Your hair deserves the best Japanese shampoo. So, read our detailed top-pick list here to find the right one to bring home. We have 11 excellent contenders!
Japanese women pride themselves on having smooth and thick hair. If you want similar healthy hair, you can start with the simplest step, which is getting the right shampoo.
Each Japanese shampoo delivers on a particular purpose. So, no matter what your hair type is, rest assured that you will be able to find a shampoo to take home. Among the countless products on the market, which one is the best? This article will give you the 11 best Japanese shampoo choices. Read on!
Our Top Picks
Best Overall – MyKirei By Kao Nourishing Shampoo
Topping our list is the ultra-gentle, plant-based nourishing shampoo from MyKirei by Kao. It is formulated to clean and replenish hair, eliminating any build-ups and impurities.
The shampoo does this with two ingredients: Tsubaki extract and rice water. It is an all-around product for all types of hair. We will discuss more about this holy grail product in the in-depth review section below; continue there.
Best Budget – Shiseido Super Mild Hair Care Shampoo
This is an incredibly economical shampoo that has a mild but praiseworthy performance. It is easy to find both offline and online. Find more about this shampoo in our detailed review of it below.
Best For Special Conditions
|Condition||Shampoo Product Name|
|Dandruff||Kaminomoto Medicated Shampoo|
|Hair Loss||Shiseido Tsubaki Premium Repair Shampoo|
|Gray Hair||Rishiri Hair Color Treatment Shampoo|
|Dry Hair||Shiseido TSUBAKI Extra Moist Shampoo|
|Oily Hair||PELICAN Mud & Charcoal Scalp Shampoo|
|Frizzy Hair||NatureLab Perfect Smooth Shampoo|
|Colored Hair||Keratin Complex Color Care Shampoo|
|Damaged Hair||Moist Diane Perfect Beauty Extra Damage Repair Shampoo|
|Quick Fix||Shiseido Tsubaki Dry Shampoo|
4 Things to Consider When Buying a Japanese Shampoo
As with any other hair product, it is a must to take into account the hair type compatibility. A shampoo may work excellently for one type of hair but be awful for another type. So, make sure you know your hair before you start shopping for shampoo.
Knowing your hair type ahead of time will save you time and effort while you are flicking through product options. You should be able to find the type of hair a product is suitable for on the packaging. This information should not be wishy-washy. Common hair types are:
- Dry Hair
- Oily Hair
- Thin Hair
- Frizzy Hair
- Colored Hair
- Damaged Hair
Nowadays, too many people settle for shampoo without closely looking at the ingredients. Don’t be one of those people! You must spare some time to read through what is included in the shampoo’s formula.
Most Japanese shampoos will include natural oils and extracts, such as royal jelly extract, camellia seed oil, coconut oil, castor oil, to name a few.
They generally focus on having herbal and all-natural ingredients and little to no chemicals. But shampoos are not made equal. So, you should be attentive and look for shampoos that do meet this description. The best ones will often contain traditional Japanese ingredients, like Tsubaki, matcha, seaweed, etc.
Note: Not everything natural is good. Also, do not forget to consider your own allergies.
While you are doing this, also look for ingredients that are not included, such as harsh, toxic chemicals that do more harm than good. Ingredients that you should avoid are:
- Artificial Dyes
The ingredients will also play a role in the fragrance and scent delivered. So, if you are sensitive to smell, pay attention to this.
It goes without saying that you need to look at what the shampoo does for your hair when you are picking out a product. But we will mention it here anyway.
To carefully consider this aspect, ask yourself: “What does my hair need? Is there a hair problem I am trying to solve? What do I expect this shampoo to do for my hair?” For your reference, some common shampoo functions are:
- Color Correcting
This is another factor that cannot be overlooked. You do not have to splurge on shampoos. It is best to consider a budget before you start shopping!
