Japan Skincare and Beauty Product Shopping Guide List

We’ve planned our trip to Japan! Although I am slightly disappointed that we will be going as the cherry blossom season is winding down, I’m still very excited because this time, we’re visiting the island of Kyushu – a different scene than the previous trips we’ve taken (Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto). From what I understand, Kyushu is home to major cities such as Fukuoka (home of the famous Hakata style tonkotsu ramen), Nagasaki, Kumamoto, and the “onsen” hot springs resort town of Beppu.

Of course, no trip to Japan would be complete without a MASSIVE haul of beauty and skincare products. Just check out the loot from my last trip:  

Japan Skincare Beauty Haul


Just a little overboard, eh? 😛

This time, I wanted to be way more strategic and reign in the impulse purchases a bit. After all, I really don’t need to clutter up my bathroom/vanity space with stuff I won’t use.

So I did an inventory check of my current skincare and makeup products (hey – failure to plan is planning to fail, ok?!) and made a wishlist of things that I not only wanted, but needed. OK – need is a strong word. Do I really need more lipsticks and blushes? But relatively speaking, I’m going with more of a game plan than previous years, where I just grabbed a basket and went balls to the wall (er… interesting descriptive word choices) at every drugstore I laid eyes on. (I believe Ka and I were married by then, so it was safe to reveal my severe addiction to all things pretty, shiny, and um, expensive).

I then organized my wishlist into two categories: 1) Skincare and 2) Base Color & Makeup

For the color cosmetics, the products can then be broken down into another two categories – Drugstore and High End. If you’ve been to Japan, then you would know that the drugstores are no joke. There’s a reason why I don’t bother with CVS and Walgreens beauty departments here in the states. Not to sound like a snob, but if you’ve shopped beauty at Japanese drugstores, it’s hard to come back down to a U.S. drugstore. Just sayin’.

Note: I didn’t include any high-end skincare products this time around because to be honest, I have my shelf full of products from the states that I’m still working through. I have a few staples I pick up from Three’s skincare line (their stuff is just THAT good) for myself and some friends, but for the most part I’m sticking to drugstore skincare products this time around.

So without further ado, I present to you my 2018 Japan Beauty Wishlist items (pops champagne)

Let’s start with skincare, shall we? (Because, duh, #skincarefirst)

The images are all below, compiled into a nice little one-sheeter (my deck building skills from my corporate days are coming in handy. jk i was horrible at building decks you can probably tell)

Starting from Top Left working my way to Bottom Right:

  1. Kicking off with this much talked about Mediplus “All in One” skincare gel – I scoured Japanese and Chinese blogs, youtube videos, web, and saw that this skincare gel is quite popular with Japanese girls and tourists alike. Marketed for the “lazy girls” (I don’t believe there are any lazy girls when it comes to skincare in Asia, but I stand corrected) – this is touted as an “All In One” skincare solution and sold a record 5 million bottles in Japan upon launch. 5 MILLION bottles? I checked the population in Japan, and there are about 60 million women in Japan. So almost 1 in every 10 women purchased this Mediplus gel. That’s pretty impressive. Gotta see what the hype is all about, right? The things I do for research. 
  2. I’ve never tried these LuLuLun facial sheet masks before, but after doing some research on “best sheet masks” in Japan, these have piqued my interest. People like it because it’s budget-friendly, suitable for everyday use, made in Japan, no added scent (suitable for sensitive skin). I’m doing a lot of research before I go this time so I can make a “Top 5 Japanese Sheet Mask” post/video in the future. No seriously. The things I do for research.
  3. This Perfect One whitening gel is relatively new on the skincare scene in Japan, I have added to my list to try out if I see it. I’m not really big on whitening, per se. I’m actually more into brightening and evening out skin tone. If I miss this one, I plan to get the COSRX  essence when I get back to the states! 
  4. Shiseido’s Elixir Balancing Bubble foaming cleanser has been quite popular after browsing the net for some recommendations for a cleanser, although it’ll be tough to beat out Three’s balancing foaming cleanser. 
  5. RJ Essence this is a 2-in-1 whitening + moisturizing product. Containing 60% royal jelly, this is a supremely moisturizing product with added whitening benefits that Japanese women can’t seem to get enough of. It’s been very popular among the Taiwanese blogs I’ve been scouring and Taiwanese girls don’t mess around with their skincare. 
  6. Sekkisei CC Cream with SPF 50 – if you want to read more about BB Creams and CC Creams, this is a good place to start. I’m drawn to the high SPF formulation of this product. I’ve never tried Sekkisei before – this is a brand owned by Japanese cosmetic conglomerate Kose, and it’s quite a popular product in the drugstores, always topping the best sellers list. I plan to try it in store first, and purchase if I like how it feels. There’s also a CC primer in my color cosmetics category by Sugao. Only one shall reign supreme (….like Iron Cosmetics…?) and come home with me.
  7. Shiseido’s Anessa sunscreen. Anessa’s newest model/spokesperson is the ever-super-gorgeous Japanese model Hikari Mori. I follow Anessa on IG and saw their latest campaign and jaw about dropped to the ground. All I can say is, how unfair it is that not all of us were born with perfectly chiseled features and legs for days. Anyway, I digress. Anessa has long reigned supreme in the Asian sunscreen category, as you can tell by their little Cosme First Place prize banner. If you buy sunscreen in Asia, this seems to be the #1 choice.  There are many Japanese sunscreens you can purchase in the states on Amazon nowadays, but the newest formulations are still best purchased at the source – in Japan. I have to say however, that it’ll have to blow my socks off pretty hard because I’ve been very satisfied with Elta MD’s sunscreen. 
  8. Hada Nature foaming cleanser – I don’t know why I keep adding cleansers to the mix but something about foaming bubbly cleansers just…speaks to me. I’ll most likely only purchase one between this and Shiseido’s Elixir. Or I will toss my plan aside completely when I get there and buy whatever comes by my way. That is entirely possible.

