Japanese skincare and Japanese makeup have long been the gold standard in Asian beauty and it’s easy to see why. Japan’s cosmetics are known to be backed by strong research and development, innovation, as well as a commitment towards consistently improving its formulas.
Take Japanese skincare, which focuses on moisturising and soothing the skin with Japanese hero ingredients like green tea, rice extracts, and camellia oil. Or, consider Japanese makeup, which offers top-quality cosmetics through premium brands like Shu Uemura, as well as arguably just-as-good quality cosmetics through drugstore labels like CANMAKE.
It’s no wonder that a beauty shopping spree is one item that has to appear on our travel checklist when we’re going to Japan.
Since we love getting more for less, we’ve rounded up the best Japan drugstore beauty must-buys beyond familiar names like CANMAKE and KissMe.
Wondering what to buy in Japan when it comes to drugstore cosmetic products? Read on for 36 recommendations that can be found in Japanese drugstores – like Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Ainz & Tulpe, PLAZA and LOFT – on every corner!
Japan Drugstore Must-buy: Skincare
Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil
This formula quickly erases all makeup, even stubborn mascara and eyelash glue, without drying your skin! It also clears away pore-clogging sebum, leaving your skin refreshed and clean.
The Kose Softymo Speedy Cleansing Oil retails for S$17.20 at Watsons online.
Saborino Morning Facial Sheet Mask
Want your skin to feel refreshed in the morning? This special face mask does three things in one: it cleans, takes care of your skin, and acts as a base for makeup.
It contains ten moisturising ingredients like hyaluronic acid, honey, apple extract, collagen, orange oil, grapefruit peel oil, and more!
The Saborino Morning Facial Sheet Mask retails for S$22.50 at Watsons online.
Meishoku Placenta Whitening Eye Cream
Get radiant, hydrated eyes with a collagen boost!
This eye cream is rich in placenta for brighter, younger-looking skin. Placenta reduces melanin production, giving you a radiant and even-toned complexion.
The Meishoku Placenta Whitening Eye Cream retails for S$9.57 at Shopee. Discounts are available at the time of writing. Tap into the link to see latest prices.
Pelican Hinoki Deitanseki Soap
This soap from Japan contains binchotan charcoal, an ingredient best known for its purifying and healing properties.
The 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 S$11.56 for a set of two on Amazon.
Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder
This enzyme powder cleanser from Japan 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.
The Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder (32 pieces) retails at S$25 on Amazon.
Chojyu Collagen Solution Ball
Yes, you can now bring around collagen in single-use pods!
This Japan drugstore must-buy is Chojyu’s soft cotton collagen-infused balls, which are to be soaked in your choice of essence or moisturiser before you apply it directly on your face.
The collagen solution balls provide an additional boost to your regular 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! They’re available in almost every Japanese drugstore.
LuLuLun Face Mask
Lululun is one of the bestselling sheet mask brands in Japan’s drugstores!
These sheet masks are free from chemicals, fragrances, and mineral oils, making them suitable for daily use on all skin types. They come in weekly or monthly sets and different masks feature unique active ingredients, which cater to varying skin concerns.
The Lululun Face Mask (32 pieces, 36 pieces, or bundles of three) retails for between S$27.90 and S$89.90 on Shopee.
Unicharm Silcot Uruuru Sponge Facial Cotton Pads
You may be thinking, cotton pads?! Yes, even certain brands of cotton pads in Japan’s drugstores can be exceptional, and Unicharm Silcot is one of them.
The Unicharm Silcot Uruuru Sponge Facial Cotton Pads absorb less fluid than regular ones, so your precious skincare products end up on your face rather than absorbed by the cotton and going to waste.
It also doesn’t leave balls of lint behind nor disintegrate as you wipe it across your face.
The Unicharm Silcot Uruuru Sponge Facial Cotton Pads retails for S$19.10 (40 sheets, five packs) on Amazon.
Rosette Face Washing Paste
The Rosette Face Washing Paste is vintage Japanese cosmetics at its finest. First introduced in 1929, the cleanser has been flying off retail ever since.
Even though this Japanese cleanser is available in a more convenient tube form now, many beauty junkies still swear by the original tin packaging and formula, which is still up for grabs.
The formula contains sulfur, which is effective in preventing and treating acne.
The Rosette Face Washing Paste (Pink) retails at S$9.90 at Watsons online.
Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen
The Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen is a definite Japan drugstore must-buy!
Now reformulated to be waterproof and sweat-proof, this Japanese sunscreen gives you long-lasting UV protection under Singapore’s scorching sun at a beyond-affordable price.
Hyaluronic acid, royal jelly extract, and citrus extract also work to keep skin amply hydrated while absorbing easily into the skin without any greasiness or stickiness.
Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen retails at S$20.30 at Watsons.
