Japan 2016: Beauty Haul (and Mini Reviews, Too)

I went back to Japan for the second time a few weeks ago with my mom, my brother, my aunts, and my cousin. We spent a phenomenal week in Hokkaido and a couple of days in Tokyo. I’m definitely going to write about it soon and maybe cut a video, but while I organise and edit all the photos and clips we took, here’s a beauty haul post for yer enjoyment.

The first time I went to Japan, I didn’t really buy anything except for KitKat and other snacks. I wasn’t interested in beauty then, and I was just so ecstatic to be in Japan because I had wanted to go there for the longest time. But during the two years I spent away from the motherland, nagdalaga ako (lol). Now, I’m back home, and I’m broke because I bought quite a bit of beauty stuff back.

Like, I’m really, really broke…but hey, at least I can be beautiful. LOL.

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Look at my stupid face pretending to look in the opposite direction of the drugstore aka one of the happiest places on earth, aka the black hole that sucks time and resources.

Let’s jump in.


By way of  a second introduction of sorts, I tried to stick to a shopping list I made before flying to Japan because I knew the selections would be crazy and overwhelming. Plus, I was only largely interested in products that are currently unavailable in the Philippines. If you’re just getting into beauty, and you’re still so excited to try a lot of things from foreign brands, doing your research before you fly (ideally months before), making a shopping list, and sticking to your budget are the best ways to avoid poverty, basically. This process has stopped me from making so many impulse purchases and really made me consider which products I wanted more than others.

I’ll start with makeup since I only bought three things.

Heroine Make Long and Curl Waterproof Mascara

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From all the articles and videos I’ve read and seen, the Japanese sure know how to make eyes pop! They’re excellent at making eyeliners, circle lenses, false lashes, and mascara. I’m not really into eyeliner and falsies, and circle lenses not at all, but I’m definitely a big fan of good mascara. If you go online, Heroine Make is one of the most popular and visible brands that produce good mascara, so I had my eyes set on their long and curl waterproof formula.

But yknow, I think Heroine Make is available in some stores here in the Philippines (like Landmark), but it was a bit cheaper to buy in Japan. I was also looking for the Fairy Drops mascara, too, but I wasn’t able to find it in Hokkaido and Tokyo.

Oh, and if you see a product with a Cosme sticker on it, that means a lot of people have bought it, tried it, and liked it. Cosme is an online Japanese beauty portal. Once or twice a year, they rank the season or the year’s hottest beauty items based on hundreds of reviews. And Japanese brands like to put the stickers on their products to let people know, especially foreigners, that the product is popular and well-liked. So, there, just a quick tip if you’re already in Japan and you’re feeling attacked by a thousand skincare and makeup options. For a safe bet, go with the one with the Cosme sticker on it.

K-Palette 1 Day Tattoo Two-Way Lasting Eyebrow Pencil

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This eyebrow pencil was not on my shopping list because we already have K-Palette here, but I bought it because it was only around 500 yen or P250. SO CHEAP compared to K-Palette in the Philippines, which can easily set you back a thousand bucks.

Cezanne Lasting Lip Color

For my last makeup product, I bought a lipstick from Cezanne. This brand is known for their great lip products. It looks like a dark berry color, but it’s more of a light berry pinky reddish rosy hue (if that makes any sense). I’m just shit at finding good lighting and editing. I’ve tried this a couple of times, and it’s super moisturising. I’m really digging the formula.

A few things I’ve noticed about Japanese lip products: Most lipsticks tend to be quite sheer and translucent, but very moisturizing, so if you’re on the hunt for high coverage stuff, you might have more luck looking at what Western brands offer. In the US, matte liquid lips are everywhere right now, but I didn’t find a lot of those in Japan, but lip balms, lip glosses, and hydrating lipsticks were in abundance. I think, in general, the Japanese prefer natural-looking lips, subtle colors, nothing too bold like blue or violet, just hues that enhance what you already have. Mostly variations of pink, orange, brown, and red.

Choosy Lip Masks

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Still on lips, but moving on to skincare. I bought a few of these Choosy lip masks. I saw these in almost all the drugstores I went to. And they have other flavours like milk, honey, and herb. My lips aren’t dry, but I thought these would be great just to try out and to give as gifts. I don’t know yet if they’re jelly lip masks or the peel-off kind, but I think I’ll let you guys know through Snapchat soon (👻: kgemzon). In between snaps of my cats and food. Cats and food. That’s my whole life.

LuLuLun Sheet Masks

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I’m going to be talking about masks for quite a bit starting right now, so if you’re not a fan of sheet masks, you can just scroll down until you reach something else, but if you are a fan, grab some popcorn, chips, soda, cookies, and get comfortable.

