One of my favourite parts of travelling is shopping and discovering new things. I remember the excitement of walking into H&M and Topshop for the first time in London, places I’d only ever read about. The first time I ever went into a Sephora, which was in Paris in 2007. And being able to actually browse a J.Crew instead of just lusting over catalogue images when I was in New York.
I wasn’t expecting much in the way of clothing in Japan although any opportunity to visit somewhere with an H&M or Zara (Australian Zara tries hard but it just never seems the same) is still exciting for me. The Japanese drugstores on the other hand… my limited Google research prior to flying out in no way prepared me for how awesome these are. Often there would be two levels, one for make up and one for skincare. I could have spent hours in there playing around despite not being able to read two thirds of the labels on things! Matsumoto KiYoshi was my favourite and seems to be a chain much akin to Priceline in Australia – low to middle end cosmetics and toiletries.
In terms of price, Japan is pretty much on par with Australia so don’t expect the huge discounts like you get in the US. You can get plenty of things at supermarket prices, like $7 cleansers or $10 lipsticks, but the range of brands available is huge. I was also excited to see some of the Japan exclusive ranges from companies like Shiseido and Kanebo as well as other things I’d never heard of. Maybelline, Rimmel and Revlon are also stocked in a lot of places there but with different Asia-only lines so even those brands are good to look at.
I’m undecided about whether I bought a lot of stuff. I don’t think it’s as much as I got in the US but it’s still a decent haul. I didn’t get much in the way of hair care or body wash/lotion because those things were actually quite expensive in Japan. Not to mention heavy – one body wash = 10 lipsticks. Remember that. The makeup over there tends to be in pale and pretty shades (not a lot of vibrant colours) and to say the Japanese are obsessed with lashes would be an understatement. They also love their skin care regimes and cleansing oils, which suited me perfectly. Pretty much everything I got was from drugstores and I didn’t really pick up any high end stuff from the department stores, although there is plenty there if that’s your thing.
Here’s a look at what I bought. To put it in context I think it’s all worth a couple of hundred bucks but I can’t be totally certain. All I know is when I was in Kyoto I realised I still had a lot of money on my travel card so naturally that was the opportunity to tell myself to buy more stuff! Plus when you are overseas there’s always that little voice constantly whispering “you may not come back here for a very long time so buy it noooooooowwww…” I haven’t had a chance to use a lot of this yet but will take any questions from the floor should anyone want to know more about something.
Japanese makeup haul…
Heroine Make Volume and Curl Mascara with eye makeup remover, Maybelline Lashionista mascara, Shiseido 131 brush, Mavalia nail polish in Tokyo (and bought in that very same city) and Lagoon, Shiseido eyelash curler, Ettu Sais Lip Essence (because what every Asian girl wants is lips like a blonde haired, blue eyed baby?! The packaging kills me), Maybelline Pure Mineral BB Cream, Canmake Perfect Serum BB Cream, Canmake Whip Mousse Lip in 01, Lip Fondue in Honey Rose (smells and tastes just like turkish delight), Nivea Natural Color Lip in Pink Veil, Majolica Majorca Honey Pump Gloss, Kose Visee Mineral Liquid Cheeks Baby Finish and Shiseido Maquillage Eye Color in BL737.
And the skin care…
Gingerer Body Scrub and Bath Salt, Shiseido Aqualabel Creamy Oil Cleansing, Shiseido Perfect Oil, Shiseido Perfect Whip, Nivea Happy Time Sweet Happy body lotion, Ponds Black Clean Facial Foam, Tokkuri Ichigo Juicy Mask, Shiseido Aqualabel mask, Shiseido Honey Cake soap, Perfect Watery Oil sample, Kniepp bath salts in Rosemary, Orange and Linden Blossom, and two others I don’t know (because my German is as good as my Japanese) and a Konjac sponge.