Japan Beauty Haul

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!

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The Canmake section: a plethora of pink!
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Makeup product upon makeup product upon makeup product…

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.

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An example of one of the products you can’t get in North America. This looks like a tinted oil from L’Oreal!

Anyways, now that you have some background about Japanese beauty and shopping in Japan, let’s hop right into the haul!

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

33 thoughts on “Japan Beauty Haul

  1. Very nice post!! most products have really fun packaging, I am so curious to try all of these Japanese brands, I actually never tried anything asian, not even Korean skin care products. I really want to though.

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  2. Wow, this is so cool! I love discovering products in other countries that you can’t get back at home. I remember “discovering “ Kiko in Italy long before it was available to ship in the States. I haven’t been to Asia at all yet, so I’m always so jealous when I see photos like this! It seems a lot of countries there take beauty very seriously and it’s interesting to see how the beauty standards are different. Really great post and I you had a great trip!

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    • YES, I was dead set on going to Kiko when we went to Italy last year (I don’t think we can get Kiko shipped to Canada so getting it at home was never an option) – I still wish that it’s easier to get access to that brand! Discovering products from other countries is so much fun. You really find a lot of gems! Thanks for reading! 🙂

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  3. Japanese stores look amazing but definitely overwhelming! I love everything you got, it all looks so cute. Even if the eyeshadows are quite regular shades they look packaged and designed so beautifully x

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    • It looks overwhelming, but it’s not so bad if you do your research beforehand because you know what to expect/what to look for. A few years ago, I went to Hong Kong without having done any prior research and THAT was overwhelming. You’re right, Japanese products (not just makeup, but everything in general) really focus on packaging. Some of the food we brought home was packaged beautifully!

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  4. I was initially tempted to check out SUQQU but I was a bit overwhelmed and chickened out. I’m glad I stuck with drugstore and mid-range. The quality at those levels are so good and I don’t really see the point of paying big bucks mainly for packaging and the brand name.

    Agreed – I did really love having a CLEAN tester for almost every item in the store! I wish we had that here. It’s gotten better but it’s nowhere near the level of Japanese stores.

    Thanks for linking back to my post. 🙂 I recently went through my unopened makeup basket and finally pulled out the Addiction and Lunasol palettes to try. Have only tried the Lunasol quad (a bit boring, ok formula – not worth the $50 price tag) but not the Addiction one yet. I got my friend to pick up that Visee Glossy Rich Eyes quad in PK3 when she went to Japan last year, as it was one of my regrets for not picking it up when I was there. Still unopened…

    I picked up the Excel palette in SR04 Smoky Brown and it is my favourite eye shadow that I got from Japan (so far, of the ones that I’ve that I’ve tried). I’ve been thinking of ordering another one from that range but the versions are so similar to each other, I don’t see the point. I haven’t tried the Excel Powder & Eyebrow Pencil yet but I’m planning to open it SOON.

    Good deal getting that Shu Uemura eyelash curler for cheaper, right from the source! I picked up a bunch of random mascaras and I gave most of them away and the ones I kept, I ended up not liking them since a lot have fibres or are super waterproof which irritates my eyes.

    I fell in LOVE with the Yojiya hand cream I bought. I looked online to repurchase it but it’s so inflated ordering online! I’ll just have to go back to Japan… 😉

    You did pretty well – you said you didn’t buy much but still interesting to see them all. Enjoy all your goodies!

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    • Totally agreed. I feel like I *could* have looked at more high-end products (THREE, RMK), but to be honest I felt a little too overwhelmed for that. Like you said, the quality of drugstore/mid-range products is so good that I don’t feel like I missed out.

      Your blog post was used as a reference many times during the trip, LOL. It’s funny because I bought the Visee Glossy Rich Eyeshadow Quad after seeing it on your post, but I didn’t realize I got the shade you wanted until I got home from my shopping trip. My brain must have picked it up subliminally, haha. Funny that you mention the Excel quads all looking the same – out of all the drugstore palettes, I spent the most time deciding on the Excel quads, and I think it was because I was getting all the swatches confused because they all looked so similar that I forgot which one I had last swatched!

      I don’t know why, but I didn’t pick up as many mascaras as I thought I would…I guess because they focus more on length whereas I look for volume? There were so many mascaras to choose from, though! Those Heroine Make ones look good.

      Ooooh, I seriously contemplated getting that Yojiya hand cream! The scent is sooo lovely. I really wanted to try more from the brand, but their prices are not a particularly cheap, and most of the products I only felt lukewarm over. And YES you have to go back – you got those Hakuhodo brushes to pick up, as well 😉

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  5. I always get my hands on Hada Labo when I’m in Asia. It’s just a go-to brand if I’m going down the route of Asian beauty products. I did want to try Canmake when I last went to Hong Kong but I felt the aesthetic was too girly/shimmery for me. I love blush but I don’t know, I thought the brand was too cute and young for me lol.

    I really want to try LuLuLun! I have heard great things about it and I really like that the packaging isn’t boxed.

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    • What other products would you recommend from Hada Labo? The Hyaluronic Acid Lotion was the most talked about, I found. Yes, Canmake is super girly and young – I like cute packaging but it was too much even for me, lol. I wasn’t expecting to get anything from the brand but I was curious about the cream blush since it won a Cosme award!

      Have you seen to see if you can buy LuLuLun face masks online? I looked and it’s available on Amazon Canada (albeit at a markup…)

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      • I absolutely loved the Hada Labo Moisturising Milk when I used it! It lasted me a really long time too so I definitely think it’s one of the most economical products I’ve used. If I remember correctly, you love hydration-targeting products? I think you’ll really like this. 🙂

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        • Oooh, thanks for the recommendation! Yes, I love hydration-targeting products, so I might try to look for the Moisturising Milk in Hong Kong. I just broke out the Hyaluronic Acid and I think it’s the best HA I’ve used thus far!

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  6. This was so fun to read about! It is awesome that they have testers for all the shades. I hate that we don’t in Canada; that is one of the most frustrating things about shopping in drugstores here. I heard in Angelica Nyqvist’s Japan video many similar things to what you are describing about the style of makeup in Japan. She said a lot of girls were also wearing blush much higher up than we do, almost in the highlighter area! And yes, lots of blush, presumably to look very cute and like they had “just pinched cheeks” haha. It is so interesting to hear about different beauty trends around the world. I haven’t travelled outside of North America, so I have a lot to learn!

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    • You’re right, I feel like I would shop at drugstores a lot more often if we actually had testers for everything! And clean ones too, please.

      I didn’t know Angelica Nyqvist had a Japan video up, but I’m interested in going to watch it later! Yes, they love their blush over there! I did see some girls wearing blush really high up but it wasn’t super prevalent – I wonder if it’s partly because highlighting isn’t huge there, so they might use shimmery blushes for both. It really is interesting to see how other cultures prefer to do their makeup – it’s so different everywhere!

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      • Yes she said the blush was basically in place instead of a highlighter! You should definitely check out her video. I haven’t watched her vlog yet but she does a chatty GRWM which is what I watched I think.

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