People with sensitive skin can agree on one thing: finding products suitable for your skin is time-consuming and at times painful. That's why our editors searched Japanese e-commerce sites (such as @cosme, Amazon, and Rakuten) for the best face washes for sensitive skin. We then chose the 19 most popular products and tested them.
We focused on three things: its cleansing power, its post-wash hydration level, and its ingredients. We then compiled everything we learned into a buying guide about and list of the best Japanese face washes for sensitive skin available online.
Muo Foaming Face Wash
Squa Facial Foam
Ceramid Skin Care Clear Soap Bar
Manara Moist Wash Gel
Mild Facial Washing Foam
Minon Facial Wash
Additive-free Foaming Face Wash
pupo Face Wash
freeplus Mild Moisture Soap
Additive-free Soap Face Wash
The Very Best Japanese Face Wash for Sensitive Skin
The Face Wash with the Best Ingredients and Cleansing Power
The Most Balanced Face Soap
A Face Wash That Feels Like a Face Cream
The Best Citrus-scented Face Wash
The Face Wash with the Strongest Fragrance
The Face Wash with the Best Collection of Ingredients
The Most Compact Pump-type Face Wash
The Most Moisturizing Face Wash
The Best Bang for Your Buck
We picked out 19 of the most popular products and tested them for the following: how cleansing it was, how much moisture our skin retained after, and how much good stuff was inside.
Then, based on how they performed on our tests, we graded and ranked the top 19 Japanese face washes for sensitive skin available online.
※Japanese prices for the some of the products are given; they’ve merely been converted into USD for easy viewing.
And why they didn't quite make it.
Though Minon Amino Moist Gentle Wash Whip says "moist" right in its name, we found that it didn't help our skin retain that hydration. It was gentle and had a nice foam, but that wasn't quite enough for us to recommend it.
A common issue with the lower-ranked products we tested are that they didn't cleanse our skin enough. Etvos Moist Amino Foam was one such product, which we pegged down to its amino acid-based ingredients.
Love Your Skin Botanical Face Soap made our skin feel tight post-wash, so you would think that meant it cleansed well, right? Wrong; it hardly removed any dirt and oil. And Muji Organic Moisture Gel had a nice herbal scent but didn't cleanse our pores enough to recommend it.
Sensitive skin care often comes in a gentle foam form or a push-type bottle, and we weren't impressed with how little product we got from one pump. For example, we had to pump 4 or 5 times before we got the amount of foam we wanted from Acseine Reset Wash.
Miyoshi Additive-free Foaming Face Wash was another product that took our testers a solid 5 pumps to get good use out of; and considering how little foam and cleansing power you get with a pump of Angel Recipe Washing Foam, we can't say we recommend it.
When we rank products, we also take other factors like texture and scent into account and judge whether they'd be appreciated by a lot of people or not. That's why we can't recommend freeplus Flat Clear Soap, which smelled like household cleansing products.
We also didn't appreciate how Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluron Foaming Face Wash felt like it lingered on our skin even after we had rinsed it off, and we can't imagine that a lot of other people would like it either.
We put each of the face washes through a series of three tests.
Test ① Cleansing Power
To test cleansing power, we applied the face wash to artificial sebum on glass and checked how much was removed.
Test ② Moisturizing Ability
To determine moisturizing ability we used a corneometer to measure skin moisture before and after washing.
Test ③ Ingredients
Finally, our expert, Ms. Mizuha, analyzed the balance of the ingredients within.
Here are two big things to look out for.
Amino acids provide mild and gentle cleansing that's perfect for sensitive skin. It's not strong enough that it will strip away your skin's natural oils and will ideally keep them feeling moisturized.
Though the image above shows the mild cleansing ingredients listed in Japanese, here are some ingredient names in English to look for:
Knowing what exactly your skin is sensitive to can make all the difference since all sensitive face washes are not created equally. Here are some specific things to look out for.
If you know your skin is sensitive to irritating ingredients like alcohol, look for these ingredients in the ingredients list (which is also sometimes listed as ethanol) to effectively avoid them.
The mere fact that a product is advertised as "additive-free" doesn't mean it will be gentle on your skin.
The term "additive-free" can be applied to any product that doesn't contain at least one of 130 common allergens based on data from 1980. Many makers use this as a way to make their product more appealing, even though it may only be free of just one common allergen.
That's why you should always check the label to see what exactly it's "free" of.
Not all of the products in these articles may be just for you, but many of our tests include notes specifically for those with sensitive skin.
Author: Yukina Fujii/Translation: Shannon McNaught/Photos: Koichi Miura, Yuuki Inagaki, Hiroshi Takigawa
This expert participated in testing the products featured in this article. They did not participate in the product selection process, nor are they affiliated with any of our choices unless explicitly stated so.
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