Japan has some of the best skincare products on the market, from high-end, high-quality brands like Shiseido, to affordable and beloved brands like Hada Labo. This guide will help you find the products you need, plus show you how and where to buy them!
Where To Buy Japanese Skincare Products?
1. Japanese Drugstores
Most Japanese drugstores like Matsumoto Kiyoshi, Daikoku Drug and Sun Drug have entire rows dedicated to skincare and cosmetics. There are drugstores on pretty much every block in all major Japanese cities, making skincare and cosmetics very easy to find!
2. Don Quijote
The multi-purpose, ever-handy, Don Quijote has tons of great skincare products, usually at a discounted price compared with their drugstore counterparts. While Don Quijote doesn’t carry medicated skincare products, it has a great selection of face washes, masks, creams, and much more. Sometimes the bigger stores have an entire floor just for skincare and cosmetics. It’s a great place to get all your shopping done at once, from groceries to clothing to cosmetics, Don Quijote has it all!
3. Tokyu Hands
This store was originally a craft and hobby shop, but has since expanded into carrying products for every-day use. Tokyu Hands specializes in cute, unique or unusual products that you might not find at normal drugstores. Recently the brand even launched its own line of skincare called Muqna, which does not contain artificial colorings, mineral oil, paraben, alcohol, or fragrances.
4. Electronics Stores
An electronics store would usually be the last place to look for cosmetics. But in Japan, many major electronic stores like BIC Camera and Yodobashi Camera have a sections dedicated to skincare and cosmetics. It makes a strange sort of sense: after purchasing your Panasonic hairdryer, you might as well purchase some hair heat-protectant to go with it.
If you live abroad, there are several websites dedicated to importing Japanese skincare products You can purchase skincare on import sites like Amazon Japan or Rakuten. However, if you purchase from such large platforms, make sure that you are buying from a verified seller, as there are lots of scammers selling unregulated counterfeits of popular skincare and makeup brands. There are also websites specializing in the global sale of Japanese and Korean cosmetics like Yesstyle and Kokoro Japan Store.
How to buy Japanese Skincare Products?
Since the start of Covid-19, most stores no longer offer samples to test, or if they do, they have strict instructions on how to test the products. However, some products, especially shampoos and conditioners, come in single-use amounts, so you can try them once before purchasing more.
Once you find a product you like, you can purchase the cheaper refill packs to add to the containers you already have at home. It’s a great way to be environmentally friendly while saving money!
What Products Should Buy?
The usual Japanese morning routine is as follows: facial wash, lotion, cream and sunscreen. The evening routine adds a makeup removing cleansing oil and replaces sunscreen with a nourishing serum. For some extra pampering, you can add a face mask into your skincare routine.
Here are some of the most popular Japanese products in each category:
Senka’s Perfect Whip is Japan’s best-selling facial wash for the past 10 years. It lathers up into a thick foam, since in Japan, more bubbles means more cleansing. Another popular facial wash is Hada Labo Rohto Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Cleansing Foam, which containts Hyaluronic Acid to keep the skin hydrated.
DHC is the original Japanese cleansing oil. It’s olive-oil based formula removes makeup while leaving your skin soft. At a higher price point, Fancl’s cleansing oil is another good option (personally, I find it more effective in removing makeup).
The brand Hada Labo is famous for its milky lotions, which you gently pat onto the skin (instead of the usual rubbing which might damage skin). They have lotion lines for all skin types: from acne-prone to aging.
Curel’s Intensive Moisture Cream is famous for being extremely hydrating — perfect for those with dry skin. On the lighter end of the spectrum, (and lighter end of the budget) is Naturie Skin Conditioning Gel, which contains Job’s Tears, a plant believed to help with skin brightening and smoothing.
Biore’s UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence feels like a moisturizer, rather than a sunscreen. It easily absorbs into the skin, leaving it hydrated. The other most popular sunscreen brand is Anessa’sPerfect UV Sunscreen, which leaves a lightweight layer of protection over your skin. After application your skin feels smooth and ready for foundation.
Serums provide intensive care, and are targeted to treat specific skin concerns you might have. The Melano CC Intensive Anti-Spot Esssence has become very popular for its high concentration of vitamin C, which helps to remove hyperpigmentation from acne scarring, while also smoothing the skin and reducing visibility of the pores. For aging and skin brightening, the Sekkisui Medicated Emulsion is a good option. This serum contains vitamin C as well as a blend of three oriental herbs.
LunLun is by far Japan’s most well-known face-mask brand. The mask will leave your skin smooth and hydrated, and can be used daily. Another face mask, which comes top rated by @Cosme, is the Keana Nadeshiko Rice Mask, which contains sake, rice bran oil and rice ceramides to sooth and smooth your skin.