Albion Garden has been around for over 65 years in Japan. It’s established itself as one of the leading J-Beauty brands, and now, it’s finally available for purchase in the United States. If there’s one product to try to get acquainted with the brand, it’s the Albion Essential Skin Conditioner ($68). It’s so good that one bottle sells every 10 seconds in Japan.
This skin conditioner, also known as SkiCon, is an essence that uses Job’s tears (Hatomugi), an anti-inflammatory ingredient that is rich in antioxidants to smooth and moisturize the skin while supporting its metabolic rhythm. It contains astringent ingredients that help prevent acne and tighten the appearance.
Essences are used after cleansing and after toning (if that’s a part of your routine) as a treatment that’s usually focused on hydration or brightening. And because products absorb better into damp skin, using an essence can help whatever serums, creams, and oils you apply on top penetrate deeper.
According to Ivy Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Pasadena, California, the Albion Essential Skin Conditioner is best suited for those looking to manage oil production as the ingredients, like alcohol, glycols, and witch hazel, which can all be a bit drying.
“Those ingredients are great for drying the skin if you’re making more a little more oily or a little more acne prone,” she says. “If you’re thinking about temporarily tightening and shrinking the appearance of pores, that can offer you a transient benefit.”
It’s also great if you live in an area that gets really humid.
“This probably works great when you’re in Japan where its super hot and humid or if you’re in New York City in the summer,” says Dr. Lee. “But when you’re in dryer climates, especially if you’re someone who has dry and more sensitive skin, you want to proceed with caution.”
Zoë Weiner, senior beauty editor at Well+Good, tried the skin conditioner on her combination skin during an NYC heat wave, and loved that it made her complexion feel even overall. It helped curb the oil production in her t-zone without drying out her cheeks, which is “no easy feat and not something I’ve ever, in my life, experienced from another product,” she says. Plus, the scent is “intoxicatingly floral, without being overpowering.”
Bottom line? If you’re interested in trying out one of the top luxury Japanese beauty products and think it will work well with your skin type, it’s time to add the Albion Essential Skin Conditioner to your cart.
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