HOW TO: Find organic/natural personal care products in Japan

You may have read a post on this blog a while back about how to find haircare products in Japan. I have yet to write a post about skincare and cosmetics, mostly because all the sources of haircare I listed also offer skincare, and I'm still looking into cosmetics (namely, face/foundation colors, etc).

For those of you who glanced at the title and may have thought, “this isn’t for me; I’m not into all that hippie stuff,” I hope that at least one of these resources may still interest you. Of course, some of you may also wonder why this is necessary, as most drug/daily goods stores supply more beauty and body products than anyone will probably ever need. No, most of the products are not natural or organic, though recently I have noticed a change and have seen more of these types of products being sold at regular stores. It gives me hope! Anyway.

I won't go into that argument entirely, but I do strongly encourage everyone to examine what they are using on their bodies, and decide for themselves if those are risks they want to take or not. To read up on what is used in Western products, the Environmental Working Group has a lot of information and rates ingredients on it's scale of possible harm, from 0 (none) to 10 (very harmful/toxic). Though some products in Japan use different ingredients, I've also noted many similarities as well. Nonetheless, it is informative and kind of fun to check out.

With that said, for those of you out there who love and prefer using organic/natural products, or even those that wish to try, and want to know how to find them in Japan, here's what I've got so far.

First though, a few words to know (helpful anywhere, and you may just discover possibilities at a store near you):

有機 (ゆうき)                     yuuki                      organic
オーガニック                     oganikku                organic
ナチュラル                         nachuraru              natural
無添加 (むてんか)              mutenka                additive-free
化粧品 (けしょうひん)        keshouhin             cosmetics, skin care products
スキンケア                         sukinkea                skin care products
石けん (せっけん)               sekken                   soap
ソープ                                 so-pu                     soap
バー                                     baa                        bar (like a soap bar, etc.)
ハンドソープ                       hando so-pu          hand soap
クレンザー                          kurenza                 cleanser
ウォッシュ                          wosshu                  wash
バス                                     basu                      bath
ローション                          rōshon                   lotion
ボディバター                       bodibataa              body butter
クリーム                              kuriimu                  cream
スクラブ                              sukurabu               scrub

The inspiration from this post actually came when I was standing in Loft (Shizuoka city), in the personal care section, and noticed an entire aisle of natural/organic products. Note the Burt’s Bees and Aubrey Organics pictures. Though the stores and sites I’ve listed below are great places to start and check for things, keep in mind that a local drug or daily goods store might carry natural, organic and/or additive-free items, as might a small beauty shop, like I’ve seen in Shizuoka city. Many items are Western brands so may have packaging with English descriptions as well, making them easier to find.

how to find organic/natural personal care products

Loft - carries a wide variety of products, which includes a wide selection of hair, body and skin products and cosmetics. Good selection of organic and natural products, and also has other “non-organic/natural” options. Stores all over Japan - store locator on website (Japanese).

Tokyu Hands - similar to Loft. Stores all over Japan - store locator on website (Japanese). - wide variety of products. Either click the link to go straight to the natural/organic store area or use some of the words above as search terms (in Japanese).

Cosme Kitchen - online store with a wide selection of products. Japanese only.

Lush - many of you may already be familiar with Lush. Though not all of their products are 100% natural or organic, there are some good options. Stores around Japan. Website in Japanese only, though there is of course a site in English (more products listed on the English site than the Japanese site though).

The Body Shop - similar to Lush. Stores around Japan. Website in Japanese only, though also a website in English.

Tengu Natural Foods - Online shop with small selection of skin and hair products. Website in Japanese or English.

iHerb - Online shop based in California, but ships via a Japanese company (Yamato) so the shipping is quite reasonable. Handy if ordering food as well. Carries a wide selection of products.

Some western brands in Japan (by no means comprehensive):

Burt’s Bees (Japanese, though you can search for the English site)
Aubrey Organics (Japanese, though also has an English site)
Dr. Bronner’s (English)

Japanese options (online):

Check out 6 places to find organic/natural personal care products online

Did I forget something? Or do you know of another great resource? Please let us know in the comments, and I’ll add it to the list.

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