Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes to Buy Online 2019 – Tried and True!

Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!

Let’s get this straight–there’s no such thing as a “best” hair dye. Strictly speaking. Just like there’s no such thing as a “best” concealer or “best” mattress or “best” jacket because it all comes down to you. What kind of skin do you have? What kind of sleeping posture? Do you get cold easily?

This time around, we ordered the 10 most popular hair dyes found in Japanese drugstores and on Japan’s e-commerce sites and compared the following:

  1. How Vivid the Color was
  2. How Gentle on Hair the Dye was
  3. How Long the Color Lasted

However, we want you to keep in mind that the Japanese hair dyes we introduce were formulated with Japanese (naturally black, bleached Asian) hair in mind and are most effective on hair of a similar quality. If you’ve hair like that, great–you’ll probably find that it works better than your average box of CVS/Walgreens stuff. If not, though, results may be a bit unexpected.

Table of Contents

How to Choose Japanese Hair Dye – Buying Guide

We’ll get into how we tested and compared all the hair dye, but before that, we want to introduce five things you should look out for when picking out Japanese hair dye.

① Know the Different Forms of Japanese Hair Dye

Broadly speaking, Japanese hair dye comes either as a foam※1, lotion※2, or cream※3. Here are the advantages of disadvantages of each.

※1 泡: foam, also sometimes translated as bubble
※2 乳液: lotion, also sometimes called the “milk” or “milky” type
※3 クリーム: cream

Foam, the Easiest to Use: Beginner and Butterfingers Friendly

Foam, the Easiest to Use - Beginner and Butterfingers Friendly

If you don’t want to put too much time or energy into dyeing your hair or if you’re worried you won’t do a good job of it, then go foam. You apply foam dye as you would a shampoo, so it’s intuitive, even for first-timers. There’s no need to section out your hair as you would with any other type of dye, and you don’t have to worry about getting a color brush.

However, it tends not to come out as vivid as, say, cream dye, so it’s important that you get even coats of foam throughout your hair. Also, the “flatter” a foam dye is, the harder it is to make it adhere to and color your hair, so make sure you whip it up good before application.

Lotion, Applies in Uniform Coats: Effective on Long, Thick Hair

Lotion, Applies in Uniform Coats: Effective on Long, Thick Hair

If you’re worried about streaky color or if you have a lot of hair, try lotion dye.

Lotion’s thinner in texture than cream. It spreads well, so it’s easier to achieve even coats, and there’s less chance of you running out of product or finding sections of hair left undyed. If it comes in a bottle with a comb-shaped nozzle, all the better. You just rake the applicator through your locks, which makes it easier to color long or voluminous hair.

Just know that lotion gets runny. It can drip into eyes, so just be careful and don’t apply in the bath.

Cream, the Most Vivid: For a Professional Finish

Cream, the most Vivid: For a Professional Finish

If you want the color to come out strong or you’ve confidence in your self-dyeing skills, then get cream dye.

Because cream dye is denser than lotion, it adheres more closely to hair, transferring more color. It also doesn’t bleed as much, making it easy target specific areas (so you can do things like go over sections where color takes longer to develop first).

On the other hand, it’s also easy to miss spots. To ensure you get one uniform layer of color, you have to section out your hair. We recommend parting your hair into six or seven sections and dyeing each one by one. If you’re unsure of your skills, consider getting a friend or family member to help out.

② Think about Color and Shade

Think about Color and Shade

Any dye’s going to be available in a number of colors, and bigger lines can offer around 20 different shades. In Japan, ash, pink, and beige are all the rage now, but even if the color’s the same in name, it can look different depending on the brand.

So take a good hard look at the samples on the packaging, and think about which color, tone, and shade appeals most to you. And this almost goes without saying, but your original hair color’s going to greatly affect the end product. Most dyes will give you a number of before-and-afters, so make sure you’re looking at the before that’s closest to your current hair color.

③ Look for Included Treatments and Hair Care Products

Look for Included Treatments and Hair Care Products

If anything, the real battle comes after you’ve dyed your hair. You want to keep color from fading, for one, and you want to minimize all the damage you’ve just done to your hair by coloring it.

