If you have ever walked into a drugstore here in Tokyo you might have been just a bit overwhelmed, or completely and utterly overwhelmed with the amount of options you have. Japan is the land of makeup, skin care, and random oddities. In the face of these odds I decided to challenge myself. I went to several drugstores around my area to find the cheapest and the best products I could in one huge drugstore haul.
One of the most basic skin care products in Japan, and really anywhere on this continent, is the face mask. This can definitely be one of the most daunting obstacles, to choose one among the many. Do I go with funny animal faces, essence of snail, or the basic skin toning? Now, keeping my budget in mind I decided to go with EGF Face Rescue Masks.
You can get a pack of 40 for under 1,000 yen or about $10 USD. They are so gentle that they are good for everyday use—and at that price point you can’t afford not to! These masks are super moisturizing and really keep my face hydrated. No need to risk the snake venom masks.
B.O.? Oh hell no!
Next is something that I doubt you will be able to find in drugstores in the West. Japanese summers are so hot, and people walk around so much here that they have created sweat blockers pads. And you can get them for only a few hundred yen.
You stick them to the inside armpit areas on your shirt and voila! Your sweaty armpits are no longer out and exposed for the world to see. The sweat gets soaked into the pad instead of your shirt. I guess this answers the questions, do Japanese people sweat? Apparently they do, they are just hiding it from everyone.
In the land of Japanese makeup Dolly Wink eyeliner seems to be staple.
I have seen it at every drugstore I visited and most convenience stores. They have a reputation of being one of the best and most reliable choices for Japanese eyeliner. Dolly Wink eyeliner comes in a couple color options as well as liner styles, whether you prefer pencil or liquid liners. It is a great go-to if you don’t know where to start with Japanese makeup. At about 900-1400 yen a pop or less than $15 USD, you won’t be breaking the bank.
Asia is the land of cute nails, so I had to make grabbing some cute, affordable nail polish a priority. I fought against the urge to just go with the adorable Hello Kitty bottles of nail polish and went with a more reliable brand, Canmake nail polish.
They come in funky colors, my favorites being Strawberry Milk and Chandelier Jewel. They are fairly inexpensive being about 300-350 yen each or less than $4 USD each. If you want to check out all their color options before picking one up you can check out their website, which is in English!
If you’ve survived through August in Tokyo, you know that one thing you have to grab while doing a Japanese drugstore haul is sunscreen. I have found that sunscreen in Japan is much different from the common ones found in America or Europe. The consistency can be pure liquid or a gel depending on your preference, but you will have a hard time finding one that leaves you feeling greasy. Japanese sunscreen is wonderful at leaving a clean satin finish on your skin that is hardly noticeable after several minutes. For this haul I decided to go with Biore UV Aqua rich with BB essence for 798 yen.
Biore is a familiar brand but for some reason their sunscreen here is miles above anything back home. With many different styles to choose from, I went with one that also had BB cream. This gives a hint of color to my skin as well as SPF 50+ Pa ++++ protection. The SPF system here is a bit confusing at first, but actually is pretty intuitive. The + system goes from one to four + as the sun protection increases.
One very convenient thing I have found during my time in Tokyo are the travel or sample size shampoos and conditioners.
Not sure which shampoo you want to commit to? Just grab one of the small packets or mini bottle sets for usually less than 500 yen or about $5 USD and test it out for a week. If you end up not liking it, no big loss. With so many brands offering this option you are sure to find something that you like.
When shopping for the basic necessities in Tokyo it is a little trial and error. The moisturizer you bought might end up to be shaving cream. But take your shopping adventures with a grain of salt and have a good time trying all the new things Japan has to offer.
Have any cheapo drugstore brands/products to recommend? Share with us in the comments below.
Watch this next
New Video: Getting Wifi In Japan
Our guide to prepay SIM cards, wifi routers, cafe wifi and other places to quickly find wifi whilst visiting Japan.