Japan Makeup Shopping List

As you may know, I’m leaving soon for a 2 week vacation to Japan! You guys can’t even imagine the excitement of preparing a shopping list for freakin’ Japan! 😀
drugstore makeup

Before Korean cosmetics took the world by storm, Japanese makeup was the main Asian makeup game in town. I remember pouring over online resources to learn about the various Japanese brands and subsidiaries (Kanebo, Shiseido, Kose and Sana own the lion’s share of brands – Shiseido has so many sub-brands, it’s hard to keep them straight), and placing many orders online for Japanese cosmetics. Now, I finally get to see this stuff firsthand!

Feature image source

I’m not going to list out all the specific items I plan to buy, because I don’t really know yet! But I’ll list out stores, brands and products that I’ll be on the look out for:


Our hotel in Tokyo is in the Shinjuku area which is known for one thing: shopping!  So we’ll be right in the heart of all the major Japanese department stores. The other major area for shopping is in Shibuya which we’ll also visit. Here are some stores I will be making a point to stop into:
ainz tulpe
Ainz&Tulpe – this is a beauty store similar to Sephora or Ulta. The Shinjuku location is fairly new and apparently quite spectacular.
@cosmestore – another shop that focuses only on beauty, they have some standalone stores but also shop-in-shops, inside Lumine and Marui department stores.
Isetan – I heard on IG that this store’s service is top notch! They carry THREE and RMK.
Odakyu – carries RMK, SK-II, Shu Uemura, Suqqu, Paul & Joe
Matsumoto KiYoshi
Drugstores: Matsumoto KiYoshi, Seijo, HAC – but I’ll mostly be hanging out at these places since I’m not going to go crazy with high-end makeup. I personally think that the quality of Japanese drugstore items are way better than what we get here in the West.
Daiso – this is the Japanese version of a dollar store (or 100 yen store, ¥100 is approx $1.20 CAD). For a cheap store, they sell well designed, decent quality range of home ware, cosmetics and stationary. I’ve been to 3 Daiso stores so far: Vancouver, San Fran and Hong Kong. Now I get to go to the mother ship!
Don Quijote
Don Quijote – speaking of cheap, I want to check out this self proclaimed “Palace of Extreme Cheapness”. They sell all kinds of whacky stuff and I read that you can get a pack of 7 masks for less than $4 CAD!
Muji – Even though we do now have Muji in Toronto, it doesn’t carry the full range of products. I’ve visited Muji in Hong Kong and they carry colour cosmetics. There isn’t anything in particular that I’m seeking out but I will likely pick up at least ONE thing! 😉
Uniqlo – Not makeup but clothing; this is the Japanese version of the Gap! I’ve been to the Uniqlo store in Hong Kong and stocked up on lots of basics. Apparently this brand will be coming to Toronto as well.
Tokyu Hands
Tokyu Hands – Also not makeup – this is like the Japanese version of a Michaels craft and hobby store! I wonder how much yarn and beads I can cram into my suitcase? 😛


There are so many cosmetics brands in Japan, it’s kind of hard to keep track of them all! I find the overall quality of Japan-made makeup to be really high, so it mainly boils down to packaging and colour selection.


ViséeInteGrate and Media – I don’t know much about these brands except that they’re subs of Kose, Shiseido and Kanebo respectively, and quite affordable. I will make a point of getting at least one item from each brand – I’ve heard Visée eye shadows are good.
• Lavshuca – is another sub-brand of Kanebo . I own an eyeshadow quad from them which cost me less thatn $10 and I really like the quality.
KATE – I’ve tried a few things from this brand and the standout item has been their stick concealer. I really like the simple packaging (reminds me of Bobbi Brown) and overall product quality. I want to try a lipstick next.
Majolica Majorca – drugstore brand owned by Shiseido. They have princess-y packaging and I own eye shadows from the brand already. They also make amazing mascaras. Not sure what I’d want from this brand but I know I will definitely find something. 😉
CanMake – this is a little bit too cutesy for my liking – most of their products are sparkly. Their blushers with the little puffs are sweet looking and I’ve heard their cream blushers are cult favourites. I’ll see if I’m in the mood for super girly stuff.
Dolly Wink – this brand is known for their liners. I’ve tried the liquid liner and wasn’t too impressed (it was watery and wasn’t that long wearing) so I might pass on this.

