• Top 14 Best Japanese Body Moisturizers to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 1
  • Top 14 Best Japanese Body Moisturizers to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 2
  • Top 14 Best Japanese Body Moisturizers to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 3
  • Top 14 Best Japanese Body Moisturizers to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 4
  • Top 14 Best Japanese Body Moisturizers to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True! 5

Top 14 Best Japanese Body Moisturizers to Buy Online 2020 - Tried and True!

Browsing a Japanese drugstore is like panning for gold. You’re there looking down the aisles and everything seems like silt until you finally find a gem–a body lotion that hydrates (possibly even more than a high-end brand), low price tag, no shady ingredients. The task is fun but time-consuming, especially if you don’t read Japanese.

And even if you do, do you really want to go through all of those katakana-ized chemical names? We certainly don’t. But we did. To save you headache (and a trip or ten to the drugstore), we ordered the 14 most popular body moisturizers from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) and tested for the following:

1. Fragrance
2. Hydration
3. Application

This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese body moisturizers.
  • Last updated: 12-12-2019
  • 6,125 views
Table of Contents

How to Choose a Japanese Body Moisturizer – Buying Guide

We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the products, but before that, we want to introduce three things you should look out for when picking out a Japanese body moisturizer.

① You Want a Moisturizer that Keeps Your Skin Hydrated

① You Want a Moisturizer that Keeps Your Skin Hydrated
A good body lotion doesn’t merely moisturize–it helps your skin retain and lock in moisture. Hydration is a two step process: water is first added into your skin; then, a kind of lid (usually made up of oils) is formed over skin, sealing water in and keeping it from evaporating.
Ceramides※1 and hyaluronic acid※2 are both especially good at protecting and hydrating skin. Their levels are depleted with age, so it’s particularly important you search for these ingredients if you have dry or mature skin. They are, however, great for all skin types.
Then, you need oil※3 in the formula, which will keep water from escaping. The most popular oils in Japan are shea butter, as well as jojoba, castor, olive, and macadamia seed oil. Petroleum jelly, which also forms a kind of membrane over your skin, plays a similar role.
※1 セラミド: ceramides
※2 ヒアルロン酸: hyaluronic acid
※3 -油: -oil (e.g. jojoba oil is written as ホホバ油)

② You Want a Moisturizer that Applies Well

We’d say there’s five main kinds of body moisturizer: cream, butter, lotion, milk, and oil. All are a bit different in texture and composition.

If You Like Them Dense and Wet, Get Body Cream

If You Like Them Dense and Wet, Get Body Cream
Most body creams※4 feel thick and wet, and they contain a lot of oils. However, different brands and product lines vary in texture and how they spread.
Generally speaking, creams contain more oil than water, which is how they retain so much moisture. Some creams can feel dense and unyielding upon application, depending on how much oil is in the formula and what other ingredients it’s mixed with, but they usually soften up as soon as you warm them in between your hands.
※4 クリーム: cream

If You Like Them Extremely Hydrating, Get Body Butter

If You Like Them Extremely Hydrating, Get Body Butter
Just like the butter we spread on our toast, body butter※5 melts when exposed to heat. Unlike their delicious dairy cousins, however, most body butters are made with botanical oils, such as shea, avocado, aloe, and mango. They can feel greasy, but they’re a godsend for those with extremely dry skin.
※5 バター: butter

If You Like Them Light and Smooth, Get Body Milk or Lotion

If You Like Them Light and Smooth, Get Body Milk or Lotion
Body milk※6 is similar in texture to facial milk. The texture is somewhere in between creams, which are thick and oily, and lotions, which are watery here in Japan. It spreads easily and doesn’t leave skin tacky–perfect for hot and sticky summers. Since there’s no residue, you can go about your day right after application, so try getting body milk for busy mornings.
Body lotions※7 in Japan feel more like toner. They’re thin in texture and go on light. Most actually don’t contain any oil, so you can use them on parts of your body that are prone to acne, such as your back or chest. Then, on parts of your body that do dry out, apply a cream for extra hydration. Japanese lotion is also lubricating, so you could use it as a massage oil.
※6 ミルク: milk
※7 ローション: lotion

If You Like It When They Absorb Quickly into Skin, Get Body Oil

If You Like It When They Absorb Quickly into Skin, Get Body Oil
It’s just what it sounds like–body oil features oil as its main ingredient, so it absorbs easily into skin. There’s many types–some oils contain cosmetic ingredients, some only feature botanicals, some include essential oils and other fragrances. You can choose an oil with skin-healthy ingredients or you can get one that helps you relax.
They spread easily and a little goes a long way, and often the very experience of using body oils is just as good as the results.

