Japan is so full of quirks, especially little things with functions that no one has thought of. It’s no wonder that their drugstores are also filled with little gems😅
Shopping, as fun as it gets, can be a little daunting especially in a foreign country and you just can’t tell which one is really value for money and which uses Muslim-friendly ingredients. We gathered several things that you can shop for at the drugstores on your next Japan trip!
1. Cezanne Cheek Stick
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Wish to have that subtle cute pinkish blush across your cheeks? Cezanne’s Cheek Stick, a cream type stick blusher gives your cheeks a long lasting smooth complexion and dewy look. Since it doesn’t leave a bold colour, applying and contouring are fairly easy, and it’s small enough to carry in your handbag. With a choice of three colours, you can also use it for your eyes or as a finishing touch to your lips😉
Price: 600 yen
2. Creer Beaute’s Sailor Moon Miracle Romance Liquid Eyeliner
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Eyeliner in the shape of Sailor Moon’s Moon Stick? Absolute yes! If you think this product is just a collectible item, you’re totally underestimating its quality. The eyeliner glides smoothly and has a fine tip so you can easily draw a sharp wing. It’s also smudge-proof and lasts all day. The best part is that the wand cap is removable and not connected to actual eyeliner cap, and you can simply get the refill version for your next purchase🤗
If you’re not into eyeliners, Creer Beaute has also added more items in this Sailor Moon line, like face powder, lip tint and balm.
Price: 1200 yen
3. Visee Lip and Cheek Cream
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Visee’s Lip and Cheek Cream should be in everyone’s makeup pouch. Not only is it super convenient with dual colours, which you can apply on both cheeks and lips, it’s also compact, making it a great travel companion. It works great as a finishing touch to your lips, and moisturizes as well, so there’s no need to worry about dry lips!
Price: 1000 yen
4. Pelican Hinoki Deitanseki Soap
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Binchotan, or activated charcoal, has been a beauty secret for Japanese women since the Edo period, and it’s exactly what this soap is made of. As soon as you unwrap the soap, the wonderful scent of fresh hinoki (cypress pine) will immediately fill your nose, so you know it’s the real thing! Hinoki is known for its calming effects and for alleviating skin problems like rashes and minor irritations. Another ingredient is bentonite clay, which helps smoothen and brighten your skin😍
Price: 700 yen
5. Compressed Facial Sheet Mask Coins
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Facial sheet masks are magic. They’re so convenient, quick in hydrating and boosting your skin’s glow and come in a variety of ingredients. But what if you want something specific and can’t find it in stores? Customize your own sheet masks by soaking them in your favourite essences or serums! These compressed sheet masks coins allow you to choose your favourite ingredients, or use the leftover essence from the regular sheet mask so it doesn’t go to waste.
The coins are available in most drugstores and even MUJI, but we suggest you purchase Rosy Rosa’s as the coins come in individual capsules so it’s easier to pour your essence😉
Price: 420 yen for 12 coins
6. Japanese Oil Blotting Paper
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We’ve all been introduced to oil blotting paper as a teenager (who’s never heard of Clean & Clear?). One thing that you should know about blotting papers in Japan is that they’re on a different level. Don’t be deceived by the humble appearance of aburatorigami, or Japanese blotting paper! With just a light press on your face, it absorbs oil without making your skin dry or ruining your makeup😱
You can easily find oil blotting papers in any convenience stores and drugstores, in all kinds of packagings and designs. For omiyage purposes, you can go for premium aburatorigami brands like Yojiya and Tatcha.
Price: from 300 yen
7. Oshima Tsubaki Oil
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For centuries, Japanese people have been using tsubaki (Japanese camellia) oil as a natural hair nourisher and moisturizer. Although it’s generally marketed as a hair and scalp treatment product, tsubaki oil is also great for skin and helps with stretch marks. Just a drop or two on your hair and body after shower is the most common and best time to use the oil.
Price: 1500 yen
8. House of Rose’s Oh! Baby Body Smoother
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Want your body to be as smooth as baby’s skin? Oh! Baby Body Smoother, which contains natural hot spring water, is a semi-solid body scrub that softens at body temperature and formulated to remove dead skin cells. Simply massage it all over your body after shower or bath, and rinse thoroughly after several minutes. And good news: this product has no artificial colouring, mineral oils and fragrance!
Price: 2160 yen
9. Tabi no Yado Hot Springs Bath Salts
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If you’ve experienced onsen, you would know just how good it is that you almost never wanted to come out. What if you can bring it back home? Tabi no Yado’s bath salts let you experience onsen wherever and whenever you want! With two varieties: clear and milky, each box contains 15 sachets with four different ingredients. The pretty illustration of a traditional onsen also makes this a good gift idea.
Price: 500 yen
So you’ve got an idea which items you can look for at drugstores in Japan, but how do you spot a drugstore? Don’t worry, here are the places you should look out for:
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Being the biggest drugstore chain in Japan, it’s impossible that you don’t encounter Matsumoto KiYoshi anywhere you go, whether it’s the city center or countryside. From cheaper options to high end brands like Shiseido, the store is packed with so many little gems, at tax-free prices😎 They often display the items on sale in front of the store, so remember not to march in straight away
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Another large drugstore franchise, Daikoku Drug is more common and well-known in western Japan, which means you’re more likely to find it in cities like Osaka and Kyoto than Tokyo. Daikoku Drug boasts of cheap prices and great discounts on selected cosmetics and medicines.
Do note that they don’t include the English name on their signboards so you might need to memorize or have the Japanese name jotted down somewhere if you can’t read the characters!
Ainz & Tulpe
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Not to be dramatic, but you probably won’t want to leave Ainz & Tulpe once you’re there. Shopping for cosmetics at a traditional drugstore probably doesn’t excite you that much, so the fancy looking Ainz & Tulpe might do the trick. They have more variety of products and brands, so you can probably spend a whole day there, especially the two-floor Harajuku megastore! Just remember not to spend all your money there😂
Some other worthy mentions are PLAZA, CREATE and Drug Papas! If you fail to spot any of these drugstores, don’t worry as you can always head to the convenience or department stores.
Okay, now that you’re all set to go, just prepare enough yen for your haul! Who knows, these products might be even better than the high end brands from department stores😉