Where are your skin care products made?

In my recent post about Hada Labo available in Singapore, there were a few comments about where the products are made. I’ll address that when I review the products but from the comments, it’s quite obvious that the preference is for the products to be made in Japan over made in China as those coming from the former is perceived to be of better quality since it’s the country the brand originated from. I’m not sure if this is true but come to think about it, I do prefer my skin care products to be imported from the country of origin.

It’s a norm for bigger companies to establish factories at different geographical locations to meet the demands of their customers and their quality should not be compromised if they manufacture according to a standard system. However, I’m not sure if there are guarantees on that standard across the board so it’s understandable that consumers have their reservations.

Anyway, today is Vesak Day and I’m keeping this short. I just like to find out if you are particular about where your skin care products are made. If you are, do you have special preferences in terms of the country of origin? And are you willing to pay more if the same products are made in Japan vs made in South East Asia or China? Personally, I like skin care products that are made in Europe because I think they have stricter regulations and hence, better quality control as well.

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  1. stella says

    i’m rather particular when it comes to where everything i use are made and i like to go for the ‘developed’ countries – japan, europe, taiwan, hong kong, singapore etc. as i’m more convinced of their regulations & QC, and increasingly corporate responsibility in terms of environmental protection and workers’ welfare especially now that i’m older and can afford a little more for what i use in life; after all, you saving a few cents for that great made in china product may mean that something/one is really suffering a great deal for it, how’s that for karma?

    • says

      all i can say is that products that are topical will eventually become legal issues, france is starting by acting on binding legislation by 2013 that all skincare needs to have an ISO 22716 certification. this is as strong if not stronger than the FDA in the USA. it is interesting that ASIA is very strict with its imports but western society lets asia dump anything untested over here

      • sesame says

        I really heart European standards. They’re really stringent in terms of their testing and certification. I started using them and still find myself going back to them.

        Oh, I didn’t know about the dumping of products. Where is this happening?

    • sesame says

      I share your concerns too but one particular one you raised – workers’ welfare – that’s one major area that will most probably cause discrepancy in standards. System is one thing but it’s still managed by the local people and that’s where the consistency might differ in some cases.

  2. Rennie says

    Interesting enough, I had this discussion with a friend just a few days ago about this topic. For me, I don’t particularily target specific countries to buy from. However, I do find myself buying more and more products from countries such as Japana and South Korea simply because some of their products are more towards what I want to target for my skin (and the packaging is cute). My friend however only buys skincare products from Asia mostly Japan and Taiwan since she’s Asian and she believes that products from Asian countries are made more suitable for Asian skin than those of European brands.

    • sesame says

      I know what your friend means. Many people seems to share her sentiments about products developed in Asia being more suitable for Asian skin. I’ll say it’s true for makeup but for skin care, I don’t find it so.

      • Audris says

        I agree with you on that. I suspect the West might be more advanced on skincare formulations hence the efficacy of them.

        I prefer US and European skincare products (like Avene, LRP) as they seem to work better for me.

        • sesame says

          They’re more rigorous in terms of testing because of the strong consumer voices and rights as well. We need to do more in Asia.

  3. CK says

    I can’t wait for the Hado Labo review!! I agree with you regarding the country of origin. However, I think the recent events with China’s manufacturing safety issues, many Americans are leery of Chinese products… especially skin care products.

  4. Rinka says

    i have to say i do feel better when i look on the back of a product and it says it is made in a developed country like japan, maybe usa, canada, korea, anywhere in europe. its mostly because i dont know a whole lot about south-east asian cosmetics but im sure if i were to try out some good products, i would trust se asian factories for sure.

    china on the other hand… theres been so many articles on the news about children getting lead poisoning and people getting horrible diseases from products imported from china… i have to say im quite scared now! lol

    • sesame says

      That’s understandable…I feel the same. I feel worried for example, when I purchase an eye lotion or eye bath and it’s made in one of the countries with dubious safety standards.

  5. florence says

    I am very concern in my skincare products.Frankly specking, thoese made in China, I confirm will avoid.I somehow don’t trust coz it’s had so many case, including the milk powder…Most of my skincare products I buy from Japan, once I back there, I will buy to keep stk but I will see their expiry date.

    • sesame says

      It’s so true…I had to stop myself from purchasing some products cos they are made in China. The bad press really doesn’t help.

  6. Janet says

    I admit I am prejudiced when it comes to skincare/cosmetic products manufactured in China. You’d think the cost of producing products there would be cheap yet the prices are quite high in drugstores. Yes, I would prefer to purchase products made in Japan or Europe. It doesn’t matter what assurances of quality the companies give, I’d drop any products like a stone once I see that they’re made in China.

    • says

      yes you are totally right. China products??it freaks me out…It doesn’t matter what assurance the company gives. I just don’t like there products.:(

      • sesame says

        Going by the responses, I’m really curious about how well foreign skin care brands that are made in China does in terms of their sales outside of that country.

    • sesame says

      You’re right…why are products made in China? If it’s a foreign brand, obviously it’s to drive down the cost of production but the price doesn’t reflect that. I suppose the companies position their pricing to their branding and not to the country of manufacture.

  7. Audris says

    I find it a pity that modern day China has “degenerated” to a certain degree in terms of its integrity in manufacturing skincare products and producing fakes for the mass market. Considering that the physicians had fantastic herbal formulations for medicine both oral and application, I’m very very sure there are good skincare products that can be made from those. The only issue would be the standard of ingredients used vs large profit margins!

    • sesame says

      Unfortunately. it is a problem of greed and exploitation on the part of capitalists when money is concerned. To get rich is glorious in China and it doesn’t matter at what price for some of them.

