Washing your face at the beginning and end of the day is an essential step in a healthy skincare routine. Using a soft foam facial wash can help make your everyday cleansing much easier, leaving you and your skin feeling extra-refreshed! With a variety of drugstore brands, such as FANCL and DHC, and specialized products, such as carbonated foam cleansers and those with menthol for acne-prone skin, it can be very difficult to find a product that is suitable for you and your needs.
To figure out the best Japanese cleansing foam, we gathered the 33 best-selling Japanese cleansing foams available on e-commerce sites popular in Japan, such as Amazon, Rakuten, Yahoo! Shopping, and @cosmeSHOPPING, and tested them all.
We tested each product for the following:
Then, based on our tests, we ranked the 10 best Japanese cleansing foam face washes in 2022. We also put together a buying guide to help you choose the best Japanese face wash foam! Keep reading to find out more.
Kaori is the representative director of Japan's Scientific Beauty Institute. She also runs the Beauty Science Blog, which sends out beauty science information in a way that's easy to understand. She operates with the mission of "wanting people to enjoy the process of finding skincare that works for them by offering a scientific perspective". Kaori broadcasts her expert knowledge from working with skincare and cosmetics societies and academic journals on her blog, social media, and more. She also works with PR, product development, and corporate support teams for cosmetics.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
Experts featured in this article only reviewed the content of our buying guide. They had no part in the selection or ranking of products or services listed.
The products and services listed are ranked independently by the editorial team based on the relevant research (as of 11-04-2022).
The main selling point for foam cleansers is that they are highly convenient and easy to use. The product is dispensed in a foam state, so you don't have to lather it as you would other facial cleansers. This makes them a great addition to your daily skincare routine, especially if you are somebody that finds yourself in a rush in the morning!
Some of these foam dispensers produce a thick foam that is as dense as if you used a foaming net to lather it. These tend to be a little pricier, but we would recommend these for those who value ease of use and dense foam quality.
Facial cleansers have surfactants in them that do the work of cleaning your face. Applying them too aggressively or in too concentrated an amount can irritate your skin. Another added benefit of using a foam cleanser is that you don't have to worry about this since they dispense the soap in the right concentration every time.
Here are four essential points to keep in mind when choosing a Japanese cleansing foam.
Facial cleansers should have a strong enough cleansing ability to do the job, but you also want something gentle enough for the skin.
Foam cleansers tend to have a mild cleansing strength compared to other facial cleanser types. Every product is formulated with multiple cleansing ingredients, and the specific ratio of each ingredient determines both cleansing ability and whether or not the cleanser will be gentle to the skin.
Look at the ingredient label, and choose a product based on your specific preferences and priorities.
We reviewed a couple of soap-based cleansers in our tests and found that the cleansing ability was sufficient, although the degree of strength varied based on the product and we can't generalize for all soap-based cleansers since the formulas vary for every manufacturer.
When you use soap-based cleansers to wash your face, your skin's surface becomes alkaline. If you have normal skin, the alkalinity should be neutralized after some time, but people with sensitive skin tend to have a weaker ability to do so, which can lead to skin irritation, so be careful.
In addition, sodium laureth sulfate is a cleansing ingredient that is very strong and can be irritating to the skin, so you may want to avoid products that include it if you have sensitive skin.
In our tests for cleansing ability, amino acid base cleansers had mild and weaker cleansing strength compared to other cleansers. This is not necessarily a negative, since preserving some of the naturally produced sebum and oils on the skin's surface protects the skin and keeps it moisturized.
If you want a cleanser with stronger cleaning power than amino acid ones, I recommend a carboxylic acid cleanser, which is only mildly acidic, so it will still be gentle to the skin.
Another cleansing ingredient that is gentle to the skin is betaine. It's often included in conjunction with other cleansing ingredients, so look for it on the ingredient list if you are looking for a cleanser with mild strength.
After choosing a cleansing ingredient base, look for other ingredients that can serve skincare purposes such as acne prevention or moisturizing.
If you have dry skin, look for the moisturizing ingredients listed above. Although cleanser is rinsed off, it is still important they have moisturizing properties that can work as a cushion or work to replenish necessary hydration to your skin.
