There’s a vast collection of beauty products in Japan’s Drugstores, be it for body, hair or face. With so many choices, and I being a noob to Japanese beauty products, I needed to research and find the gems that everyone’s grabbing. I also armed myself with local prices to compare when in Japan, just in case it’s cheaper locally. You never know!
Read on to get an idea what you can get at the drugstores in Japan. Also, find out if the beauty products I’ve bought are really good and as raved. Before you read on, you might want to know that www.cosme.net is Japan’s largest and highly influential beauty community site. The website has many reviews and holds a grand ranking annually. And if beauty products are ranked #1 on Cosme, the products will usually state it on their packaging to show how recommended they are.
*Prices stated in this post are the prices (including tax) at the time I bought from the respective drugstore in Japan. The prices might have changed since then, or varies from drugstore to drugstore.
1) Facial Cleanser
We didn’t bring a facial cleanser when we were travelling around Japan and hence bought Biore Facial Foam (¥398, S$5) to use. Hubby and I LOVE IT. It smells good and cleanses well. And it’s suitable during the winter when we were there and in the humidity of Singapore. But to my chagrin, it contains paraben. :( If you are still interested, they have four tubes for different types of skin:
- Blue: For Normal to Combination Skin
- Green: For Blemish Prone Skin
- Orange (Creamy): For Dry, Dehydrated Skin
- Purple: For All Skin Types
Oh I also bought the highly recommended Kanebo’s Suisai Beauty Clear Powder (32 pack) for ¥1556 (S$19.50). The cleansing powder (with paraben) is individually packed in a hexagon capsule that’s easy to pack for travel. My hubby and I used one capsule each, gave a few capsules away and sold the rest. We didn’t like it. We find the powder too drying for our face (it felt almost like detergent powder). Probably it’s more suitable for those with oily skin, but for our combination skin, our face became too taut after the wash.
I haven’t use SANA Namerakahonpo Moist Cleansing Wash (most right in above picture). FYI, it’s a huge tube for ¥595 (S$7.50). Hope I’ll like this paraben-free cleanser!
I want to introduce you to another cleanser, but you can’t buy it in the drugstore but only at Japan’s 7-Eleven. I wanted to mention this here for your benefit. :) It’s the Sekkisui White Washing Cream by Kose. This product is different from the one you usually see at cosmetic counters, in advertisements and Singapore retail outlets. Those are from Kose as well, but they belong to the Sekkisei product range. Since I am unwilling to spend so much on Sekkisei products, I jumped at it when I saw Kose has a more affordable range, Sekkisui. I bought this 80g tube for ¥500 (S$6.30). Haven’t use it yet. For more information on Sekkisei products: www.sej.co.jp/in/products/sekkisui_en.html
Natural Aqua Gel Cure is a skin exfoliation product that’s said to sell a bottle every 12 seconds in Japan. This oil and paraben free product is suitable for the face and body. This is one of my most expensive buys in Japan’s drugstores. I bought it for ¥2,500 (S$31.38) and it’s about S$40 on Qoo10. But once in a while, Qoo10 has timesale and you can get it at about S$30.
So is this worth the buy?
I don’t have the habit of exfoliating my face. I occasionally use Olay Professional Pro-X with its facial cleansing brush. It was a gift so I tried it but the whole cleaning process was a bit troublesome for me. But Natural Aqua Gel Cure was easy–wash and dry my face and then apply the gel.
However, when I first applied it, I thought I was cheated by the raving reviews. The gel turned into liquid and I felt like I was merely rubbing my face with water! Hmm, did I not pump enough or what? But I remember a blogger saying to press on and keep massaging in a circular motion. And soon, within 30 secs to 1 min, the liquid turned into white flakes, or are these flakes my dead skin? Anyhow, we just need to rinse off and moisturize the skin after that.
A while after I rinsed off, this was when I felt this product is a MUST BUY. My face feels so smooth and I couldn’t resist caressing it! Hur hur. Best of all, the exfoliating process was so gentle on the skin that I felt the product was not doing its work, but it did!
Shuada Shizuku Pack Gel is another one of my expensive buys in Japan’s drugstores, at ¥1,900 (S$23.90). Highly rated on Cosme, this is a moisturising mask gel that turns to water when you apply it to your face. This is claimed to be an all-in-one product: toner, moisturizer, essence, treatment, and mask. After cleansing your face, slather the light gel on before bed or on long haul flights. To be used once or twice a week.