Mid range:

MAQuillAGE – my old HG lash curler was from MAQuillAGE – it’s another Shiseido sub-brand – but I’ve not tried anything else from them so I’m curious to see what else they offer, maybe a lipstick (based on reviews, I am thinking their Dramatic Melting Rouge is similar to the Shiseido Perfect Rouge lipstick).
Coffret D’or – I don’t know why but I kind of equate this brand with old lady (like Elizabeth Arden). A lot of their packaging has bling on it.
EspriqueEttusais, and Lunasol – I don’t know much about these brands either except that they have pretty packaging and are generally well reviewed online. Lunasol reminds me of Clarins and Ettusais is a bit Clinique-esque. I seem to overlook mid-range Japanese brands for some reason.

High end:

Shu Uemura and Paul & Joe – I used to be really obsessed with Shu Uemura but since it’s so readily available here, I likely won’t seek it out. Unless there’s some Japan-exclusive items. Same with P&J.
Jill Stuart – I don’t really understand why this American brand is so popular in Japan but virtually has no presence in North America (kind of similar to Anna Sui in this regard). Her packaging is whimsical but they come with a hefty price tag. I’m not really drawn to the aesthetics of the line but I will take a gander if I come across it.
Addiction – there’s an eyeshadow that has been on my wish list for years, called Flash Back (#69). I just owe it to myself to finally buy this already.
SUQQU – ah, the ultimate in luxury as made popular by Lisa Eldridge. An eye shadow quad costs ¥8,800 which at current conversion rate, is $105 CAD. To put that into perspective, a Tom Ford quad costs $80 USD, which is roughly $100 CAD. The famous cheek brush is ¥16,200 (~$190 CAD 😮 )
THREE – it’s slightly cheaper than Suqqu (a quad is ~$70 CAD) – I likely won’t buy anything from this brand, I just want to look around at their counter.
RMK – reminds me of Shu Uemura but more expensive. A lipstick is ~$50

I mostly listed colour makeup brands – there are also tons of brands that focus on skincare like Allie, Sekkisei, Sofina, SK-II, Anessa, Albion, DHC, Haba, Rohto, Fancl…! Ahhh… head explode. 😮 But, I’m thinking that I likely won’t buy much skincare since they’re heavier to haul back and I can order those online instead.


To me, there are 4 key beauty items that I feel the Japanese do better than anyone else:
1) Brushes – ah the land of beautiful hand-made brushes… Hakuhodo, Chikuhodo, Koyudo, Suqqu… try and stop me from buying a makeup brush in Japan, I dare you! 😛 (and this might get spendy… a Suqqu brush is not entirely out of the question! I do all my Japanese brush research on this blog.)
2) Facial sunscreens – the idea of a long wearing, non-greasy, non-pasty facial sunscreen originated in Japan. I’m considering: Allie Extra UV Gel Mineral Moist NEO SPF 50+, Anessa Perfect UV Aqua Booster, Biore UV Perfect Bright Milk or Shigaisen Yohou UV cream 4+
3) Pen liquid liners – they’ve got the market cornered with waterproof, budge-proof liquid liners. I’ve tried quite a few Japanese liquid liners and it’s gotten to the point that I will only wear liners made in Japan.  I’m interested in trying the InteGrate Cat Look Liquid Liner which is available in dark brown!
4) Mascaras – these are hardcore curling and non-budging mascaras that cater to the bone-straight, length-challenged Asian lashes. I’m considering Heroine Make by Kiss Me Volume & Curl, Long & Curl, or CanMake Gokubuto Mascara. Check out this comprehensive guide!

I’m 100% picking up a brush, a sunscreen, a liquid liner and a mascara! 😀

By no means is this an exhaustive list – those of you who have visited Japan before or are knowledgeable about Japanese cosmetics – do you have any recommendations for me?

