Body lotion is a must-have when the months get colder and drier. And while Japanese skincare is revered worldwide, that doesn't mean all Japanese body lotions feel and smell great or moisturize well. That's why we took matters into our own hands and purchased the 16 most popular lotions on Japanese e-commerce sites like Amazon, Rakuten, and Yahoo! Shopping to find the best of the best.
We tested each of the lotions in-office for each of the following:
1. Moisturizing ability
Along with the results of our rigorous tests, read on until the end to see our buying guide with helpful shopping tips and more!
In Japan in particular, there are three main types of moisturizers you can put on your body: body lotions, body milks, and body creams. It's easy to think that they're interchangeable since they basically do the same thing, but knowing their differences can help you spend your money and time more wisely.
Basically, they're classified according to the balance of oil and water in the ingredients. Think of them like skincare for your face. Body lotions would be like facial toners since they contain the least amount of oil-based ingredients. They often feel light and refreshing.
Body creams are more like face creams, so they feel heavier and have a higher amount of oil-based ingredients. Body milks are like emulsifiers or milky lotions, so they're somewhere in between. If you're looking for a light and refreshing moisturizer for all seasons, we'd recommend body lotions over body creams.
Here are the top Japanese body lotions we tested based on their moisturizing power, non-stickiness, and more. Note that some prices are converted from the original Japanese ones for your viewing convenience.
|Japanese||松山油脂 M-mark 柚子（ゆず）ボディローション|
|Japanese||ジョンソン・エンド・ジョンソン ボディケア プレミアム ローション シルキーベリー|
|Japanese||コスメテックスローランド ロッシモイストエイド 馬油ナチュラルミルクローション|
|Japanese||花王 キュレル ローション|
|Japanese||熊野油脂 麗白 ハトムギボディローション|
|Japanese||コスメ・プランニング ジュールベルニ シュシュシャンブレ フレグランスミルキーボディローションwithマッサージ|
|Japanese||ユースキン製薬 薬用ユースキンS ローション|
|Japanese||てんまん香粧薬房 ベルビーゾ ボディローション|
|Japanese||花王 キュレル ジェルローション|
Johnson & Johnson Japan
Tenman Kosho Yakubo
M-mark Yuzu Body Lotion
Johnson's Body Care Premium Silky Berry
Horse Oil Moisture Skin Lotion
Curel Moisture Milk Lotion
Reihaku Hatomugi Body Lotion
Joul's Verni Chouchou Chambre Fragrance Milky Body Lotion
Medicated Yuskin S Lotion
Belviso Body Lotion
Curel Moisture Gel-Lotion
Our Top Choice! Super Moisturizing and Easy to Apply With a Light Citrus Scent
Barely Fell Short of Being the Perfect Body Lotion
A Little Sticky, but You Can't Beat the Hydration of Horse Oil
Protects Delicate Skin With its Gentle Formula
A Great Choice to Make Dry Skin Feel Better
An Overall Decent Japanese Body Lotion
Feels Great on Skin That isn't Super Dry
An Amazing Texture That Leaves Your Skin Feeling Plump
Pretty Sticky, but it Will Definitely Hydrate Your Skin
|Japanese||松山油脂 M-mark 柚子（ゆず）ボディローション||ジョンソン・エンド・ジョンソン ボディケア プレミアム ローション シルキーベリー||コスメテックスローランド ロッシモイストエイド 馬油ナチュラルミルクローション||花王 キュレル ローション||熊野油脂 麗白 ハトムギボディローション||コスメ・プランニング ジュールベルニ シュシュシャンブレ フレグランスミルキーボディローションwithマッサージ||ユースキン製薬 薬用ユースキンS ローション||てんまん香粧薬房 ベルビーゾ ボディローション||花王 キュレル ジェルローション|
|Classification||Cosmetic||Cosmetic||Cosmetic||Medicated product||Cosmetic||Cosmetic||Medicated product||Cosmetic||Medicated product|
|Scent||Citrus||Silky Berry||-||None||-||Chouchou Chambre||None||None||None|
|Amount||10.14 oz.||6.76 oz.||16.4 oz.||13.8 oz.||8.8 oz.||7.76 oz.||5 oz.||5.07||7.44 oz.|
And why they didn't quite make it.
While we commend magicnumber's For Fam Body Lotion for its moisturizing ability, we couldn't get past the sticky, heavy feeling left behind on our skin. It was actually the stickiest one of the bunch. It does have plenty of effective moisturizers like squalane and argan oil, though, so it's good in a dry pinch.
As expected, not all of the lotions we tested were moisturizing. Some were just lacking in moisture in general, like Johnson & Johnson's Mineral Jelly Lotion, but others didn't hydrate because they were meant to address other issues.
