Skin softener: a girl’s best friend

skin softener - Caroline Phelps

Myself – 39 years old

Why is a skin softener so important?

As we get older our skin looses elasticity and begins looking drier. I’m 39 years old now so I’m constantly looking for products that can help my skin look bouncy and healthy. I used to apply toner every day after washing my skin and before using a moisturizer. That worked well in my 20s but not so much in my 30s, as it tends to dry out my skin. During my last trip to Japan, my cousins and mother told me about skin softeners – a skin softener come in many different form (lotion, cleanser and cream) but its purpose is specific and always the same – to hydrate the skin, which is the exact opposite of what toners do.

Japanese women don’t believe in peeling their skin of nutrients. Instead they treat it very delicately and try to add as much moisture to it as they can. The purpose of a softener is to give your skin ‘double the hydration’ it needs.



I’ve been using softeners now for over 3 years and have nothing but positive things to say. I notice a big difference whenever I use it; my skin looks a lot more hydrated! There’s also other types of softeners such a creams, cleansers and even lip balm!

Finding softeners can be difficult outside Asia: I’ve seen them being sold in Koreatown, Japanese supermarkets and in specialty beauty stores. There’s also this line from Shiseido called Future Solution LX, which is loved and raved about by Marie-Claire magazine.

I’m currently using a Dior skin softener given to me by a Japanese cousin of mine. I apply it before bed under a moisturizer. I pat it on my skin until it feels sticky but firm and finish with a night cream. Unfortunately, this Dior line isn’t available in the States but I’ve previously used Shiseido hydro nourishing softener (listed below) and that’s worked really well for me too.

Asia’s bestselling and affordable skin softeners

Related article for skincare – Affordable anti-aging products


  1. says

    Hi Caroline, I came across this post of yours a few weeks ago and went out the next day to get a softener (the Shiseido hydro-nourishing one) because I had never used a softer. Wow, what I difference it makes, my skin has never felt so comfortable and so good. So I just wanted to come back and say thanks for sharing you softener info. xx

    • caroline says

      You are so very welcome Sofia! I’m a huge fan of softeners therefore I’m really glad it’s making a positive difference on your skin too!

  2. GB says

    Hi, Caroline! I’m confused if a softener is the same as a toner. If they aren’t, should I apply a softener on my face after a toner? Thank you.

    • says

      Hi! A softener is not the same as a toner. Toners contain alcohol which dries out the skin whereas a softener doesn’t. A softener will add moisture to the skin and keep it soft. I prefer softeners since I like to stay away from harsh chemicals that could potentially strip away the natural oils of my skin. I hope this helps :)

      • says

        Not really dry Caroline however i want it more soft. That’s why i was thinking of using a softener. I will try using a softener as you have suggested. Will post you about the results i achieve.

        • says

          A softener will be good then, I suggest you put it on as soon as you come out of the shower to get as much absorption as possible. In the evening I use it under a serum and a moisturizer. Let me know about the results!

  3. Xinyi says

    Hi Caroline! I’m so happy to have discovered your website while searching for a Miso Ramen recipe, which i’m going to attempt to make tomorrow night!
    Thank you for listing out the softener, I’m considering on getting the Shiseido Hydro one. But out of curiosity, will it also help reduce pores and blemishes as well? If not, would you recommend any facial product(s) that do? :)

    Thank you!!

    • says

      Hi Xinyi! I’m not sure if it helps reduce pores but it will definitely help blemishes (unless they are related to rosacea). But here’s a trick I heard from a couple of makeup artists that’s supposed to be amazing in reducing pores: First make sure your pores are clean otherwise you might end up breaking out. Create a paste using baking soda and water, thick enough to stick to your skin. Rinse after a couple of minutes when it’s almost dry but not so dry that it flakes off (apparently leaving it for too long gives the skin a bleached look). Both of them swear by it and I’m going to try it soon too. Let me know if you do and how it turned out!

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