This cult Japanese beauty brand has been getting major buzz

This cult Japanese beauty brand has been getting major buzz

Word of mouth

Text: Renée Batchelor

Albion has been around since 1956 in Japan. Find out why the brand, which resurfaced here in Singapore in 2013, continues to do well with little advertising and no famous face fronting it

When you choose your skincare, do you go by what lures you at the beauty hall? Or perhaps its advertising that you've seen on billboards or on the web that draws you in? More likely than not, it's because you've heard that a product is good, or has worked for someone you know. Word of mouth recommendations are the unsung channels that brands often rely on. And for Japanese skincare brand Albion — its name is derived from the old name for Great Britain — which was established way back in 1956, it is the dedication to an almost old school Japanese regimen that are the reasons for its continued success.

To really know Albion, you'll have to experience the meticulous, Japanese style of customer service at its counters, where everything is so precise, there is even a special, high-quality, Albion brand of cotton pads to apply your products with. The beauty advisors are trained to help tailor a routine to your skin, and help you decipher what each product is for... trying is really believing. One of the star products is the brand's Skin Conditioner. Housed in delightfully retro packaging, it has been a best-seller since 1974. When used in conjunction with Albion's Milk Lotion – of which there are several varieties —  it restores skin health so your complexion is radiant and balanced. So convincing are some of the brand's products that they often sell out — with limited edition makeup sometimes having to be restricted so customers can only buy a few pieces. Here are some of the star buys from the brand.

1) Milk Lotion + Skin Conditioner
Dubbed the 'Skin Con', this classic product is one you'll have to try and believe. Applied after a Milk Lotion of your choice for the best effect, this conditioner — made with job's tears harvested from Hokkaido — helps to balance skin by resetting its metabolic rhythm. Even conditions like acne can be improved with consistent use, as it helps balance oiliness.

2) Excia White Whitening Immaculate Essence IDD, $335
This 28-day treatment has a rapid effect on dark spots. Using kojic acid and nanotechnology, it visibly eradicates stubborn dark spots and the yellowish tones in skin, that many Asian women dislike. Customers have been known to buy several boxes of this targetted treatment at once, despite its hefty price... such is its supposed effectiveness.

3) Excia Whitening Intensive Spots, $197
One of the key factors in Albion's continued success is its innovation. This new dark spot treatment comes in a balmy, stick form so that it stays put on skin and can penetrate deep into the skin layers to treat even tattoo-like, dark spots. Think of it as a heavy duty spot serum.

4) Excia Lifting Emulsion White Foundation SPF47/PA+++, $201
Probably one of the priciest compact foundations that we have seen in some time, this cream formula lifts and tightens the face, for a slimmer-looking visage.

5) La Poudre Haute Nuance
With a certain old school charm to its luxe packaging, this finely-milled face powder feels absolutely weightless and comes in four shades, with I being a constant best-seller. This water- and oil-resistant formula makes it the perfect touch-up powder for this climate.
Albion Poudre Haute Nuance
Albion is available at Metro Centrepoint and Takashimaya