K-Beauty may be all the rage now, but we’ve got to admit, we also love our J-Beauty products. Everything “Made In Japan” never fails to reassure us of its quality and ease of use. Just think about it: When was the last time you used something Japanese that either didn’t work well or wasn’t well-designed? Probably never. After all, Japan is the place where people turn to for innovative ideas when it comes to living efficiently in small spaces, utilising technology to the benefit of mankind, and of course, beauty products. Regardless whether you’re in the mood for some bargain hunting or looking to splash out, its capital, Tokyo, is lined with incredible stores fully stocked with some of the most amazing beauty products.
However, navigating your way through Tokyo can be a tricky thing because well, not everyone speaks English. Although virtually every Japanese person you meet and ask for help will try their very best to help you—bless their souls—it is probably wiser to make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for when shopping for beauty products, especially when it concerns life-altering things like waterproof mascaras and cotton facial pads that don’t fluff. Do your research online and save pictures of the products you’re looking for, so if the rows and rows of products (especially in drugstores) overwhelm you, you can just show the pictures to the store assistant.
More importantly, if you think you’ll just be picking up that organic hair mist or one waterproof liquid liner, trust us, you won’t. If you need more motivation, shopping tax-free in Tokyo is about as simple as counting 1-2-3. So always bring along your passport to save a few extra bucks here and there. We also suggest not rushing yourself when you’re shopping for beauty, because if you can easily spend a weekend afternoon browsing and swatching at Sephora (and you can read all of the labels), imagine the amount of time you’ll end up in beauty stores in Japan. Here are five of the best stores you have to visit when in Tokyo to satisfy the beauty junkie within you.
Text: Joyce Cheo