Spring calls for a fresh start, and we’ve found four magic face masks in Tokyo for skin that’s never looked fresher. (Also, don’t forget to enter NUA Japan’s competition, in which you can win a year’s worth of facials!)

Words by Annemarie Luck and Lisa Wallin

Design Face Pack by Isshindo Honpo

Probably most famed for being a confectionery company, Isshindo Honpo launched their Kabuki Face Mask in 2013, and it quickly took off in popularity. To ensure the design properly represented the stage make-up (kumadori) worn by Kabuki actors, the company consulted with Kabuki actor Somegoro Ichikawa. And they didn’t skimp on beauty ingredients either – the mask includes hyaluronic acid, collagen, and extracts from Japanese tea leaves, satozakura flowers, and camellia seeds. We also love their quirky animal face masks – the panda, in particular.

Design Face Pack by Isshindo Honpo, ¥900, japaneseface.jp/en

isshindo honpo

Don’t Look At Me by Lush

We have to admit, we first reached for this face mask purely because of its beautifully vivid color – slathering the thick turquoise scrub all over your face is bound to make you feel better just because it looks so pretty! But its beauty is more than skin deep: it contains ground rice and kaolin (China clay) to gently exfoliate; fresh organic lemon juice for cleansing; and organic silken tofu to make your skin as soft as, well, silk. Smooth the mask all over your skin (body too, if you want), and leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing off.

Don’t Look At Me fresh face mask, ¥1,050, jn.lush.com

face mask

Smooth Gold by Lululun

Treat your skin to 10 minutes of bliss with Smooth Gold, a once-a-week deep moisturizing mask infused with nature’s finest ingredients: amino acids from Thai golden silk contain high levels of serine, which keeps your skin soft and supple; the sake lees (fermented grounds left over from sake production) from Kyoto Fushimi sake contain high levels of ceramide, which helps protect the skin and retain moisture; and the polyphenols in organic brown rice have an antioxidant effect to give you a youthful glow.

Smooth Gold mask by Lululun, ¥810, lululun.com/plus/smoothgold

face mask

Black Paint by Myyuki

If you’re looking for a deep cleanse with a difference, this handmade soap brimming with rich, organic oils helps improve skin immunity and minimizes irritation. High grade Kishu Bichotan charcoal made from Ubame oak absorbs impurities and feeds minerals to the skin. Even though this is more a soap than a mask, the way you apply it along with its powerful cleansing results give us a little leeway in terms of categorization. To achieve a smooth, fresh face without stripping the skin of its natural oils, simply apply a layer of Black Paint to your face and massage for five minutes before rinsing off. It’s free from alcohol, artificial fragrances or colors, and is even Halal certified.

Black Paint Soap Bar by Myyuki, ¥2,700, www.blackpaint.jp