Cow Brand Akabako & Aobako beauty soap: milky moo-sturising face & body soaps

One of Japan’s best-loved, longest-selling soap brands relies on dairy to get the job done.

Cow Brand makes way more than soap bars: Milky shower gel, Mutenka skincare and haircare, Bouncia body soap liquid, COW SPORTS (whatever that is). We could go on. But it’s their natural milk beauty soaps that’ve won over generations of Japanese families.

Some things are sacred, like cows

That brand name’s inspired by a Japanese saying about cows:

商いは牛の歩みにごとく (akinai wa ushi no ayumi ni gotoku)

‘Business (trade) should be like the walking pace of a cow’. Steady, consistent, and confident.

That makes business sense – regular sales lead to lasting success. Cow Brand also claims their company optimism’s like how cows only know how to move forward. Okay then.

We also like this similar, and maybe more common, Japanese cow saying:

商いは牛のよだれ (akinai wa ushi no yodare)

‘Business (trade) should be like a cow’s drool’. Long, constant, and never-ending. That works too.

Over 1 million bars of Cow Brand soap are made every year, at a factory boasting the world’s biggest soap-making cauldron. Put all those bars end to end, and they’d stretch 1/4 of the way around the globe.

And that’s not the most impressive part: every bar’s still made by hand. Cow Brand believes you can’t teach machines the hard-earned skills of soap-making masters. So, each year, those dedicated and talented humans create and quality check close to a million soaps.

Isn’t that reassuring? They should put ‘love and care’ on the ingredient list.

Milk’s good for you, inside and out

Cow Brand soap‘s made with milk-based ingredients that soothe and protect skin. The first ingredient on the list’s milk, not water, so you know each bar’s gotta be packed full of dairy goodness.

Drink your milk for the calcium, and pour it over your head for the moisture. You ever heard about people bathing in milk to improve their skin? Nope, this isn’t a Japan thing.

As you laze around in a huge tub of warm milk, your skin can (and does) absorb some of the fats, proteins, and lactic acid from the liquid.

(If you didn’t learn about osmosis in chemistry class, now’s a great time to google it.)

Dunking yourself in milk, like you’re a giant cookie, could leave your skin feeling softer, brighter, and clearer. Washing your skin with super milky soap’s the next best thing. And that’s how Cow Brand stays popular with all kinds of people.

Akabako (red box) soap

The original ‘red’ Cow soap came out in 1928, 3rd year of the Showa period. We’re in Heisei now, and the new era starts in 2019. By the time Akabako’s been around 100 years, it’ll have outlasted 2 Japanese emperors.

Akabako’s milky texture comes with a soft rose scent. It’s light and gentle enough to use on your face, with plenty of foam to get right into your pores.

The secret to that intense creamy foam is squalane, a moisturising ingredient in many cosmetics. It’s created from squalene – with an ‘e’ – which comes naturally from the human body.

As we get older, the amount of squalene our bodies can make drops. Topping it up with squalane-packed moisturisers, like Cow soap, keeps skin hydrated, soft and supple.

Aobako (blue box) soap

The blue version of Cow soap launched in 1949, same year as the ‘2nd generation’ red soap. There are some differences between the ‘aobako’ soap and the ‘akabako’ soap… apart from the box colour.

Aobako smells like jasmine, so it’s more of a nose-booster. It’s just as foamy, but less creamy – no squalane on the ingredient list. And it’s more refreshing (さっぱり、sappari) than the gentler (しっとり、shittori) red one.

Blue isn’t marketed as a face soap as much as red is, but no probs if you use it for that. On J-beauty review site Cosme, Aobako’s ranked as 4th best facial soap by user votes, with Akabako in 1st place.

Both packs won the ‘Long Life Design’ award in 2016. Say it with us: LONG LIFE MILK.

This is one time you’ll want to follow the herd

Trust in a cow today! Well, trust Cow Brand to make rich, moisturising face and body soap. You can order milky, ‘made in Japan’ Akabako and Aobako soap from DEJAPAN.

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