Favorite Japanese lotions (hydrating toners)

5:13 PM


Hi all,

I haven't written a skincare post in a while. I think the main reasons why is because this kind of articles usually takes time to write and at the moment, as I am in home office, I am sitting at my desk in my own flat all day every day. So it's a bit more difficult to motive yourself to go back behind your computer during your free time as well. Second reason is probably because since a few months, I am enjoying reading books again and that is what I usually like doing in my free time :D

Anyway, I discussed with someone about toners and Japanese cosmetics and this reminded me that I wanted to talk about 2 hydrating toners (or lotions) that I really like and that I wanted to share with you my review and thoughts.

Cezanne Skin Conditioner High Moist

This is a watery skin lotion (in the Japanese sense of lotion), i.e. a hydrating toner. It comes in a large 500mL plastic bottle. I decided to get this toner some years ago as I was looking for a ceramide-based hydrating toner and I loved it so much that I purchased it again and again. This is a staple in my routine. It’s very nicely formulated and the quality/price ratio is just great. I have been using this toner since 2017.

It contains 3 types of ceramides (Ceramide AP, Ceramide NP, Ceramide EOP) and Phytosphingosine. Present are also Job’s tears extract, 3 types of hyaluronic acid (Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid) and 7 types of amino acids.

It a translucent milky watery lotion. It has no particular scent.
You can either pat it in your skin, layer it or apply it as a DIY-sheet mask (soak cotton pads with the toner and apply them on cheek for a few minutes). I don't find it sticky.

Water, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Coix Lacryma-Jobi Ma-Yuen Seed Extract, Ceramide AP, Ceramide NP, Ceramide EOP, Phytosphingosine, Sodium Hyaluronate, Sodium Acetylated Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Hyaluronic Acid, Succinoyl Atelocollagen, Glycine Soja Seed Extract, Glutamic Acid, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Citrus Limon Fruit Extract, Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, Humulus Lupulus Flower Extract, Pinus Sylvestris Cone Extract, Equisetum Arvense Extract, Sodium PCA, Serine, Lysine, Glycine, Alanine, Arginine, Threonine, Proline, Cholesterol, Betaine, Allantoin, Sorbitol, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Disodium EDTA, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Lauroyl Lactylate, Carbomer, Styrene/Vp Copolymer, Methylparaben, Propylparaben

  • Ceramides and Phytosphingosine: ceramides are waxy lipids that naturally occur in cell membranes and are the main components of the stratum corneum.  They are particularly beneficial to help strengthen the skin barrier. When formulated with cholesterol or phytosphingosine, they have a synergic effect. All in all, they are very good emollients and help smooth the skin.
  • Job’s tears extract: soothing. It could have some brightening properties.
  • hyaluronic acid: potent humectant (draws water into the skin)
  • amino acids: they usually have humectant properties
  • Succinoyl Atelocollagen : not so much research about it but might have some anti-wrinkle properties
  • Aloe leaf juice: soothing
  • Citrus and rosemary extract: might not be ideal for sensitive skin


Overall this is a highly hydrating lotion/toner (watery milky fluid) with some additional moisturizing properties. It will help strenghten the skin barrier as well (thanks to the ceramides). It has a gentle formula that is easily absorbed and leaves a comfortable feeling on the skin. 

I was honestly more than pleasantly surprised  by this toner. It checks all the boxes of what I was looking for. It’s highly hydrating, feels also moisturizing somehow, and is quite soothing and gentle on the skin. When I used up my first bottle and didn’t have a back up, I noticed that my skin was missing it after a couple of weeks. My skin was feeling more dull or was getting red more easily. Then I decided to get another bottle and now I cannot live without it. Moreover, it’s a great value product as you can get it for approx. 10 USD or less and it’s a 500mL bottle. Note this is the High Moist version; the regular version (with a blue label) doesn't have all the ceramides but have more herbal extracts.

Kikumasamune Sake Lotion High Moist

This is a sake-based lotion (milky watery hydrating toner). It contains amino acids, placenta extract, arbutin as well as some moisturizing ingredients including ceramides. It is a hydrating, soothing and smoothing toner. It features a slightly acidic formula with a blend of ceramides, amino acids, arbutin, and placenta extract to help strengthening the skin barrier; skin is replenished and plumped.

It a translucent milky watery lotion with a distinct sake scent.
Just as the Cezanne toner, you can either pat it in your skin, layer it or apply it as a DIY-sheet mask (soak cotton pads with the toner and apply them on cheek for a few minutes). 

Water, glycerin, butylene glycol, rice ferment filtrate (sake), glutamic acid, arginine, leucine, ceramide 3, ceramide 6 II, placental protein, arbutin, dipotassium glycyrrhizate, soybean protein, maltitol, methyl gluceth-10, peg-60 hydrogenated castor oil, hydroxyethyl cellulose, alkyl styrene/acrylic acid copolymer, citric acid, sodium citrate, phenoxyethanol, methylparaben, fragrance

  • Sake filtrate contains kojic acid, a powerful skin-lightening agent, it is as well a good souce of antioxidant. I couldn't really find any scientific evidence of the beneficial aspects of sake applied topically but it might be brigentening and humectant.
  • Arbutin is a brightening ingredient.
  • Glycyrrhizic acid (a derivative of licorice root): another brightening ingredient
  • Ceramides: see above
  • Placental proteins: This ingredient can sound very strange, but this is something very popular in Japan. Placenta is thought to be rich in growth factors, which can help speed up skin healing and cell regeneration. It could help boost collagen synthesis while increasing hydration. However there is a a lack of clear research about it and therefore I wouldn't bet much on it. Additionnally, I don't know exactly how the placenta is sourced (is it plant placenta? animal placenta? and what they use exactly for this, which protein they use/isolate. I couldn't find any clear answer.


Overall this is a solid hydrating lotion/toner (watery milky fluid) with some additional moisturizing and brigehtening properties. It will help strenghten the skin barrier as well (thanks to the ceramides).

This is a hydrating toner I enjoyed. It is hydrating, moisturizing and I also have the impression it helped a little bit with my cheek redness but it is less effective than the Cezanne high moist toner. What I liked about it, is the sake scent (yes, I admit….). Overall this is a very nice, cost effective, hydrating toner but I prefer the Cezanne one. I find it better in terms of skin barrier strenghtening. I didn't really notice any brightening effects. Note also this is the High Moist version, the regular version contains alcohol and is less interesting.

Purchase info
I usually buy Japanese cosmetics from Kirei station.

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