Japan is known for high-tech cosmetics and skincare products, most of which come with a price tag to match the quality. But there are also many great finds on the drugstore shelves of Japan that can get the job done for a more affordable price. After listing what I wanted and needed and doing some research, this is what I took home from Osaka and Kyoto.
While most of these products are available in the Philippines, please note that the two prices listed are 1) how much I bought the product for in Japanese Yen and 2) the Philippine peso conversion per the exchange rate at the time I wrote this, and that the items were purchased in Japan. If you purchase them from Philippine stores or online, you may be given a higher price due to import taxes and/or shipping fees.
Rohto Mentholatum Deep Moist Lip Balm
¥350 / Php171
I’m always looking for lip balm. Sometimes, I’m not sure if it’s a medical need or just force of habit, but at this point, I need lip balm to function. Rohto Mentholatum Deep Moist lives up to its name. My lips are highly prone to windburn, especially when flying since the cabin air is so dry. I didn’t experience any pain on my flight back. I’ve been using it day-to-day and only need to reapply once in a while, like after eating or drinking.
Bifesta Dual Cleansing Facial Wash
¥400 / Php196
The hostel where I had made reservations offered toiletries for free, but one thing that was missing was facial wash. I hadn’t brought my own from home, so on my first night in Osaka, I headed to the nearest store and bought some. I had read about Bifesta on the Asian skincare subreddit, where their products came highly recommended. What I like about the Bifesta Dual Cleansing Facial Wash is that it got rid of the oil and dirt that had built up on my skin from traveling, without drying my skin out. I used it for the duration of my trip and brought the rest of the tube home with me.
Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion
¥800 / Php391
Out of all the things I bought, this is my absolute favorite. Hada Labo is known for its high-tech formulation that moisturizes deeply and locks that moisture in. I use it after washing my face — there’s a tutorial on YouTube for the “Hada Labo patting technique” that shows the best way to use the lotion. My dear friend and favorite makeup artist, Paolo, recommends using it before putting on makeup to prep your skin. After patting it on and letting it absorb, he suggests spraying some water on your face as the lotion takes some water from the air.
Kiss Me Heroine Liquid Eyeliner
¥1,080 / Php528
The makeup item that I restock the most often is liquid eyeliner. I rarely do a full face of makeup when I’m not going to an event or shooting a video, but eyeliner is a necessity for my “every day” look. I would normally buy liquid eyeliner that comes with a hard tip applicator, but I love the brush in the Kiss Me Heroine eyeliner. It has soft, fine bristles that are easy to work with. I almost always get a perfectly clean line.
D-UP Eyelashes Fixer Ex Lash Glue
¥900 / Php440
What sets D-UP lash glue apart from others is that you don’t have to wave the lash around and wait for the glue to get tacky before applying the lash to your eyelid. It’s ready to go right after you put the glue on. It’s made with medical-use adhesive tape glue, so once your false eyelashes are on, they aren’t going anywhere, even if you sweat, cry, or get rained on. After some bad experiences with lash glue that just stops working after an hour or two, this is a welcome change.
Daiso False Eyelashes Value Pack
¥100 / Php49
The cheapest (and possibly most fun) place to shop for souvenirs from Japan is Daiso. The majority of their products only cost 100 yen. Though they don’t have a wide selection of beauty products, I was able to find a pack of three pairs of false eyelashes. They’re plastic, which means they’re reusable, but in my experience with false lashes, you can only really get two or three uses out of a pair before they start to lose their shape. Still not a bad deal for just one coin.