Top 11 Best Japanese Shampoo In-Depth Reviews
MyKirei By Kao Nourishing Shampoo – Best Overall
|Size||300mL (10 fl oz)|
|Key Ingredients||Tsubaki & Rice Water|
|Function||Cleansing & Replenishing|
As mentioned briefly earlier, this is a well-rounded shampoo for all types of hair. It does not contain any harmful paraben or artificial dye, both of which can cause dryness, irritation to the scalp, discoloration, and hair loss. Thus, you can rest assured that your hair will be sleek and strong.
Its two key ingredients are Tsubaki and rice water. Tsubaki is nutrient-dense and has the ability to seep into the hair shaft. So it nourishes and strengthens the hair from the inside. Your hair will be more elastic and by the same token, less prone to breakage.
If you have looked into hair hacks, you will know that rice water is a “wonder” ingredient. It can do many things for your hair, such as detangle, smoothen, shine, and strengthen. Rice water is packed with minerals and vitamins, both of which are essential for healthy hair. It stimulates growth and improves the hair’s density.
With the combination of these two ingredients, your hair will be healthy and you will be happy!
However, it is important to note that this shampoo does have laureth sulfate, which can strip away oils and leave the hair dry. Hence, shampoo containing this is not recommended for colored hair, which is already demoisturized by color dyes.
Only half a pump of the shampoo is enough to leave your hair smooth and silky while also lighter and cleaner. Apart from lathering well, it has a mild less is more type of fragrance that is alluring but does not overwhelm the nose.
If you are sensitive to smells (like we are), this shampoo is your best bet! The smell mirrors Japanese rock gardens filled with plants and flowers.
The packaging is travel-friendly so you should have no problem carrying it on the go. Moreover, it is nice to know that the packaging is 100% recyclable and made with 50% less plastic.
MyKierei by Kao also offers a nourishing conditioner that pairs well with this shampoo. You can get them as a set for your hair routine and observe optimal results.
- Free of paraben and artificial dye
- Mild, “less is more” Japanese garden scent
- Travel-friendly and environmentally-friendly packaging
- Contains laureth sulfate, which is not recommended for colored hair
Verdict: You are not going to get a better Japanese shampoo for normal hair than this one here from MyKirei by Kao. It contains Tsubaki and rice water to cleanse and nourish your hair. Plus, it is free of damaging paraben and artificial dye. Trust us, your hair deserves this!
Shiseido Super Mild Hair Care Shampoo – Best Budget
|Size||300mL (10 fl oz)|
|Key Ingredients||Vitamin E|
|Function||Cleansing & Softening|
This is a shampoo packed with Vitamin E and other nourishing ingredients to give your hair the necessary protection. Most users can agree that it cleans well without being overdrying.
The product lathers richly and is gentle on the hair. It will take away heavy gunk and grease and thus make your hair feel lighter. The best part is that it will make your hair very smooth and soft. If this is one you are aiming for, nothing beats Shiseido Super Mild Hair Care shampoo.
As said in the beginning, this is a budget shampoo. Your first-time purchase will be affordable, and every time you buy it afterward, you can go for refills that are even more cost-effective!
However, for very thin hair, the effects can make your hair fall limp. So, if you want voluminous hair, then this might not be the product for you. Also, the results are only immediately noticeable if you follow up with the conditioner from the same line.
- Packed with nourishing ingredients
- Cleanses without drying
- Works for all types of hair
- Might cause your hair to fall limp (For very thin hair)
- Must be followed up with the conditioner from the same lime
Verdict: Even if you are tight on budget, you can still get a quality shampoo for your hair. This Shiseido shampoo is economical, but rest assured that it will not skimp on hair care results!
Kaminomoto Medicated Shampoo – Treating Dandruff
|Size||300mL (10 fl oz)|
|Key Ingredients||Glycyrrhetinic Acid & Piroctone Olamine|
|Function||Eliminates Dandruff & Promote Hair Growth|
|Hair Type||Dandruff Hair, Weak Hair (Prone to loss)|
Next on our list is this Kaminomoto Medicated shampoo specially designed for treating dandruff and promoting hair growth.