Some dyes include ingredients meant to treat hair as it’s being colored. Proteins like hydrolyzed keratin※4 are often used to repair damaged hair shafts, and oils–jojoba※5 being a popular variety–are used to add shine and moisture. Scan the ingredients list to determine what repairing ingredients, if any, are included and what their effects are.

Unfortunately, just because of how hair is structured, even if a dye’s jam-packed with healthy ingredients, it’s not going to offset all damage done to your hair. In addition to researching what ingredients are in the dye itself, try looking for products that include a hair serum or treatment as well.

※4 加水分解ケラチン: hydrolyzed keratin
※5 ホホバオイル: jojoba oil (oil is sometimes written with the kanji, -油)

④ Research How Long Color will Last

Research How Long Color will Last

Generally speaking, do-it-yourself hair dye will color your hair for about a month. However, some products don’t even last that long. Certain colors stick around for longer than others, and the state your hair is in (how moisturized, how healthy) also plays in role in the performance of your hair dye.

To find long-lasting products, it’s important to read reviews, but remember to take them with a grain of salt. Maintenance is also important, and a good shampoo or treatment formulated for colored hair can work wonders.

⑤ Don’t Forget to Check How Much Product You’re Getting

Don't Forget to Check How Much Product You're Getting

Finally, look at how much product you’re getting.

It should say on the box, but one package of dye is typically only enough to treat medium to semi-long hair. If you don’t apply enough product, you may end up with faint or uneven coloring. Therefore, those with particularly long or thick hair should consider getting an extra box or two.

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

What Products We Ordered and How We Tested Them

Now to introduce the 10 most popular Japanese hair dyes that we ordered and the process by which we tested them.

{The Products We Tested}

  1. Kao – Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color British Ash (花王|リーゼ プリティア 泡カラー ブリティッシュアッシュ)
  2. hoyu – Beautylabo Whip Hair Color Misty Ash (ホーユー|ビューティーラボ ホイップヘアカラー ミスティアッシュ)
  3. hoyu – Beautylabo Milky Hair Color Natural Grege (ホーユー|ビューティーラボ ミルキィヘアカラー ナチュラルグレージュ)
  4. hoyu – Beauteen Makeup Color Mint Ash (ホーユー|ビューティーン メイクアップカラー ミントアッシュ)
  5. Dariya – Palty Foam Hair Color Girly Ash (ダリヤ|パルティ 泡のヘアカラー ガーリーアッシュ)
  6. Dariya – Palty Foam Pack Hair Color Marshmallow Ash (ダリヤ|パルティ 泡パックヘアカラー マシュマロアッシュ)
  7. Dariya – annadonna every Hair Color Cat Greige (ダリヤ|アンナドンナ エブリ ヘアカラー キャットグレージュ)
  8. Henkel Japan – Freshlight Milky Type Mint Ash (ヘンケルジャパン|フレッシュライト ミルキーヘアカラー ミントアッシュ)
  9. Henkel Japan – Freshlight Foam Type Berry Ash (ヘンケルジャパン|フレッシュライト 泡タイプ ベリーアッシュ)
  10. mandom corp. – LÚCIDO-L Milk Jam Hair Color Classic Milk Tea (マンダム|ルシードエル ミルクジャムヘアカラー クラシックミルクティ)

We then tested for each of the following things:

Test ①: How Vivid the Color was
Test ②: How Gentle on Hair It was
Test ③: How Long the Color Lasted

Test ①: How Vivid the Color was

How Vivid the Color was

The first thing we tested for was color. We gathered variations of the popular “ash” color (pretty much an ash brown), and looked for products that best expressed its multi-dimensional feel and subtle shifts between green and brown and grey.

We followed the directions on the package and bleached several samples of black hair to a bright brown. We then compared the results that we got with the images on the package and gave the products that lived up to expectations the highest scores.

The Big Takeaway: If You Want “Ashy” Hair, You’ll Like the Look of Bluish Dyes

We Liked the Look of Bluish Dyes

The three products that delivered what the box promised contained high amounts of Toluene-2,5 Diamine※6, a dye with a cool, ashy tone, as well as 2,4-Diaminophenoxyethanol Hydrochloride※7, which adds a blue cast to colors.

