It’s no secret that Japan is home to many of the best quality and innovative beauty products ever invented. From mascaras that magically bestow volume and curl to our thin, straight Asian lashes, to foundations that manage to have amazing coverage despite a lightweight texture, we’re with all the other beauty junkies out there who are in danger of busting their luggage limits whenever we make a trip there.
However, beauty stores in Japan can be really daunting to sift through (you know what we mean if you’ve been in one). Fret not! Here is a list of 21 cosmetics exclusive to Japan that you definitely would want to look out for and stock up on the next time you visit.
1. Excel Powder & Pencil Eyebrow EX
This eyebrow pencil delivers on its promise of making it easy for you to achieve beautifully shaped brows. Don’t be fooled by its slim packaging: it contains several compact tools to help you get your brows on fleek.
There’s an actual pencil to fill in your brows, a wand with brow powder, as well as a spoolie to blend it all out to perfection. The variety of shades available also means that there will definitely be a perfect one for you.
Excel Powder & Pencil Eyebrow EX can be purchased from most Japanese drugstores such as Ainz & Tulpe, LOFT, and PLAZA. It retails for JPY1,450 (about SGD17.40).
2. Lips and Hips Mat on Rouge
A series of budge-proof matte lipsticks that also works as a lip liner? Sign us up! It is available in a range of shades, from dusty pinks to vivid corals, and gives exceptional color payoff without drying out your lips. Its smooth but pigmented formula is sure to be a hit on our hot and humid shores.
Lips and Hips Mat on Rouge can be purchased from most Ainz & Tulpe stores. It retails for JPY1,800 (about SGD21.59).
3. IPSA Liquid Foundation
A light, breathable foundation that works for a variety of skin types, the IPSA Liquid Foundation is a real gem when it comes to providing natural and even coverage. It is particularly handy for those with combination skin, as it helps maintain moisture whilst preventing excess sebum secretion.
IPSA Liquid Foundation can be purchased from most major Japanese department stores such as ISETAN, Takashimaya and SEIBU. It retails for JPY4,320 (about SGD51.81).
4. LB Cosmetics Smooth Rich Liquid Eyeliner
With its perfectly flexible tip, the LB Cosmetics eyeliner allows for the finest, sharpest of lines – drawing that perfect cat-eye is well within reach now!
Its rich pigmentation also means that you get a bold, crisp line without having to go back for touch-ups. Aside from that, it is both waterproof and smudge-proof, with it outlasting anything from sweat, tears, and sebum. Sounds like the perfect eyeliner for our Singaporean weather!
LB Cosmetics Smooth Rich Liquid Eyeliner can be purchased from the various Don Quixote drugstores located in Japan. It retails for JPY800 (about SGD9.59).
5. MSH-LABO EyeMix 3D Glossy Long Mascara
It is a universal truth that there is nothing worse than flaky, clumpy bits of mascara stuck between your lashes. Many mascara formulas are often guilty of this, but you have nothing to worry about when it comes to this baby.
The EyeMix 3D Glossy Long Mascara contains a superfine fiber formula that will give your lashes a thick, glossy look that looks seamless and glam. The formula also contains a slight reflective pearl shimmer that is guaranteed to make people do a double-take.
MSH-Labo EyeMix 3D Glossy Long Mascara can be purchased from most Japanese drugstores such as Ainz & Tulpe, LOFT, and PLAZA. It retails for JPY1,400 (about SGD16.79).
6. Coffret D’or Smile Up Cheeks
This blush has won the prestigious number one spot on Cosme, one of Japan’s major beauty review websites, (the Japanese equivalent of Makeupalley, if you will) and for good reason!
Not only is it long-lasting, the formula is also super moisturising, giving a dewy, soft glow on your cheeks. The pigmentation can be quite intense though, so make sure you’ve blended it properly before leaving your house.
Coffret D’or Smile Up Cheeks can be purchased from most major Japanese drugstores. It retails for JPY2,300 (about SGD27.58).
7. Paul & Joe Eye Colour Primer
Since Paul & Joe has left our sunny shores, you’ll have to stock up on this Insta-worthy brand when you’re in Japan.