As printed on the packaging, this shampoo contains Glycyrrhetinic Acid and Piroctone Olamine.
The former is an active ingredient, extracted from licorice plants’ roots, that gets rid of dandruff in the hair while minimizing itchiness and suppressing inflammation. As a result, showering with this shampoo can leave your scalp feeling fresh and light.
The latter ingredient helps relieve dandruff and itchiness. But it also, at the same time, stimulates hair growth and decreases hair loss. The ingredient works by hampering the reproduction of bacteria and germs on the scalp.
According to customer reviews online, you can expect noticeable differences after a few months of using this shampoo.
Even though it does not produce a tingling sensation like other medicated shampoos in the market, it still does a good job in de-gunking the pores of the scalp and, thereby, keeping the scalp clean and healthy.
Note: Make sure you massage the shampoo carefully into the scalp for optimal results.
It is also recommended that you use this every other day or just twice a week and in a moderate amount, each time. If you apply too much shampoo, it can backfire and lead to irritations and dryness.
- Eliminates dandruff
- Promotes hair growth
- Delivers results in a few months
- No tingling sensation
- Can lead to irritations and dryness if used improperly
Verdict: Get this shampoo if you are sick of dealing with dandruff. You can also get your hair growing in just a few months. So, why even wait?
Shiseido Tsubaki Premium Repair Shampoo – Hair Loss
|Key Ingredients||Camellia Seed Oil, Royal Jelly Extract, Soybean Extract, Castor Oil|
|Function||Moisturize, Nourish & Strengthen Hair|
|Hair Type||Dry, Dull & Damaged Hair (Prone to loss)|
Fourth on our list is this Tsubaki premium repair shampoo from Shiseido. It is a fantastic product that we recommend for users struggling with hair loss or damaged hair.
The shampoo is filled with royal jelly extract, soybean extract, camellia seed oil, and castor oil to moisturize and strengthen hair.
The ingredients are formulated to stimulate deep regeneration, starting from the internal structure of the hair fibers. As a result, you will notice that your hair is less prone to breakage and split ends. Weak and lusterless hair will regain its elasticity and shine.
With this shampoo, salon-quality results are attainable right in the comfort of your home.
However, do note that it does contain sodium laureth sulfate, which we do not recommend for natural curls, as it can strip off natural oils and thus, lead to brittle hair and frizzy hair. It can also cause allergic reactions if you have very sensitive skin.
- Packed with oils
- Revitalizes dry, dull, and lifeless hair
- Not recommended for naturally curly hair
- Not recommended for very sensitive skin
Verdict: Unless you have natural curls and ultra-sensitive skin, this shampoo should be a part of your hair care routine. It is packed with oils to revitalize dry and dull hair—and it’s at a reasonable price!
Rishiri Hair Color Treatment Shampoo – Gray Hair
|Key Ingredients||Kombu Sea Kelp Extract, Panax Ginseng Root Extract, Oils,…|
|Function||Deposit Color & Moisturize|
|Hair Type||Gray Hair|
This is a hair color depositing shampoo that will not disappoint. You can rely on it to cover up your gray roots and moisturize them at the same time. What is great about this shampoo compared to similar color depositing shampoos in the market is that it is made from natural Kombu Sea Kelp extracts.
In addition, it is formulated with over 25 moisturizing ingredients, including natural oils and extracts.
- Oils: Apricot Kernel, Hydrogenated Coconut, Hydrogenated Castor Oil, etc.
- Extracts: Royal Jelly, Panax Ginseng Root, Rosemary Leaf, Ivy, etc.
Together, the ingredients provide soothing, antimicrobial, antioxidant, and perfuming effects. You do not have to worry about potential chemical odor or skin irritation since it is free of additives and chemicals, such as diamine and paraben.
Moreover, it is very easy to use. You just need to apply it to your hair and let it work its magic for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it off. There are brown and black shades for you to choose from.
However, depending on the condition of your hair, you may need to apply it more than once the first time. Also, do not forget to condition afterward as you normally would with other shampoos.
