In Japan, where a six-step skincare regimen is minimal and a full face of makeup is the norm, walk into any drugstore and you’ll be instantly overwhelmed with the range of products available.
When working with top makeup artists, you often hear them say that their foundation, eyelash curlers, even cotton swabs come from Japan. The iconic products are still found in a konbini, or convenience store, which are all over Japan.
Japanese drugstores can be a dreamland of beauty and health products, ranging from incredibly useful tools to the most amusing things that will have you questioning why anyone ever thought they were necessary. Here are some worth checking out.
Anti-aging drinks. Flawless skin for 300 Yen (around P150)? Why not? Shiseido, DHC and other popular beauty brands have made ingestible skincare solutions for better skin. There’s one from Chocola that alleviates acne with vitamin B2, B6, and B1, while Shiseido’s The Collagen anti-aging drink is supposed to plump one’s skin.
I even saw a pack of Hello Kitty collagen marshmallows, but the jury is still out on whether or not these instant drinks work in the long run.
Cotton swabs in all shapes and sizes. It sounds bizarre, but it’s a staple in every Japanese kikay kit. At the drugstores, you can buy them in every shape, size and color. They are mostly used to help apply false eyelashes, clean up liquid eyeliner, apply eye shadow or to simply clean one’s ears. Leave it to the Japanese to think of pink or black versions to mask one’s earwax, or to blend with your vanity tray.
Fake eyelashes. Japanese women swear by false lashes to help complete their look. I’ve even heard of girls wearing more than one pair at once. A typical drugstore in Japan can carry hundreds of fake eyelashes. Whether you like your lashes natural and sweet or voluminous and dramatic, there’s bound to be a design for your every mood.
Self-warming eye masks. These are more than ordinary eye masks. Available in a range of scents, these pads start to warm up upon contact with your eyes, and the combination of heat and smell works to help you relax or get a good night’s sleep. This was my personal favorite by far; too bad I didn’t buy a lot more of them.
Anti-hangover drink. Drink this “power of turmeric” concoction before your night out, and you’re supposed to wake up with a clear head the next day.
Hada Labo. The brand’s moisturizing line has been a consistent best seller for years, but the brand also carries an anti-aging and whitening range.
Moist face masks. This is usually worn to avoid passing on an illness, or to protect against catching a virus or pollen allergies. Apparently, behind at least some of these masks are moist pads that are supposed to stop your throat from drying out during the day. It feels a little heavier than the usual masks, though.
Slimming stockings. SlimWalk, a Japanese hosiery brand, makes compression stockings to make legs look slimmer, minimize leg swelling, and reduce varicose veins when you’re commuting or walking around all day in heels. Think of it as Spanx for your legs.
Washable nail polish. Reinachu! nail care products allow you to color your nails with a film that washes off in water, without the need for nail varnish remover. Available in a number of shades, it is easy to remove, just by soaking in warm water for 30 seconds.