Japanese Beauty Products

No trip from Japan is complete without lugging home boxes of Tokyo banana and at least five different types of matcha snacks. But aside from delicious tidbits, Japan also has tons of affordable, quality beauty products which make for great holiday souvenirs.

Most drugstores (e.g. Matsumoto Kiyoshi) and departmental stores (e.g. Bic Camera, Loft, and Tokyu Hands) have beauty aisles stocked with cult favourites from brands such as Shiseido, SK-II, CANMAKE, and K-Palette.

To help you score the best deals, we’ve compiled a list of tried-and-tested Japanese makeup and skincare items to bring back on your next trip.


From left to right:

1. DHC Lip Cream (1.5g)

This lip cream contains olive virgin oil, aloe extract, and vitamin E for long-lasting hydration.

Japan’s price: 559 yen before tax (~S$6.89) from BIC Camera
Singapore’s price: S$17.90 from Watsons
Save: S$11.01

2. Kose Lip Gel Magic (6g)

This add-on lip tool is the solution to getting rid of lipstick stains. Apply the translucent gel after you’ve painted on your lipstick to see an improvement in the lippie’s colour and durability.

Japan’s price: 1,500 yen before tax (~S$18.47) from most Japanese drugstores
Singapore’s price: Unavailable, buy online for S$25 (free shipping)
Save: S$6.53


From left to right:

3. K-Palette Real Lasting 1 Day Tattoo Liquid Liner 24hr

The long-lasting waterproof eyeliner pencil works even on oily lids.

Japan’s price: 1,200 yen (~S$14.78) from most Japanese drugstores
Singapore’s price: Unavailable, buy online for S$19.90 (free shipping)
Save: S$5.12

4. Creer Beaute Sailor Moon Miracle Romance Liquid Eyeliner (Black)

10/10 packaging aside, this eyeliner has a fine felt tip which makes applying the smudge-proof, inky-black formula too easy.

Japan’s price: 1,600 yen (~S$19.73) from the Sailor Moon Official Store
Singapore’s price: Unavailable, buy online for S$31.49 (free shipping)
Save: S$11.76


5. Canmake Matte and Crystal Cheek

On first swipe, this buildable blush comes off sheer. But this helps you control the product better to achieve a natural rosy and glow. Available in baby pink, apricot and red.

Japan’s price: 650 yen before tax (~S$8) from BIC Camera
Singapore’s price: S$16.90 from Watsons
Save: S$8.90


From left to right:

6. Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Make Long & Curl Mascara Super Waterproof (Black)

My go-to mascara for the last three years. The curved-shaped wand effortlessly lifts and thickens the lashes that I skip using eyelash curlers on most days. The only problem with the budge-proof mascara is you need a powerful makeup remover to take it off.

Japan’s price: 1000 yen before tax (~S$12.31) from BIC Camera
Singapore’s price: S$21.90 from Watsons
Save: S$9.59

7. Shiseido Makeup Eyelash Curler

Heroine Make Long and Curl and the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler are the holy grail combination for those with short, straight Asian lashes. In Japan, you can opt to purchase a 2-piece refill for 100 yen (~S$1.23)

Japan’s price: 800 yen before tax (~S$9.84) from BIC Camera
Singapore’s price: S$18 from Shiseido counters and ZALORA
Save: S$8.16


From left to right:

8. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (200ml)

This cleansing oil moisturises while it cleanses, making it ideal for those with dry and sensitive skin types who wear heavy makeup.

Japan’s price: 2,675 yen after tax (~S$32.91) from most Japanese drugstores
Singapore’s price: S$43.90 from Watsons
Save: S$11.89

9. Kose Softymo Deep Cleansing Oil

If you’re into double cleansing, pair this oil cleanser with the Hada Labo’s Hyaluronic Acid Foam Cleanser. As compared to the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil, this has a slightly more watery consistency and is a more affordable option.

Japan’s price: 371 yen before tax (~S$4.56) from BIC Camera
Singapore’s price: S$16.90 from Watsons
Save: S$12.34

10. Rosette Sea Clay Smooth Facial Wash (120g)

Rosette’s cleansing paste contains natural clay which deeply cleanses. Great for sensitive, acne-prone skin.

