The Japanese approach men’s skincare and grooming in a different way to the Western method; scarce are acne treatments and anti-ageing potions, in favour of an overall healthy look and feel of skin. There is a focus on natural ingredients and sensitive skin- ideal for those men who dislike using too many chemicals. Performance is obviously key, but so is style- simple yet effective. Here are Ape to Gentleman’s top three.

Body – retaW-Tokyo


Tokyo based lifestyle label retaW was founded in 2009, with a focus on blending scents to create some truly unique scents by way of aroma and name. Each fragrance has been developed with meticulous detail, along with a range for your, “body and soul”. It’s not just about body wash or shampoo, the range extends to car fragrance and clothing revitalisers- scents to carry around with you, and ‘wear’. Our favourite is Natural Mystic- retaW-Tokyo’s first fragrance; it’s a unique spicy scent with patchouli and vanilla.

Skin – Shiseido

Image credit: Clément Nachbauer.

Covering skin care, hair care, cosmetics and fragrance- Tokyo based Shiseido is one of the oldest and largest skincare companies in the world. Their Shiseido Men skincare products include shaving cream, face wash, aftershave lotion, moisturisers, anti-wrinkle creams, eye products and self tanners. Each has a distinctive ‘feel-good’ aroma, known as Aromachology – which delivers a feeling of well-being through scent. The products themselves are superb, with a broad range of categories covered off. Not particularly well known in the UK for men but a fine choice for any man’s bathroom cabinet nonetheless.

Problem skin – Yu-Be

Yu-Be tube jar water.jpg

For those of you who suffer with dry skin, shaving irritation and more serious skin conditions (Eczema and Psoriasis) Yu-Be cream, first released in 1957 by a young pharmacist named Yoshikiyo Nowatari has all the answers. A non-prescription “medicated/ vitamin-enriched” moisturising cream it as common in family bathrooms in Japan as E45 or Sudocrem is in the UK. A tube even made it up Mount Everest providing protection from the harsh elements of cold, wind and water found on the world’s tallest peak. The highly concentrated glycerin-based cream that can quickly and successfully replenish lost moisture without any greasy residue.