③ You Want a Moisturizer that Smells Good

③ You Want a Moisturizer that Smells Good
Fragrance stirs up numerous associations and memories in the human brain; it’s not something you want to overlook when choosing a moisturizer. Soap and floral scents tend to be sweet and light. Rose and jasmine are particularly popular; lavender and chamomile are said to be relaxing. Neroli’s a bit citrusy and kinmokusei spicy.
Citruses like orange, grapefruit, and lemon smell fresh. Bergamot is soothing, and yuzu is especially notable because it’s hydrating and has an eye-opening scent. Then there’s herbs like mint and basil. Moisturizers that feature complex herb blends can smell medicinal and are hit-or-miss. Well-done herbal blends have a cool, refreshing scent that clears noses.
Woody scents are clean and invigorating. Cedarwood and eucalyptus help clear the mind, whereas cypress and petitgrain have a calming effect. Finally, you can choose unscented moisturizer, whether it’s because you’re sensitive to fragrances and essential oils or you simply prefer it that way.

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them
Now to introduce the 14 most popular Japanese body moisturizers that we ordered and the process by which we tested them.
{The Products We Tested}
1. Curél Moisture Cream Jar (キュレル クリーム ジャー)
2. Nivea Creme (ニベアクリーム)※
3. Carecela AP Face & Body Cream (ケアセラ APフェイス&ボディクリーム)
4. Wonder Honey Noumitsu Marche no Cream Balm Darling (ワンダーハニー 濃蜜マルシェのクリームバーム ダーリン)
5. Bee Honey Ettoh Cream (ビーハニー 越冬クリーム)
6. MAMA-LABO Milky Whip Body Cream (ママラボ ミルキーホイップボディクリーム)
7. Jergens Brilliance Shine Your Light (ジャーゲンズ ブリリアンス シャインユアライト)※
8. MOC Botania Body Cream (MOC ボタニア ボディクリーム)
9. hacica Milky Honey Body Cream 3.0 (ハチカ ミルキーハニー ボディクリーム 3.0)
10. FIANCÉE Body Milk PARFUM de SHAMPOO (フィアンセ ボディミルクローション ピュアシャンプーの香り)
11. SÍ BODY IL-CORPO Mineral Body Cream (イルコルポ ミネラルボディクリーム)
12. SPUR BLAN℃ Fragrance Milky Body Cream (シュプールブラン フレグランスボディクリーム)
13. OHANA MAHAALO Fragrance Body Cream (オハナ・マハロ フレグランス ボディクリーム ハリーア ノヘア)
14. FERNANDA Body Vita Serum Maria Regale (フェルナンダボディビタセラムマリアリゲル)
We then tested for each of the following things:
Test ①: Hydration
Test ②: Application
Test ③: Fragrance
※ Nivea is a joint venture between the Japanese corporation Kao and Beiersdorf AG and is thus included on this list. Likewise, in 1988, Jergens became a subsidiary of Kao.

Test ①: Hydration

Test ①: Hydration
We checked for hydration first.
We used the SKICON-220X, a moisture analyzer, to test for water levels in skin; it’s quite sensitive to even the slightest changes.
We had members from our editing department apply the moisturizers onto their arms–we then compared the state of their skin before application to its state eight hours after application. Throughout testing, all eight volunteers stayed in a room where temperature and humidity was kept constant and moved as little as possible.

The Big Takeaway: The Key Lies in How Your Skin can Retain Moisture. Ceramides were Found to be Effective

The Big Takeaway: The Key Lies in How Your Skin can Retain Moisture. Ceramides were Found to be Effective
Lotions that featured ceramides excelled at water retention. Ceramides form a barrier, which not only protects your skin from irritants, but keeps liquid from evaporating. If you want to stay hydrated throughout the day, you should focus on how long the lotion can keep moisture in your skin, rather than how much water it pumps into your skin upon application.
The thinner the lotion, the less likely it was to keep water in skin. If you have drier skin, you want to use lighter lotions in conjunction with creams that have more oils to make sure you’re getting the hydration you need.

Test ②: Application

Test ②: Application
Next, we looked at how tacky the moisturizers were.
We applied each product to a stack of 10 oblaats (thin sheets of starch); the more it soaked through, the more liquidy the formula. We also tried out the moisturizers ourselves to see how well they spread on and absorbed into skin.

The Big Takeaway: Milk Lotions Don’t Leave Skin Tacky. They Also Absorb like Butter Melting through a Pancake

The Big Takeaway: Milk Lotions Don’t Leave Skin Tacky. They Also Absorb like Butter Melting through a Pancake
Milk lotion spread like barbecue sauce over ribs and absorbed into skin like half-melted butter trickling through a pancake. Since it was so light, we didn’t need to rub it into skin; we just spread it over and waited for it to set. And it set quickly, so we were able to type at our desks and read magazines soon afterwards, without getting fingerprints everywhere.
On the other hand, dense creams and petroleum jelly left behind sticky residue. They were quite solid so they didn’t absorb easily into skin and we still felt kind of greasy even after they set.

Test ③: Fragrance

Test ③: Fragrance
Finally, we tested for fragrance.
We gathered random members from our editing department and had them try out all the moisturizers. We then made notes of which ones were the most universally appealing.

The Big Takeaway: Florals that Weren’t Too Sweet and Citruses that Weren’t Too Sweet were Best

The Big Takeaway: Florals that Weren’t Too Sweet and Citruses that Weren’t Too Sweet were Best
Florals were described as delicate and citruses as refreshing, and though both enjoyed immense popularity, florals won by a slim margin.
The secret to their popularity? Neither florals nor citruses were too strong (usually) or too unique. We also tended to like the scent of blooms like freesias and lilies over roses because they were more subtle and fresh rather than sweet.