LuLuLun face masks are very, very popular in Japan. Almost all the drugstores and convenience stores carry these masks. The ones in silver packaging (seen above) is for brightening (evening out your skin tone, lightening dark spots and pigmentation). They have other kinds, too, that offer other benefits like whitening and moisture. You can buy them in a pack of seven like this or a box of around forty.

Pure Smile Sheet Masks

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In every drugstore I went to in Japan, there were Pure Smile masks. Pure Smile masks everywhere, errwhere. They come in so many different designs (Japanese court ladies, cat, dog, anime, money) and flavours (wine, pearl, snake). There’s something for everybody.

I love giving masks as pasalubong to friends and family because they’re affordable and fun, especially if they have unique designs on them. Great for Instagram, great for Snapchat, great for giggles in general.

I tried one of these art masks today, and they’re pretty basic. The sticky feeling after you’re done using the mask takes a while to go away, but other than that, it’s fine. You buy these things for the design, anyway.

Design Godzilla Face Pack

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Speaking of design, would you please move your eyeballs closer to the screen and bask in this sheet mask’s beauty?! I friggin’ love Godzilla, so this mask and I are meant to get married and have mutated lizard babies with beautiful, hydrated skin.

Design Face Pack (Marvel and The Nightmare Before Christmas)

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Are your eyeballs still here? Good because LOOK AT THESE. LOOK AT THESE!

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Like, COME ON. I’m dying.

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I’m dead.

When I saw these masks in Tokyu Hands, my heart skipped a beat, I stopped breathing for a little bit, the world stopped spinning, then I grabbed all the masks off the shelf. I had to ask one of the employees to restock the shelf because I felt bad for the other people who wanted these masks…and because I just wanted more. I had a full-on hoarder moment in Tokyu Hands.

The brand, Design (or Design Face Pack, I’m not sure), has other designs like Alice in Wonderland, Attack on Titan, KISS, Doraemon, Chibi Maruko-chan, Astro Boy, cats, monsters, kabuki (first heard about these from Strawberry Mochi who models for the brand), and I’m pretty sure other characters that weren’t in that Tokyu Hands store, but everything was so awesome, just AWESOME.

Each two-pack is around 800 yen or P400, making each mask P200, more or less. A little pricey for something you’ll only use for half an hour, but these are great as gifts on special occasions, and yknow, why the hell not buy it for yourself? If it makes you happy and it doesn’t hurt anybody, you just do you. You do you.

Daiso Silicone Mask

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And then my cat decided to jump on the bed because I was ignoring him the whole afternoon.

Masks are fantastic, but the only downside to using them is I can’t move around too much or else they’ll slide off. The Japanese, though, got that problem covered by making these silicone masks that loop around your ears and keep the sheet mask pressed against your face. I bought one from the Daiso at Chitose Airport, but you can find these in other Daiso branches, I’m sure.

Found out about this nifty invention from The Beauty Breakdown. Probably 90% of my beauty knowledge comes from YouTube.

Kao MegRhythm Steam Eye Mask

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This is my final note on masks. We’ve reached the end, hallelujah.

A lot of beauty Japanese and Korean beauty bloggers and vloggers recommend this eye mask. The instructions are pretty idiot-proof: you open it, put it over your eyes, and it gets warmer. It’s supposed to be very relaxing, perfect for long-haul flights.

This is the plain one, but there are other scents like rose, chamomile, lavender, and yuzu (I think). Bought the five-pack box, but these are sold individually and in a box that has around 14, I think.

DHC Deep Cleansing Oil

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This cleansing oil was the very first item on my to-buy list. It’s on almost every must-buy list I saw online. And I love cleansing oil so this was a no-brainer.

I’m not sure why Alice in Wonderland is popular in Japan right now, but I’ve heard other people say Western movies premiere and show in Japan pretty much after the entire world has seen the movies, so perhaps Alice in Wonderland was just playing in theatres when I went there?

But that’s probably not the reason because that movie came out in 2010. Grabe naman kung ganern, Japan.

I’ve been using this for a week now. It does the job of a regular cleansing oil, but the smell is a little off-putting. Korean cleansing oils smell great across the board, but this DHC one doesn’t. It really smells like oil. Like cooking oil almost? I’m relieved I bought the small bottle. It works, but the smell is just…bleh.

Ettusais Gentle Make Off Makeup Remover

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Sorry again for crap lighting and editing. I’m a marketing professional so this is ironic.

Ettusais is a Japanese skincare and makeup brand that seems to be a good fit for people with acne-prone skin, but this is the only thing I bought from them so I don’t really know if that claim is worth anything, lol.

Their BB creams, I think, are their bestsellers. They use images of babies with smooth skin and rosy lips on their packaging so I guess that’s the effect most of their products are aiming for. And they use a fair amount of English on their packaging to explain what the product is and what’s in it, which is helpful for foreigners. I might give their other products a try when I go back to Japan in the future.