On the other hands, products that didn’t live up to expectations contained warmer colors–we saw a lot of p-Phenylenediamine※8, a dye that adds a red tint to hair, or p-Aminophenol※9, which imparts an orange shade. When going for cool tones–such as ash brown, which is more grey than red–try avoiding these dyes as much as possible.

※6 トルエン-2,5-ジアミン: Toluene-2,5 Diamine
※7 塩酸2,4-ジアミノフェノキシエタノール: 2,4-Diaminophenoxyethanol Hydrochloride
※8 パラフェニレンジアミン: p-Phenylenediamine
※9 パラアミノフェノール: p-Aminophenol

Test ②: How Gentle on Hair the Dye was

How Gentle on Hair It was

Next, we tested how damaging the dyes were.

We attached a fine-tooth comb to a device that calculated pressure; we then combed through all of the dyed hair samples, measuring resistance and friction.

We determined that a low resistance score meant smooth, hydrated hair meant healthy hair; therefore, on this particular test, products that resulted in the least friction were rated the highest.

The Big Takeaway: If You Want Gentler Dye, Look for a Formula that Contains Jojoba Oil

If You Want Gentler Dye, Look for Formulas that Contain Jojoba Oil

We actually couldn’t feel much of a difference when we ran our fingers through the hair samples, but when we measured them with our handy dandy device, our lowest-ranking product produced a resistance score six times that of our highest-ranking product.

When we read the ingredients list, we found that two of the three products we found to be least damaging contained jojoba oil.

For those that aren’t already familiar with this magic ingredient, jojoba is extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant. It’s said to hydrate and protect both skin and hair. It’s a good ingredient to look for in hair dyes and treatments if you’re hoping to minimize any damage.

Test ③: How Long the Color Lasted

How Long the Color Lasted

Finally, we tested for longevitiy.

After dyeing the hair samples, we shampooed and dried each seven times to see how color would change with each successive washing. We then compared the color of the samples after the washings to their color before; the products that showed the least change were rated the highest.

The Big Takeaway: Seems like Longevity Depends Less on Ingredients and More on What Dyes were Used. Red and Brown Tones Stick Around for Longer

The Big Takeaway: Seems like Longevity Depends Less on Ingredients and More on What Dyes were Used. Red and Brown Tones Stick Around for Longer

A lot of the products we tested this time contained ingredients meant to preserve color, whether they be amino acids like theanine and taurine or silk protein. However, they still fell short when it came to maintaining the subtlety of a cool color like ash brown.

However, dyes that came out to a warm, reddish color stuck around for longer.

Because cool colors tend to fade easily, we recommend using only mild shampoos (like amino acid ‘poo) and investing in a treatment meant for cool, color-treated hair.

The Final Verdict: Top 10 Best Japanese Hair Dyes to Buy Online

Now to introduce the 10 best Japanese hair dyes available online. Keep in mind our overall scores are not a simple averaging out of each product’s test results; some tests were given more weight than others, which is reflected in our rankings.

※As for our pictures, the top half depicts a hair sample after bleaching but before dyeing; the bottom half depicts the hair sample after dyeing.

10. Henkel Japan – Freshlight Milky Type Mint Ash

Henkel Japan - Freshlight Milky Type Mint AshHenkel Japan - Freshlight Milky Type Mint Ash

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Price: $6.37

Not Feeling the Ash. Or the Mint, for That Matter

The design of the packaging, the before-and-after images on the back–everything had a cold green cast over it. However, when we tried out the dye, we were left with hair that was just… brown. It was dark, but with none that overcast skies look you expect from ash tones. It also faded after seven washes and became a brighter brown.

Color Variation 12 Total, Including Mint Ash, Mirror Ash, and Clear Ash Type Lotion
Treatment Included? Yes Vividness 1.0
Gentleness 3.0 Longevity 2.0
Overall Score 1.0

9. hoyu – Beautylabo Whip Hair Color Misty Ash

hoyu – Beautylabo Whip Hair Color Misty Ashhoyu – Beautylabo Whip Hair Color Misty Ash

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Price: $6.48

Comes out to a Simple Bright Brown. Reddens as It Fades

This dye was also brown without the ash. Since it came out to such a warm finish, it didn’t really fade with shampooing; however, after we’d lathered, rinsed, and repeated seven times, it took on a faint red tinge.