This Paul & Joe eyeshadow primer helps to intensify your eyeshadow pigments, prevents it from creasing on your eyelids, and locks it in place all day. It sinks into the skin quickly and has a matte finish..
Paul & Joe Eye Colour Primer can be purchased from several major department stores such as ISETAN, Seibu, and Odakyu. It retails for JPY2,800 (about SGD33.58).
8. INTEGRATE Nudy Grade Eyes
Fun fact: Integrate is actually a brand under Shiseido! Unfortunately, their line of products isn’t available in Singapore, which means there’s all the more reason to buy more of it while in Japan.
This eyeshadow palette contains four shades that you can play with, either as an eyeshadow or an eyeliner. The trick is to pack your lids with the colours within the heart, before lining your eyes with the complementary shades surrounding it. Ingenious, no?
INTEGRATE Nudy Grade Eyes can be purchased from most major Japanese drugstores such as Matsumo KiYoshi. It retails for JPY1,500 (about SGD17.99).
9. Kiss Mat Chiffon BB Pure Cream
This lightweight BB cream is known for hiding visible pores, smoothing uneven skin texture. and concealing unsightly acne scars all at one go.
Its blend of chamomile extract and hyaluronic acid will moisturise and calm skin, making it all the better for us to pop on for days when our skin is flaring up.
Kiss Mat Chiffon BB Pure Cream can be purchased from most major Japanese drugstores. It retails for JPY1,200 (about SGD14.39).
10. JillStuart Pure Essence Cushion Compact
A lot of cushion foundations fail to hold up in Singapore’s tropical climate, but that’s not much of an issue for Jill Stuart’s cushion compact.
Containing both water-repelling and sweat-repelling properties, you can rest assured that your face won’t look shiny by the end of your work day. Plus, it not only serves as a foundation but also as a base, which means you can save a precious few steps during your makeup routine in the morning.
JillStuart Pure Essence Cushion Compact can be purchased from major department stores in Japan such as Seibu, ISETAN, and LUMINE. The compact case retails for JPY1,200 (about SGD14.40) and each refill retails for JPY2,800 (about SGD33.60).
11. Aube Couture Long Keep Rouge
These lipsticks don’t just provide a nice pop of color on your lips, but they help condition and moisturize them too!
Their long-lasting formula also means that no touch-ups are necessary throughout your day, so feel free to chow down on a plate of bak chor mee without having to worry about getting your lipstick everywhere.
Aube Couture Long Keep Rouge can be found in major Japanese department stores such as Seiyu and AEON. It retails for JPY3,200 (about SGD38.38).
12. AVANCÉ Joli et Joli et Pencil Eyeliner
If liquid and gel liners aren’t your cup of tea, try this pencil liner from AVANCÉ instead. The waterproof formula is ideal for the temperatures here, with its precisely shaped tip allowing for smooth and easy application.
It comes in two colors: deep black as well as chocolate brown, which means you can switch things up depending on the look you’re going for.
AVANCÉ Joli et Joli et Pencil Eyeliner can be purchased from most Japanese drugstores such as Ainz & Tulpe, Don Quijote, and PLAZA. It retails fro JPY900 (about SGD10.80)
13. CHICCA Ravishing Glow Makeup Base Fresh
The key to a good primer? The ability to provide your foundation with a smooth canvas to stick to, which is exactly what this CHICCA primer does. Not only does it illuminate, it also has excellent oil control, giving your face a fresh, clear finish that will have people think that you’re literally glowing.
CHICCA Ravishing Glow Makeup Base Fresh can be purchased from major Japanese department stores such as ISETAN and Takashimaya. It retails for JPY4,000 (about SGD47.97).
14. FLOWFUSHI Area Foundy
Beautiful packaging aside, the FLOWFUSHI Area Foundy also packs a punch in concealing and highlighting. With a wand on one side and a brush on the other, it truly is a nifty multi-functional tool.
The formula is lightweight, easily absorbed into the skin, and even comes with SPF. There are two products in the range: Natural and Cover, both of which provide different types of coverage, with Natural being a little more sheer than the latter.