If you want to prevent or alleviate rough skin, we recommend looking for a cleanser formulated with the anti-inflammatory ingredients listed above.
For acne prevention or treatment, using cleansers labeled as medicated products formulated with antibacterial ingredients can be effective. However, since these ingredients can irritate the skin, we recommend only using them for limited periods and stopping after your skin condition improves.
Tranexamic acid is another ingredient effective in preventing skin roughness. Men whose skin is prone to skin irritation from constant shaving should consider using cleansers with anti-inflammatory ingredients such as dipotassium glycyrrhizate.
Washing your face with a dense, elastic foam reduces the amount of friction during the process to a minimum. Foam cleansers that come in an aerosol can are by far the best choice for producing a thick foam.
In our tests for foam density, we placed a 10-yen coin on top of the foam to see how long it could be held up. Of all products tested, the aerosol type performed the best, with many showing no sign of deflation for more than three minutes.
However, one side effect of an ultra-dense foam is that they tend to take longer to rinse off. Also, remember that you have to make sure to shake the can before use, so we recommend these types of foam cleansers for people who want to take their time when washing their face.
Since, ideally, foam cleanser should be used daily, it is essential that the product you choose feels easy and comfortable to use. The quality of the foam, a soft texture that blends smoothly onto the skin, and how it feels after rinsing it off are factors you should be looking out for.
Additionally, the container or dispenser should be convenient to use. Our testers evaluated pump types that could be used with one hand highly in terms of ease of use. The container should be able to dispense the necessary amount speedily to fit your busy morning schedule.
The fragrance is another crucial point as well. We found that refreshing citrus scents were popular among testers.
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KOSÉ Maruho Pharma
Carte HD Moisturizing Foam Facial Cleanser
Provides Great Moisturizing and Is Very Gentle to the Skin
FEMMUE Comfort Mousse Facial Wash
Foam Cleanser With Strong Cleansing and Refreshing Scent
Pure Moist Facial Cleanser
Gentle to the Skin and Leaves a Moisturized Feeling After Washing
Obagi X Boost Mousse Wash
Dense, Elastic Foam That Cleanses Skin Easily Without Friction
Brightening Whipped Face Wash
Decent Cleansing Strength and a Pleasant Floral Scent
Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Foam Face Wash
Excellent Moisture Retention, Gentle on the Skin and Easy to Use
Foaming Facial Wash
Refreshing Feeling After Washing
DUO The Bright Foam
Dense, Thick Foam With Ingredients Suitable for Sensitive Skin
Bifesta Foaming Face Wash Bright-Up
Good Elastic Foam Texture, but Requires Extra Moisturizing
Good for Dry Skin, but May Not Be Suitable for Sensitive Skin
KOSÉ Maruho Pharma's Carte HD Moisturizing Foam Facial Cleanser can clean pores effectively with its soft foam. The main cleansing ingredient is amino acid based, which makes it very gentle to the skin.
This cleanser removed about 70 percent of sebum and received high marks for its cleansing power. Skin moisture content increased by two percent after application, for which we gave it a perfect score in our moisture retention test!
Although not very pliable, the foam is soft and fine, and our testers said that the foam blended well into the skin. The pump dispenses easily with a single push. The face wash is unscented too, which makes it suitable for use by anybody.
This is our highest rated foaming cleanser for sensitive and dry skin, as it cleanses well while providing moisture to the skin.
The FEMMUE Comfort Mousse Facial Wash by Ariel Trading is the brand's first facial cleanser and aims to thoroughly remove sebum while keeping skin well-hydrated.
The main cleansing ingredient is amino acid based and removed about 80 percent of the artificial sebum in our cleansing test. The skin's moisture content was reduced by about six percent, which showed adequate moisture retention.
The soft and gentle foam was highly rated by our staff members and the basil, lemon and geranium fragrance made for a refreshing scent that was perfect for a morning cleanse. The pump felt slightly hard to push, but it dispensed just the right amount.
The refreshing fragrance makes this a great choice for when you need to perk yourself up in the morning!