Lishan Horse Oil Face Mask
Horse oil sounds even weirder than the Korean-favourite ingredient snail mucin, but hear us out: it’s great for your skin!
Known to be a rich source of linolenic acid and essential fatty acids, horse oil helps to improve the skin’s barrier function and boost skin elasticity.
The horse oil used in this mask is extracted from the horses in Hokkaido, Japan, 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.
Lishan Horse Oil Face Mask retails for S$21.30 (5 Sheets), or S$27.42 (38 Sheets) on Lazada.
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 must buy this Japan drugstore favourite and cult-classic, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil!
The original Japanese one-step oil cleanser that has earned itself a legion of die-hard fans, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil 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.
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil retails for S$7.50 on Lookfantastic.
Cure Natural Aqua Gel
Forget any preconceived notions you may have of exfoliators being too rough on your skin – Japan’s drugstore must-buy Cure Natural Aqua Gel is nothing like that.
Made from activated hydrogen water, this ultra-gentle 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 that’s prone to flaking, rest assured that the exfoliation will not strip your skin of its moisture one bit!
The Cure Natural Aqua Gel retails at S$34.80 at Watson’s official Shopee store.
Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil
Some beauty junkies claim that the Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil is a perfect dupe for Shu Uemura’s famous cleansing oil, and it’s not too tall a claim in our opinion.
This cleansing oil powerfully melts waterproof makeup and doesn’t leave any hint of oiliness after you rinse it off. Plus, available in Japan’s drugstores, the Softymo Cleansing Oil costs only a fraction of Shu Uemura’s – what a steal!
One cosmetic product you must buy in Japan? Most definitely!
The Kose Softymo Cleansing Oil retails at S$17.20 at Watsons.
Evita Beauty Whip Rose Soap
Let’s be real, this is the prettiest foaming soap we’ve ever seen.
Shake up the can, press down on the dispenser and watch a beautiful, foamy-white, picture-perfect rose materialise out of thin air. It’s almost like magic.
Besides how it is uniquely dispensed, the Evita Beauty Whip Rose Soap is a cleanser that great for fighting signs of ageing and hydrating the skin.
Made with royal jelly extract, collagen, hyaluronic acid, and fermented rice extract, the cleanser delivers a deep dose of moisture to the skin as it cleanses!
The Evita Beauty Whip Rose Soap retails for S$28 on Shopee.
Japan Drugstore Must-buy: Makeup
Canmake Cream Cheek
We’re starting off with a familiar Japanese drugstore cosmetics brand, CANMAKE!
The Cream Cheek line from Canmake comes in a variety of colours from baby pink to ruby red. With just a sweep, it adds a rosy flush to the skin with a sheer finish.
Despite being sheer, the blush is definitely buildable. This cream blush blends seamlessly with your foundation or your skin, creating a natural rosy and glowing look.
The Canmake Cream Cheek retails at S$12.16 instead of S$15.20 on Shopee. It is also available at Watsons drugstores in Singapore.
Canmake Munyutto Highlighter
Here’s one more CANMAKE product for you to check out – it’s the Munyutto Highlighter, and it comes in three different shades.
It feels like soft cookie dough, makes your skin look shiny, and won’t budge, even when you sweat or rub your face. Say hello to your lasting, perfect glow!
The Canmake Munyutto Highlighter retails for S$17.44 instead of $25.70 on Shopee.
Miracle Romance Sailor Moon Liquid Eyeliner
Sailor Moon fans, brace your hearts for the absolutely kawaii Sailor Moon collection from Miracle Romance. This limited-edition Japanese cosmetics product is a must-buy, especially when you’re in a country that generated so many ’90s anime cartoons that are close to your heart!
Besides being housed in the cutest wand tube, the eyeliner formula is of great quality too. It glides on smoothly, is smudge-proof, and has a fine felt tip that makes drawing a sharp wing an easy feat.
This whimsical eyeliner is currently unavailable at Amazon, but be sure to grab it at any Japan drugstore when you’re in the land of the rising sun!
Sana Pore Putty Face Powder
Wondering what cosmetics to buy in Japan? Put the Sana Pore Putty Face Powder on our shopping list.
This Japanese drugstore brand’s PorePutty is an ultra-fine BB powder that blurs pores and imperfections, so your skin looks so smooth and like mochi! It is also long-lasting and requires little to no touch-ups.
Reviewers rave that this Japan drugstore must-have lives up to its claims in smoothing their faces and lasting all day!
The Sana Pore Putty Face Powder retails for S$20.49 at Shopee.
Shiseido Eyebrow Pencil
These coveted cult classics from the premium Japanese brand, Shiseido, sell for only JPY641, which is about S$8 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.
Shiseido Eyebrow Pencil retails for S$5.30 at Lazada.
Integrate Mineral Watery Foundation
What to buy in Japan cosmetics? This adorable all-in-one product for sure!
