Best Japanese Drugstore Beauty Products

Hey, all!

As I mentioned several times in this blog, although now I live in Indonesia, I once lived in Japan for 3 years from 2013-2016. During that time, I, of course, used Japanese drugstore beauty products a lot. And by doing so, I found several gems that I keep re-purchasing even though now I’ve returned to my country.

So I thought today I want to share with you my own Japanese drugstore beauty products recommendations in case you are traveling to Japan but not sure what to get. Or maybe you are just moved to Japan and not sure where to start since Japanese drugstores are quite huge and potentially overwhelming since everything is written in Japanese!

So if you are interested in, just keep on reading!

Skin Care

Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence

I can safely say that this is the best drugstore sunscreen I’ve ever tried in my whole life (and believe me when I say it, I tried quite a lot!). It’s super affordable, non-greasy, and quickly melt into the skin the second it’s applied. It does have fresh scent but not too overpowering. And I even feel like it adds adherence to my skin so that my makeup sticks better onto my skin when I’m using this sunscreen.

I don’t have any plan to try a new sunscreen anytime soon since I haven’t heard anything that’s close match to this one. If you could get your hands on this, I highly recommend you to try it out. And since Biore is a quite globally known brand, I’m pretty sure you can get this not only in Japan but maybe also in your country, too (it’s sold in select Indonesian drugstores, by the way).

Cure Natural Aqua Gel

Natural Aqua Gel Cure is a remarkable skin care product. Cure is a fragrance-free, color free and preservative free product made from activated hydrogen water that prevents oxidation. General chemical peeling uses strong acids (approx. pH1.3) to dissolve protein. Cure, on the other hand, gently catches dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and removes it.

citated from https://cureaquagel.com/

This one is I think maybe one of the most unique products Japanese drugstore has. It’s not a cleanser, not a facial wash, not a scrub, it’s an exfoliator in a form of gel. The texture it’s like gel but more liquid-y or watery, not as thick as man’s hair gel, for example. I’ve also mentioned it briefly on my post about my skin care routine.

It’s meant to be used only twice a week because it’s an exfoliator. I use it after I double-cleanse my skin or basically after I make sure there’s no makeup left on my face. To use it, you just have to take 1 pump of it on your palm, and then massage it all over your face like when you use your scrub. While doing that, just like its claim, you will find it catches your dead skin cells and removes it. I feel my skin is very soft and clear after using it.

Kanebo Suisai Beauty Clear Powder

suisai Beauty Clear Powder face wash is catching the eye of the worldwide audience with an enzyme-activated formula that whisks away impurities and unclogs pores as it protects the skin’s natural moisture. A popular choice for tourists who desire the Japanese secret to even, finely textured skin.

citated from https://www.kanebo.com/brands/suisai/

If you can’t already guess what this is, this is a facial wash in the form of powder. One small jar contains the powder is for one single usage. To use it, you just mix it with water. Adjust the amount of water according to how scrubby you want it to be. The more water you add, the less scrubby it is, and vice versa.

After using it, my skin feels so clean as if all the dirt has been taken off without making my face feels tight. It’s not very expensive, but here in Indonesia, it’s not sold in drugstores, but only in online shop run by personal shoppers so the price becomes quite expensive. So I can only buy it by asking my friends who are still living in Japan to help me buy it when they will have a short vacation to Indonesia. Since it happens only maybe once or twice a year, I use this fairly rarely.

If you can find it with reasonable price, I highly recommend you to incorporate this in your daily skin care routine!

Purequa Face Wipes

Actually, Japanese drugstores offer wide variety of face wipes, but I really love this particular one. It’s really soft on the skin so you won’t feel you rub your skin too hard. It’s really effective in removing our makeup as the first step of our skin care routine. According to my experience, it can also removes my waterproof eyeliner and mascara!

