Shopping for cruelty-free skincare in Japan
Shopping for cruelty-free skincare in Japan has been a little tricky. Asian skincare is known for being on among the best in the world, and Japan is no different.
Going into any shop, supermarket or mall, you’ll find so many different skincare products that I’d love to get my hands (or face, haha) on, however, it’s tough to know what’s actually cruelty-free, let alone vegan without doing a lot of research.
I’d stocked myself up with products from home that lasted four months without having to buy anything new, but now I was getting scarcely low and in desperate need of face moisturiser and some SPF. So that’s when I had to put my research hat on.
I wish It was as easy as other people, if you needed anything new, to be able to just go into a shop and buy a product without giving it a second thought. Or even better, if everything in the shops was cruelty-free, it would make our lives so much easier.
Yet.. we are still quite far from that reality.
The problem with finding cruelty-free skincare products in Japan
I sometimes research a product and discover something new, which makes me go deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole, and the problem becomes exponentially bigger. Often, I have to make a decision and know where to stop.
Doing research, of course, helps to figure things out but it’s sometimes not as simple as just researching a brand. You may have to contact the company directly to truly find out, and that can be tricky in itself if the company isn’t English.
So unless you’re fluent in the language or have a good friend that can ask them by sending an email on your behalf, you may never know.
There’s a great website called Is It Vegan Japan which I’ve mentioned here before. The website is mainly about vegan food in Japan but they also have a smaller beauty section too.
I did have a look but wasn’t able to find the information on moisturisers, the products I wanted to purchase and getting desperately low in.
In England, it’s very easy to identify what’s vegan and cruelty-free as it has signs on the back of the product. It’s just not quite the same in Japan. Let alone actually know what you’ve picked up because sometimes there is no English.
Is shopping online the answer?
As I’m very much not fluent in Japanese and didn’t want to pick up any products from the shops without doing my research first, I realised it would be much easier for me to shop online.
I had already bought a cruelty-free moisturiser off Amazon, but unfortunately, something wasn’t agreeing with my skin which left me feeling dry and itchy.
That’s when I discovered iHerb
iHerb is a US company selling well over 30,000 health and wellness products in over 185 different countries. Similar to Holland & Barrets, if you’re from the U.K.
They’re not in Japan but they do ship here. The delivery is free if you spend ¥6,000 (£43.64 / $53.74) but you are limited to spending ¥15,500 (£96.63 / $118.99) at one time if you want to avoid customs fees. For me, it took five days to arrive but it can take anywhere from 5 to 12 days.
As I’ve only purchased the items, I can’t tell you my opinion on them just yet. However, I thought I’d share the products anyway in case you’re in need of a few bits like I was and inform you of these cruelty-free brands, which may not be familiar to you.
All the prices below are how much I paid for them with my 20% discount for making my first purchase.
6 Cruelty-free Skincare Products from iHerb
1. Frudia – Blueberry Hydrating Cream
“Formulated with 77% of Blueberry Extract instead of water to support skin’s moisture barrier and prevent water loss. Infused with patented 5 plant complex, this lightweight and non-greasy-cream, keeps skin hydrated up to 48 hours. Clinically tested for sensitive skin to deliver maximum hydration benefits without the irritation”
Everyday moisturiser for people with normal skin
Why I bought it:
This was one of the first items I put into my basket. Honestly, I was quite overwhelmed and excited by all the choices on the website.
I decided, especially as this moisturiser was on sale and also because I hadn’t heard of the brand before, that it would be a good idea to test the product in the form of a tester size before committing to a full-sized product.
¥584 / £3.65 / $4.49
2. Acure – Radically Rejuvenating, Whipped Night Cream
“Lightweight whipped night cream with multi-peptides, vitamin C, ferulic acid, glacial glycoproteins to soothe and hydrate.”
Night cream for dry to normal skin
Why I bought it:
After purchasing the cream off Amazon, which left me feeling so dry and itchy, I needed something that would leave my skin feeling moisturised.
The name completely sold it to me. After reading “Radically Rejuvenating” it had won me over, it was going into my basket immediately!
¥1,535 / £9.59 / $11.80
3. Sukin -Purely Ageless, Rejuvenating Day Cream
“97% Natural Origin, Carbon Neutral, Vegan, Rich in White Hibiscus, Baobab and Pure Ribose to fight the signs of ageing. Created amongst Australia’s rich landscape, our ethos from day one has been to focus on ingredients and processes that are kind to you, and to our flora and fauna. We use real, natural ingredients that work to nourish your skin for a truly Australian glow.”