Color Variation 16 Total, Including Misty Ash, Ash Chocolat, and Classic Ash Type Foam
Treatment Included? Yes Vividness 1.0
Gentleness 2.0 Longevity 4.0
Overall Score 1.0

8. hoyu – Beautylabo Milky Hair Color Natural Grege

hoyu – Beautylabo Milky Hair Color Natural Gregehoyu – Beautylabo Milky Hair Color Natural Grege

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Price: $5.54

Maybe It’s a Bit Brighter? Produces a Color Almost Indistinguishable from That of Product Number 9

This shared a brand with the product that ranked in ninth, which might be why we were left with such similar finishes. They were marketed as separate colors, but we couldn’t really see the difference. Again, there were no cool ashy tones, just a warm, bright brown.

Color Variation 13 Total, Including Natural Grege and Sweet Ash Type Lotion
Treatment Included? Yes Vividness 1.0
Gentleness 3.0 Longevity 2.0
Overall Score 2.0

7. mandom corp. – LÚCIDO-L Milk Jam Hair Color Classic Milk Tea

mandom corp. – LÚCIDO-L Milk Jam Hair Color Classic Milk Teamandom corp. – LÚCIDO-L Milk Jam Hair Color Classic Milk Tea

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Price: $4.70

This Wasn’t Ash, and It Wasn’t Milk Tea Either. Results in a Redwood-Like Finish

You wouldn’t expect it from the packaging nor from the appellation of “classic milk tea,” but this dye had a strong red tint to it that reminded us of redwood furniture. The color didn’t change at all, even after seven washes.

Color Variation 5 Total, Including Café Chiffon and Classic Milk Tea Type Lotion
Treatment Included? Yes Vividness 1.0
Gentleness 3.0 Longevity 5.0
Overall Score 2.0

6. hoyu – Beauteen Makeup Color Mint Ash

hoyu – Beauteen Makeup Color Mint Ashhoyu – Beauteen Makeup Color Mint Ash

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Price: $4.81

Is a Bit Cloudy and Ashy, but Doesn’t Turn out Like What’s on the Box

This did have the shadowiness of ash, but the color we ended up with was nothing like what was promised on the box. There was no hint of mint green–just a simple dark brown.

Color Variation 12 Total, Including Mint Ash, Purple Ash, and Blue Violet Type Foamy Lotion
Treatment Included? Yes Vividness 2.0
Gentleness 3.0 Longevity 4.0
Overall Score 2.0

5. Dariya – Palty Foam Pack Hair Color Marshmallow Ash

Dariya – Palty Foam Pack Hair Color Marshmallow AshDariya – Palty Foam Pack Hair Color Marshmallow Ash

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Price: $11.95

Produces a Color Similar to What’s Seen on the Box. Shame It Doesn’t Last

The dye came out to an ashy brown with hints of green in it–very similar to what’s depicted on the box. Unfortunately, it didn’t have much staying power. After seven shampoo sessions, the cool tones had all but faded, leaving us with a bright and straightforward brown.

Color Variation 10 Total, Including Marshmallow Ash and Candy Ash Type Foam
Treatment Included? Yes Vividness 3.0
Gentleness 1.0 Longevity 1.0
Overall Score 3.0

4. Dariya – annadonna every Hair Color Cat Greige

Dariya – annadonna every Hair Color Cat GreigeDariya – annadonna every Hair Color Cat Greige

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Price: $15.43

Doesn’t Stray Far from the Before-and-After Pictures. Staying Power is Tolerable

This dye also had a smooth, cool tint to it that reminded us of caramel, very similar to the color that was shown on the box. After we’d shampooed it seven times, some of the the smokiness and subtlety had faded, though not enough to say that color had changed altogether.

