In Japan, the humble drugstore is an absolute wonderland for skincare and cosmetics shoppers. Great quality for the price points, fun packaging, and serious active ingredients make bargain beauty shopping a breeze here, and if you visit, you can pretty much throw a dart and find a huge selection in any ward in Tokyo. Here’s an updated roundup of some of my favorite Japanese drugstore beauty products.
Product: Gel Volume Top Coat
Price: Under 600 yen (like five bucks US)
Why it’s awesome: Super long lasting, a fellow expat turned me onto Canmake’s nail line a few months ago. The polishes go on easy and maintain shine for a solid week. For the price, they really can’t be beat.
Product: CoQ10 Sheet Masks
Price: Under 500 yen (~ $3.50 US)
Why it’s awesome: These are everywhere… EVERYWHERE in Tokyo, but not all sheet masks are the same. With CoQ10 as the hero ingredient, these masks fight free radicals, promote elasticity, and soften fine lines. Cheap and cheerful daily maintenance.
Product: d program Medicated Concealer
Price: Under 4000 yen (in Japan… buying in the States it runs about $45.00)
Why it’s awesome: Two words: maximum coverage. I tested d Program in the store and my nose pretty much disappeared. It’s like a magic eraser, and loaded with active ingredient Phellodendron amurense (a.k.a. amur cork tree bark), it clears blemishes and fights red weirdness without over drying. Considering the Mercier concealer palette is around $32.00, it’s not exactly a bargain, but if you breakout and want a serious concealment… this is the go-to.
Product: Lip Cream
Price: Under 650 yen (in Japan… buying in the States it runs about $8.00)
Why it’s awesome: Not too hard, not too soft, DHC’s super emollient lip cream is just right. Fragrance-free, olive-oil based, this cult classic both in Japan and in the States is everywhere in Japan (even the convenience stores). DHC is to Japan what Clinique is to the States: a simple, nationally renown brand found in every woman’s beauty arsenal. My apartment in Tokyo is literally six minutes away from two DHC shops.
Product: 1 Day Tattoo Eyeliner
Price: Under 1300 yen (in Japan… buying in the States it runs about $15.00)
Why it’s awesome: A razor sharp tip and almost indelible formula make 1 Day Tattoo a forever favorite. I’m not a pro makeup artist by any stretch, so on most days nailing my cat eyes is literally a stroke of luck. K Palette is the Japanese standard for long lasting, super fine liquid liner. I’m not as crazy about the eyebrow version, but for a sexy stiletto eye, 1 Day Tattoo is my top choice.
Off to stock up for my trip to the States!