Muji, or Mujirushi Ryohin, is a company that specializes in simple, well designed products at affordable prices. And by “affordable prices” I don’t mean cheap and low quality, I mean low price without sacrificing quality. Products are placed in clear, natural, and uniform packaging with the prices clearly listed. The entire shops has a simplistic, artsy feel to it.
The name Muji is derived from the Japanese world Mujirushi Ryohin, which roughly translates to “brandless quality goods.” It was supposed to counter the tendency for Japanese people to only buy brand-name goods. However, in the last decade Muji itself has become a brand; this minimalistic shop is putting a good face to budget shopping.
Sorry guys, this post is for girls. Like the title suggests, it is all about makeup. If you are a guy that also likes to wear makeup, read on. If not, try another one of our articles.
In my opinion, Muji is the best place to buy makeup in Japan. It is the best for 4 reasons:
1. Muji makeup is cheap
Nothing in Tokyo is cheap. Actually, let me clarify, nothing in Tokyo is cheap enough for me. I’m on an extremely limited budget – and between food, clothes, and monthly rent, there isn’t a lot leftover to go toward hobbies – like looking nice.
Muji makeup is well within my budget. With concealer, foundation, blush, and brushes for well under 1,000yen, I was able to replace my makeup supply for cheaper than I could have in America. Or Europe. However, Muji makeup is excellent quality; it is nothing like the stuff you can find in the checkout lane of a 100yen shop. It does not clump, lasts all day, and is well worth the price.
2. Muji makeup is earthy, easy on the skin, and not gaudy
I can’t do gaudy makeup. I’m not a fan of the blocky eyeliner and bright eye shadows. I like the Muji color pallets because it makes your face look like the store: simplistic, minimalistic, and classy. Their eye shadows come in helpful colors.
3. You can easily test the foundation and concealer to find something that matches your skin
To be honest, the main reason I don’t buy makeup in regular convenience stores or pharmacies in Japan is because I have an unusual skin color. With my American, European, and Native American roots, my skin is a whitish olive color that does not seem to go along with most Japanese foundation. I do not have an Asian skin tone, so I was hesitant to commit to a foundation or concealer.
Thankfully Muji always has testers for all their products.
I stocked up my makeup bag one trip at a time after work, always leaving myself a clean face to test the foundation. I was able to find concealer and foundation that matched my exact skin tone and a blush that complimented everything without making me look like a demented Pikachu (my biggest pet peeve in Tokyo is when I see women with far too much blush).
Side note – the darkest skin tone Muji can accommodate seems to be about the color of a tan Indian woman. I have an Indian friend who is still able to buy concealer and foundation from Muji – but it runs a bit light during the winter. If you are black, you won’t be able to find any foundation or concealer at Muji that matches your complexion. Sorry!
I think all shops should have testers for all their products, but sadly they do not. As a result, I always shop at Muji.
4.The sales at Muji rock
Remember when I said it took me several months to replenish my makeup collection? It wasn’t necessarily because I had no money (thought that was definitely a considerations).
No, I was just waiting for sales.
Muji has weekly and monthly sales. I stop by their shop in Kichijoji every week after work to browse their makeup sale selection. The already cheap blushes are marked an extra 10% to 70% off. Their nail polish section always seems to have some sort of promotional sale going on.
Muji is a great place to get makeup. Next time you are looking for an earthy eyeliner or new eyeshadow pallet, head on down to the nearest Muji and pick up some good supplies!
One of our cheapo readers has pointed out Muji sells Sharks fin soup, here’s a petition to get Muji to withdraw it from their shelves
Watch this next
New Video: Shinjuku Travel Guide For Beginners
Never been to Shinjuku before? Watch this essential guide to getting around Tokyo's busiest district.