The Final Verdict: Top 14 Best Japanese Body Moisturizers to Buy Online

Now to introduce the 14 best Japanese body moisturizers available online. They were ranked by how well they did on our tests and given an overall grade ranging from D to A+.
TypeCream
Smells Like
HydrationC
ApplicationD
FragranceB
Overall ScoreC
Type
Smells LikeMilk
HydrationD
ApplicationA+
FragranceD
Overall ScoreC

12. Wonder Honey Noumitsu Marche no Cream Balm Darling

$23.90

TypeButter
Smells LikeFlowers & Honey
HydrationA
ApplicationC
FragranceC
Overall ScoreC
11. OHANA MAHAALO Fragrance Body Cream 1

11. OHANA MAHAALO Fragrance Body Cream

$11.30

TypeMilk
Smells LikeFruit & Flowers
HydrationA+
ApplicationC
FragranceC
Overall ScoreC

10. SÍ BODY IL-CORPO Mineral Body Cream

$48.81

TypeCream
Smells Like
HydrationA+
ApplicationB
FragranceD
Overall ScoreC

9. Bee Honey Ettoh Cream

$24.90

TypeCream
Smells LikeHoney
HydrationC
ApplicationB
FragranceA+
Overall ScoreB
TypeGel
Smells LikeJasmine, Pear, & Lily of the Valley
HydrationB
ApplicationA
FragranceC
Overall ScoreB
TypeCream
Smells Like
HydrationA
ApplicationC
FragranceB
Overall ScoreB

6. FIANCÉE Body Milk PARFUM de SHAMPOO

$20.00

TypeMilk
Smells LikeShampoo
HydrationA
ApplicationB
FragranceC
Overall ScoreB
5. MOC Botania Body Cream 1

5. MOC Botania Body Cream

$10.84

TypeCream
Smells LikeAloe
HydrationB
ApplicationB
FragranceA
Overall ScoreA

4. Jergens Brilliance Shine Your Light

$11.71

TypeMilk
Smells LikeFlowers
HydrationC
ApplicationA+
FragranceA
Overall ScoreA

3. hacica Milky Honey Body Cream 3.0

$19.75

TypeMilk
Smells LikeHoney
HydrationA
ApplicationB
FragranceA
Overall ScoreA
TypeCream
Smells Like
HydrationA+
ApplicationC
FragranceC
Overall ScoreA+
1. SPUR BLAN℃ Fragrance Milky Body Cream 1

1. SPUR BLAN℃ Fragrance Milky Body Cream

$13.66

TypeCream
FragranceMilky
HydrationA+
ApplicationB
FragranceA
Overall ScoreA+

How to Properly Apply Body Moisturizer

Applying lotion seems like such an intuitive thing. No one ever teaches you how to do it. But there may be a few things you could be doing to ensure you get as much hydration as possible. Let’s talk about each below.

Moisturizers are Most Effective when Applied Right After a Shower

Moisturizers are Most Effective when Applied Right After a Shower
You want to apply moisturizer right after your bath or shower. You’re clean and exfoliated, and your skin is ready to drink up all the water it can get. Plus, skin starts drying out as soon as you towel it off, so before that happens, put on lotion to lock in all the moisture from your shower. Actually, feel free to apply in the restroom itself.

One Dollop Should be the Size of a Dollar Coin

One Dollop Should be the Size of a Dollar Coin
We know–waste not, want not, right? But when it comes to body lotion, you want to be as generous as possible. Basically, try using a dollar-coin sized dollop of cream on every section of your body–one dollop on the area between your thighs and your toes and another between your shoulders and fingertips, for instance.
Of course, how much lotion you need is also affected by the state your skin is in, as well as temperature and humidity, so use the dollar-coin rule as a guideline and adjust as necessary.

Switch out Creams with the Changing of the Seasons

Switch out Creams with the Changing of the Seasons
Winter’s cold and dry, which means your skin is in the same state. It’s also the season in which finding a good body moisturizer becomes imperative. You want cream with a lot of oil that will seal in moisture or one of those self-warming lotions. Winter moisturizers should be denser and filled with ingredients that help skin retain moisture, such as ceramides or honey.
On the other hand, your skin dries out in summer because of a) UV rays and b) air conditioning. Just like in winter, you want ingredients that help with water retention. You can also look into lotions with UV protection or whitening ingredients. These keep your skin from drying out and prevent sunspots and dulling, which age your skin.
You may also want to look for light, refreshing scents (like herb and citrus) and lighter textures to make hot, sticky summers more bearable.

Summary

We rounded up members of our editing department, purchased the 14 most popular Japanese body moisturizers, and tested them all.
There are plenty of hydrating lotions with skin-healthy ingredients. Once you’ve determined that something’s going to be good for your skin, the only thing left to do is choose one with a scent and texture that you like. We hope that, while reading through our tests and descriptions, you found something that appealed to you.
Original by Haruka Toda; Translation by Jasmine Li

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