Have you heard about Albion? It’s a Japanese prestige cosmetic brand, especially recognized for its skincare, with a history of more than 60 years! The brand may loose in fame compared to SK-II or Shiseido, however, Albion is supported and loved by a big number of core fans. So here is a summary of the brand and one of its long-sellers as well as the latest products.
Albion, the old name given to Great Britain comes from the white cliffs along Dover coast and has inspired the brand which was named after it as the white beautiful skin is the symbol of Japanese beauty.
Since its foundation in 1956, Albion has been developing high-quality cosmetics, committing into delivering the very best to its customers.
Japan is a matured society, and in this kind of market we must have a specialised field of business,” says president and CEO Shoichi Kobayashi. “To create unique products, we choose distinct raw materials that are efficient in terms of delivering that much-wanted effect on skin. Our key strategy is not expanding our prestige product portfolio, but adding new efficient raw materials or updating our formula. (source: South China Morning Post)
A unique and original skincare routine
Unlike the Japanese traditional well-known skincare routine that consists in layering the lotion, emulsion and serum or cream, Albion recommends applying the emulsion first thing after the face wash.
- traditional way: lotion → serum → emulsion / cream
- Albion’s way: emulsion → lotion → serum or cream
Albion believes in restoring the initial balance of a healthy skin by doing so as the brand’s emulsions are designed to bring the 3 elements needed to a healthy skin: oil, water and NMF (Natural Moisturizing Factor)
Albion’s iconic product
Skin Conditioner, the 40 years long seller
As already described in my post Top 5 best Japanese skincare products 2016, Albion’s Skin Conditioner is by far the most famous product from the brand winning awards every year. In 2015, 40 years after its first launch, sales units were still growing by 25% according to WWD.
This multi-purpose lotion based on job’s tears has the following benefits:
- astringent action
- anti-inflammatory action
For the last point, the formula uses dipotassium glycyrrhizinate, which helps soothing skin after sunburn or skin prone to acne. Japanese regulation classifies Skin Conditioner as a “quasi-drug”, meaning it can claim the benefit as proven efficacy (read more about “quasi-drug” category here).
The white color comes from the emulsion created between water and oil to moisturize the skin at most.
The bottle package, as well as the fragrance, are a bit old-fashioned; not surprising, the Skin Conditioner has been on the shelf for more than 40 years! I am not a big fan of the fragrance which is rather strong but after what I read, some people seem to really like it a lot.
The product penetrates the skin very quickly and leaves a fresh and cool sensation. The finish is moisturized and soft.
Skin Conditioner from Albion
Albion’s latest launches
Smart Skin Very Rare
Launched in 2016, while cushion foundation was the trend, Smart Skin Very Rare still succeeded to win many beauty awards and drew a great deal of attention.
A brand new innovative texture
Inspired by the truffe kind of chocolate which is creamy but still solid, this foundation combines benefits from both powder and liquid foundations; In Japan, it is common for women to retouch their makeup several times per day. Therefore powder foundation is popular for its convenience as it’s easy to carry. However, the trend right now is a natural glowy skin texture, which is reached through liquid foundation.
Smart Skin Very Rare review
I haven’t used a powder foundation for a long time but as I read so many positive reviews about it, I had to try!
The finish met my expectations. The texture is creamy but when applied onto the skin, it spreads smoothly and turns into a sort of soufflé airy texture which leaves no heaviness at all.
Although it’s a powder foundation, the finish is not completely mat and powdery like it was in trend 10 years back…it’s semi mat and still leaves a natural glow. The touch is very smooth and the skin stays moisturized all day. There is no need to apply any setting powder afterwards, at least in winter.
The coverage is enough to smooth out the skin, yet to look natural. That is also another point making this foundation suit the current trend.
The only thing which is not working for me is the color shade. It has only 4 shades and there is no good fit for my skin color. I wish they had more variety in ochre tones.
So thumbs up for:
- the very new texture that it creates
- the natural coverage
- the moistuized and smooth touch
Only one con for me:
- the poor shade choice
Smart Skin Very Rare
SPF33 PA+++, no primer needed, ¥5,000 (case included)
Tight Film Foundation Pro
This is a much more recent launch; the existing Tight Film Foundation formula got reworked and relaunched last February.
A breakthrough concept
Tight Film Foundation claims a face lift up and face slimming effect thanks to a memory polymer. The revised version contains an additional polymer that enhances the lifting efficacy as it uses the skin’s temperature to set the tightening layer onto the skin.
Tight Film Foundation Pro review
The concept sounds great right? Unfortunately, the result didn’t live up to the story.
The face slimming and lifting effect are not obvious. Even if it gives you a small impression that maybe it’s indeed lifting, the other functionalities are not good enough to make this newly launched foundation a hit.
It’s very light…too light actually and it doesn’t cover skin flaws at all. It feels more like it’s something between a BB cream and just a skincare.
Not all the products are perfect obviously but Albion has especially a high reputation for its skincare and the long sellers as well as the company’s philosophy in providing authentic upscale products make the brand worth trying.
Some Albion products are available for Free Shipping at Sasa.com