Integrate is an affordable beauty arm by Shiseido. Its Mineral Watery Foundation is a Japan drugstore must-buy 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 cute packaging is a huge bonus as well.
Rohto Lycee Eye Drops
These eye drops have been hyped as one of those must-buy items from Japan’s drugstores in recent years.
With just a single drop, you can refresh your tired, dry, or red eyes. Besides its cute and functional packaging, these eye drops also have moisturising properties and a surprisingly pleasant scent.
Just a heads up, the eye drops can feel a little minty in your eyes. Some people find it uncomfortable, whilst others enjoy the refreshing, soothing sensation.
The Rohto Lycee Eye Drops retails at S$9.10 on Shopee.
Futae Night Pack Double Eyelid
Want double eyelids but too scared to get double eyelid surgery? Say hello to Futae Night Pack Double Eyelid!
All you need to do is slather the glue along where you want your crease to be, fold your eyelid, and leave it overnight. The steps are simple and quick, and you can wear temporary double eyelids for the entire day after!
The glue also contains hyaluronic acid, so as not to dry out the delicate eye area.
For those of us who aren’t ready to commit to a permanent alteration on our eyelids, this is a Japanese cosmetics product that’s really worth trying out.
Excel Powder & Pencil Eyebrow
This drugstore-available Japanese brow product has won the COSME Gold award for years and years on end!
This all-in-one brow product features a retractable pencil on one end and a spoolie on the other. That’s not all, when you unscrew the middle, you’ll find a hidden sponge applicator inside!
The sponge applicator lets you fill in the front of your brows naturally, so they look fuller without any dark or harsh lines.
The Excel Powder & Pencil Eyebrow retails for S$25.90 at Watsons.
Koji Clear Eye Talk
You don’t have to become a pro at wearing double eyelid tape with this innovative Japanese product in our makeup bag!
Koji Clear Eye Talk is a double eyelid glue that can be used to create your desired double eyelids with ease, and the glue lasts all day too.
How? Carefully apply a coat of glue on your eyelid, and then use the applicator to spread it along the desired spot.
Removing it is easy: any eye makeup remover will be sufficient for melting the glue off without needing you to scrub at your eyelids.
The Koji Clear Eye Talk retails at S$9.50 on Amazon.
Maikohan Lip Balm
A Japan drugstore 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 pout well-protected all day long.
Maikohan Lip Balm retails for S$19.90 instead of S$23.90 at Qoo10.
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, available at Japan’s drugstores, will definitely change your mind.
The Kiss Me Heroine Long and Curl Mascara retails at S$19.56 on iHerb.
Japan Drugstore Must-buy: Bodycare
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.
This Japan drugstore must-buy comes in four scents and is formulated for a prolonged sweat-free effect.
Pukku Puku Bubble Soda Underarm Deep Clean Pack
Dark underarms are an inevitable result of frequent shaving and friction with clothes, but Japanese cosmetics brand Pukku Puku has found a way to brighten them!
This drugstore pack features an active-ingredient-rich formula of AHAs, 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!
Pukku Puku Bubble Soda Underarm Deep Clean Pack retails for S$32.90 at Qoo10.
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 must-buy Japanese skincare products!
The Oh! Baby Body Smoother retails at S$39.90 on Shopee.
Don’t be deceived by this Japanese drugstore product’s simple name and its astonishing price tag – the 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 S$5.34 instead of S$10.46 on Shopee.
If anyone asks you what to buy in Japan drugstores, tell them about this cosmetic 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 S$37.33 instead of S$64.14 on Shopee.
Japan Drugstore Must-buy: Others
Fino Premium Touch Hair Mask Rinse-off Treatment
For five years running, it’s been Japan’s number one hair mask! Say goodbye to dry, damaged, and tangled hair, whether it’s from UV exposure, colour treatments, perming, straightening, or heat styling.
This hair mask is like a super boost for your hair, with six powerful beauty ingredients and advanced skincare technology to give you more moisture, strength, shine, and longer-lasting colour!
The Fino Premium Touch Hair Mask Rinse-off Treatment retails for S$15.90 at Watsons online.
Kao Megrythm Steam Eye Mask
When these Japanese steam eye masks first retailed in Watsons drugstores in Singapore, they created a huge sensation because of the hype they had already garnered in the Asian beauty community.
They are, of course, also available in Japan, and retail for much cheaper too! 14 sheets retail for JPY1,200 (~ S$14) in Japan, while five pieces retail here for about S$6.50.
These steam eye masks come in a variety of scents and include ear straps to prevent them 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 for S$6.95 at Guardian.
Kracie Simpro Hair Mascara
OK, what?! A hair mascara? The Kracie Simpro Hair Mascara is a must-buy product at drugstores in Japan – and it 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.
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.
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Featured image credit: tallulah_roseb, kkarenz/TikTok.