Makeup

Mote Liner

This one is really hyped up by many Asian beauty bloggers/ vloggers and after trying it, I agree with the hype. The tip is not a felt tip but it’s a very fine little brush that can bend. I personally like this type of tip because it makes applying liners so much easier. I’m in no way expert in applying liner, so I think this one is also very beginner-friendly!

Please note that the one that I have here is actually a limited-edition navy blue. They have other options too such as brown (also limited-edition) and of course black (permanent line)! Even though this one is navy blue, if you look it not too close up on my face, it doesn’t really look like I’m wearing a blue eye liner because it’s pretty dark. I enjoy wearing it so much lately!

Canmake Cream Cheeks

First of all, I found that many Japanese drugstore makeup products are too sheer for my skin tone or even my liking. Be it blushes, contours/ bronzers, lip products, etc. That’s because the nature of Japanese daily makeup style itself is usually a no-makeup makeup look. BUT! These particular blushes are exception! They are available in many different shades and formula so you will have some options there. Besides that, Canmake as a brand in general has other interesting products and it’s one of the most affordable in Japanese drugstore! I highly recommend you to check their other products also!

Miscellaneous

Megrythm Steam Eye Mask

I never knew this was a thing before I found it in Japanese drugstore. It’s an eye mask that releases steam that’s supposed to help us relaxing our eyes after a tiring busy day. Try to wear it before bed after a nice warm shower or bath!

‘Ashirira Sheet’ Detox Foot Patch

‘Ashirira’ is an acronym of ‘ashi’ which means ‘foot’ in Japanese and ‘rira’ which was taken from English word ‘relax’ that is read as ‘rirakusu’ in Japanese. This product is a pair of patches or sheets that you stick onto your soles before you go to bed and leave it until you wake up. The next day when you take it off, it’s supposed to absorb all toxic from your body. There are actually some debates surrounding this product. Some says it’s gimmicky and not doing what it claims. Some says it works. I think if we want to proof whether it works or not, we have to scientifically test it in a lab. I personally like wearing it but don’t feel significant changes just by using it daily (which I don’t). But I still think it’s nice to have and recommend you to try it out!

Honorable Mention

Shiseido Senka Perfect Whip

image courtesy: sociolla.com

I actually don’t have this with me right now but I used to use it when I lived in Japan. It’s a very light-weight and gentle facial wash. It cleans but doesn’t feel tight on the skin. It’s available here in Indonesia but I didn’t repurchase it because I’m currently enjoying my Cetaphil facial wash. If you live in Japan and need one that I recommend, it’s this one! It’s one of the most affordable also!

Lululun Sheet Masks

I think I only used it once but I remember liking it, and I know many peple are hyping this sheet masks so much. They have several options such as: hydrating, brightening, and balancing. I also didn’t repurchase it by now because to be honest, I like my Etude House sheet masks more because I feel the Etude House ones fit my face’s size better!

image courtesy: allabout-japan.com

That’s all my Japanese drugstore beauty products recommendation! I hope it helps you in sorting out your list to buy while you’re in Japan. Ah..writing this brings back all good memories and makes me miss Japan even more! I wish I could go back someday even just for several days!

What are products that most intriguing to you? Do you find your wish list here? And do you like if I write more about Japan’s related recommendation? Like for example unusual traveling spots recommendation? Or supermarket recommendation? Please tell me on comment section below!

See you on my next post!

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Top 5 Korean and Drugstore Matte Liquid Lipsticks

Hey, everyone!

In this post I want to share with you my top 5 Korean and western drugstore matte liquid lipsticks, as well as some comparisons between them. Since this is my own top 5 ranking, I evaluate them based on my preferences in matte lipsticks.

Basically, in term of matte lipstick, I prefer liquid lipsticks than conventional bullet lipsticks. I find liquid lipstick is easier to apply by nature and offer more crisp look without having to put a lot of effort by lining our lips first. I often do my makeup in a hurry so I rarely have time for a lip pencil.