2018 Japanese Skincare Products Most Popular

Alright, let’s move on to color and makeup! I have to admit, even though I think skincare is more important, makeup is so fun! I’m not one for too much eyeshadow or heavy makeup. Even though I am OBSESSED with watching NikkiTutorials, Patrick Star, and others on YouTube, I don’t actually ever bake, contour, highlight, or do whatever it is makeup/beauty gurus are doing nowadays. More power to those who do, but it’s just not my personal choice.  I’ve always gravitated toward simple, natural makeup. Which is why my list includes a lot of products that are really quite simple to apply and you can’t really screw up. (Read: pat in with fingers, no makeup brushes needed)

Starting with the drugstore items: These can be purchased at most Japanese drugstores.

  1. Canmake Cream Cheek blush: The cat’s been out of the bag on this one for a while. Canmake’s cream blushes top even Allure beauty editors’ must have list. I plan to see if there are any new shades you can’t get here on Amazon.
  2. Sugao Air CC Cream with SPF: A favorite of Taiwanese/Japanese skincare and beauty bloggers, this light as air CC cream packs SPF and does a good job blurring any pores or imperfections. If you need more coverage however, best to get a foundation.
  3. Opera Lip Tint: This has been blowing up blogs in Japan – best seller is comfortable to wear and has wearable shades, or so I hear. Time to go test it out!
  4. Kiss Me Mascara – Many agree, this is THE mascara to purchase in Japan.
  5. Excel Eyebrow Pencil – I’m skeptical about Asian brow products to be honest. The color payoff doesn’t seem to match Benefit’s brow pencils. I’m going to add it to the list to remember to try it out though.

Higher end, luxury items: Recommend purchasing these at either department stores (remember to get tax refunds!) or duty free shops at the airports.

  1. Three Lyrical Lip Bloom – New for Spring 2018 is Three’s lip color collection. I saw on one of my favorite blogger’s site she purchased 01 Movement Feel and it is THE PRETTIEST nude pink. I shall report back with my findings. 
  2. Three Angelic Synthesis Foundation Serum SPF 38 PA+++ – I’ve always wanted to try their foundation, and this serum foundation seems like the one to try!
  3. Three Whisper Gloss for Eye – So funny thing is I was actually tempted to purchase Glossier’s Lid Star but after I started doing my research for this post I was like NOPE. Saving my $$$$ for Three’s Eye Gloss – it’s basically a liquid eyeshadow, so very much like lid star, so I am looking forward to checking out their formulation because IT SHOULD BE AMAZINNNG.
  4. Cle De Peau concealer – I know I can get this in the states, but wanted to see if there were any shades that were Asia specific, and if the price would be a little cheaper.

Can you tell I’m just a little obsessed with Three? I had to just stick in a Cle De Peau concealer at the end because I can’t have EVERYTHING be Three…. or can I…..

2018 Most Popular Japanese Makeup and Beauty Products


If you ever visit Japan, what skincare and beauty items are on YOUR must buy list? I’d love to know 😉

Japanese Drugstore Beauty Must Buys