Japan's Makeup and Beauty Must-Buys

There's the well known saying saying that when you look good, you feel good - and for many of us, makeup and beauty products help us achieve that feeling. In Japan, these kinds of products are also a lot of fun, complete with cute packaging, quirky ingredients, useful benefits, and even limited time only releases. If cosmetic and beauty related shopping is on your agenda while you're in the country, here are some items on you'll find on store shelves - you might want to add a few of them to your suitcase!

Shu Uemura x Super Mario Holiday Collection

Shu Uemura would have to be known as one of the leaders amongst Japanese cosmetics brands - their products are popular not just in Japan but globally, being stocked at international retailers like Sephora. One of the company's philosophies is to pursue the highest standards of both make up creation as well as presentation - and they knock it out of the park with their holiday offering for this year, which has Super Mario packaging. The range includes lipsticks, eyeshadows, eyeliners, makeup brushes and more, but they're proving popular with certain items already selling out. Even if you can't get your hands on the limited edition Super Mario range, their standard lineup of products is also worth a look.
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If you'd like to head to Shu Uemura in Tokyo, there's a convenient store location in the heart of Omotesando - the map details can be found below.

Miracle Romance Sailor Moon Line

If you're like me, you remember Sailor Moon from your childhood - and the popular manga series has made quite the comeback (did it ever really go away?!) with there even being a permanent store located in Harajuku for all your Sailor Moon merchandise needs (check out Odigoer Claudia's article about the store here). What has also seen a lot of popularity in Japan are cosmetics that are Sailor Moon themed. There's everything from Sailor Moon blush compacts to eyeliners, eyeshadows, pressed powders and more - but my personal (and inexpensive) favorite are these multi carry balms. The balms come in several varieties, all with different key ingredients - and they retail around 1000 yen, so they're great for a fun souvenir for yourself or someone else in your life who might be a fan too. You can find more about the range over here. 

Majolica Majorca Puff De Cheek Blush

Want to get a rosy glow in the cutest way possible? Majolica Majorca has these Puff De Cheek blush varieties in very retro chic packaging. The range has four different shades - apricot macaron, peach macaron, strawberry macaron and mandarin macaron - and they're velvety smooth when you apply them. My favorite is the peach macaron variety, which gives off a nice natural cheek color and has staying power to boot. The retail price for these is around 1300 to 1500 yen, and if you're a fan of great packaging and products that work at prices that won't break the bank, Majolica Majorca is definitely a brand to keep your eye out for - and since their parent company is Shiseido, you know they're good stuff. There's more of the Majolica Majorca product range to look at on their website over here.
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Maybelline x My Melody Mascara

Maybelline is one of the world's biggest cosmetic retailers globally, but naturally for the Japanese line of products there had to be an adorable element added in. This limited edition Lashionista mascara is a collaboration with Sanrio's My Melody, and is hailed as being a mascara that gives your lashes length and won't run - but is easy enough to remove with hot water. The retail price for these is very reasonable at around 1400 yen and I found mine at my local Welcia Drug Store. Kawaii!

Sake and Red Bean Face Scrubs by PDC

The key to good makeup application is having a good base to apply it on - and face scrubs are often touted as a great way to redefine the texture of your skin and give it some added smoothness. In true Japanese fashion there are some unique scrubs on the market, including these ones by the brand PDC. There are two different varieties here - a sake version, and an azuki bean version. The sake variety uses leftover yeast from the brewing process, which is said to have brightening effects on your skin, and the azuki bean version is meant to be quite moisturizing for a scrub (since scrubs are often rather drying this is a nice benefit.) Needless to say, these products have a distinctly Japanese spin on beauty and would be interesting to try out. These were also at my local Welcia Drug Store.

Moomin x Primavista Makeup Collection

You may have never heard of the Moomins before (I hadn't before I moved to Japan) but they're a creation by the Finnish/Swedish illustrator Tove Jannson and they're a family of characters that are probably closest in appearance to hippopotamuses. Japan loves the Moomins in a big way - there are Moomin parks, Moomin cafes, Moomin bakeries...the list goes on. The Primavista Makeup brand has also released a Moomin inspired makeup collection, which consists of a makeup base, a foundation, and a finishing powder all in Moomin packaging. The products are another limited edition release, so if you are trying to get your hands on these check at drug stores and department stores (these were also at Welcia).

DHC x Disney Lip Balms

Disney mania is very much alive and well in Japan - you only have to check out the crowds at Disneyland and Disney Sea to notice that. The love of Disney even extends to cosmetics, with beauty retailer DHC producing a number of items with all your favorite characters on them. As well as the lip balms below, their Disney range also includes items like face cleanser, lipstick, nail polish and more. The lip balms were for sale at my local Seiyu department store in their beauty section.

Choosy Lip Packs

Right now across Japan the weather is cold and dry - so even a good lip balm might need a bit of added help. Enter these lip packs from Choosy by PureSmile. They are super hydrating and come in several different varieties including honey, milk, peach, fruit, herb, and even a range of chocolate flavors. Best of all, they're usually only a couple of hundred yen at most, so they make great inexpensive (and lightweight) souvenirs for yourself or for people you know. Dry lips be gone!

Kose Babyish Face Masks

Japan loves their sheet face masks. They have them in all manner of types - there are options for hydrating your skin, brightening your skin, helping ageing skin and more. They've even got ones with all manner of amusing designs on them - you can find sheet masks with pictures of dogs, cats, Hello Kitty, darumas and more on them. If you want to have your skin feeling baby soft though, look no further than these Kose Babyish Face Masks. They say that these will make your skin moist and resilient like a baby's skin, so if you want to feel a bit more youthful then these might be for you. They're also a great refresher after a long flight!

Heroine Make Liquid Eyeliner

Apart from having some great art on their packaging, the Heroine Make brand of Liquid Eyeliner holds true to their promise - even if you cry, their liquid eyeliner won't run. It's also one of the easiest liquid eyeliners I've applied, with a nice fine tip and an even flow of the product. Best of all the price is also really reasonable when you compare it to many other liquid eyeliner brands. This is a favorite in Japan and often comes in at the top of lists about some of the best beauty products across the country, so pick some up to add to your souvenirs to take home.
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Ettusais x Gudetama Lip Balm

Gudetama is a Sanrio character that is possibly one of the most unique and wacky out there - the idea behind Gudetama is that he's a hard to motivate egg. Ettusais have done collaborations with a number of different characters, from Winnie the Pooh to Hello Kitty and even Snoopy, but I'm partial to this particular design myself! These were at my nearby Matsumoto Kiyoshi drug store and retail for around 1300 yen.

Dolly Wink Fake Eyelashes

If you're looking for a little more va-va-voom when it comes to your makeup and beauty, Japan is the place to be for fake lashes. Dolly Wink is one brand of fake lashes that has an eye wateringly long list of lash varieties (if you pardon the pun). From Dolly Sweet, Sweet Girly, Natural Dolly and more, you can go for a delicate look or go more out there with the type you choose. They're priced around 1000-1500 yen depending on where you purchase them from. If you're looking for more inexpensive fake lash options, you can even check 100 yen stores - they usually have a bunch of varieties there, albeit not the Dolly Wink brand.
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Japan definitely brings their A game when it comes to fun cosmetics and other beauty products - so be sure to have a look around drug stores, department stores and speciality beauty retailers while you're here (and save some space in your suitcase for everything you purchase!)

Enjoy Japan, and happy beautifying!

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