Hi everyone! If you’ve been following me on my blog or Instagram, you might know that I recently went on a trip to Japan. I will do a thorough travel series on Japan in the upcoming month, but for now, here’s what most of you are more interested in: all of the makeup and skincare I hauled!
In recent years, Korean beauty has really seemed to dominate the Asian skincare market, but Japanese skincare has been a thing way before Korean products came onto the scene. I’ve been using Shiseido since I was a teen because of my mom, who has been using it since SHE was a teen! Although I had a long list of brands to check out while I was in Japan, I didn’t actually go too crazy in terms of actually hauling any makeup. First of all, Japanese makeup is a bit on the expensive side. I spent a little over $200 CAD for this all of these products, the majority of which are drugstore brands. Second of all, a lot of the products weren’t really “my thing”, which I’ll go into detail about later on in this post.
From previous experience, I know that the packaging of Japanese makeup is mostly (if not all) written in Japanese, so it’s hard to know what you’re buying. Before going on the trip, I had done a lot of research on the Asian Beauty subreddit to get some ideas of popular products that people recommended. I also referred to Stashy’s post on what she hauled in Japan two years ago, which gave me more ideas I had not encountered on Reddit.
There are a lot of brands available in Japan that you won’t be able to find elsewhere, so my first priority was to look at those. Japanese brands that are available in Western countries (Shiseido, Shu Uemura, SUQQU) are a little less expensive in Japan, so if you have your eye on any products from them and just so happen to be heading to Japan, it would be a good time to make the splurge. While I did buy two high-end items, I was mostly interested in trying drugstore products.
Beauty standards are so different in Japan compared to North America. Japanese girls prefer fairly straight, soft brows, and sheer, sometimes sparkly eye makeup. I found that matte shadows or bright shades were pretty rare, particularly in palettes. In terms of skin, they like very natural looking skin, and as Stashy mentioned in her post, I noticed that powder compacts are way more popular than liquid foundations. They use very little contouring or highlighting, and blush shades are typically peaches and pinks. I noticed a few girls with very natural/barely there eye makeup, but with prominent blush. When it came to lips, I noticed either either had sheer pink/red lips, or very bold red lips. Anyways, the makeup that they sell in Japan is formulated to create this look, which is so different from the more North American style I prefer. I like more pigmented eyeshadow and neutral lips, neither of which were always easy to find.
Japanese department stores are overwhelming in terms of makeup, and it makes it worse when you don’t know how to read the packaging. Products are so tightly packed together, but it’s not so bad when you spend your time going from one brand to the other. One thing I really loved was that all of the products have testers that you are free to swatch – some drugstores don’t have testers in Canada. Most of the testers also have a clear cover over them so that they don’t get dried out. While the makeup section can be overwhelming, one big tip I found on the Asian Beauty subreddit was that beauty brands in Japan have something called the @Cosme awards, which are awarded to high-performing and popular products. There’s a list online of the products that have won the award, but the packaging will also have a sticker on it indicating as such. This was extremely helpful in helping me figure out which products to buy!
You can find beauty products at a lot of places, from duty-free stores like Matsumoto Kiyoshi and Don Quixote, to department stores such as Isetan or Seibu, which sell high-end brands. I purchased the majority of my products from Matsumoto Kiyoshi (a drugstore), but also at Ainz & Tulpe (higher end) and ITS’ DEMO, which sells a lot of products in collaboration with animations (Pokemon, Disney, etc.).
Some North American drugstore brands are available in Japan (off the top of my head, I remember seeing L’Oreal and Rimmel, and some places had Physician’s Formula), but they have a slightly different selection of products that aren’t available in North America (or at least not available in Canada). This makes sense, if you think about it. Different market = different trends = different product selection.
Anyways, now that you have some background about Japanese beauty and shopping in Japan, let’s hop right into the haul!
Visee Glossy Rich Eyeshadow Quad in PK-3
I think out of all the drugstore products, Visee was the most appealing to me. First of all, how cute is this packaging? I also really like the purple-pink colour scheme of this palette.
Visee Avant Cream Eyeshadow in 104 Mocha
I believe this was part of their new fall collection. It’s a more sheer cream shadow, but it’s super pretty taupe shade. I’m thinking this will be very pretty for a no-makeup makeup look!