FANCL's Pure Moist Foaming Facial Cleanser is said to prevent and treat flaky, rough skin. The highlight of this product is how gentle it was on the skin. The formula contains allantoin, which works at preventing rough skin.
It is formulated with many moisturizing ingredients, such as glycerin and sorbitol, and there was only a 13 percent decrease in our skin's moisture content after use, which was pretty good. The main cleansing ingredients are amino acids, and in our tests, this cleanser removed about half of the artificial sebum, leading to a pretty good score for cleansing strength.
Although the foam did not feel as elastic as other products, all the staff members who tested this face wash out were pleased with its firm and dense texture. Another advantage was that this cleanser left our skin feeling moist and supple after washing with it. The pump was easy to push with one hand, and it had almost no scent, making this suitable for anybody.
We highly recommend this cleanser for those who are looking for a gentle foam face wash.
Obagi X Boost Mousse Wash by Rohto is a carbonated foam face wash that allows you to wash your face by massaging with a dense foam. This product's main cleansing ingredient is an amino acid, which usually is mild in terms of cleansing power, but it managed to remove 80 percent of the artificial sebum and demonstrated great cleansing strength.
Unfortunately, we found that the skin's moisture content decreased significantly after use, which led to a lower score in our moisture retention test. This product includes many anti-aging ingredients; however, they may not be effective, as this foam cleanser will be rinsed off immediately after washing.
In our foam density test, where we placed a coin onto the foam, we found that the coin barely sank in even after 3 minutes! This highly-dense foam allows you to massage it into your face without having to worry about too much friction. However, this product had a distinctive scent, which may bother those who are odor-sensitive.
The Brightening Whipped Face Wash by DHC is a carbonated facial cleanser that is said to clean off dead skin cells and lead to clear looking skin. In our cleansing ability test, this product was able to remove about 80 percent of the sebum, demonstrating a moderate cleansing strength without being excessive.
The main cleansing ingredient, laureth disodium sulfosuccinate, is gentle to the skin, which makes it suitable for people with dry or sensitive skin. The skin's moisture content decreased significantly after use, so we highly recommend moisturizing after washing.
The foam felt dense and elastic, and left skin feeling refreshed after washing. It was easy to rinse off compared to other products, and the fresh floral fragrance left a favorable impression.
The Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Foam Face Wash by Rohto is a product said to lead to healthy, supple skin with each wash. The product features a combination of soap-based cleansing ingredients with high cleansing power and amino acid cleansing ingredients that are gentle to the skin.
This product removed 50 percent of the artificial sebum in our cleansing ability tests, which was average. It showed great moisture retention, as the skin's moisture content only dropped by six percent. The simple formula makes it suitable even for those with sensitive skin, as it is less likely to include ingredients that could irritate.
Although it was not dense enough to hold up a coin, the foam had a fine and smooth texture. Our staff was impressed at how the foam did not dissipate easily and how comfortable it was to wash their faces with it. The single push dispenser is convenient to use, which is great for busy mornings. This also comes unscented, so this would be a face wash that could be easily shared within the family.
Nameraka Honpo's Foaming Facial Wash contains soy-derived ingredients, such as soy milk fermentation liquid, to cleanse the skin while leaving it highly moisturized. The formula is high in glycerin and sorbitol, which are known effective moisturizing ingredients. It performed well in our tests for moisture retention, as the skin's moisture content did not change after use.
The cleansing strength was good enough, and this foam removed about 60 percent of the artificial sebum. Although the main cleansing ingredients are strong soaps, the moisturizing ingredients included in the formula turn it into a mild formula that is good even for those with dry skin. The foam is loose in texture but very smooth and blends well in the skin.
DUO The Bright Foam by Premier Anti-Aging is a carbonated facial cleanser that can be used as a repair mask, massage foam, and face wash. This product contains many moisturizing ingredients, such as amino acids and ceramide, and it scored highly in our moisture retention test.
The main cleansing ingredients are gentle on the skin, which makes this product suitable for those with sensitive skin. Further, this product was able to remove almost all of the artificial sebum in our tests, for which it received a high score in terms of cleansing strength.