Japan’s price: 300 yen before tax (~S$3.69) from BIC Camera
Singapore’s price: S$9.90 from Watsons
Save: S$6.21


From left to right:

11. Cure Natural Aqua Gel (250 g)

This water-based exfoliator is suitable for most skin types. Gentle rubbing will slough off old, dead skin, which is oddly satisfying to watch.

Japan’s price: 2,500 yen (~S$30.60) from Don Quijote
Singapore’s price: S$49 from Watsons
Save: S$18.40

12. Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder (32 pieces)

Individually packed capsules contain a cleansing powder which doubles as a gentle exfoliator. The product contains enzymes and amino acids to reduce skin roughness and blocked pores.

Japan’s price: 1,695 yen before tax (~S$20.75) from BIC Camera
Singapore’s price: S$27 from BHG Welcia
Save: S$6.25


From left to right:

13. Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk (60ml)

This physical and chemical sunscreen combo has a thin, watery milk-like consistency. It’s also sweat- and water-resistant. Though there is a slight alcohol smell upon application, the scent disappears as the sunscreen dries down into a non-sticky, silky, and slightly matte finish.

Japan’s price: 1,630 yen before tax (~S$20.06) from BIC Camera
Singapore’s price: S$39.90 from Watsons
Save: S$19.84

14. Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence (for Face & Body) SPF50+ PA++++

The thin consistency glides on and sinks into skin without leaving a white cast or greasy layer. The only downside is the product contains citrus-scented alcohol which isn’t great for sensitive skin.

Japan’s price: 798 yen after tax (~S$9.84) from Don Quijote
Singapore’s price: S$18.90 from Watsons
Save: S$9.06

Moisturisers and Serums

From left to right:

15. KAO Curel Intensive Moisture Cream

Dry and sensitive skin types will love this alcohol-free face cream. The cream has a light and smooth texture and doesn’t leave a heavy, greasy layer. Apply after face lotion, or use as a make-up base before applying foundation.

Japan’s price: 2,380 yen after tax (~S$29.10) from Don Quijote
Singapore’s price: S$38.80 from Watsons and Fairprice
Save: S$9.70

16. Hada Labo Hydrating Lotion (170ml)

The Hada Labo Gokujun range has hyaluronic acid which is a humectant, which means moisture is drawn into the skin. I like to use this lotion after toner and before serum.

Japan’s price: 880 yen after tax (~S$10.76) from Don Quijote
Singapore’s price: S$22.90 from Watsons
Save: S$12.14

17. Obagi C20 Serum (15 ml)

Made of Vitamin E and Vitamin C, this serum effectively tightens pores and removes acne scars. Long-term usage can also improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation and wrinkles.

Japan’s price: 8,000 yen after tax (~S$97.83) from BIC Camera
Singapore’s price: Unavailable, buy online for S$137.50 (free shipping)
Save: S$39.67


From left to right:

18. Utena Premium Puresa Golden Jelly Mask Royal Jelly 3’s (3 pieces)

With two types of royal jelly, this honey mask from Utena is deeply moisturising. Usually, I’ll use the leftover serum on my neck and the hands, elbows, and knees because it smells so good.

Japan’s price: 698 yen after tax (~S$8.54) from Don Quijote
Singapore’s price: S$16.90 from Watsons
Save: S$8.36

19. MegRhythm Steam Eye Mask (5 pieces)

The eye mask is an easy-to-use self-activating heating pad that releases warm, gentle, and relaxing steam. Choose from lavender, citrus, or unscented varieties and give yourself a little TLC at the end of a long day.

Japan’s price: 498 yen after tax (~S$6.10) from Don Quijote
Singapore’s price: S$6.50 from Watsons
Save: S$0.40

Buying Beauty Products In Japan

When going shopping, bring your passport to claim duty-free tax for a single-receipt purchase over 5,000 yen (~S$61.14). Upon checkout, staff will staple your receipts to your passport.

I did this on my recent Japan trip and this saved me another 8% when hitting up the beauty aisles of BIC Camera. But keep in mind, your tax-free haul will be sealed in a plastic bag you can only open when you’re back in Singapore.

Another hack is to buy refill packs. Because they have less packaging, refills are sold at a slightly lower price. This will also save you luggage space so you can shop for more.


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