When it comes to beauty products, nowadays most of us would immediately think of Korean or Western brand names. American and European brands have always enjoyed high popularity in the beauty world for many decades now, and Korea has exploded on to the scene in the past decade or so, taking the helm of Asian beauty.
Japanese beauty, however, has long been a gold standard in Asian beauty and it’s not hard to see why. There are so many drugstore must-buys in Japan, it’s like being a kid in a candy store whenever we go for a holiday there.
If you’re planning to visit Japan soon, this is a great opportunity to check out the 22 drugstore products mentioned below! They’re not only affordable, but have all been included in one of the most coveted rankings in Japanese beauty: the COSME awards.
Most of the products mentioned below can be found in Japanese drugstores such as Matsumoto KiYoshi, Ainz & Tulpe, PLAZA and LOFT. These drugstores are everywhere, and we’re sure you won’t have trouble finding one near you!
1. Pelican Hinoki Deitanseki Soap
This soap contains Binchotan Charcoal, an ingredient best known for its purifying and healing properties. Best part? It has been used by centuries of Japanese women dating all the way back to the Edo period.
It also comes with a fresh hinoki (cypress pine) scent which contributes to its relaxing effect.
2. Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder
This enzyme powder cleanser comes in single-use pods which are super handy when you’re travelling because you don’t have to worry about liquid restrictions or leakage!
The powder reacts to water and turns into a dense foam that cleanse, exfoliates and hydrate your skin at the same time! This one-step facial wash is coming in to Singapore soon. Daily Vanity has tried it and we can see why this product is such a cult classic – the foam is so soft and thick! Find out what our editor and 20 readers think about this highly-raved facial wash here.
3. Chojyu Collagen Solution Ball
Yes, you can now bring around collagen in single-use pods. This unique products comes in the form of soft cotton balls that is to be mixed with your choice of essence or moisturiser, before you apply the mixture directly on your face. It provides an additional boost to your current skincare routine by strengthening skin elasticity and reducing fine lines.
4. LuLuLun Face Mask
This brand is one of the bestselling sheet mask brands in Japan! Their sheet masks are free from chemicals, fragrances and mineral oils, making it suitable for daily use and for all skin types. It comes in weekly or monthly boxes, and also with different active ingredients serve different skin concerns.
We’ve recently seen the LuLuLun brand being sold in Watsons here too, but we’re still stocking up on these in Japan, since their drugstores would carry much more variety variety.
5. Unicharm Silcot Uruuru Sponge Facial Cotton Pads
You may be thinking – even cotton pads?! Yes, even certain brands of cotton pads in Japan can be special. These pads absorb less fluid than regualr ones, so your precious skincare ends up on your face rather than absorbed into the cotton. It also doesn’t leave balls of lint behind, and doesn’t disintegrate as you wipe it across your face.
6. Rosette Face Washing Paste
This is vintage Japanese beauty at its finest – the Rosette Face Washing Paste was first introduced in 1929 and have been flying off shelves ever since. They come in more convenient tube forms now, but there are beauty junkies who still swear by the original formula in a tin, which is also available. The product contains sulphur, which is effective in preventing and treating acne.
7. Sana Pore Putty Face Powder
This compact is best used as a finishing powder as it helps to achieve smooth looking skin and reduces the appearance of pores. It has a long lasting power and requires very little to no touch-ups!
The blue one pictured above is translucent, but it also comes in another beige-tinted version with a pink case. Reviewers have said that it lives up to its claims in smoothing their faces before makeup, and lasts all day without needing much touch-ups.
8. Canmake Cream Cheek
The Cream Cheek line from Canmake comes in a variety of colour from baby pink to ruby red. With a swipe, it comes off as a sheer finish but the colour payoff is definitely buildable, which is ideal for a blush. After all, we don’t want to accidentally come off looking like Pikachu, do we? This cream blush blends seamlessly with your foundation or your skin, creating a natural rosy and glowy look.