To make it easier for us to compare, I divided the evaluation into some categories: price, consistency (creamy or watery), applicator (whether it makes application easier or not), finish (whether it sits on fine lines or not, whether it stains our lips or not, and whether it feels heavy or not), wearing time (whether it’s long-wearing or not), and transfer-ability (whether it’s transfer-proof or not). And for a quick disclaimer, since all lipsticks here are imported, I’ll be mentioning the price when I bought it, not their original prices in their country of origin, and convert them into USD so it’s easier for you to assess whether it’s affordable or not.

Okay, without further a do, here are my favorite Korean & western drugstore matte liquid lipsticks from top 5 to top 1.

Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit

This lipstick is the cheapest among all lipsticks I’ll be mentioning in this post. I bought it for around USD 5.

Wet n Wild Megalast Liquid Catsuit in ‘Give Me Mocha’

It has consistency between creamy and watery. So it’s not too creamy, but not too watery either. It has doe foot applicator with a dent in the middle so that it can reach our entire lips precisely. I found it very effective to apply the products not only to the front part of my lips, but also to the top part, without having to go back and forth.

It doesn’t stain my lips, instead it sits on top of them. And because of that, there’s possibility it could stick on my teeth if I shut my lips before it completely dries. However, it dries fairly fast, so I don’t find this property very annoying. I don’t have chapped lips, but I find it sits on my fine lips after a long wear time. So please keep that in mind if you have a very dry lips. I also feel it a little bit heavy, nothing crazy, but I can clearly feel that I have something on my lips.

Speaking about wear time, I guess it has an okay wear time. As long as we don’t eat or drink, it isn’t really worn off for nearly 4 hours. But it’s not transfer-proof. It definitely leaves some marks on my cup or my straw when I drink.

Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink

They claim to be 16-hour long-wearing but I never had a chance to wear it for that long. But I remembered one day, I wore this lipstick and ate a kind of soup. After eating, it was still on my lips as if I didn’t eat anything. And until the end of that day, maybe around 8 to 10 hours after the first application and without re-application, it was only start to worn off of the inner part of my lips, but it definitely left stain on that part so I still looked like I have lipsticks on. That being said, I can safely say that this lipstick is the most transfer-proof and long-wearing among all lipsticks I’ll be mentioning in this post. It also stains my lips therefore it looks there even after quite a long time.

Maybelline Superstay Matte Ink in ‘Ruler’

However, I feel like this one is also the heaviest. I definitely feel I have something on my lips. It has creamy consistency and doesn’t sit on my fine lines, which is usually the case for creamy liquid lipstick. But I don’t really like the applicator. It is too big for my small lips so I must be extra careful when applying it. It also needs a decent amount of time to be completely dry. And I highly recommend you to not shut your lips before it’s dry or it would wipe off some products you’ve applied.

Price-wise, it was slightly more expensive than the Wet n Wild one. I bought it for about USD 7.

Etude House Matte Chic Lip Lacquer

If you don’t know, Etude House is a Korean beauty brand. They always have cute packaging and are still considered drugstore/ affordable price among other Korean brands, although they aren’t sold in drugstores. They have their own stores widely spread across Korea and a lot of Asian countries, including Indonesia.

Etude House Matte Chic Lip Lacquer in ‘Wendy Brown’

Etude House advertised this as a completely transfer-proof lipstick, and I must agree. Although it has watery consistency, and watery liquid lipstick tends to transfer easily, it’s not the case with this one. It almost as transfer-proof as the Maybelline one. But, it takes a decent amount of time to be completely dried. If you shut your lips before it dries, it might stick on your teeth. So please keep that in mind. However, when it dries, it’s not easily transferred to our drinks or foods.

I bought it for around USD 8.5, so it’s in the middle range among other lipsticks I’ll be mentioning here. It doesn’t stain our lips, instead it sits on top of them, so it has tendency to sit on fine lines too.

