In February this year I visited Japan for the very first time with Nino and Bella. It was the most amazing trip and I instantly fell in love with the country. Japan is so breathtakingly beautiful – I loved the people, the sights, the sounds, the food, the shopping – all of it! I’ll be writing more about our incredible Japan adventure in future blog posts but for now I wanted to share something I instantly fell in love with – Japanese drug stores and beauty products!
I am a beauty junkie. I was a beauty editor for over ten years for Chalk Magazine and Metro Weddings Magazine and I spent much of my professional editor life going through a wide variety of beauty products, road testing, interviewing beauty experts, attending beauty junkets, and conceptualizing and producing beauty editorials. I’ve also attended several beauty workshops and even completed a course on Artistic Makeup at La Salle International under the one and only celebrity makeup artist RB Chanco.
When I decided to do freelance editorial and writing work and stepped down from the magazine I took a bit of a beauty break. That didn’t mean my passion for it ebbed though. It was only a matter of time before I began contributing beauty articles, executions, and editorials again as a freelancer. Beauty is in my blood and I get as giddy about a new product or a cool beauty find as I do about crafting or designing a gorgeous dessert table.
Which is why I went absolutely crazy in Japan! It’s no surprise to me that there are great beauty products there. After all, Japanese women are gorgeous and their skin is fantastic. I knew I could get some great products while I was there. Plus many of the coveted beauty brands here (like Shu, Kose, etc) are available in Japanese drugstores at a much lower cost!
The stores I really enjoyed the most were Don Quixote and Matsumoto Kiyoshi. I went crazy! Here are some of the cool products I bought and what I think of them. Some of these I have yet to really road test (for an extended period of time) to be able to write a comprehensive review, but off the bat I have to say I am really loving my awesome beauty haul.
I am a huge fan of eye creams! I am constantly lacking sleep and hydration so dark circles, puffiness, and sunken eyes are something I always have to deal with. I knew I would find some great eye creams in Japan so I looked up the best and most award winning options and Brilliant Eyes was on top of the list. This multifunctional multi-eye cream promises to moisturise the sensitive skin around your eyes, brighten the dark circles, and plump your under eye areas as needed to prevent sagging.
I like this product a lot. The cream is lightweight and glides on smoothly and though it’s only been a couple of weeks since I started using it, I am liking the results. Will see how it goes as more time goes by.
Sun protection is another extremely important part of good skin care. When I was younger I never really gave much thought to sun protection but now, I am all about the sun screen. I love this one from Kosé. It’s been recommended by almost all major beauty magazines and I can see why. It’s a refreshing water based formulation that withstands sweat and excess oil with a maximum UV protection factor that offers extended protection from UVA and UVB rays. It also prevents wrinkles and freckles caused by exposure to the sun. The gel glides on extremely smooth and lasts all day.
This small cream blush is one of my favorite finds! CanMake Cream Blush delivers the absolute prettiest glows! The creamy formula glides on beautifully and doesn’t melt off your face in hot weather or humidity (a must in the Philippines). All the colors deliver a nice natural flush and the product can be used on the cheeks, lips, and even the eyes. Makeup artists in the United States have been known to hoard this “little blush that could” whenever they go to Asia.
I love facial masks. I am not getting any younger and I have been trying to invest in good skincare for the past five years (late start actually!). I usually buy a bunch of masks to last two weeks and then go buy again, but Lu Lu Lun sells sheet masks in bulk – which is awesome! I love these Lu Lu Lun Moisture Balance Masks. The package contains 30 pre-soaked masks to last for a month. They are gentle enough to use every night and help restore the moisture and softness in your face. Plus the packaging is so adorable!
I have the worst eyelashes. They are so short and super straight! I have always needed a good mascara (or falsies). This one is the best I’ve come across so far in terms of lengthening and volumizing. Lash King by Majolica Majorca really lengthens my super short lashes and makes them appear thicker. It also gives them a nice “feathery” look. I was crushed they discontinued this here so I hoarded a few tubes in Japan.
If there is one thing I always ask the hubby to buy for me in Japan (since he is there often) it’s a bottle of this! Rohto Lycee Eye Drops are the female version of the famous eye brightening Japanese eye drops. If you need to look bright eyed and bushy tailed (even on just a few hours of sleep) – this is how you do it. The formula immediately whitens your eyes. And while it does kind of a burn a bit – the menthol sensation only lasts for a few moments and helps you “wake up”.
I was stoked at finding these individual lashes at Tokyu Hands. I have pretty sensitive eyes so I don’t like putting on heavy falsies with lots of glue. Sometimes I prefer just a bit of emphasis on the edges of my eyes so I will thicken my lashes with a few carefully place individual falsies. These are great for that!
And finally – I have a thing for really good highlighters. I love this Highlighting Stick by Revlon Insta-Fix. It adds such a beautiful natural glow and it’s very easy to apply. Just slide the color on the tops of your cheekbones and under the brow bones for a gorgeous natural glow. There are actually quite a few Maybelline and Revlon products I love that aren’t available here in the Philippines so I usually buy them whenever we are abroad.
And that’s it! I also got another eye cream (but haven’t tried it yet), a Shu Uemura eyelash curler (for only P350!), and a couple of travel sized bottles of two of my favorite perfumes Lanvin Eclat d’Arpege and Perry Ellis 360. Japan has so many small travel sized perfumes! I love it. Makes it so much easier to bring your favorite scent everywhere you go.
I truly can’t wait to go back! In the meantime, I’ll enjoy these fabulous products.