9. Miracle Romance Sailor Moon Liquid Eyeliner
This product should be no surprise, coming from the land that generated so many of the 90’s anime cartoons close to our hearts. Sailor Moon fans, brace your hearts for the absolutely kawaii Sailor Moon collection from Miracle Romance.
The Sailor Moon Liquid Eyeliner isn’t just for show though; it’s actually of great quality too. It glides on smoothly, is smudge-proof and has a fine felt tip which makes drawing a sharp wing an easy feat.
10. Shiseido Eyebrow Pencil
You may probably be able to find these around Singapore as well, but the price differences are astonishing. In Japan, these coveted cult classics sell for only JPY 641, about SGD 8, each! It’s gotten so many rave reviews because of how its tip has just the perfect amount of hardness, which means more precise application, and longer staying power too. It glides on smoothly without tugging on skin, and its pigments gives a natural finish.
11. Integrate Mineral Watery Foundation
Never heard of this brand? It might set your mind at ease to know that Integrate is actually an affordable beauty arm created by Shiseido. Their Mineral Watery Foundation is an all-in-one product which combines moisturiser, SPF, primer, and foundation!
As you can imagine, this would drastically reduce the amount of time spent on applying makeup, which is great for days when you’re running late or when you’re just feeling lazy. The products’ cute packaging is a huge bonus to us!
12. Rohto Lycee Eye Drops
In the past few years, these eye drops have become increasingly hyped as one of those must-buy items from the drugstores when people visit Japan. This helps to refresh tired, dry, or red eyes in a single drop! Besides the cute and functional packaging, it also has moisturising properties and has a surprisingly pleasant scent.
Just a heads up, the eye drop can feel a little minty in the eyes, though it is not uncomfortable for most people and can even feel pleasant and soothing.
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13. Futae Night Pack Double Eyelid
Too scared of double eyelid surgery? Say hello to Futae Night Pack Double Eyelid! For those of us who aren’t ready to commit to a permanent alteration on our eyelids, this is a product you might really want to try out.
All you need to do is slather on the cream, fold your eyelid line along the line, and leave it overnight. The steps are simple, quick, and you get temporary double eyelids for the next day! This product also contains Hyaluronic Acid which aids in the hydration of the eye are. Talk about killing two birds with one stone!
14. Kao Megrythm Steam Eye Mask
When this steam eye masks first came into Watsons Singapore, it created a huge sensation because of how much hype there was around it in the Asian beauty realm. They are, of course, also available in Japan, and retail for much cheaper too! 14 sheets retail for JPY 1,200 (about SGD 14) for 14 pieces, while 5 pieces retail here for SGD 6.50.
These steam eye masks come in a variety of scents and includes ear straps to prevent it from falling off when in use. They feel the most awesome when your eyes feel tired after a long day, or when you have difficulty falling asleep. When in contact with your skin, the mask warms up for about 10 minutes and emits a very soothing scent which helps you to really relax.
15. Rohto DeoBall Deodorant
No more worries about sweaty underarms and smelling funky with this handy deodorant! Its size makes it so convenient to bring along with you wherever you go. It also comes in 4 scents and is formulated for a prolonged sweat free effect.
16. Pukku Puku Bubble Soda Underarm Deep Clean Pack
Dark underarms are a result of frequent shaving and friction with clothes. This pack contains active ingredients such as AHA, Papaya, and Vitamin C, all of which help to speed up peeling and the lightening process. With constant and prolonged use, reviewers have said that they see significant results. Now you won’t have to feel self-conscious every time you wear a sleeveless top!
17. Excel Powder & Pencil Eyebrow
This brow product has won the COSME Gold award for years and years on end – and for good reason. This all-in-one product comes with a retractable pencil on one end, a powder sponge with pigment of the same colour, as well as a spoolie. The pencil provides natural-looking colour which hits that sweet spot: making your brows appear fuller without looking too harsh or unnatural. It only costs about JPY 1,450 (~ SGD 17.40) too!
18. Evita Beauty Whip Soap
Let’s be real – everyone’s buying this just because of how pretty it looks. It’s almost like magic! Shake up the can, press down on the dispenser and watch a beautiful, foamy-white, picture-perfect rose materialise out of thin air. We almost feel unwilling to wash our faces with it just because we don’t want to destroy it!