I bought this to see if it could be a replacement for my Laneige’s water sleeping mask. But no, I still prefer Laneige’s gel texture on my face and its fragrance.
p.s. It comes in a teardrop plastic packaging which I have removed before taking the photo.
Nivea Creme is a product I’m familiar since childhood. I’ve seen it around. My impression of it was that it’s a cheapo/common brand. But alas! It was actually recommended online to buy in Japan’s drugstores. A quick google and I discovered that Nivea Creme is actually similar to a product of La Mer, a high-end brand.
Needless to say, I bought it! But hubby and I didn’t like the texture. The cream feels sticky and thick. And then our faces felt thick and heavy after application. Think I better stick with gel/liquid moisturiser. But if you want to try, you can easily buy it in Singapore at S$5.50 in Watsons. It’s even cheaper to buy in Singapore because I got mine in Japan for ¥498 (S$6.25).
More on moisturisers in my next post: lip balms and horse oil products.
My mother requested for SK-II facial treatment essence and I got it at a promotional price of ¥15,400 (S$193) in a Japan’s drugstore. I actually saw a cheaper bottle at Don Quijote, but the shop’s section carrying SK-II products looks very messy, dusty and dingy. So not sure how long they kept their stocks. So in the end I got this set that’s in a Sakura edition box to match the upcoming spring season. At least I know the stock is new. In this promotional set, there’s a complimentary jar of product and a stack of cotton pads. I didn’t get one for myself because I used it once and had a breakout.
4) Facial Sheet Mask
Clear Turn’s Vitamin C Essence Mask (KOSE Cosmeport) is a whitening quasi-drug in Japan. This pack of 3-layered Japanese sheet comes in a box. The opening is only sealed by a flimsy sticker cover, so after a while it doesn’t stick well. But it didn’t matter much to me because I put the whole box in the fridge to prevent them from drying out and also for the mask sheet to be cooling when I use it.
It is fragrance-free, colourant-free, mineral oil-free, and alcohol-free. However, it’s with paraben. So even though the result of the mask is not bad, it’s not good enough for me to want to buy it again and put paraben on my face.
The blue box I got for ¥795 (S$10) is their whitening care. They have other colours for respective purposes: for brightening (purple), moisturizing the skin (yellow), re-plumping skin care (pink), vitalizing care (orange), and whitening-and-anti-aging skin care (grey). For more information, www.kosecosmeport.co.jp/clearturn/en/essencemask
Photo Credit: beauty.triplerin.com/review-lululun-sheet-mask-pink
LuLuLun is very popular in Japan and one of the bestsellers for facial masks. It has 3 types of regular masks, differentiated by the colour of its packaging: balance moisture (pink), high moisture (blue/purple), and brightening (white). LuLuLun also has an anti-aging range, the Precious series, marketed to those aged above 40. There’s the word ‘Precious’ and a patterned design on the packaging.
I wanted to use facial mask sheets while travelling in Japan’s dry winter and so bought the high moisture mask (blue/purple) to try. To play safe, I got their 7-day pack with 7 sheets to be used in consecutive days. The 7 sheets comes bundled in a ziplock bag. It’s more environmentally friendly than if individually packed, but I have to make sure I zipped the bag completely and tightly to avoid spillage or premature drying. Troublesome for the lazy me. Moreover, I didn’t like the product. My face didn’t feel especially moisturised. The horse oil did a better job.
But I thought maybe my face was just overly dried in the winter weather, so I gave it a second chance and bought the balance moisture, the pink big box of 31 sheets, to use in Singapore. The packaging was worse than than Clear True (above), because other than the opening seal, the whole box is flimsy. I too had to put this in the fridge to prevent it from drying out. The cover just doesn’t stick well after numerous times of opening and closing. As for the product, I felt there was not enough essence on the sheet mask to make my combination face feels moisturised. Taiwan’s “My beauty diary” masks fare better than this.
A last note about LuLuLun. Other than having paraben as its ingredient, the sheet size was so small, that it could only fit my face and not my hubby’s.
For more information about Japan’s drugstores and other products, click on these posts:
- About the different drugstores in Japan: Drugstores in Japan (Part 1)
- Review of Products in Japan’s Drugstores:
What other beauty products in Japan’s Drugstore would you recommend? :) Tell us below or on our Facebook Page or Instagram. Moreover, bookmark this page > Overview Itinerary: Hokkaido and Tokyo (Winter/Spring 2016).