Japanese skincare and makeup have long been the gold standard in Asian beauty and it’s not hard to see why. Often backed by strong R&D and a commitment to improving products consistently, Japanese beauty products are well-loved among the locals and beyond.
And you don’t have to hit the department stores to find gems. The best beauty products to buy in Japan can often be found in the drugstores.
If you’re wondering what to buy in drugstores in Japan, whether it is skincare or cosmetics, here are 31 recommendations that aren’t just affordable but also have received strong accolades, such as winning 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 when you travel to Japan. We also included links to online stores where you can get hold of the same products if you don’t think you’ll be travelling to Japan anytime soon.
Check out this article if you need a more comprehensive guide on where to do your beauty shopping in Japan.
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.
The Pelican Hinoki Deitanseki Soap retails at SGD19.99 for a set of three on Amazon.
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 cleanses, exfoliates, and hydrates your skin at the same time! 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 product comes in the form of soft cotton balls that are 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.
The Chojyu Collagen Solution Ball is not available in Singapore yet, but if you do make a trip to Japan, you know what to stock up on!
4. LuLuLun Face Mask
Lululun is one of the bestselling sheet mask brands in Japan! Their sheet masks are free from chemicals, fragrances, and mineral oils, making them suitable for daily use and for all skin types. It comes in weekly or monthly boxes, and also with different active ingredients that cater to different skin concerns.
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 regular ones, so your precious skincare products end up on your face rather than getting absorbed by the cotton. It also doesn’t leave balls of lint behind, nor disintegrates as you wipe it across your face.
The Unicharm Silcot Uruuru Sponge Facial Cotton Pads retails at SGD14.94 on Amazon.
6. Rosette Face Washing Paste
This is vintage Japanese beauty at its finest – the Rosette Face Washing Paste was first introduced in 1929 and still continues to fly off retail ever since. It comes in a more convenient tube form now, however, there are beauty junkies who still swear by the original formula in a tin, which is also available. The product contains sulfur, which is effective in preventing and treating acne.
The Rosette Face Washing Paste retails at SGD4.89 on Rakuten.
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 is long-lasting and requires very little to no touch-ups!
The blue compact pictured above is translucent powder, but it also comes in a 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 many touch-ups.
The Sana Pore Putty Face Powder retails at SGD25.90 on Lazada.
8. Canmake Cream Cheek
The Cream Cheek line from Canmake comes in a variety of colour from baby pink to ruby red. With just a swipe, it comes off as a sheer finish. However, the colour payoff is definitely buildable, which is ideal for a blush – after all, we don’t want to come off looking like Pikachu, do we? This cream blush blends seamlessly with your foundation or your skin, creating a natural rosy and glowing 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 doesn’t just come in gorgeous packaging; 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.
The Miracle Romance Sailor Moon Liquid Eyeliner retails at SGD32.86 on Amazon.
10. Shiseido Eyebrow Pencil
These coveted cult classics from premium Japanese brand Shiseido sell for only JPY641, about SGD8 each! There are so many rave reviews on this product 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 the skin, and its pigments give a natural finish.
11. Integrate Mineral Watery Foundation
Integrate is actually an affordable beauty arm created by Shiseido and its Mineral Watery Foundation is an all-in-one product that 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 as well. It’s a cosmetic product you should buy in Japan, for sure!
The Integrate Mineral Watery Foundation retails at SGD68.54 and is available on Amazon.
12. Rohto Lycee Eye Drops
In the past few years, these eye drops have been hyped as one of those must-buy items from the drugstores when people visit Japan. You can refresh tired, dry, or red eyes in just 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.
Travelling to Japan? You’ll enjoy these articles – they open up in new tabs!
- 15 best Japanese face masks for all your skincare needs that beauty enthusiasts are swearing by
- 21 weirdest, cutest, coolest themed cafés in Tokyo you should not miss out on
- Japan is imposing a “sayonara tax” to travellers from 2019. How much is it?
- Largest Starbucks store opens in Tokyo with four floors of stunning view
- Sakura-themed merchandise and drinks from Starbucks Japan
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!
The Futae Night Pack Double Eyelid retails at SGD12.80 on Amazon.
14. Kao Megrythm Steam Eye Mask
When this steam eye masks first retailed in Watsons Singapore, it created a huge sensation because of the hype it already garnered in the Asian beauty realm. They are, of course, also available in Japan, and retail for much cheaper too! 14 sheets retail for JPY1,200 (about SGD14) in Japan, while five pieces retail here for SGD6.50.
These steam eye masks come in a variety of scents and include ear straps to prevent it from falling off when in use. This is best used 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 gives off a very soothing scent which helps you to fully relax.
The Kao Megrythm Steam Eye Mask retails at USD12.60 on Kokoro Japan Store.
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. The deodorant also comes in four scents and is formulated for a prolonged sweat-free effect.
The Rohto DeoBall Deodorant retails at SGD18.23 on Shopee.