Senka Perfect Whip Facial Cleanser

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I first heard about the Shiseido Perfect Whip facial cleanser from Project Vanity‘s Liz Lanuzo a year ago. She really liked the product, and I’ve been itching to get my hands on a tube ever since. When I came across this product on her website, the packaging was different; it still had ‘Shiseido’ on the front. When I went to Japan, I saw tubs and tubs and tubs of the Senka Perfect Whip cleanser in drugstores, but the Shiseido Perfect Whip cleanser was nowhere in sight. I thought the Senka one was just a dupe so I held off on buying it until the last minute. I found out only later that Senka is a Shiseido Group brand. Other Shiseido subsidiaries include Anessa, Avene, bareMinerals, Ettusais, Laura Mercier, Maquillage, Nars, Tsubaki, and many more. It’s the same product, just different packaging.

Rosette Cleansing Paste (Acne Care)

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I bought a few Japanese acne care products, starting with the Rosette Cleansing Paste (another facial cleanser, not a mask). I chose the blue one that prevents and treats acne since I have acne-prone skin, but they have other variants that target other problem areas like pores, scarring or hyperpigmentation, and dullness.

Biore Skin Care Facial Foam (Acne Care)

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Y’all know I love Biore. Their cleansing wipes and the sunscreen (you’ll see it below) are my favorites, so I wanted to try this acne care facial wash from them.

I’ve also been using this for a couple of days now. It makes my skin feel really, really clean. A little dry afterwards, but nothing moisturiser can’t fix. I will say, though, that it doesn’t feel as gentle as Cetaphil or the Safeguard Derma Sense line because sometimes I feel a little sting on really raw pimples and the dry, peeling areas of my face.

Muji Light Toning Water

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Another thing that wasn’t on my list, but was cheaper in Japan. I’ve wanted to try the Muji Light Toning Water (Moisture) for a while now because it looks like a gentle, fuss-free toner. I saw this one in a 7-11 inside a hotel, and I picked it up on my way to get iced tea.

Putting this on the list of things I started using already. And so far, so good. It’s probably the most basic toner you can buy.

Eaude Muge Acne Skin Face Cream

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Eaude Muge specializes in acne care. Most drugstores carry them, but they’re a bit more expensive compared to their neighbor brands. In fact, only the boxes were on display, and you’ll only get the products when you pay at the register. I was supposed to get the toner that complements the cream, but the last drugstore I went to ran out of the smaller size. I didn’t want to commit to the big bottle so the toner’ll have to wait until I go back to Japan.

I’m using this now, and a little goes a long way. It’s a heavy moisturiser, I’d say, so this might be better to use in the colder months. I’m breaking out quite a bit right now, and that just gives me an opportunity to test if this is really good for acne-prone skin. First impression: It’s not an overnight miracle type of product (yknow, the kind that you put on your pimples then they go away overnight), but I think it’ll be good in the long run. We’ll see.

Hada Labo Perfect Gel

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I’m a fan of multiple-function products and shaving time off my skincare routine, so this Hada Labo 5-in-1 product was right up my alley. It contains hyaluronic acid, collagen, and ceramide, plus it’s supposed to be a lotion, milk, cream, serum, and mask rolled in one.

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Sunscreen

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My #1, HG, favorite, main bae sunscreen. Cheaper in Japan by a couple hundred bucks! (At least it was in that drugstore in Ueno. #tip)

If you’re looking for a great sunscreen, get this one. I swear by it. It doesn’t feel thick and sticky unlike other sunscreens. It does, however, have a subtle, citrusy scent, but it isn’t cloying unlike other sunscreens. And it’s incredibly lightweight. It’s more of a watery lotion, really. I use this on my face, my arms, my legs, everywhere. It’s so, so good.

DHC Eyelash Tonic

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This last product seems gimiky, but I’ve read good reviews on it online. The DHC Eyelash Tonic is supposed to make eyelashes look fuller, stronger, and healthier by encouraging eyelash growth. I don’t want to mess with my eyelashes with falsies and glue and extensions yet, so this seemed like a good idea. Plus, I really go to town on my eye area when I remove eye makeup, which isn’t good because I think that’ll cause long-term damage.

Anyway, I expect it’ll take a while before I see results. It’s hard to see if it’s working because eyelashes are so small. I’ll probably do a separate review if this works (or doesn’t).

If you want to try a product like this, Canmake (found in Landmark and Personal Care Exchange) has their Lash Care Essence. I’m not sure if they’re supposed to do the same thing, but that’s something to consider nonetheless.


So, there you go. A Japanese beauty haul. If you to know more about a product on this list, just let me know in the comments, send me a private message, tweet me, whatever. Are you a fan of Japanese beauty products? Which ones have worked great for you?

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