Note: You should NOT use this daily. Most users use it every 3 to 4 weeks. You CAN, however, use this for spot treatment.
However, it is important to note that the strong dye can stain your skin. So, it is best to cover the face, neck, and area around the hairline. It is also a good idea to use earplugs if you have them readily available.
We recommend using plastic gloves and a hair dye brush for the application. Plus, be careful to not transfer the color onto your towel or clothes, as it can happen if your hair is still wet.
Another notice is that you may get “gray sweat” if you workout for the next 2 to 3 days, but this is normal, so do not panic!
- Deposit color without drying hair
- Free of additives and chemicals
- Easy and time-consuming to use
- Can stain your skin, towel, and clothes
- Can produce gray sweat for 2-3 days
Verdict: If you need a natural and minimal-chemical solution for your gray hair, no other color depositing shampoo can beat this. If it offers a strong dye and is easy to use, what more can you ask for, right?
Shiseido TSUBAKI Extra Moist Shampoo – Dry Hair
|Key Ingredients||Oleic Acid, Tsubaki Oil & Omega 9|
|Hair Type||Dry & Flat Hair|
Dry hair is troubling. But with this Shiseido Tsubaki extra moist shampoo, you can say goodbye to dry hair forever!
It contains oleic acids and Tsubaki oil extracted from cold-pressed camellia seeds that do wonders for the hair. On top of that, it has Omega 9, which is excellent in retaining moisture.
It works best on dry and flat hair. You should be able to see the difference after a week or two. It gives your hair the necessary supplements to soften and detangle. As a result, your hair will be silky and easy to brush.
It lathers fairly well with the typical gel-like consistency. If you are sensitive to smell, you will also appreciate that it has a light, subtle scent that is not overpowering at all.
This shampoo comes in a much bigger size than the products that we have looked at above, which makes it a bit inconvenient for traveling.
However, it does have a handy pump dispenser, and refills are available if you want to cut down on your plastic consumption. Unfortunately, though, it is slightly more pricey than similar counterparts in the market.
- Moisturize dry and flat hair
- No overpowering smell
- Refills available
Verdict: If you have flat and dry hair that you want to soften and detangle without having to compromise your nose with overwhelming scents, this shampoo is ideal. You can get refills that relieve the burden for both your wallet and the environment, too.
PELICAN Mud & Charcoal Scalp Shampoo – Oily Hair
|Function||Cleanse & Degrease|
|Hair Type||Gunky & Oily Hair|
This PELICAN Mud & Charcoal Scalp shampoo is your solution to greasy, gunky hair. It is a wonderful plant-based product that reaches into the pores and cleans them thoroughly. Your hair will be free of dirt, dead skin cells, and old sebum, thanks to this shampoo.
The charcoal is what soaks up the impurities and excess oil to leave your hair feeling cleansed, light, and fresh. At the same time, the mud moisturizes and pampers the scalp so you will feel like you have just gone from a relaxing and detoxifying spa routine. Besides, to complete the experience, the shampoo is scented with cypress herbal.
This shampoo does not contain silicone. Hence, it will not weigh your hair down, nor will it feel squeaky after washing. If you think that your hair is weighing you down with gunk and grease, then this PELICAN shampoo will surely be your savior.
Although silicone is a safe ingredient, this silicone-free formula ensures that no added build-up will occur as a result of shampooing. Therefore, defined but weightless hair is guaranteed.
Nonetheless, silicone may be a favorable shampoo ingredient for frizzy hair, which would reap the benefit of silicone smoothing out the hair shafts.
- Charcoal formula that the-gunks and de-greases
- Silicone-free formula may not benefit frizzy hair
Verdict: Nothing beats this PELICAN shampoo in terms of detoxifying, de-gunking, and de-greasing. For a fair price, this silicone-free formula leaves the hair and scalp thoroughly cleaned.
