Japanese 5-Step Skincare Routine


This simple Japanese 5-Step Skincare Routine is focused on the basics. Japanese skincare is all about simplicity, and the most minimal routines usually consist of these five essential steps. Bestselling products are included for each step, which have been selected based on their global ratings, reviews and awards. Many of these products are beloved and have quite the following!

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

This article is part of our series on Japanese Skincare Routines:

Japanese Skincare Routines: The Ultimate Guide
Japanese 5-Step Skincare Routine
Japanese 10-Step Skincare Routine

Japanese 5-Step Skincare Overview

The routine below includes the following steps and products. Japanese skincare is all about taking gentle care of your skin, with a focus on moisturizing in layers. The first two steps here act as a double cleansing routine, the next two are focused on layering moisture and the last is for preventative sun protection.

1Oil CleanserFancl Mild Cleansing Oil
2Water CleanserRosette Cleansing Paste Sea Mud Smooth
3LotionHadalabo Gokujun Hyaluronic Solution
4MoisturizerMinon Amino Moist Charge Milk
5Sun CareNivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel

Japanese 5-Step Skincare Routine

As everyones skin and routines are different, skincare is all about finding the products and steps that are right for you. It’s also about taking a holistic approach to your overall lifestyle and health. While the products below are a great starting point, it’s important to find products that are suited to your skin type, concerns, age and environment.

Even with the simple routine below, it will differ from morning to night! The morning is about protecting the skin, while the evening is about nourishing it. A pretty common approach is to skip the cleansing oil in the morning routine, and then skip the sunscreen in the evening.

Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil

Step 1: Oil Cleanser
Fancl Mild Cleansing Oil

Double cleansing is a central element of Japanese skincare and this first step removes oil-based impurities, such as makeup, sebum, sunscreen and pollution. Fancl products are developed especially for those with sensitive skin and this mild cleansing oil is their most infamous and beloved product! It effectively removes makeup while still leaving skin feeling soft and moisturized.

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Rosette Cleansing Paste Sea Mud Smooth

Step 2: Water Cleanser
Rosette Cleansing Paste Sea Mud Smooth

The next step in a double cleansing routine is a water-based cleanser which is used to dissolve water based impurities, such as dirt and sweat. Rosette developed Japan’s first facial cleansing cream in 1929 and this cleansing paste is one of their bestsellers today. It contains mineral sea mud (aka marine clay) and rose fruit extract to help clean pores, remove impurities and achieve a smooth, bright complexion.

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Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic Lotion

Step 3: Lotion
Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Solution

Lotions are a unique step in Asian skincare and are designed to hydrate, soften and prepare the skin for the moisturizing that follows. This lotion by Hado Labo has a cult-following and contains a combination of hyaluronic acids to help achieve plump skin. It is beloved for its simple formulation, effectiveness and affordability.

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Minon Amino Moist Charge Milk Japan Moisturizer

Step 4: Moisturizer
Minon Amino Moist Charge Milk

After applying lotion, moisturizer is a secondary step in layering moisture. Japanese moisturizers can vary greatly, from lightweight emulsions and milks, through to heavier creams. This product has a light consistency, contains nine amino acids, is hypoallergenic and is suitable for dry and sensitive skin. It has won numerous awards, frequently tops beauty lists and has some impressive reviews to match.

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Nivea Sun Super Water Gel Japanese Sunscreen

Step 5: Sun Care
Nivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel

And finally, the most important step in a Japanese skincare routine is sunscreen! This is applied daily at the end of a morning skincare routine. Like most Japanese formulas, this sunscreen is lightweight and has a watery texture that doesn’t leave the skin feeling sticky. Just like many of these impressive reviews, this is one of my all-time favorite products.

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More from our series on Japanese Skincare:

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