FLOWFUSHI Area Foundy are available from major Japanese drugstores such as LOFT and Tokyu Hands. It retails for JPY2,500 (about SGD29.98).
15. Watosa Super Cover Foundation Potts
The Watosa Super Cover Foundation Potts is a three-in-one foundation palette, and each ‘pot’ has a specific function that helps you attain smooth, flawless skin.
The first helps conceal anything from dark circles to acne scars, the second evens out your skin tone, while the third works as a powder to help you set everything. This product is so raved about, it’s been number one on Cosme for several years now, and for good reason!
Watosa Super Cover Foundation Potts are available from major Japanese drugstores such as LOFT and PLAZA. It retails for JPY3,456, tax included (about SGD41.45).
16. Etvos Eyelash Serum
With all the mascara, extensions and lash glue that we pile on our lashes, it is only fair that we give them a little TLC. The Etvos Eyelash Serum promises just that, with its three approaches of ‘preparation, prevention and supplementation’.
It encourages lash growth, and also protects them from further damage with its careful selection of ingredients suitable for people with the most sensitive of skins. Long, luscious lashes without having to put in any effort? Score!
Etvos Eyelash Serum can be purchased from major Japanese drugstores such as PLAZA and CosmeKitchen. It retails for JPY2,800 (about SGD33.58).
17. Tsukema Bath Cleanser for False Eyelashes
Does your eyelash glue leave a sticky residue on the bands of your falsies whenever you take them off? Ishizawa Lab has the most brilliant solution to your problem: a cleanser for your falsies.
Simply pour the solution into a container and immerse your sticky lashes in it for about five to ten hours. Then, using lukewarm water (not running water, mind you, as it may damage the lashes) gently remove the grime and dirt on them, and voila! Good as new falsies.
Tsukema Bath Cleanser for False Eyelashes is available in major Japanese department stores such as Takashimaya and ISETAN. It retails for JPY1,300 (about SGD15.59).
18. Sweets-Sweets Premium Chocolat Shading
If you’re thinking of adding a subtle, natural bronzer into your makeup routine, look no further. The Sweets-Sweets Premium Chocolat Shading has three different shades of cocoa and bronze to add the perfect amount of definition to your look.
Its alcohol-free and fragrance-free formula also ensures that people with sensitive skin would be able to use this with ease.
Sweets-Sweets Premium Chocolat Shading can be purchased from the various Don Quixote drugstores located in Japan. It retails for JPY1,200 (about SGD14.39).
19. Naturglacé Loose Powder
This transparent powder is spectacular at oil control, which is perfect for us here in sunny Singapore. Besides that, it also gives skin a radiant glow and stays on all day.
It doesn’t appear cakey even after long hours, and keeps makeup from straying all over the place. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it comes with SPF40 so our skin is protected from the harsh rays of the sun.
Naturglacé Loose Powder can be purchased from major Japanese drugstores such as LOFT and CosmeKitchen. It retails for JPY4,200 (about SGD50.37).
20. Allie Extra UV General Mineral Moist SPF 50+
Quality sunscreen is an absolute necessity here in the tropics, and this one by Allie is certainly one to try. The sunscreen comes in a clear, gel-like liquid that allows it to be easily absorbed into skin without the residual greasiness.
The formula is also waterproof, so you can rest assured that the sunscreen would stick around longer than regular non-waterproof ones. Its light texture also means applying makeup over it should be a breeze.
Allie Extra UV General Mineral Moist SPF 50+ can be purchased from major Japanese department stores such as ISETAN and Takashimaya. It retails for JPY2,800 (about SGD33.58).
21. Cezanne Volume Curl Mascara
Don’t let its deceptively simple packaging fool you— the Cezanne Volume Curl Mascara beautifully separates lashes and adds volume and thickness to each lash. The addition of chamomile extract prevents the formula from becoming overly dry and clump on your lashes. Its comb-type brush also ensures that you get a nice, even coating on your lashes from root to tip.
Cezanne Volume Curl Mascara can be purchased from most major Japanese drugstores. It retails for JPY480 (about SGD5.76).