NatureLab Perfect Smooth Shampoo – Frizzy Hair
|Key Ingredients||Argan, Baobab, Marula Oils, Quinoa & Yuzu Ceramides|
|Hair Type||Frizzy Hair|
NatureLab Perfect Smooth Shampoo is the holy grail product for frizzy hair. It is made of a blend of exotic oils—Argan, Baobab, and Marula oils, to name a few—that moisturize and tame frizzy hair. In addition, it includes Argan stem cells that are meant to strengthen and keep the scalp healthy. Lastly, there is Quinoa that hydrates the hair and Yuzu Ceramides that detangles and calms unruly hair.
Secondary oils that this shampoo contains are:
- Mango Seed Oil
- Sclerotia Seed Oil
- Adansonia Digitata Seed Oil
- Carapa Guaianensis Seed Oil
- Schinziophyton Rautanenii Kernel Oil
If you are battling with frizzy hair, then this is the only shampoo you will need. As soon as you incorporate it into your hair care routine, you will find your hair a lot more manageable while also less frizzy. It is especially great for hair in wild, humid climates.
You might not be able to see results in the first week or two. But most users agree that there is a noticeable difference by the third week.
Another plus is the mild citrus smell that is not too harsh on the nose. If you pair it with the conditioner of the same line, you can say goodbye to frizzy fuss for good!
Although this is mainly recommended for frizzy hair, it also works wonders for colored hair. You will not have to worry about fading or discoloration.
The only minor flaw is that the bottle is rather bulky and space-consuming. The bottom bulges outward and thus, can be very inconvenient for small or cluttered showers.
Also, when there is only a bit of product left, the dispenser fails to continue pumping. Regardless, these downsides are not deal-breakers.
- Controls frizz well
- Pleasant citrus scent
- Does not discolor or cause fading (For colored hair)
- Bulky packaging
- Dispenser pump stops working when there is only a bit of shampoo left
Verdict: This shampoo is the one for you if your hair concern is uncontrollable frizz and flyaways. Definitely get it if you want to kill two birds with one stone and take care of the colors on your dyed hair.
Keratin Complex Color Care Shampoo – Colored Hair
|Key Ingredients||Provitamin B5 & Triple-Protein Blend|
|Function||Maintain Color, Hydrate, Smooth & Shine Hair + Control Frizz|
|Hair Type||Colored Hair, Keratin-Treated Hair, Frizzy Hair|
Dyed hair is not uncommon in Japan. Many young adults and even the elderly like to dye their hair. As such, there are products like this Keratin Complex Color Care shampoo to cater to the niche of color-treated hair users.
This Keratin shampoo is frequently recommended at salons by technicians and hairdressers, and not without good reasons.
It is a fantastic product that gets the job done and more. Although it is not super sudsy, the formula cleans well without leaving the hair dry.
It is particularly made for hair that has been color-treated with keratin. But it can be used for colored hair without keratin treatment as well.
Most users have praised it for keeping their hair nicely hydrated and smooth. Some users have also reported that it helped their hair grow out stronger. Regardless, it works magic on extending color(s).
Aside from colored hair, this shampoo is recommended for frizzy hair. It can tame even the most unruly and address flyaways. There is Provitamin B5 that ensures smoothness and shine for the hair. It can also be paired with other clarifying shampoos.
However, the packaging can be a bit confusing. You will find white and blue versions of it. This can throw you off slightly while you are shopping, but it should not be a deal-breaker.
Apart from that, this shampoo is on the more expensive side. If you have the budget, though, it will certainly be a worthy product. Unlike other products in the market, this one promises salon-quality results.
- Cleans well without drying out the hair
- Keeps hair hydrated and smooth between keratin treatments
- Controls frizz and flyaways
- Varied packaging can make the shopping process a bit confusing
Verdict: Get this shampoo if you need something to take care of your colored hair. Even better if your hair is treated with keratin and has a frizz problem. Enjoy smooth, hydrated, and shiny hair with this wonderful product.