Excel Skinny Rich Shadow in SR03 Royal Brown
As I said before, Japanese eyeshadows tend to be more sheer, but I was so impressed by how buttery and pigmented this quad was. The colours are a bit on the boring side as were all of the quads from this line (again, Japanese girls tend to go for neutral shades), but it is so pretty.
Excel Powder & Eyebrow Pencil in PD05 Grayish Brown
Not only has this eyebrow pencil won a Cosme award, but it’s highly raved about on Reddit, so I decided to give it a try.
Kate Double Line Expert
A lot of people recommended the Kate liquid liner, but they didn’t mention the exact name, so I’m not sure if I purchased the right one. I feel like I only saw one liquid liner from the Kate brand?
Canmakeup Cream Cheek in the Colour 15
I posted a photo of the Canmake section above, and as you can tell, it’s a super girly looking brand. I was sure that I wouldn’t be interested in any of the products because it looks rather juvenile. However, I saw online that their cream blush has won a Cosme award though, so I was curious to try it.
Yojiya Lip Balm
This is brand that Stashy brought to my attention! Yojiya is a brand that originated in Kyoto, and are recognizable by their “girl in the mirror” logo (which I find a little creepy if I’m being honest. It reminds me of a Japanese horror film??) There were a few Yojiya stores in Kyoto that I would have walked right by if not for this logo, since the store name was always written in Japanese. Yojiya is especially known for their blotting powders, which they use a special Japanese paper to make. Unfortunately, I don’t use blotting powders because I have dry skin, but I still wanted to try something from the brand. I ended up going with their lip balm, because I was lured in by its delicious scent of yuzu.
LuLuLun Sheet Masks
There are so many face masks to choose from in Japan – they have walls of masks in stores! I found that LuLuLun was by far the most highly recommended brand online. I couldn’t find individual packets, but I bought two of these resealable packs that have seven masks each. These were only 400 yen each, or $4.50 CAD – I wish I bought 10 of these! I purchased one for my mama and one for myself!
Miche Bloomin’ False Eyelashes
My mother-in-law told me that she heard Japanese falsies are really good and asked me if I would mind picking up a few for her. I did some research and found that a lot of people were recommending the Miche Bloomin’ brand. These were super cheap at Daiso – something like $2 CAD! I found the 4-set first so I bought that, but then I found separate sets so that she can try a bunch of different styles.
Miracle Romance Hensou Pen Liquid Eyeliner
I actually bought this eyeliner because a girlfriend asked me to bring one home for her. I looked it up online prior to leaving for the trip and it seemed to have decent reviews, so I bought one for myself, too. I was a huge fan of Sailor Moon as a kid, so how could I resist?! I saw online that they eyeliners with cooler packaging, but I couldn’t find it in stores. Hopefully she is okay with this one!
Majolica Majorca Lash King
When I was in Hong Kong, I picked up the Majolica Majorca Lash Expander and I really loved it. The Lash King is supposed to be even better! I can actually get Majolica Majorca here in Calgary at Asian grocery stores, but it’s significantly more expensive, something like $35 CAD.
Addiction Eye Shadow Palette
This was another brand that I found from Stashy’s post and I simply “needed” it. This little guy set me back $95 CAD – but YOLO. I don’t regret buying these colours, per se, but for some reason I’m obsessed with making palettes that can make complete looks (eg one transition, one lid, one crease, and one highlight) even though the chances of me taking it on vacation are slim. To be honest, a matte brown is a matte brown, so I should have just gone with random colours that I was interested in instead of trying to make a complete palette.
Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
Funnily enough, just before we left for our trip, I decided that I needed to replace my Shu Uemura curler but that it could wait since I currently have eyelash extensions. However, I decided to pick one up in Japan – it costs roughly $19 CAD in Japan vs $25 CAD if I purchased it in Canada.
Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50++
The Japanese LOVE their sunscreen, which makes sense when you think about it – pale skin is what they find attractive, so sunscreen is a big part of their beauty routine. This is HUGELY raved about in the Reddit community, so I couldn’t not pick it up.
Hada Labo Gokujyn Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
Again, this Hada Labo lotion was highly recommended by so many people on Reddit. It normally takes me months to start a product I have hauled but I might try this out ASAP. I’m going to Hong Kong in November, where Hada Labo is available – if I like it, then I can pick up another bottle (or 10) there.
So these are all the items I picked up from Japan. I’m really looking forward to testing these out! Were there any memorable brands that you picked up while you were on vacation?