Kotoha Skincare: Where Japan Meets London

by Gio

kotoha london skincare

Ever wondered why Japanese women have such beautiful, flawless skin?

Shoyaku. That’s Japanese for “active medicinal herb.” Japanese women have always relied on traditional herbs, such as ginseng, camellia and green tea to moisturize their skin, brighten their complexion and fade off wrinkles.

Now, Kotoha London has brought the wisdom of the Far East to the United Kingdom. Does it live up to the hype? I’ve tried a few products to find out:

kotoha london skin cerish lavender cleanser

Skin Cherish Lavender Cleanser

Skin Cherish Lavender Cleanser has an unusual texture – whipped and balmy – that reminds me of cottage cheese.

It’s hard as a rock. Ok, maybe NOT that hard. But when I scooped a bit up with the spatula, I had to apply some pressure to even make a dent in it!

I was worried: wouldn’t this thing pull and tag at my skin? Used as is, yes. But, you don’t use it as is.

After you scoop it up, you spread it on the palms of your hands and mix it with water, turning into a milky creamy balm that glides easily on the skin, removing all obstacles – think dirt and makeup – in its way.

The cleansing stars here are Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate and Ricinus Communis. Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate is a gentle surfactant derived from coconut oil: it allows water to mix with dirt so it can be rinsed away BUT doesn’t strip the skin bare of all the oil it needs to stay naturally soft and moisturized.

Ricinus Communis is plain old castor oil. It works according to the likes attracts like principle: the oil attracts the oils in your makeup and sunscreen, binds to them and then accompanies them down the drain.

Together, this combo removes everything – without leaving a greasy residue behind. Forget your double cleansing routine: this cleanser does the job in one go.

I only wish this cleanser didn’t smell so good: its herbal lavender scent is soothing and beautiful, but may irritate sensitive skin.

kotoha london shoyaku herb essence moist water

Shoyaku Herb Essence Moist Water

You don’t need a toner. But if you insist on using one, make it a moisturizing toner.

Shoyaku Herb Essence Moist Water fits the bill. It’s loaded with rosa damascena flower water and humectants, including glycerin and sorbitol, that infuse the skin with a waterfall of moisture.

But what intrigues me most is the ginseng extract. Ginseng is a very common ingredient in expensive Asian skincare, but I rarely see it anywhere here in Europe.

Ginseng is derived from the root of the ginseng plant. It’s rich in antioxidants so it helps to keep those premature wrinkles away from your face. It moisturizes skin, too.

Shoyaku Herb Essence Moist Water has a lightweight, runny texture that sinks immediately into the skin. I quickly pat it in with a cotton pad before putting on serum. Afterwards, my skin feels a little bit softer and hydrated.

If you have very dry skin or are looking for a way to incorporate ginseng into your skincare routine, you’ll like this.

kotoha london shoyaku herb essence rejuvenation serum

Shoyaku Herb Essence Rejuvenating Serum

If you want to skip the toner and keep the ginseng or want a double dose of ginseng (cos such huge dollops of ginseng at this price are a steal), the Shoyaky Herb Essence Rejuvenating Serum is for you.

Ginseng is the second ingredient so there’s more than enough for it to cast its wrinkle-fighting spell on your skin. But, it doesn’t do the job alone. Tocopherol and raspberry oil give it a helping hand in destroying free radicals before they can cause wrinkles.

Then, there’s sodium hyaluronate. A close relative of hyaluronic acid, it attracts and bind up to the skin up to 100 times its weight in water. Super hydrating.

Oh, let’s not forget avena sativa. It’s a powerful skin soother that calms down redness and irritation.

Like all the other products in the range, Shoyaku Herb Essence Rejuvenating Serum has a lightweight consistency that’s absorbed quickly.


It’s fairly hydrating, making my skin soft and plumper for hours. Plus, I can count on its anti-aging properties to keep my skin young and smooth.

kotoha london shoyaku herb essence silk cream

Shoyaku Herb Essence Silk Cream

Finding a good moisturizer for combination skin seems like a mission impossible. If it’s too rich, it turns my t-zone into a shiny, greasy mess. If it’s too lightweight, my cheeks cry out for moisture.

Shoyaku Herb Essence Silk Cream strikes a good balance. It’s made with sweet almond oil, a fairly lightweight oil that absorbs quickly into the skin, locking moisture in. This alone is enough to keep your skin soft and smooth for hours.

Plus, it’s soothing. Sweet almond oil is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema. That’s what oats do as well. Their soothing superpowers reduce redness, irritations, itching…

The cream is lightweight, absorbs quickly and keeps my skin soft and moisturized all day long. So far, I haven’t had to deal with any irritations. But, if that happens, I know I can use it to fix that, too.

Did I mention it makes a wonderful base for makeup?

What do you think of Kotoha London skincare range? Leave a comment and let me know if you’re going to try something. 🙂

Price & Availability: Skin Cherish Lavender Extract, £30.00; Shoyaku Herb Essence Moist Water, £28.00; Shoyaku Herb Essence Rejuvenation Serum, £35.00; Shoyaku Herb Essence Silk Cream, £38.00 at Kotoha London

Skin Cherish Lavender Cleanser Ingredients: Aqua, Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Ricinus Communis, Cera Alba, Vitis Vinifera, Cetearyl Alcohol, Polysorbate 60, Lavandula Angustifolia Flower Water, Glycerine (Veg), Decyl Glucoside, Tocopherol, Phenoxyethanol, Lavandula Angustifolia Oil, Ethylglycerin, Linalool

Shoyaku Herb Essence Moist Water Ingredients Aqua, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Glycerin, Morus Alba Root Extract, Sodium Lactate, Sorbitol, Rosa Damascena Flower Water, Vaccinium Myrtillus Fruit Extract, Saccharum Officinarum Extract, Acer Saccharum Extract, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Fruit Extract, Citrus Limon Fruit Extract, Polysorbate 80, Phenoxyethanol, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Propylene Glycol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf, Avena Sativa, Tocopherol, Peonia Lactiflora Root Extract, Alcohol Denat

Shoyaku Herb Essence Rejuvenation Serum Ingredients: Aqua, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Polysorbate 80, Glycerin, Dibenzylidene Sorbitol, Sodium Lactate, Tocopherol, Rubus Idaeus, Xanthan Gum, Hibiscus Sabdariffa Flower, Avena Sativa, Phenoxyethanol, Angelica Polymorpha Sinensis, Sodium Hyaluronate, Citric Acid, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Monopropylene Glycol

Shoyaku Herb Essence Silk Cream Ingredients: Aqua, Prunus Dulcis, Behentrimonium Methosulfate, Oryza Sativa, Carthamus Tinctorius, Persea Gratissima, Sympthytum Officinale Leaf Extract, Helianthus Annuus Seed Oil, Glycerine, Dibenzylidene Sorbitol, Cetearyl Alcohol, Butyrospermum Parkii, Cera Alba, Cocos Nucifera, Tocopherol, Calendula Officinalis, Morus Alba Root Extract, Phenoxyethanol, Silk Amino Acid Powder, Peonia Lactiflora, Caprylyl Glycol, Chlorphenesin, Citric Acid.

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