Moist Diane Perfect Beauty Extra Damage Repair Shampoo – Damaged Hair
|Key Ingredients||Argan Oil & Amino Keratin|
|Hair Type||Dry, Damaged Hair|
Doesn’t this look like a high-quality, premium wine? Yet, it is not expensive at all. This Moist Dane Perfect Beauty extra damage repair shampoo is a great 2-in-1 product for gentle deep cleansing and intensive damage repair.
For the former function, natural Argan oil lathers luxuriously to cleanse the scalp and nourish it all at the same time, whereas, for the latter function, Amino Keratin delivers nutrients to the shafts and repairs them on a cellular level. As a result, this shampoo works best for damaged permed and bleached hair. It also does an amazing job of bringing out a shine.
It’s also nice to know that this Diane shampoo is silicone-free. Therefore, it does not accumulate build-ups and cause clogs that otherwise would prevent healthy hair and scalp.
The first signs of this shampoo working its magic are fewer breakages and split ends. You should also notice that it is a lot easier to comb/brush your hair.
However, it has quite a strong floral scent. If you are sensitive to smell, you may not like it. Also, it is a bit expensive for a shampoo that only lasts for a few months.
- Nourishes and repairs hair
- Reduces breakages and split ends
- Add gloss and shine to hair
- Strong floral scent
Verdict: Pick this shampoo if your hair is damaged from heavy perming and coloring. It will deliver the nutrients your hair needs to be healthier, stronger, and glossier. However, be ready to shell out a bit of money, and expect a slightly strong floral scent.
Shiseido Tsubaki Dry Shampoo – Quick Fix
|Key Ingredients||Camellia Oil, Royal Jelly Extract, Mint & Green Tea Extract, etc.|
|Function||Freshen & Degrease Hair|
|Hair Type||Unwashed Hair|
This is the go-to shampoo for days where your plans do not align with your hair washing cycle. You can use it on tired nights as well as busy mornings; whenever you need to lighten up the scalp and refresh your hair, clearing both odor and stickiness.
This shampoo is made of skin conditioning and protective ingredients, like soy protein, camellia oil essence, and royal jelly to get the job done anytime, anywhere. For a cooling effect, there is mint and green tea extract. The dry gel formula allows you to finish “showering” in five minutes.
If you have somewhat oily hair, rest assured that the absorbing powder of this shampoo takes away sebum in the pores and scalp.
All you need to do is dispense the shampoo onto your hair and massage gently. Your hair care routine is simplified as you cut the time spent with water and the time spent drying.
Aside from convenience, you will appreciate that it makes your hair look more naturally flowy. There will be no traces of the shampoo on your hair after the drying period, so you do not even have to worry about others “catching” you using this quick solution.
Almost all other dry shampoos in the market are spray or spritz formulated. Even though they are easy to use, they are also easy to accidentally get into the eyes and cause irritations.
With the Shiseido Tsubaki Dry Shampoos gel consistency, you have more application control. This is critical to point out because you will not waste a fair amount of the product that disperses into the air. So, you can get more out of a single product.
The only small drawback that we found with this shampoo is that the 180mL bottle itself can be difficult to carry on the go. It is not exactly travel-friendly. Nevertheless, this is not a challenging fix. You can always transfer some of the product into smaller containers.
- Gets rid of stickiness and odor
- Dry gel formula works easily and quickly
- Minimizes the chance for eye burns and irritations
- Saves product from dispersing into the air (As with ordinary spray dry shampoo)
- Difficult to carry on the go
Verdict: If you need a quick and easy solution for unwashed hair days, this is the best solution out there. Its dry gel formula gets rid of stickiness and odor without causing eye burns and irritations. It can’t get more convenient than this!
Shopping for Japanese shampoo is rather tricky. But it should be a lot easier now that you have read through our detailed article.
Use our section above on “4 Things to Consider” as a checklist and consider our top 11 picks to kickstart your search.
If you have any other questions, reach out to us in the comments. Otherwise, drop your shopping and shampooing experience(s) with us there!