Other than the numerous facial care and make up products, there are many other hair and body products to buy in Japan’s Drugstores. With so many choices, it’s useful to research for the popular items people are getting. It will help you to refine your to-buy list. Moreover, I armed myself with local (Singapore) prices for comparison while in Japan, just in case it’s cheaper locally. You never know!
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 beauty product reviews and it holds a grand ranking every year. If any beauty product is ranked #1 on Cosme, the product will usually state it on their packaging to show how recommended it is.
*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.
We were going to ski at Niskeo and the pure white snow would reflect and multiply the strength of the UV rays when we were out. Hence it’s important to slather ourselves with sunscreen and wear sunglasses (find out what to wear for skiing).
We decided to get our sunscreen from Japan’s drugstores, since they carry a few highly raved sunscreens. One of them is Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF 50+ PA++++ (90ml/90g). And it’s only ¥780 (S$9.80) in Japan, almost half the retail price in Singapore.
It’s highly raved because unlike most other sunscreens which are sticky, greasy and thick, the texture of this sunscreen is lightweight, watery and non-sticky. It is easily absorbed by the skin as well! I like how its non-greasy milky lotion spreads well on my skin, making it easy to apply. It’s good for face and body and applies well under make up. No parabens but it does contain alcohol.
Don’t mistake this bottle with ‘Watery Essence’, it’s similar in bottle colour, except it is smaller in size and has the opening cap at the bottom. Watery Gel is slightly runnier but more hydrating than Watery Essence.
Product Info: www.kao.com/sg/biore/bio_aquarich_waterygel_00.html
I also wanted to get other sunscreens but since I don’t put sunscreen unless for outdoor activities, I decided I did not need so many bottles. But for your consideration:
- Biore UV Perfect Face Milk SPF 50+ (White bottle, 30ml): It has an ultralight and non-sticky texture. An ideal makeup base that contains Sebum-absorbing powder to give you that matt look and keep skin shine-free. www.kao.com/sg/biore/bio_perfect_facemilk_00.html
- Biore UV Perfect Bright Face Milk SPF 50+ (Pink Bottle, 30ml): It has an ultralight and non-sticky texture. An ideal makeup base that contains fine light correction powder to cover pores, correct skin dullness and brighten skin tone. www.kao.com/sg/biore/bio_bright_facemilk_00.html
- Allie Extra UV Gel (mineral moist neo) (40g/90g): Its signature ADVAN UV-Barrier tech gives the water-based gel a light texture, and more importantly, it is sweat and water waterproof. www.ratzillacosme.com/sun/kanebo-allie-extra-uv-gel-mineral-moist-neo
Cow Beauty Soap is a popular long-time brand that’s produced in Japan. The soap uses milk and milk fat as its main ingredients. The blue packaging has a jasmine scent while the red packaging has a rose scent. It claims to moisturise and whiten the skin while eliminating body odours and ageing fine lines.
Even as a highly recommended product to buy in Japan’s drugstore, it was hard to find. We finally got our hands on it at a drugstore that’s not in the usual tourist spots. It was only sold in a set of three, and we got the set for only ¥230 (S$2.90) for my father and in law who are used to soap bars.
I didn’t use it, but according to this blog, it feels smooth, silky and luxurious. It will melt on water contact, and then flow off your body like fresh milk. The fragrance is subtle and lasts all day. And after a few weeks, the skin felt baby smooth, but there’s NO whitening effects.
Product Website: www.cow-soap.co.jp/web/english/products
I’ve bought and used MegRhythm Steam Eye Mask before my Japan trip and I love it! Good to use when I’m having a headache or when I want to rest my eye. The heat and fragrance it emits helps me to relax. Except that the steam effect is only for 10 minutes and not long enough.
Anyway I got this in Japan’s drugstore because it’s cheaper than in Singapore: ¥880 (S$11) for 14 pieces compared to S$6.50 for 5 pieces in Singapore. Even though they have 4 scents: lavender-sage, chamomile-ginger, yuzu and fresh rose, only lavender-sage was available in the drugstores while I’m in Japan.
