I was given a tube of Japanese black charcoal facial cleanser by someone who travels to Tokyo frequently and have written about how effective it is for breakout-prone, oily skin. The problem has been tracking it down in the US. As of today, problem solved: Dr Ci:Labo's Basic Black range is readily available via http//www.cilabousa.com or Amazon.com.

I can take no credit for this one. I was sent a link by a friend in the UK. The Basic Black range looks extremely promising. It uses black charcoal, is dermatologist-developed, and Ci:Labo is Japanese. The Basic Black cleansing gel looks a lot like the product I was given and I have read positive reviews of it.

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The Basic Black moisturizing gel, however, gets mixed reports. Some people say its the best thing they have ever used. Others say that it made their oily skin even oilier.

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Behind Dr Ci:Labo is one Dr Shirono, who is a dermatological laser surgeon. The product range is fragrance-free and also avoids using petroleum surfecants.

Dr Ci:Labo's anti-aging range, Perfect Ageless, looks interesting as well. It uses Coenzyme Q10 as an anti-oxidant and matrixyl to stimulate collagen production. Matrixyl is a peptide that is contained in one of my favorite products, Image Skincare Ageless Serum.