Color Variation 10 Total, Including Cat Greige, Elephant Grey, and Rabbit Beige Type Lotion
Treatment Included? Yes Vividness 3.0
Gentleness 5.0 Longevity 3.0
Overall Score 3.0

3. Dariya – Palty Foam Hair Color Girly Ash

Dariya – Palty Foam Hair Color Girly AshDariya – Palty Foam Hair Color Girly Ash

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Price: $5.81

Brown Shadowed by a Subtle Green. Neutralizes Red Tones to Deliver What’s Promised on the Box

This had some green tints to it, as any good ash color should, and very little warmth. It went on in smooth coats and gave us a finish very similar to the one shown on the box.

So we were disappointed to find out that color doesn’t last long. After the seventh shampoo session, our hair sample had lost the mossy green effect and reverted to a bright, simple brown.

Color Variation 15 Total, Including Girly Ash, Natural Ash, and Ice Greige Type Foam
Treatment Included? No Vividness 4.0
Gentleness 4.0 Longevity 2.0
Overall Score 4.0

2. Henkel Japan – Freshlight Foam Type Berry Ash

Henkel Japan – Freshlight Foam Type Berry AshHenkel Japan – Freshlight Foam Type Berry Ash

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Price: $6.73

Results in Lovely Finish that was Both Clear and Ashy

This dye toned down redness and gave us a shadowy green tint. Overall, the color was subtle and had a sheen to it that was almost glassy. We achieved a finish very similar to what’s shown on the box.

After seven washings, hair did grow brighter, but there was still little warmth to the color. Henkel’s Freshlight Berry Ash actually did a good job in preserving its ashy complexion compared to other products we tested.

Color Variation 7 Total, Including Berry Ash, Airy Ash, and Sugar Ash Type Foam
Treatment Included? Yes Vividness 4.0
Gentleness on Hair 3.0 Longevity 3.0
Overall Score 4.0

1. Kao – Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color – British Ash

Kao – Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color – British AshKao – Liese Prettia Bubble Hair Color – British Ash

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Price: $5.77

Get Subtle, Salon-Quality Ash without Stepping out Your Door. Lovely Color that Doesn’t Lose Integrity Even as It Fades

The ashy green that features so prominently on the box was faithfully recreated in the dye. Hair came out a shadowy brown with muted hints of emerald and moss, and took on a sleek, glassy sheen.

It did change color easily compared to other products we tested. However, though color was visibly lighter after seven washings, it wasn’t much warmer, and hair retained the ashiness that it had upon dyeing.

We also like that color came out vivid despite the fact that this was a simple foam dye. We’d recommend this product to most anyone, whether you be a hair-coloring veteran or new recruit.

Color Variation 6 Total, Including British Ash, New York Ash, and California Beige Type Foam
Treatment Included? Yes Vividness 5.0
Gentleness 4.0 Longevity 3.0
Overall Score 5.0

Don’t Skip the Patch Test

Don't Skip the Patch Test

In Japan, hair dye is classified as a drug, as it contains ingredients that can cause (adverse and allergic) reactions in the human body. These reactions include but are not limited to itchiness, skin irritation, and rashes, and if you’ve experienced any of these symptoms as a result of hair coloring in the past then you shouldn’t be self-dyeing now or in the future.

Actually read the instructions and any warning labels before usage. Take all necessary precautions, including conducting a patch test 48 hours before dyeing your hair. Most dyes come with instructions on how to perform a patch test, but it usually just involves applying a small amount of product onto your arm and letting it dry.

Most permanent and semi-permanent dyes contain diamine, a coloring agent, as well as hydrogen peroxide, both of which can cause allergic reactions. Even if you haven’t experienced any symptoms up until now, it doesn’t mean you won’t in the future–allergies can be developed or triggered under different circumstances.

So before every hair dyeing session, make sure you carry out a patch test and are completely fine at the 48 hour mark.

Will These Dyes Work on my Naturally Black Hair?

Will These Dyes Work on my Naturally Black Hair?

Hair dyes do contain hair lightening agents, which work to remove some of the melanin from your hair and replace them with new pigments. But, generally speaking, if you treat hair while it’s still dark, it won’t turn out like whatever you see on the box. Most of those models are wearing the color you’d get if you were to treat bleached hair.

However, most packages of hair dye will give you three before-and-after images, one for light-colored hair, one for slightly darker colored hair, and one for dark colored hair, so you can get an idea of how a color will turn out on you. If you figure that you want to go for the lighter color (and you’re a brunette), then you’ll have to bleach your hair beforehand.

