Friday, April 12, 2013

Beauty Products in Japan

Boys, avert your eyes, as this post might bore you.

What's a girl to do alone on a Friday night, drinking Orangina (how wild) with my hand in a bag of cookies? Well, I decided to take photos of the beauty products I use in Japan and share my regimen.

To be honest, I don't use many Japanese brands, for various reasons. I find the hair care (shampoo and conditioner) to be too heavy for my thick hair, the body lotions too light for my dry skin, and the make up shades not quite the right fit for my skin tone. However, I found quite a few gems in Japanese brands, after trying practically everything over the past three and a half years. I particularly love Japanese cleansing oils and mascaras.

I now only stick to what works best for me, and most of those products are not Japanese brands- however, they can all be purchased in Japan (at least in Tokyo), as I don't shop online. If you have any questions on where to find certain items, please ask in the comments!

And please share any great beauty products you found available in Japan!

Skincare, haircare and makeup

I use the ever excellent Nars blush in the shade 'Orgasm' (what else), and the multi-purpose stick "The Multiple"in the same hue, which I dab on my lip and eyelids for a light shimmer. I don't wear eyeshadow or eyeliner. I found out my eyes look bigger without all the heavy black liquid.

After years of trying on so many face powders and foundations, Lancôme "Teint Miracle" was recommended to me by a professional makeup artist, and I love it. It's a simple powder that completely blends in, doesn't look cakey yet covers the redness and under eye circles. I wear it on its own, on freshly moisturized skin. It's a bit expensive, but it lasts for over six months of daily use.

Japanese mascara wins hands down! It's cheap, and stays on forever. I like the brand "Heroine Make", which is easily recognizable in a package featuring a manga-like character with teary eyes. You can't miss it! It's around ¥1,100. When I'm really broke I use the CanMake brand, which costs only ¥600 and lasts for ages.

I'm addicted to this German brand Florena. It's a thick shea butter body cream, and not only does it thoroughly moisturizes, but it smells heavenly. It's not so easy to find, but Loft usually has it.

Aésop is an Australian brand I recently started using, and this Primrose Facial Hydrating cream is perfection. It smells like lavender, and keeps my combination skin supple and not oily. I get excited putting it on morning and nights, as the scent is glorious.

Ah, every girl needs Chanel. I use a nude, golden lipstick in a shade called "Style" from the Coco Rouge line, which my boyfriend picked out for me on my birthday. I trust his taste! Coco Mademoiselle eau de parfum has been my signature scent for over ten years now.... that makes me sound old I know.

Although I tend to pick Chanel nail polish over any other brand, my wallet much prefers the likes of Top Shop, and lately I'm addicted to this adorable kit, in rose gold, green and lilac shimmery shades. Perfect for spring, but I'll switch to crimson hues in autumn.

All nail polish must be removed at some point, and this Bourjois nail polish remover is truly miraculous. It takes everything off in a few seconds, even glittery polish. Bonus: it's hydrating with almond oil, and smells of vanilla, unlike other removers that smell like paint thinner.

I use a combination of cleansing oil "Tiss" by Shiseido (which is cheap here as it's a Japanese brand) and Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cleanser. The oil helps dissolve my heavy, waterproof mascara, and the cleanser just keeps everything squeaky clean. I'm sure I don't need both, but I like using them together. 

Finding a suitable shampoo and conditioner was the most challenging part for me in Japan, as my hair is thick and wavy, and most Japanese shampoos only cater to that type of hair, and weighs mine down. I found L'Oréal Elsève to be the best quality for a reasonable price, and the closest to a Western equivalent. I love a classic Dove soap bar in the shower, and Nivea for a deodorant... Okay, I cheated. I purchased -and stocked up on- Nivea deodorant on my last trip to Hong Kong. Japan is a total failure when it comes to deodorant, and even though they're starting to import a few brands like Secret, they have yet to catch up.

I simply cannot live with this light toning water by ubiquitous Japanese brand MUJI. I spray it morning and night, and it keeps my skin hydrated and fresh. It's cheap, and the mist does wonders for my skin.

Haircare for my lion's mane requires a dollop of Brazil nut cream mixed with a few pumps of grape seed serum, both from The Body Shop. I apply the blend to wet hair, and it usually manages it, even in the humid summer months.

Lips! I swear by Kiehl's Lip Balm (I have about three tubs going on, including a pear scented one), and Maybelline Baby Lips does a fine job as well, without being too waxy.

Those are random, but essential: mint eyedrops that make my eyes burn and squint for like a whole minute, and Ringl is the best over-the-counter painkiller I've found in Japan- for headaches, muscle pain and stomach cramps, so I highly recommend it to keep around your house.

What are your favorites?


love.heart.boom. said...

Loved this post! I've been looking for a good foundation or powder but can never find anything here quite the right color or texture for my skin. I used to cheat and buy my makeup on base when I had friends there but now i'm back to trying Japanese brands. Will see if I can find the Lancome teint miracle you use. I wish lived Tokyo sometimes - so much choice, Hiroshima...not so much! I also really love the Muji toners and some of their face creams. I use the all in one essence as a face moisturizer in winter. Have you tried any of the Skin Food products? I love their face care products especially the black sugar scrub and sparkling apple toner. Sorry for the long comment, it's just nice to see i'm not alone in my Japanese make-up, skin/hair/body care trials and tribulations!
p.s love your blog!!

Vivian said...

Thanks for your lovely comment!! I do love Skin Food- I used to live in Korea and since it's a Korea brand it was so cheap out there, but sadly overpriced in Japan (even though it's still cheap!!). I agree though, their products are fantastic! I'll go buy the black sugar scrub now!

Anonymous said...

Yay! I don't know why but I love learning about people's favorite beauty products. Just being nosy, I guess :) And I was a bit curious about what you used on your hair since it always looks really shiny!

I also found Japanese beauty products to be really high in quality but sometimes not quite right for what I needed. I enjoyed the cleansing oil from FANCL and the Tsubaki shampoo and conditioner a lot when I was there, and in fact have had a hard time finding comparable hair products here in the US (I spend way more on conditioner than is reasonable). I also had great luck with the Elixir line from Shiseido until my skin started protesting--the salesperson informed me that they had added some "whitening" properties to it, the nemesis of really sensitive skin!

What I loved best about beauty shopping in Japan was that, even in the pharmacy next to my school in a mid-sized suburban city, I could find amazing lines from all over the world--Weleda, Avene, SK-II. There was no shortage of access to the best products out there, and for people a bit obsessed with skin care, Japan was heaven. You can also find great lines in the US, but you have to dig around or buy online.

Oooh, and I miss being able to go to LOFT and seeing row-after-row of bath salts. I was never into baths before Japan, but started them one winter as a means for defrosting myself, and have been in love since. Half my suitcase home was bath salt packets!

Whew, long comment, sorry!

Judith L said...

That body lotion sounds like a dream. I really liked the heroine make mascara and plan on going back to it after I finish the tube I'm one. I really want to try this brand called fiber wig though.
I've wanted to buy Nars orgasm for years, but alway choke a bit about the price.
This post makes me want to go shopping!

Isabel said...

loved reading this!

Preity said...

I am struggling to find what Japanese cosmetic will suit my skin. Thanks for this share.

Anonymous said...

Wow, Splendid products,I've been trying out different brands of Japanese eyeliner every time I purchase a new eyeliner now because to be honest, the Japanese makes the best and also special to me because of PIJ and for their great auction platform. This is absolutely amazing to me. Thanks for share :)

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I found quite a few gems in Japanese brands, after trying practically everything over the past three and a half years. I particularly love Japanese cleansing oils and mascaras.
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