19. Oh! Baby Body Smoother
Oh! Baby Body Smoother is a massage paste that will leave your body smooth like a baby. It includes minerals from hot springs. The aftermath will be more effective if you use it after a shower or a bath. Official site in Japanese here.
20. Milk Soap
Don’t be deceived by its simple name, and its even more astonishing price tag (it only costs 108 yen, or about SGD 1.30 for a bar) – Milk Soap is actually the holy grail soap for many people. Reviewers have said that their skin does not feel dry after using Milk Soap, and furthermore, they can’t get over how pristine the scent is. Milk Soap comes in two different scents: rose (red bar), and jasmine (blue bar).
21. Sonba Oil
The Chinese characters for this product are 尊馬油 and if you recognise the characters, you may have guessed that this has something to do with the horse. And you’re right – this oil is extracted from the horse, and it has been used by the Japanese as a multi-purpose oil, suitable for the face, hair, and body. Known for its naturally hydrating properties, Japanese people have been using this for generations as part of their daily moisturising routine. Try it for yourself to see why it’s so well-loved!
22. Kracie Simpro Hair Mascara
OK, what?! A hair mascara? The Kracie Simpro Hair Mascara doesn’t actually work like an eyelash one does (ew!). Rather, it’s a product that helps you to quickly and easily touch up the roots of your dyed hair, so you can really spread out your visits to the hair salon. It comes with an easy-to-use comb applicator, so touching up only takes a grand total of 5 minutes. The product also contains natural collagen, helping to nourish and maintain healthy hair.
23. Breath Palette Flavoured Toothpaste
Brushing your teeth has never been more fun than with Breath Palette’s Flavoured Toothpaste. With 31 different sweet, salty, and downright wacky flavours to pick from, you’ll definitely be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking out your favourite. There are your classic ones such as Chocolate and Caramel, of course, but did you know that they even have a curry flavour?
Don’t go thinking that they’re just a novelty product, though. These bad boys are actually made of all natural ingredients and extracts, which means you won’t have to worry about what you’re putting in your mouth anymore. Phew!
24. Biore UV Aqua Watery Essence Sunscreen
The Biore UV Aqua Watery Essence is a definite Japan drugstore must-buy. Now reformulated to be waterproof and sweat-proof, it gives you long-lasting UV protection in Singapore’s relentless heat at an beyond affordable price.
The inclusion of Hyaluronic Acid, Royal Jelly Extract, as well as Citrus extract also works to keep skin well hydrated, absorbing easily into skin without any greasiness or stickiness left behind. Score!
25. Lishan Horse Oil Face Mask
Yes, it contains literal horse oil in there, and yes, it is great for your skin. Known to be a rich source of linolenic acid, horse oil is actually an essential fatty acid that helps improve the skin’s barrier function so as to help boost skin elasticity.
Apparently, it is extracted from the horses in Hokkaido, with it containing a similar chemical structure as human skin that allows it to be more easily absorbed into skin. It is also fortified in placenta extract and pearl barley extract to give skin an intense dose of hydration, brightening and smoothing it instantly.
26. Koji Clear Eye Talk
You don’t have to go for cumbersome double eyelid tape or even surgical procedures with this bad boy around. The Koji Clear Eye Talk helps create that desired double eyelid effortlessly and effectively, with the glue slating to last all day, too.
Carefully apply a coat of the glue against your eyelid, before using the applicator to spread it along the desired spot. Removing it is easy, too— simply opt for your usual eye makeup remover and watch as the glue melts off.
27. Maikohan Lip Balm
A lip balm that helps gives your pout a high-shine, glossy finish? Yup, that’s exactly what you’re getting with the Maikohan Lip Balm, which comes formulated with a chockful of ingredients that are extremely beneficial for your lips.
Think olive oil, camelia extract, apricot oil, shea butter, and even sakura extract! It also stays on for hours on end, powering through despite freezing office air-conditioning and keeping your puckers well-protected all day long.