I have a small selection of Japanese beauty products, acquired by different means. Up until today, I haven’t used any of them. Today, I decided to be adventurous…
In most of the Japanese cities we have visited, we have encountered street marketers handing out free samples of beauty products and tissue packets. The tissues are usually a means to advertising some other product, and it’s rare for the marketers to bother handing them to a Westerner. Similarly, the beauty products that are handed out as free samples to promote a new brand aren’t often offered to people who look like tourists.
Once, though, I was handed a promotional pack of Essential Damage Care shampoo and conditioner. I think my hair must have been looking particularly stressed that day, or maybe the marketer was nearing the end of her session and needed to offload some of the samples!
What I got was an advertising card with four sachets attached to it: a shampoo and conditioner from the Rich Premier and Nuance Airy ranges.
As you’ll see from the picture, today I decided to try one of them out. They’d been hanging around for quite a while, because I’m pretty brand loyal and don’t like to deviate from my usual hair care routine unless I’m forced to. Unfortunately, I’m being forced to by the company that makes the shampoo and conditioner I usually use – they’ve changed the formula and now my hair is dry and full of static. So I thought I would give Rich Premier a go. Who knows, if I like it enough, it might mean that I don’t need to pack shampoo and conditioner next time we go to Japan – I can just buy some while I’m there! And I have to say that Japanese women, by and large, have the sleekest, shiniest hair of any hair I’ve ever seen. Having been born with hair that tends to frizz at the slightest hint of moisture in the air, I am somewhat obsessed with maintaining the sleekness of my own barnet.
So, in the shower this morning I tore open the packets. The shampoo was kind of runny, but it smelled fantastic – there was a good strong aroma of honey. It foamed up like nothing I’ve ever used in the UK and washed my hair without making it squeaky clean (always a sign that too much of the natural oil has been obliterated!).
The conditioner was lovely to apply, but difficult to rinse off because of the thickness. Hopefully this means that it will nourish and protect my hair from all the heat damage of my hairdryer and straighteners. My hair is drying in a towel wrap as I type this, so I can’t yet confirm how good or bad a product it is.
I like the name of the other product – Nuance Airy – it sounds light! I’ll maybe try that one in a week or two.
Two other Japanese beauty products that I have came via the magic of the J-Box fukubukuro (福袋/ふくぶくろ) or lucky bag. Fukubukuro are lucky dip bags offered by stores at New Year, made up of a random selection of products and sold for around half the price that the contents would normally retail at. My fukubukuro came with a couple of fashion magazines, a duster, a Hello Kitty! miniature jigsaw and two beauty products, both from the Japanese company Daiso.
The product on the left is a refill bag for something called Sumi Charcoal Hair Shampoo. This product terrifies me! What on earth will it do to my hair? I’ve been far too scared to try it. Especially as the warnings seem a little fierce:
Fortunately, though, someone else in the world has used it, and has written a blog about it. This has reduced my fear a little, so one day I might give it a go.
The other product is a face mask. I’m lucky in that my skin isn’t too oily or prone to outbreaks, so I have never used a face mask. The only facial cleansing product I occasionally use is Swiss Formula Apricot Face Scrub, which removes dead skin and stops my foundation flaking on the rare occasions I wear foundation. I’m not sure if I will ever use this product, although it sounds like it might be nice: “Formulated with the natural ingredients from Oak trees, it removes oils and all dirt and deeply clean the pore, leaving your skin clearer with less visible pores.” is what it says on the back.
Again, I might not need to try it out because someone else out in the internet universe has had a go and blogged about it. She seems to think it’s okay.
So those are my Japanese beauty products. Perhaps next time we visit, I will encounter more, or receive more free samples while out and about.