54 thoughts on “Japan Makeup Shopping List

  1. I can see you’re just a little bit excited about this shopping trip! 😀

    I’ve not tried very much Japanese makeup at all (pretty much just Shiseido, I think, and not much of that, either) but I remember lusting after SUQQU, Addiction, and THREE!

    You are going to have to being a huge empty suitcase with you! Eagerly awaiting the haulage post after your vacation. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. SUQQU and THREE are SO pricey though… like Tom Ford prices. I’m not even into the Tom Ford prices here! Ugh but I know that I will be tempted. I know my downfall will be their impeccable customer service. As soon as an SA gives me great service at a makeup counter, forget it. I’ll buy everything they recommend! (and usually I’m very pleased with their recommendations)
      We’re not bringing massive suitcases… I might have to buy a suitcase for the trip home… 😛

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ugh, I know. I can’t justify spending that kind of money, really, when there are great products out there for much less.

        I wonder if Japanese suitcases come in cooler patterns than North American ones do…. 😉


  2. I am not the most familiar with Asian beauty bands but I’ve always wanted to try some products out since they are so highly praised! I have only got the eyelash curlers from Shu Uemura but I am desperate to try more and RMK are meant to have really great brushes!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been really into Japanese makeup ever since I could remember! I got a good taste of it when I visited Hong Kong, but this a whole other level! I think why I like Japanese makeup so much is that their aesthetics / philosophy matches mine: radiant skin and sheer washes of colour. Ahh the brushes… I can’t even imagine the selection. I just need to pay attention to the exchange rates haha.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah I’ve really not tried any, I think over in the UK it’s only now becoming more available! The products always look so interesting and totally agree the aesthetics and philosophy behind the products are always appealing! Hahaha!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m very jealous about your trip to Japan! We’re hoping that we might do a few different legs on our honeymoon and the last leg or first leg would be somewhere like Japan or Hong Kong!

    We still struggle to get any asian brands at all here other than online ordering and the prices are astronomical, we do have UniQlo in london though – I’ve walked around China and Korea town in london before hunting out cosmetics and not found one store selling them!

    I’ve heard lots of good things about Majolica Majorca Mascaras (totally did not know that was made by Shisedo!) and Dolly Wink Wink liners!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Having been to Hong Kong, I’d say go to Hong Kong! The shopping there is stellar! They don’t have import duties and no sales taxes so everything is just slightly cheaper than elsewhere. I bought so much that I had to buy a second suitcase to bring home! 😛 They also have the famous night market where you can haggle prices – it’s fun. 😉
      Sucks you don’t have access to Asian brands. We have some Asian cosmetics stores but the mark ups are so ridiculous – say an eyeliner sells online for $20, the store sells it for $30. And it probably costs $10 in a Japanese drugstore!
      I had a Majolica Majorca Mascara and while it provided spectacular curl and hold, I think I am sensitive to waterproof mascaras or fibres because it burned / irritated my eyes. I could only wear it if I layered something else underneath.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ahh sounds perfect, currently we’re planning on a few days in L.A, then Hawaii then onto somewhere that way before heading home!

        Yes I love a bit of Haggling – Egypt and Turkey are 2 places where you haggle for everything. I love walking off and them chasing you down the street!

        We don’t even really have shisedo here apart from in the really high end stores like Harrods I think! It’s crazy!

        Yikes I begrudge paying when the markup is like that too cheeky!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I know. So much shopping. We’ve dedicated 2 days at the tail end of the trip to SHOP. I must contain myself in the beginning – just browse and mental notes first!


  4. I’ve checked out the Daiso store in a suburb called Richmond near Vancouver many times. It’s amazing what you can find there. I’ve picked up a few beauty items which were actually pretty good for the price ❤.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been to that location! After I got home, I emailed Daiso to ask why they don’t have a location in Toronto but they never replied to me! 😕