Original's Medicated Peach Leaf Lotion, Sea Breeze Sensitive Antiseptic, and Sea Breeze Medicated Antiseptic were more geared towards relief from skin irritation and sunburns. They felt great, but they won't keep your skin from drying out.
The three lotions that rounded out the bottom of our ranking were ones we found lacking overall. Orbis' Clear Body Smooth Lotion is useful for clearing up body acne but not much else.
And even though Mama Butter Body Lotion and Muji's Medicated Whitening Body Lotion have simple and attractive packaging, they didn't feel great, and they didn't hydrate our skin much, either.
Our in-office editing team tested all 16 Japanese body lotion for the following:
1. How moisturizing it was
2. Whether or not it felt sticky to apply
First, we wanted to see how moisturizing each body lotion was. We applied the same amount of each product to one side of a block of mochi (which dries out pretty quickly), then we left it alone for four hours.
When the four hours was up, we checked the surface of each mochi to visually see how much it had dried out or whether there were any cracks.
We noticed that body lotions with glycerin listed as the second or third ingredient had better scores in moisturizing power overall. The ones that left the test mochi so dry that it had cracks on its underside were medicated lotions and ones with a lower viscosity.
Many medicated lotions serve a main purpose other than moisturizing such as acne care, whitening, or for refreshment. If you're looking for a body lotion that will really moisturize, look for glycerin as the second or third ingredient.
Next, we wanted to see how each body lotion felt to apply - specifically, how sticky it was. Our editors applied a bit of each lotion to the back of their hand. After three minutes passed, they pressed their hand onto a plate full of beads.
Finally, they counted the number of beads remaining on their hand after shaking their hand gently left and right. We calculated each lotion's score based on the number of beads remaining.
The least sticky lotions were ones that didn't have glycerin towards the top of the ingredient list, making them not that moisturizing overall. Our results showed that there seems to be a tradeoff between moisture and stickiness. The only exceptions to this rule were the Matsuyama Yuzu Body Lotion and Johnson's Baby Lotion (which wasn't featured in the ranking as it's not a Japanese product).
We think it's because they included BG, an effective moisturizer that's less viscous than glycerin. You should keep an eye out for these highly-moisturizing emollients if you want something that's both moisturizing and non-sticky.
Here are three things to keep in mind as you browse the online marketplace for the perfect Japanese body lotion.
If you want a body lotion that's truly effective, look for ingredients that are proven to be highly moisturizing listed at the start of the ingredient list. Some examples of this would be ceramides (to protect the skin barrier and seal in moisture), amino acids, sodium lactate, PCA-Na, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and squalane.
Medicated lotions don't always list all of their ingredients, so you should do your research before deciding to purchase one.
As you've probably seen when looking at cosmetic labels, there are lotions that address sensitive skin as well as specific skin concerns.
If you have sensitive skin, you probably pay a lot of attention to what directly touches your skin. To make your body lotion search easier, look for lotions that are labeled specifically for sensitive skin or contain phrases like "additive-free". Of course, you should do a thorough check of the ingredients list as well.
In Japan especially, there are many medicated body lotions that will prohibit the production of melanin due to UV rays as well as moisturize your skin. You should also apply sunscreen if you want to keep your skin looking light, but these medicated lotions are a good alternative when you forget or you've just finished your nightly bath.
However, there are some cases where these whitening ingredients can irritate sensitive skin. Some common lightening ingredients in Japan are vitamin C (ascorbic acid), camomila ET, tranexamic acid, placenta extract, ellagic acid, and more.
Your back is one area of your body that can get pretty oily and clogged with bacteria, so unfortunately, back acne is a real problem for some.
If that's the case, you should get a body lotion with anti-inflammatory ingredients that will get rid of some of that grime. Try a lotion with vitamin C derivatives, dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, salicylic acid, allantoin, and more.
If you really want to know how a body lotion feels before committing to a purchase, you can see if there's a tester offered in stores, or you can check out reviews online and social media. For example, you can get an idea of how a product smells and how strong its scent is.
You can also divide them by seasons: lighter ones for spring and summer, and heavier ones for fall and winter. You can get an idea of how heavy or sticky they are by reading reviews as well!
Your skin needs a lot of care to survive year-round, so it's a good thing we're here to tell you what we've tried and what works for us!
There you have it: the 16 best Japanese body lotions on the market. While not all of them worked to moisturize our skin and leave it feeling smooth and fresh, we did find some pretty good options that can address specific concerns.
If you're looking for a body lotion to moisturize your skin throughout the drier winter months, keep our ingredients tips in mind and love your skin!
Author: Yurie Katafuchi/Translation: Shannon McNaught/Photos: Ayumu Sasaki, Takahiro Matsumura
Ranking date: December 31, 2018
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