16. Pukku Puku Bubble Soda Underarm Deep Clean Pack
Dark underarms are an inevitable result of frequent shaving and friction with clothes, but surely there is a way to get rid of them? Of course!
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!
The Pukku Puku Bubble Soda Underarm Deep Clean Pack retails at USD15.99 (~SGD21.70) on Ebay.
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 of making your brows appear fuller without looking too harsh or unnatural.
18. Evita Beauty Whip Rose Soap
Let’s be real – you would buy 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 are almost unwilling to wash our faces with it because we don’t want to destroy the gorgeous rose-shaped foam!
The Evita Beauty Whip Rose Soap retails at SGD36 on Lazada.
19. Oh! Baby Body Smoother
Oh! Baby Body Smoother is a massage paste that contains minerals from hot springs and is said to leave your body feeling smooth like a baby’s. It is also recommended that you use it after a shower or a bath for more effective results. This is certainly one of the skincare products to buy in Japan!
20. Milk Soap
Don’t be deceived by its simple name, and its astonishing price tag – 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. In addition, they can’t get over how calming the scent is. Milk Soap comes in two different scents: rose (red bar), and jasmine (blue bar).
The Milk Soap retails at SGD4.80 on Shopee.
21. Sonba Oil
If anyone asks you what to buy in Japan drugstores, tell them about this product. 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 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!
The Sonba oil retails at SGD19.79 on Amazon.
22. Kracie Simpro Hair Mascara
OK, what?! A hair mascara? The Kracie Simpro Hair Mascara doesn’t actually work the same way that an eyelash mascara does, thankfully. Rather, it’s a product that helps you to quickly and easily touch up the roots of your dyed hair, so you can 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 five minutes. The product also contains natural collagen, helping to nourish and maintain healthy hair.
The Kracie Simpro Hair Mascara retails at SGD82.16 on Rakuten.
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 think they’re nothing more than a novelty product, though. These bad boys are actually made with all-natural ingredients and extracts, which means you won’t have to worry about what you’re putting in your mouth anymore. Phew!
The Breath Palette Flavoured Toothpaste is currently only available in Japan.
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 a beyond affordable price.
The inclusion of Hyaluronic Acid, Royal Jelly Extract, as well as Citrus extract also works to keep skin well hydrated, while absorbing easily into the skin without any greasiness or stickiness. 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.
The horse oil used in this mask is extracted from the horses in Hokkaido, and its chemical structure is similar to that of human skin, hence allowing it to be more easily absorbed into the skin. It is also fortified in placenta extract and pearl barley extract to give skin an intense dose of hydration while brightening and smoothing it instantly.
26. Koji Clear Eye Talk
You don’t have to search for cumbersome double eyelid tape or even go for surgical procedures with this innovative product 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 on your eyelid, then use the applicator to spread it along the desired spot. Removing it is easy as well— simply opt for your usual eye makeup remover and watch as the glue melts off.
The Koji Clear Eye Talk retails at SGD15.50 at Watsons.
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 is chock-full of ingredients that are extremely beneficial for your lips.
Think olive oil, camellia extract, apricot oil, shea butter, and even sakura extract! It also stays on for hours on end, powering through even the driest of office air-conditioning to keep your puckers well-protected all day long.
The Maikohan Lip Balm retails at SGD9.95 on Lazada.
28. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Double cleansing is a key step to achieving mochi skin, and if you really want to make sure your skin is soft and supple, you have to get a cult-favourite cleansing oil.
This is the original Japanese 1-step oil cleanser that has earned itself a legion of die-hard fans. It is formulated with antioxidant-rich organic olive oil and refreshing rosemary leaf oil to melt away all traces of makeup. You can remove even the most stubborn of long-lasting mascara without irritating your skin and eyes.
29. Cure Natural Aqua Gel
Forget any preconceived notions you may have of exfoliators being too rough on your skin, because Cure Natural Aqua Gel is nothing like that.
Made from activated hydrogen water, this exfoliator gently picks up and removes dead skin cells on the surface of your skin for cleaner, clearer skin. Even if you have dry skin prone to flaking, you can be assured that the exfoliation will not strip your skin of its moisture at all.
30. Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil
Some beauty junkies claim that this is a perfect dupe for shu uemura’s famous cleansing oil, and it’s not too tall a claim.
Kose’s Softymo Cleansing Oil does not leave any hint of oiliness after you rinse it off, and manages to melt off waterproof makeup very well. Plus, it costs only a fraction of the price – what a steal! One of the products you should buy in Japan? Most definitely!
31. Kiss Me Heroine Long and Curl Mascara
It’s been said that no one feels as passionately about their lash product as fans of Kiss Me Heroine Long and Curl Mascara do.
This unassuming mascara achieved cult status on a lot of beauty platforms for the beautiful, long-lasting lashes it can give at a highly affordable price. If you never thought that anything besides a lash extension or lift could save your straight Asian lashes, this cult product will definitely change your mind.