All About Japanese Cosmetics: Where Can You Expect to Find Them? | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

All About Japanese Cosmetics: Where Can You Expect to Find Them?

By Yae Jan 14, 2019

This post is also available in: Spanish



Are you interested in Japanese cosmetics? If you’re living in Japan or plan to come to Japan for traveling, many of you may want to try or take a look at what kinds of cosmetics Japanese people normally use.

This article will show you how to get cosmetics in Japan and what are some famous and popular ones among Japanese women. If you’re wondering how to find and get cosmetics in Japan or want to change your image by using Japanese cosmetics, this is the article for you!


1. What Cosmetics Should I Buy? Where Should I Go?


If you’re used to using cosmetics of your own favorite brands from your countries, many of you may be confused on how to pick up the good cosmetic for yourselves here in Japan. Instead of choosing expensive cosmetic brands such as CHANNEL or DIOR, are there any other reasonable price cosmetics in Japan?

Honestly, there are so many kinds of cosmetics in Japan that you can find. Here are the major shops you can find cosmetics in Japan such as follows:


1. Any kind of drug store such as Matsumotokiyoshi, Welcia drug store, Sundrug, etc. you can find on the streets or town.

2. Cosmetic floors at the department stores such as Mitsukoshi, Daimaru, Matsuya, SOGO, etc.

3. Convenience stores such as Family Mart, Seven Eleven, Lawson, etc.

4. Some KIOSK on the station platform.

5. Big chain supermarkets such as AEON, Ito Yokado, etc.


There are many kinds of cosmetics such as skin-care products, eyeshadows, blushes, lipsticks, lip balms, concealers, foundations, makeup bases, body creams, etc. If you want to first try them to see how it would look like on your face, you can try from sample cosmetics at the drug stores, department stores or big chain supermarkets in Japan. Unfortunately, you can’t try any samples at KIOSK at station platforms in Japan so you must choose cosmetics which you really need in hurry at KIOSK. There are few cosmetics only at KIOSK in Japan so these are for the women who need something quick and are extremely in a hurry and are not looking to be choosy.

If you’re little worried about trying new cosmetics in Japan, don’t worry. You can try sample cosmetics of eyebrows, eyeliner, mascara, lipsticks at the drug stores so please take a look once. You can put cosmetics on the back of your hand and see how it looks. Please do not forget to bring pocket tissue or wet tissue with you if you go to drug stores. Some drug stores don’t supply any tissue to remove sample cosmetics so you need to remove tried cosmetics from your hands by yourselves.


2. Where Do Japanese People Usually Get Cosmetics?




If you are curious about where most Japanese women buy their cosmetics in Japan? Many Japanese women buy their cosmetics mainly through the following ways:


1. For those who want to buy reasonable cosmetics: Drugstores are the way to go

2. For those who want to buy high brand cosmetics with quick makeup trial by professional makeup stylists: Department stores of the cosmetic area is the place to go

3. For those who  already know what to buy or have a certain favorite brand(s) in mind: Drug stores or online shops


Since there are many kinds of cosmetics in Japan, many Japanese women want to try new cosmetics quite often, as a result, they usually stop by the drug stores and buy some new cosmetics and/or try some new cosmetics on their faces or hands with the samples they have available. Or, if they already have their own favorite brand’s cosmetics and they use it repeatedly, some Japanese women buy choose to simply buy the cosmetics through online shops. Whether you are buying cosmetics at the drug stores or through an online shop, you can get cosmetics much cheaper than buying at the department stores or convenience stores.


3. What Brands Are Famous in Japan?




There are many kinds of cosmetic brands in Japan but here are 5 major popular  Japanese cosmetic brands you can get in Japan:


1. Major Japanese brand “SHISEIDO”

This brand produces major popular and famous cosmetics called “IPSA”, “NARS”, “LAURA MERCIER” “INTEGRATE” that many Japanese women often buy. The foundation of NARS and LAURA MERCIER have a stable reputation by hiding pimples or age spots perfectly. The eyeshadows or eyeliners of INTEGRATE are reasonably priced around 1,000yen with good quality which produces great color on women’s eyes.


2. Major Japanese brand “KAO”

This brand produces major popular and famous cosmetics called “KANEBO”, “LUNASOL”, “RMK” that many Japanese women often buy. The eyeshadows of LUNASOL make women’s’ eyes very beautiful and the concealer of RMK can hide pimples or age spots perfectly.


3. Major Japanese brand “ALBION”

This brand produces major popular and famous cosmetics called “ALBION”, “Paul&JOE” that many Japanese women often buy. The basic skin-care products, especially skin lotion and milky lotion of ALBION are extremely popular for Japanese women since it makes their skin condition better and beautiful. The eyeshadows or lipsticks of Paul&JOE makes women have a cute impression.