The elastic yet firm foam texture was dense enough to hold up our coin for over two minutes. Testers were impressed with how moist and supple their skin felt after washing. The product comes in an aerosol spray can and is not the best in dispensing foam, but should pose no problems for daily usage once you get used to it.
Mandom's Bifesta Foaming Face Wash Bright-Up is a carbonated cleanser formulated with exfoliating ingredients which allow it to remove dead skin cells and lead to clear skin. Directions on the label state to massage the foam into the face for 20 to 30 seconds.
The main cleansing ingredients are gentle on the skin and it cleared about 70 percent of the sebum in our test, which is sufficient for cleansing strength. Although the formula also includes moisturizing ingredients, we found that the skin's moisture content dropped heavily, so moisturizing after cleansing is a must.
One of the best things about this product is how elastic and thick the foam was. The subtle citrus fragrance was also highly praised by our staff members. The aerosol can that it comes in means that some foam will leak, but this is something that can be gotten used to.
The ACSEINE Reset Wash is said to gently remove excess keratin while softening the skin, leaving it smooth and looking clear. The amino acid cleansing ingredients removed about 70 percent of the sebum, which is good enough for those with dry skin.
The decrease in the skin's moisture content was within an acceptable level. The inclusion of glycolic acid, which is an AHA that works as an exfoliant, may be too irritating to those with sensitive skin. Although this product claims to be hypoallergenic, those with sensitive skin should proceed with caution.
Some of our staff members mentioned that the cap made the dispensing process a little more difficult than it should be. We also found that the foam contained many air bubbles and dissipated quickly.
We gathered the 33 best-selling products on Amazon, Rakuten, Yahoo! Shopping, and @cosme Shopping, and tested them all.
We tested each product for the following:
First, we examined each product's cleansing strength, which is the most essential factor in determining whether a face wash is effective or not.
We prepared a glass slide coated with some artificial sebum, to which we applied each foam wash and rubbed it in for 20 seconds. We then rinsed it off with lukewarm water and evaluated each product based on how effective it was at removing the sebum.
Next, we checked how each product affected the skin's moisture content, using the Corneometer CM825 (Courage+Khazaka.)
First, we measured the original skin's moisture level, and rubbed each cleanser into the skin for 20 seconds. We then rinsed it off and measured the skin's moisture content again after 10 minutes.
Next, we asked Kaori, a science-based beautician, to check the ingredients of each product. She checked if it contained sufficient moisturizing ingredients and whether or not they were gentle to the skin.
We had five staff members test out each product for consecutive days and then evaluate the products based on how each felt about using them.
Finally, we tested the density of the foam. We took the same amount of foam from each product, placed a 10-yen coin on top of it, and measured how many seconds it could hold the coin in place before sinking.
When applying face wash, washing time is an important factor to keep in mind. If the washing time is too long, the cleansing ingredients can harm the skin. We recommend trying to finish within 20 seconds.
The best procedure for washing your face is as follows.
Washing too frequently can damage skin, so you should aim for washing twice a day: in the morning and at night.
If you are using the cleanser at the same time as someone else, I recommend adjusting your washing time to the person whose skin is more delicate.
Products that come in an aerosol can, such as a carbonated face wash, must be stored and disposed of cautiously. A gas leak could be dangerous, so keep them in a cool place with good air circulation. When throwing them away, ensure they are entirely used up and the cans are empty. Otherwise, they could potentially lead to the risk of fire or even explosion.
After washing your face, it is essential to moisturize immediately afterward. Have some moisturizing products on hand to ensure your skin is healthy and hydrated. Below we've linked articles for other cosmetics and moisturizing products that we've tested and ranked, so please use them as a reference!
Translation: Mitsuki Nagasawa, Andrea Er, Kazuma Fujiwara
No. 1：KOSÉ Maruho Pharma｜Carte HD Moisturizing Foam Facial Cleanser
No. 2：Ariel Trading｜FEMMUE Comfort Mousse Facial Wash
No. 3：FANCL｜Pure Moist Facial Cleanser
No. 4：Rohto｜Obagi X Boost Mousse Wash
No. 5：DHC｜Brightening Whipped Face Wash
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