Product Information: web.kao.com/sg/megrhythm/products/index.html
I was looking for a hair care product for my fizzy dry hair and came across this ‘must-buy’. Oshima Tsubaki Oil is a Japanese product that has been around for years. Oshima is the most well-known Japanese company to make Tsubaki oil (Japanese for Camellia flower). And in fact, there is a very small island in Japan, named Oshima, that’s renowned for the Camellia flower.
The oil is now widely used for hair and scalp but it’s actually a multi-purpose oil. However, I think it’s only more suitable to use on the skin during cold and dry weather, otherwise it can be quite oily.
Use a few drops on damp freshly washed hair and let it dry or blow dry it. I can’t say I like it much, but I don’t mind continue using it until someone recommend me a better product. However it can be a little greasy for people who doesn’t have dry hair like me. Probably a product more suitable for dry weather instead of hot and humid Singapore. If you want to try, you can get it at Japan’s drugstore for
Body Lotion and Lip Balm
Other must haves for a dry winter trip are body lotion and lip balm! Japan is famous for having moisturising products made from horse oil. One of the more popular but expensive brand is Son Bahyu (the pink box in the photo below). It costs ¥1,380 (S$17.30) for a jar as compared to the ¥398 (S$5) Loshi Horse Oil (the yellow plastic tub on the left).
Horse oil’s benefits:
- Eczema and insect bites – Relieves itchiness and redness.
- Stretchmarks – Prevent, minimise and reduce stretch marks.
- Cuts/burnt/scalded skin – Speed up healing.
- Dry skin – Moisturises chapped and dry skin, cracked lips, cracked heels and elbows.
- Split ends – Prevents and heals split ends and promotes hair growth.
- For breastfeeding mums – Relieves sore and painful nipples.
Tip: Store away from direct sunlight, heat and moisture. Store in the fridge for long term use.
We were looking for Son Bahyu but it was out of stock in most of the drugstores. We finally found it in one store, and it only has the pink box type (moisturising cream). Moreover, the boxes were all shelved behind the cashier and so you wouldn’t be able to find unless you ask the shop assistant. On the other hand, you can easily see the Loshi Horse Oil everywhere in open shelves.
I haven’t use the Son Bahyu product yet, but considering the price, it most probably will go towards my face instead of the whole body! Anyway Son Bahyu has a wider product range than we can find in the drugstores, so it all depends on your luck. Other than the moisturising cream, we had wanted to get Son Bahyu No.7. It’s made in Japan from 100% horse oil, using the heaviest components of horse oil. A supposedly superior face product.
As for Loshi Horse Oil, we opened and used it when we were touring around Hokkaido during the dry winter. It’s really moisturising to my skin! So I slathered over my whole body, face and lips. Usually the areas around my lips would get super dry and uncomfortable in dry winter, but with the horse oil, I’ve no such problem! So I got the Loshi’s lip balm at ¥500 (S$6.30) as well.
And while we’re at it, don’t buy your lip balm in Singapore but when you are at Japan. They have a few quality lip balms at affordable price in their drugstores. I wanted to get Curel Moisture Lip Care Cream and DHC Lip Cream. Since I got the horse oil lip balm, I gave up Curel and just bought DHC Lip Cream at ¥599 (S$5.90). Just so you know DHC Lip Cream sells for S$12.75 after discount in Singapore.
If horse oil doesn’t work, or your skin is dry until it itches, you can consider Mentholatum AD Cream. It contains 2 anti-itching ingredients to moisturise deep into your skin and relieve itching due to dryness or eczema and other skin itches. It comes in a blue and white packaging.
For more information about Japan’s drugstores and products, click on my other posts:
- About the different drugstores in Japan: Drugstores in Japan (Part 1)
- Review of Products in Japan’s Drugstores:
Do you have other recommendations of hair and body products to buy in Japan’s Drugstore? :) Tell us below or on our Facebook Page or Instagram. Moreover, bookmark this page > Overview Itinerary: Hokkaido and Tokyo (Winter/Spring 2016).