  8. 168168 says

    i’m so glad i’m no the only one who passes on skin care made in china. i left two olay’s creams on the shelf, couldn’t bring myself to purchase them after all troubles with infant formula. for china putting money above their children health i say they asked for it..

    • sesame says

      So you couldn’t bring yourself to buy the products too? I can see your concerns…plus, we do have many other choices.

  9. Kate says

    No, I refuse to purchase any products made in China, for now. Their formulas might not be too consistent and the “areas” where they source their ingredients from = sure to be contaminated.

    If they tighten up their regulations in the future and really make efforts to implement changes, I may change my mind. Being supportive of environmental changes is good. Otherwise, the companies might be disillusioned and not progress much.

    USA and even many “developed” European countries have their fair share of “environmental problems” and “people dying from contamination of edible products”. Many wealthier European countries get away with their “environmental record” because the press pays little attention to their deeds. They too dump their trash and waste anywhere and everywhere: in poorer Asian/African/European countries and even in the ocean.

    Say, if Chagrin Valley’s soaps are average, do you have another brand to recommend: for non-scented soap that’s ultra-moisturizing?

    • sesame says

      Hi Kate: I personally haven’t come across soaps that are ultra moisturizing. Even if they are handmade, they tend to leave my skin squeaky clean. It’s not drying but it’s not moisturizing to me either. I always use a foaming body that doesn’t contain SLS if I want something that is more moisturizing for my body.

      I’ve never tried soaps made from milk. I wonder if those might be more moisturizing?

  10. Kate says

    Oh, thanks for reminding me that milk with soap is more moisturizing. :) Which brand of foaming body do you use?

    • sesame says

      I currently use Milk Baby Bath Time. Just reviewed it recently here:

      The other one I used which is very nourishing is from this range:

  11. debby rjn says

    I have been using a French Formula skin care product specifically for Asian skin and it has improved my complexion.

  12. thamar says

    I am a filmmaker in Shenzhen. My company from America is doing a documentary on aromatherapy and it’s impact on Asian especially the center focus is China. While filming this documentary we have to compile several amounts of research to make our topic believable. In our studies in China it has been closely seen that the society is somewhat targeted by several skin product companies to advertise labels such as “Whitening Creams” or Whitening” This or that. These skincare advertisements not only allows one to not appreciate the beauty of their own skin, by saying white skin is better, but it gives the idea that we should all be perfect and white. Thus in the long run starts the word every Asian hates to admit but it’s strong here and that is I dare to say… “RACISM”. Japan was also the center of this marketing deception that had them believing Asian eyes were bad and needed cosmetic surgery in the early 1950’s, everyone hated their eyes and wanted to look more Euro then, now everyone hates their skin and walks around with umbrellas in the summer to keep their skin white all because of someone’s idea of what the world should be. China especially made up a reason that something is wrong with their skin just to cover up how ridiculous it looks to walk around with umbrellas to protect their skin.

    • cherwin says

      i cant speak much on the “asian eyes=bad” thing but the “white skin= better” has been around forever.pretty much every culture has its own version of it. my nigerian classmate has told me that her family jokingly (im hoping) calls her evil/devil child because in their culture being dark and short=evil. i also vaguely remember reading a story in the bible where a woman was ashmed of her tanned skin from working in the fields before she was going to be married, but the husband was like “nah, its ok” . it has something to do with the fact that wealthy/royalty were inside all day doing nothing and were pale/whiter asians than the tanned asians in the fields doing work. somehow that mentality has been passed to us in the modern times. then again, who doesnt envy royalty/wealthy people? however it doesnt account for how the tanned look is going. are they going to say we tan because we want to “look black”?

      I wouldnt say the women who are being sun smart are ridiculous though. wearing sunscreen/staying out of the sun is very smart. theyll have less chances to get melanoma. its the ones who go to extremes that are ridiculous; eg. the ones going buy skin lightening creams that will basically give them cancer and make them sick or the ones going to tanning salons where they will get cancer.

      although i will have to admit that there is somewhat of a inferiority complex with the asians seeing as how theres basically no white communities in asia but still appear in ads cause theyre “prettier/more beautiful”.shit, i just looked at the website for those japanese beauty pills and it was some random white girl. how many asians have we seen in seventeen magazine and billboards around town? yeah, none except for the one model they have for “golden skin” whenever they remember we buy their magazine too.

      ill white knight/give an explanation for the “japan thinks little eyes are bad” complaint. in japan there is an obsession with “cute”from porno to lunch. little eyes show less emotion and id hate to say it but a lot of villians in a lot of japanese manga and anime have little eyes.not cute. things with big eyes are cute, eg kittens, puppies, children (sometimes), and now because of makeup and photoshop: teenage girls.

      i just realized that i was replying to something completely off topic, but if it will enlighten someone then no problem.

      i mostly buy from american stores cause im in america. i do have access to japanese and korean products at japanese and korean supermarkets. Ive found that at korean supermarkets there is a mix of korean and japanese products but the korean ones arent packaged very attractively/are wayy too expensive. the japanese ones are a little too expensive for my starving student budget too ($10-20+), unless it has so much hype i cant not buy it, like the hadalabo toner. i basically buy american brands because theyre there and cheap ($2-8). i dont check country of origin, its hard to do that online. i mainly judge by the country the product company is from.

      ive found that i am willing to make exceptions for products from certain countries if the advertising is good enough/it looks safe. ive bought the chinese shills black masque ,indian ayurvedic soap 100% vegetables (from a hippy store), and philipino papaya soap from who knows where. i probably wouldnt buy any chinese cosmetics or skincare for the same reasons as everyone else.

      i dont think i have any European brands cause i cant get them here in the US unless i want to buy brand name fancy shit. i would try them if they were as available to me as the japanese and korean brands and around the same price as the two.

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