My recent addiction has been Japanese beauty products. Let me just tell you that Japan is unbelievably beautiful country and Japanese beauty products are just next level. However, there are so many products that I felt very lost and at some point slightly annoyed with what to buy.
I had some failures and some success during shopping in Japan and I thought I want to share that with you (Check out what hair goodies I got in this post). In case you are planning a trip to Japan or it is your dream country to visit one day I hope this will help to find the best beauty products.
Choose a right city to shop
During my trip, I went to Kyoto, Osaka and finally Tokyo. Unfortunately, I had very little time in Kyoto due to the conference. Yet, in Osaka, I had three days to explore and enjoy the city. Therefore I got some beauty goodies there and then I thought I will buy more in Tokyo. Mistake. Tokyo is unbelievably busy with the culture, people, and shops. Osaka is smaller and more relaxing, I would suggest for beauty shop in Osaka or another city instead of Tokyo.
Write a list of what you want
The first time I entered Japanese Boots/Superdrug I thought I will buy everything. I kept putting everything in my basket not even fully knowing what it is or whether I actually need it. Colours, sparkles and Japanese symbols really got me shopping, yet I had to stop myself (or my boyfriend did) and actually think what do I need.
Google the products
The main issue if you purchasing Japanese beauty products is understanding what are you buying. Everything is written in Japanese and there is no chance you can understand what ingredients or what for the product is. Ladies at the shop are super friendly, yet only a few speak English. They really try to help and google the words, but my advice is to look at the products you might want to buy online with English translation before you hit the shops.
Bring your passport
Majority of shops have a tax free policy, which means you can get around 8-10% discount or get some money back. However, make sure you have your passport (not national identity card) whenever you shopping.
Choose the right brands
Tax-free is very attractive to buy more Chanel lipsticks or YSL mascara, but Japanese beauty brands have such a great variety. Go for Shiseido, SKI-II, RMS or Shu Emura if you like higher end brands. Yet, Shiseido is very popular in Japan and has sister line Elixir, which is half the price but very good and popular as well. However, google Elixir product before you shop (back to part 3).
Chat with locals
Japanese are incredibly friendly, maybe the language barrier is sometimes tricky. Yet, whenever you ask them directions or recommendations they will literally take you there or walk with you at least halfway. I was having a coffee with my boyfriend (obsessed with Japanese coffee shops) and while I was waiting for my cappuccino I started chatting with a girl next to me. She was originally from Tokyo (we met in Osaka before going to Tokyo) and very friendly. Later on, while I was enjoying my coffee she came to me with a massive list of recommendations where to shop Japanese brands, where to go and in general a perfect tour guide criteria. I am so grateful to her because we did indeed find some great brands and goodies.
Overall, I knew I will like Japan but I did not think I will fall in love with the country and culture so much. Already in my head planning future trip and what I what to buy.