4. Major Japanese brand “KOSE”

This brand produces major popular and famous cosmetics called “VISEE”, ”SEKKISEI“ that many Japanese women often buy. The eyeshadows of VISEE produces great color on women’s eyes with reasonable price around 1,200yen. The basic-skin products of SEKKISEI are also popular for making skin condition better.


5. Major Japanese brand “ORBIS”

This brand produces some popular cosmetic such as a facial lotion that is well-known among Japanese women. Distinctive point of this facial lotion is fresh, thick and creamy. The reason why it’s popular for Japanese women is that of the reasonable price in which you can buy contained 180ml for 2,700yen.


Each brand have each different attractions so better first to stop by any drug stores or department stores and try some sample cosmetics on your face or hands. Especially if you have sensitive skins or prone to any skin problems but need basic-skin products, it’s better for you to first try some sample cosmetics that you think might be good for your skin at the department stores. The professional makeup stylists may help you out by asking your skin conditions first and giving you some counseling. If you buy some cosmetics at the department stores, you can get some sample cosmetics for free in most cases such as small amount of foundation, body lotion, skin lotion, sunscreen, etc.

If you can’t make up your mind which one to choose even for a trial, stick with your first intuition. If you get some good impression about that cosmetics, that’s the one you better try.


4. Cosmetics That Japanese People Buy in Plaza



Have you ever heard about the shop called “PLAZA” in Japan? It’s huge specialty American style drug stores of imported goods and there are many branches all over Japan. There are some different named PLAZA such as PLAZA DEPOT, #0107PLAZA, MINIPLA, PLAZA OUTLET, but there are all the same related company brands. There you can get not only cosmetics but also general goods, sweets, drinks, stationaries as well and many Japanese women often use this shop for shopping. They also use this shop for buying little gifts for someone.

Here are top 5 top ranking popular cosmetics in 2018 that many Japanese women bought at PLAZA:


1. Deja vu lush up K mascara (1,296yen)

2. Maybelline New York Lashionista N mascara(1,296yen)

3. The SAEM tip concealer1.5 (842yen)

4. RIMMEL Chocolat sweet eyes soft mat003 (1,728yen)

5. SUGAO snow whip cream for skin care(1,296yen)


The good point about PLAZA is that people can get cosmetics with a quite reasonable price and they’re many fashionable products. We often call reasonable price as “PUCHI-PURA” which is omitted the expression of “Petit-Price” in Japanese and you can get PUCHI-PURA trend cosmetics at PLAZA.

If you’re living in Tokyo, you can find PLAZA everywhere such as at Ginza, Yaesu, Shiodome, Shinjuku, Ueno, Toyosu, Gotanda, Ooimachi, Shibuya, Tamagawa or Haneda Airport. Even you need to stop by Japan just as for transit to the destination, you can take a look at the Haneda Airport if you’re interested in.


5. Cosmetics That Japanese People Buy in the Drug Store




If you think about drug stores, do you think they sell only medicines? The drug stores in Japan sell not only medicines but also many other things such as cosmetics, foods, sweets, supplements, pet care products, daily necessities or some drug stores sell even alcohols as well such as beer, wine, Japanese sake, canned cocktail called chuhai, whiskey, plum wine called umeshu(The selling products would be different depending on each drug stores.).

The big advantage of buying cosmetics at the drugstores in Japan is that people can get quite a reasonable price such as discount price. Many Japanese women buy cosmetics at drugstores such as the following major beauty products:


1. Eyeshadows

2. Eyeliners

3. Eyebrows

4. Mascara

5. Lipstick

6. Manicure

7. Body creams or lotions


For those who can get their favorite basic-skin products at the drug stores, then yes, continue to buy at the drug stores; but if not, many Japanese women buy through other means such as department stores, online shops since drug stores sell limited brands products. Most Japanese women prefer to buy their cosmetics with reasonable price and prefer to get them without having any skin problems on their faces so the above 7 products are safe to buy at the drug stores.

There are also special point cards available, however, this depends on the drug stores so you can also save up your points to get the products by discount price after you saved enough points. For example, you can save up T-Points at drug store Welcia, original Matsumotokiyoshi points at Matsumotokiyoshi.


6. What and Where About Cosmetics: How was it?




I hope you now know more about cosmetics in Japan and also how and where to buy them. It’s always not so easy to change your daily cosmetics especially if you have your own favorites and have been using it for a long time. However, it may be also a good chance to try new cosmetics which you’ve never tried before and trying out a new style might end up being the product you might have always needed. The most confusing thing is that there are way too much different cosmetics with many brands in Japan so even Japanese women have troubles to choose the good ones. However, it’s also lucky to have so many options for choosing cosmetics to expand the beauty style so enjoy your shopping to find the most attractive cosmetics in Japan.


If you’re living in Japan or have any chance to stop by Japan, how about trying new cosmetics in Japan? By using Japanese cosmetics, you can find what kind of style that Japanese women love or prefer, and enjoy the Japanese style of coloring for your makeups.

New experience makes your life more interesting!

Will you try Japanese Cosmetics? Let me know in the comments below!