Day moisturiser for all skin types
Why I bought it:
Sukin is a company that I was previously aware of and have wanted to try for a while, so I thought what better time than now? Compared to other products I was considering buying, Sukin’s price per product was much greater, getting 120ml of product which won me over.
I was debating on wherever I buy this product or “Sukin, Hydrating Day Cream, Rosehip” but after looking at both the products, there were more reviews left on this one and this cream had ingredients that fight signs of ageing. (Of course, we will all age, we can’t stop that from happening, but if I can age well and gracefully, I shall try!)
¥1,845 / £11.53 / $14.19
4. Earth Science – A-D-E Creamy Fruit Oil Cleanser
“Hydrating, cruelty-Free, paleo-friendly, vegan, gluten-free, paraben free, natural fragrance, cleanses without the dryness of soap with apricot, avocado & hyaluronic acid”
A cleanser for dry and sensitive skin
Why I bought it:
Please don’t judge me, but for nearly 4 months that I have been in Japan, I have been using body soap to wash my face. I know this is terrible, it strips your natural oils and can be very drying for your face.
I wanted to classify for free delivery so I thought, now is as good a time as any to treat my poor skin with a nice cleanser! No more washing my face with body wash!
¥1,011 / £6.32 / $7.77
5. Andalou Naturals – BB Vitamin C Beauty Balm Brightening, SPF 30
“Non-GMO, with vitamin C complexion defence, broad spectrum protection, 97% nature-derived, gluten-free, vegan, cruelty-free. Fruit stem cell complex and vitamin C are the stars of this multi-benefit balm providing broad spectrum protection with a natural, sheer mineral tint for flawless coverage in one easy step.”
All skin types
Why I bought it:
I’m always on the hunt for new SPFs as sunscreen is so important!
My daily SPF is close to running out and I needed a new one. I wanted to ideally try the viral Joseon “Relief Sun: Rice + Probiotic SPF 50” however they were out of stock on iHerb so I decided I’d like to try this one.
Although, I didn’t read it correctly as I didn’t realise it was a BB cream until it arrived. I’ve not been wearing much make-up recently so this may be nice to lightly even out my skin tone as well as protect me from the sun.
¥1,823 / £11.39 / $14.02
6. Badger Company – Sunscreen Lip Balm, SPF 15
“Clear zinc Lip Balm, 97% organic ingredients, broad Spectrum SPF 15, certified B corporation, leaping bunny certified, cruelty-free. Your go-to all year round. Care for your lips with all the nourishing goodness of cocoa, shea, and vitamin E, plus the anti-ageing benefits of mineral sun protection.”
Everyone, lip protection against the sun
Why I bought it:
Badger is another company that I was familiar with but had not bought anything from. They are a certified B Corp which means their business meets a high standard, benefiting the company, employees, and supply chains, they hold accountability and are transparent in everything they do.
When we think about protecting ourselves from the sun’s rays, a lot of us use SPF on our skin, but many forget about their lips, including me.
I have an upcoming trip, where I’ll be outside for a lot of the time, and wanted to make sure that my skin, including my lips, would be protected from the UV rays.
¥450 / £2.81 / $3.46
Arm & Hammer, UltraMax, Solid Antiperspirant Deodorant
Full Disclaimer- after purchasing, I discovered that Arm & Hammer is not cruelty-free
“Reduces Underarm Sweat Due to Stress”
Protection against sweat and smell
Why I bought it:
I was in need of deodorant, so when I saw that Arm & Hammer had a natural deodorant, I thought I’d give that a go. As you can see from the picture, this is not a natural deodorant, I added the wrong one into my basket which was mistake no.1.
In the past, I had tried their natural toothpaste which I liked, so my brain automatically thought if they have natural products they must be vegan and cruelty-free, mistake no.2. (Don’t assume Nadia, research!)
Arm & Hammer are not cruelty-free, they may test on animals, either themselves or through their suppliers, or through a third party.
¥219 / £1.37 / $1.62
I went into this wanting to discover cruelty-free Japanese companies. Instead of doing that, I discovered a new website and so many new cruelty-free products and companies, which I’m very much looking forward to trying.
I still would like to discover cruelty-free and vegan Japanese brands, so please let me know if you are aware of any!
I left the Arm & Hammer product in this list to remind everyone that although we go out with the intention of doing good, we are all human and can make mistakes.
I could have easily not included it in the post but wanted to make people aware that this company is not cruelty-free even if they do have natural products. Knowledge is power people!
P.s. Would you be interested in a blog post about what I think about these products after I’ve tried them for a little while?