We also purchased and tried out the most popular boxes of Japanese bleach online today. Check out the article below!

Summary

We rounded up members of our editing department, purchased the 10 top-selling Japanese hair dyes, and tested them all.

We were pleasantly surprised by how even at-home kits could produce some nuanced, stellar colors. A lot of these products also contained restorative ingredients and treatments, which does a lot for peace of mind.

So next time you’re looking to add some new color to your life (and it doesn’t have to be ash brown), keep this guide in the back of your mind, check out some of the brands above, and settle for nothing less than your ideal.

Original by Kano Ichiyama; Translation by Jasmine Li

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    We’re obsessed with flawless skin here in Japan. Beyond just looking good, we want our skin to actually be good–naturally healthy and free of blemishes–so it makes sense that BB cream, which is makeup and skincare in one, would have firmly taken root here. We’ve got a lot of brands, like Sekkisei, and a lot of formulations. So you’re probably wondering which BB creams are actually popular and which work. In order to answer that question, we ordered the 16 most popular tubes of BB cream from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also invited two experts and had them compare the following: How Well It Spreads Coverage Finish Longevity This is how we tested and found the most exceptional BB creams. Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge This time around, we borrowed the expertise of hair and makeup artist Rika Fujiwara and Instagrammer Chie Kato. Invalid Short Code. There is not profile. Please write expert_id = hikaku9 comment.
    Sorry, but What’s BB Cream Again? In J

  • Top 14 Best Japanese CC Creams to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True!
    Foundation is so yesterday. Nowadays, in Asian beauty, all you hear about is alphabet cream: AA, BB, CC, DD, so on and so forth. CC cream is more a skincare product than a cosmetic; it usually functions as a color corrector and primer, though its properties can differ by brand. Depending on who’s making it, CC cream can be all sorts of shades and do all sorts of things. So which products are actually loved in Japan and which are dupes? To answer that question, we ordered the 14 most popular Japanese CC creams from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also consulted three experts, who looked for the following: Finish Ease of Application This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese CC creams. Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge This time around,  we borrowed the expertise of hair and makeup artists Rika Fujiwara and Mutsuki, as well as the former fashion retailer and Instagrammer Chie Kato. [expertprofi

  • Top 12 Best Japanese Foundations to Buy Online 2018
    It’s one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s a trending question on Quora. Why do Japanese women have such beautiful skin? A lot of it starts down at the roots: skincare, diet, genes. However, some of it is surface level stuff: makeup and, specifically, foundation. And out of all the foundation that’s out there, liquid–high-end and drugstore–is prized because it’s both versatile and hydrating. So in order to tap into those beauty secrets, we ordered the 12 most popular Japanese foundations from Japan’s e-commerce giants (such as Amazon, Rakuten, and @cosme) and tested them all. We also consulted three experts, who looked for the following: Finish Ease of Application Coverage This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese liquid foundations. Introducing the Experts Who Lent Us Their Knowledge This time around, we borrowed the expertise of hair and makeup artists Rika Fujiwara and Mutsuki, as well as the former fashion retailer and Instagrammer Chie Kato. [expertprof

  • Top 29 Best Japanese and Korean Under Eye Concealers to Buy Online 2019 - Tried and True
    Dark circles are tricky. They don’t like to be hidden, and you often need a very specific kind of concealer to do the trick. You first have to remember that the skin around your eyes is very delicate, and there’s a lot of movement there when you smile, laugh, frown, or cry. Then there’s different types of dark circles–blue, black, and brown–each requiring its own shade of concealer. If Western brands aren’t cutting it for you (or if they are, but you’re living in Asia and need something cheaper), then try looking into the arsenal of Japanese and Korean concealers. There’s a lot, which is why we ordered the 29 most popular under eye concealers from Japan’s e-commerce giants and tested for the following: Coverage Longevity Application This is how we tested and found the most exceptional Japanese and Korean under eye concealers. We also tell you how to cover your dark circles at the end of the article, so stay tuned! How to Choose Under Eye Concealer – Buying Guide We’ll get into