      1. I’ve wondered why Daiso doesn’t have more locations since the store is always busy. I hope you have a great time in Japan checking out all the latest beauty trends!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I cannot wait to see your haul when you come back! I’m sure it’s gonna be great! Japan is my dream place to visit and I’m so jealous right now.. Take me with you!!!!! Haha I also heard their false lashes are great! Not a fan though but if you are, might want to check them out as well and pretty affordable too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t wear false lashes but if I see some that look natural and not too expensive, I might try them!
      I’ve had many requests from people to hitch along in my suitcase for this trip! 😂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. OMG how fun! I love the Paul and Joe packaging but I seriously wouldn’t know what to do with myself. Everything is so colorful and different looking! Good luck sticking to a budget!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so jealous you’re going to Japan! I am obsessed with Japanese culture. I’m also obsessed with Japanese candy! Are you going to Tokyo Disneyland while you’re there? You should!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’ve got a tight schedule so we won’t have time to go. My SO has been to Japan twice before already, and we’ll likely go back so it’s a possibility that we’ll eventually go! And yes, we’ll be hauling back some candy too. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Teehee, what a big list! Getting so excited for you! Ainz&Tulpe looks amazinggg. The Three quad also looks beautiful, I’ve never even heard of this brand! I also never knew that Suqqu is so expensive. It’s going to be awesome getting to swatch all the colour makeup : D
    Great idea to pick up the higher end Japanese brushes while you’re there, you can feel how crazy soft they are before buying!
    Oh gosh, can’t wait to see your actual haul!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well if I can’t afford the brushes in Japan, I could always pick up that Surratt one we felt up at Sephora! 😛
      I hope I haven’t built up everyone’s expectations – I mean, what if I end up not losing my mind and only buy a few things! Oh no, the pressure… 😮

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Get in line! Everyone wants to stow away in my suitcase lol! 😛 We’ll get together when I get back! You still have to tell me what you want me to pick up for you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOL -imagine all ur friends in ONE GINORMOUS suitcase – like the tiny cars with clowns ? !!!!!!!!! Lol xxxxxx we talk before you go 🙂 xxxx i just want you to come back safe and sound and Happy x- and just tweet me random fun xo ❤ ❤ ❤ #youhavexcellenttasteinfriends xo #loveyouloadsandgladwemet xoxoxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

  9. LOL I can’t wait to see your haul post when you’re back! It’s going to be epic!

    I LOVE Uniqulo – they have amazing basics – tee’s, tanks, etc. I still have t-shirts that are in great shape that I bought 5 years ago. Their prices are very reasonable too.

    Will your SO accompany you on your beauty shopping spree? Or does he go do his own thing?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My SO will do his own thing most likely. We’re doing sight seeing and travelling around in the earlier part of the trip and have allocated the last 2 days for shopping – so hopefully by then I’ll be more familiar with going around by myself!
      I’m not sure how much clothes I’ll buy but I might succumb to the Uniqlo lure – basics are my staples!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so jealous you’re going to Japan but feeling excited for you too. 😀 You can always send your haul back by mail. My daughter’s friend is going to Japan and I did a shopping list for her to shop for me. I heard their falsies are insanely affordable in Japan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I suppose I could mail stuff back but I’d rather take it all with me. I will mostly be buying small items so it shouldn’t be TOO bad! 😛 This is my SO’s 3rd time to Japan and if I like it (most likely I will!), we’ll definitely go back!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Comprehensive stuff! Haha great sum up 😄 how about fiber wig mascara (24hr, red bodice packaging)? 😉 the coffet d’or kanebo press powder is very fine and amazing packaging. My fave is Primavista multi cover base (spring, autumn, winter) and the oil control version (summer) – a bit in the light colour side of things, around nc15-20

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you can see, I did a lot of research LOL! I knew about the brands but not about stores… so excited!!! 😀
      Thanks for the recommendations – I had no idea what’s good from Coffet D’or so I’ll look for the pressed powder!
      Never heard of the Primavista multi cover base! I’ll have to look for it too. 😀
      I’ve read good things about the Fiberwig mascara but I have issues with mascara with fibres – they irritate my eyes. Did you find it had a lot of fibres? I’ve tried mascaras from Majolica Majorca and Fairy Drops and they both burned my eyes!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Indeed~~ I normally read ‘cosme’, the Japanese list for idea. O, unlucky, Stashy~~ my eyes are not as sensitive haha. I have used primavista for 2-3 years wahaha. I love that stuff for light coverage days.


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