It’s quite long-wearing, and since it’s pretty transfer-proof, too, I find it very practical to wear on the day when I don’t want to keep re-applying my lipstick. But this also because in my opinion, the applicator is not the easiest to use. It has bent like Wet n Wild one (so I like it), but the tip of the applicator is too long for my small lips, so I must be extra careful when applying it. It’s not as difficult as the Maybelline one, though.

3CE Soft Lip Lacquer

Now let’s move on to the top 2 of my all time favorite matte liquid lipstick, and two of them are actually from a Korean brand called 3CE. 3CE is actually considered middle range brand in term of price. They are not fairly affordable like Etude House, but not as expensive as, for example, Laneige or Sulwahsoo. Their style is also very different with Etude House. 3CE is more elegant, as they seem to target women around age 25-35 (based on my observation only), unlike Etude House that seems to target younger women (under 25).

3CE Soft Lip Lacquer in ‘Almost Mauve’

I bought this particular lipstick for around USD 12. What I think is a unique property of it is that it has watery consistency, but it dries down as velvety finish. That’s why it’s called ‘soft lip lacquer’, ‘soft’ because of the velvet finish, and ‘lacquer’ because of the watery consistency. And that’s why I love this one so much. Since it has velvet finish, it stains our lips, doesn’t sits on fine lines, and doesn’t feel dry whatsoever. It also blurs our lips texture and makes it looks so smooth.

It’s also long-wearing enough even though it doesn’t feel sticky on my lips like Maybelline one. I can safely say that it’s also very transfer-proof. I remember one day I had a lunch in a seafood place. It’s hard to eat neatly in seafood place, right? So I remember clearly that I didn’t try to maintain my lipstick during that lunch time. However after finish eating, my lipstick hadn’t come off AT ALL!

3CE Velvet Lip Tint

3CE Velvet Lip Tint in ‘Taupe’
3CE Velvet Lip Tint in ‘Daffodil’

And here’s my favorite of all time, the 3CE velvet lip tint. This one if I’m not mistaken has the same price as the soft lip lacquer, around USD 12. It has also the same velvet finish, but the initial consistency is different than the soft lip lacquer one, this one is creamy instead of watery. It has the similar shape of doe foot applicator with the soft lip lacquer one, but this one is a lot smaller so it fits better to my small lips.

Applicator comparison between soft lip lacquer and velvet lip tint

Although it’s creamy and creamy liquid lipsticks are usually not really long-wearing and transfer-proof, this one is otherwise. It is very long-wearing and has enough transfer-proof property. And the darker color one, since it stains our lips more than the lighter one, it helps to maintain the vivid color. It is unquestionably non-drying and doesn’t sit on our fine lines.

Left: taupe, right: daffodil

Comparisons

And here are all of them swatched together as well as the summary of their properties I’ve mentioned above in a table so you can see clearly how they are different with each other.

Left to right: etude house, two of 3CE velvet lip tints, 3CE soft lip lacquer, wet n wild, and maybelline
The swatches. You can see pretty clearly that the 3CE ones are non drying compare to others.
Comparisons of all lipsticks

From comparisons above you can see that although the Maybelline one has 5 preferred properties, the same as the 3CE velvet lip tint one, since it feels quite heavy on my lips and the applicator is a bit too big for me, I don’t reach it as much as the ones on higher rank. And because of the weight and how it looks on lips, I found it a little too thick and too crisp for a casual everyday wear.

And then, I also tried to wipe them off with an oil-based cleanser I normally use to clean my face, which is the Garnier Micellar Oil-infused Cleansing Water.

And here’s what they looked like from one to four swipes.

You can see from picture above that the most left one (which is the Etude House one) was the hardest to take off. That’s why I said it has the same transfer-proof property as the Maybelline one, but I prefer the Etude House than the Maybelline because the Etude one is not as heavy-feeling as the Maybelline one.

What do you think about my recommendation? Do you have one or some of the lipsticks I mentioned here, too? If yes, which one is your favorite? Let me know your preference on comment section below! Thank you for reading and I’ll see you on my next post!