moisturizing ability. We used a special device known as a Corneometer to measure the amount of moisture in the skin of our tester's arms. We then applied a set amount of serum on their arm and measured moisture levels two hours after application.

We evaluated the products based on how much of an increase there was in moisture levels.

Test ② Anti-Aging Ingredients

Test ② Anti-Aging Ingredients

Next, we had our expert, Scientific Beautician Kaori, check whether or not the serums featured a high amount of quality anti-aging ingredients.

Quick note: some products that we tested are classified as quasi-drugs, which is a unique Japanese classification of products that sits in between cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. 


Manufacturers are not obligated by law to label all their ingredients for quasi-drugs, so Kaori only evaluated those products based on what was written on the label.

Test ③ Gentleness (Ingredients Evaluation)

Test ③ Gentleness (Ingredients Evaluation)

We also asked Kaori to evaluate how gentle on the skin each product was based on their ingredients.

Test ④ Feel

Test ④ Feel
Finally, since how a product feels to use can affect how long you can use an anti-aging product, we tested each product for this as well. 

We assigned two Japanese testers to each product, asking them to evaluate each product on the following:

  • Texture (whether or not it's sticky and how easy they blended with the skin)
  • Fragrance
  • How convenient the container was

Give Extra Care to Your Eyes With an Eye Cream

Give Extra Care to Your Eyes With an Eye Cream

Humans are naturally conditioned to look at people's eyes first, and we subconsciously collect a lot of information about other people through the eyes. Unfortunately, the eyes are also where we tend to show more signs of aging compared to other parts of the face.


The skin around your eyes is much thinner compared to other parts of your face, and produces less sebum, meaning they're more prone to drying out, making it more likely to develop wrinkles there. To combat this, we recommend using an eye cream in combination with your anti-aging serum.


There are a plethora of products, including those that are formulated with ingredients that are confirmed to minimize wrinkles, such as NEI-L1, retinols, and niacinamides, so try and look for an eye cream that has these ingredients.


For more on eye creams, check out the link below!

The Difference Between "Cosmetic Ingredients" and "Active Ingredients"

The Difference Between "Cosmetic Ingredients" and "Active Ingredients"
In the tables above, you probably noticed that we list the “main ingredients” of some products and the “active ingredients” of others. Why’s that? 

Both in Japan and the US, serums that aim to merely beautify and alter appearance are labeled as cosmetics. Their main ingredients are usually not present in high concentrations and are called “cosmetic ingredients.”

On the other hand, serums that are meant to change bodily functions are labeled as drugs. Their main ingredients are present in higher concentrations and function like medicine (though, rather than curing anything, they are meant to prevent things, like the production of melanin). These ingredients are called “active ingredients.”

Other Products to Complete Your J-Beauty Routine

You’re not done yet! Serums are smack dab in the middle of the Japanese skincare routine. They’re actually proceeded by toner and followed by lotion. Find out more below.

Author: Yukina Matsuda/Translation: Jasmine Li/Photos: Koichi Miura, Yoshio Yoshida

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Disclaimer

The products listed do not guarantee any effects, efficacy, or results as described in the buying guide. All products listed in this article have been tested in-house by mybest’s Japan team, with the cooperation of Japanese testers, unless specified otherwise.


The products listed do not guarantee any effects or results as described in the buying guide, nor do terms like “allergy tested” or "non-comedogenic tested" ensure that you will not experience negative effects.


None of the content on this website is intended to act as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a licensed medical practitioner or other qualified healthcare provider for healthcare concerns.

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