From The Straits Times    |

Photo: Instagram/Jun Hasegawa

I won’t lie. As a beauty junkie, it’s easy to get swept up in the next big thing – snail slime, probiotics, marula oil. Coupled with the pervasiveness of K-beauty where one is encouraged to add the likes of ampoules, sleeping packs and CC creams into the mix, my skincare routine is more complicated than Kylie Jenner’s family tree.

This could be one reason why Japanese beauty products are finding themselves back in the limelight. But J-beauty never went away – it’s just like the Japanese philosophy to stay understated, focusing on quality and time-honoured traditions.

Photo: Instagram/albion_jp

Much like how Japanese skincare brand Albion’s Skin Conditioner (from $86 for a 165ml bottle) was first launched in 1974 and remains its most iconic product, beloved for its ability to nourish, moisturise and soothe skin, thanks to its main ingredient Job’s Tears Extract which boosts the skin metabolism.

The brand has now introduced a limited edition Skin Conditioner Kit. The Kit includes a bottle of Skin Conditioner (100ml), a Skin Conditioner Facial Soap and 5 sheets of Skin Conditioner Essential Paper Masks Mini. Nothing in the kit is new. But why mess with a good thing, right? So effective was the Skin Conditioner Essential that Albion created a facial soap and mask to go along with it.

I tried all three together. Whenever I was wearing makeup, I lathered up the facial soap and used the rich foam on a dry face. Without makeup, wet your face before cleansing. It foamed beautifully – a rich, creamy, comforting lather that got rid of non-waterproof makeup and washed off easily without leaving skin dry or sticky.

Next was a generous application of the Skin Conditioner that was quickly lapped up by my thirsty skin. Nice. The scent, however, is a bit of a put-off as it’s an old-fashioned, floral fragrance. Perhaps this is how tradition smells like.

Now for the sheet masks. I was disappointed by how paper-thin and tiny the two sheets were in one pack. Fair enough, the box did state “Mini Sheet Masks”. But where exactly do I place them since they are unable to cover my whole face? I decided to have them on my cheeks, which were the most parched areas of my face.

While the masks were hardly luxurious in its texture (no dripping serum or cloth-like sheets here), they worked their magic sufficiently to hydrate, smooth and soothe. The skin tone of my cheeks looked brighter and more even too.

At the end of my regime, I felt strangely at a loss because it was over so quick. There’s almost a zen-like quality about Albion’s minimalist yet deeply ritualistic three step regime. Besides being a huge time saver, the three-step regime was also very effective in balancing my skin so it feels hydrated, and looks healthy and radiant. Any redness was also calmed within a few days of consistent use.

Albion Skin Conditioner Kit, $60, is available at all Albion counters.