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July 12, 2020

Six Japanese Beauty Products Certain To Impress

Which J-Beauty goodies make memorable gifts for you or someone you love? Save this post to get a head start on your shopping list.


While we dream of traveling to our favorite destinations, indulge yourself and your loved ones with J-Beauty products – the perfect social distancing (or anytime) pick me up! To me, the ideal beauty souvenir is something original which you wouldn’t find easily in the West and is relatively inexpensive.


young japanese mom choosing snack for kids in local specialty shop in dotonbori osaka japan. asian mother buying food cookies for family after work in the vendor. beautiful lady reading the mark.
Japanese gift shopping in Tokyo is full of surprises (istock/primagefactory)


If you’ve ever walked into a Japanese department store or pharmacy, you know how overwhelming they can be. But luckily, you’ll have this list of ideas as you shop virtually or if you’re fortunate enough to have a Japanese pharmacy or boutique close to your home. And, of course, save it for that next trip to Japan!


Steam Eye Masks


These single-use eye masks heat up when you remove them from their packaging, and release warm steam around your eyes for about 20 minutes. So relaxing! I never board a long flight without one in my carry-on: on top of being super comforting, they also help block out light and make me forget I’m on a plane with hundreds of other passengers.


Popular brand Kao MegRhythm comes in a variety of scents like lavender (my favorite!), chamomile, rose, and yuzu, or unscented if you just want the calming steam effect minus the aromatherapy component. For an extra Japan-y feel, look for special cherry blossom versions! The masks come in boxes of five (around ¥500 / $5) or twelve (around ¥1,000 / $10), which make a sweet gift. I like to pick up mixed scent boxes of 20 (around ¥2,000 / $20), to use at home and on trips.



Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend this diamond facial mask.


Dr. oracle dermasys diamond mask
Dr. Oracle Dermasys Diamond V Mask – $24



Skincare Mini Sets


Aside from being super cute, skincare mini sets are a great way to try out a brand or product without committing to purchasing (and carrying around) a full-size version. Last time I was in Tokyo, I bought a Hada Labo Gokujyun set which included travel versions of the brand’s oil cleanser, foaming cleanser, cult-classic lotion (toner), and moisturizing milk; but I’ve also seen sets from other brands like Sekkisei, MINON Amino Moist, Curél, ELIXIR, and SENKA. Just keep your eyes peeled when you hit the drugstore. Convenience stores are also a good place to find minis! Depending on how many products sets contain, they usually cost between ¥1,000 ($10) and ¥2,000 ($20). They’re amazing for overnight trips, or as gifts for friends!


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Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend this skincare set


bioderma sensibio
BIODERMA Sensibio Discovery Kit – $9.90





I can’t recommend Japanese sunscreens enough, and although many can be ordered online, most pharmacies and department stores in Japan provide testers, which are the best way to get an idea of a formula’s texture and finish before committing to it. Because I really, really prefer Japanese sunscreens to anything I can easily find here in North America, I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever about bringing multiple tubes back from Japan. I also like to pick up a few for my fellow skincare-enthusiast friends. Many of my favorite sunscreens cost under ¥1,000 ($10), which also makes them a budget-friendly option.


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I’m constantly on the hunt for sunscreen products that make reapplication easy throughout the day. I picked up the Shigaisen Yohou Make Keep Capsule In UV Spray in Tokyo, and here is what I like about it: ⠀ ☀️It offers SPF50+ / PA++++ protection. ☀️It can be applied directly onto the face. ☀️The mist is super fine and doesn’t feel sticky once applied. ☀️It’s waterproof. ☀️It is also a makeup setting spray. ☀️The product is small enough to slip into a purse. ☀️It’s free of colourants, fragrance, mineral oil, and alcohol. ⠀ I really had a hard time finding a UV spray whose instructions didn’t suggest first spritzing the product into the palm of your hand before applying it to your face. But what’s the point of using a UV spray on your face if you can’t apply it directly?! I’m not sure why there aren’t more sprays like this out there. It would really make it easier to convince people to reapply their sunscreen if there were options that made sense for everyday life (including when you’re wearing makeup, and not just lounging by the pool or at the beach). ⠀ How do you reapply your sunscreen? ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #byminoue #madewithpaper #jbeauty

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Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend these sunscreens.



Sheet Mask Packs


Sheet masks are super popular in Japan, and have been a skincare staple there for years. You’ll find individually packaged sheet masks as you’d expect, but there are also resealable pouches that include multiple masks. The pouches containing 3 to 10 masks (around ¥300 / $3 to ¥1,000 / $10) make great gifts, but if you find a kind you like, why not grab a box of 20 or 30 (around ¥1,500 / $15) for yourself? Already on my shopping list for my next trip: Hada Labo Koi-Gokujyun Perfect Masks. I tested the waters with a pack of five the first time around, and have been coveting the box of 20 ever since! LuLuLun is a popular Japanese sheet mask brand which offers a slew of different kinds of masks, including limited-edition regional versions that can only be found in certain parts of the country—a fun concept if you’re looking for a unique skincare souvenir.


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It took me forever to draw (the design is so elaborate!), but I really, really enjoyed this pack of 5 Hada Labo Koi-Gokujun Perfect Masks, which I picked up at Ainze & Tulpe while doing some beauty shopping with @yayayayoung back in April. Since I love the Hada Labo Gokujun Premium Hyaluronic Acid Lotion so much, I figured I’d give what is basically the sheet mask version a shot. And it didn’t disappoint! ⠀ My notes: ⠀ ⭐️It contains 4 types of HA, as well as squalane, and ceramides. ⭐️It is free of fragrance, colorants, mineral oil, and ethanol. ⭐️The sheet is really thick, and the fit works quite well for my face (SWIPE 👉🏼to see). ⭐️The claim is that this one sheet mask can replace your entire skincare routine (toner, serum, emulsion, cream, mask), although I still use toner under it and a lightweight moisturizer after removing it. ⭐️I love how moisturized and plump it leaves my skin… and I’m kicking myself for not buying an extra pack (or three) for myself before I left Tokyo (although I did bring back some as souvenirs for other people 🤦🏻‍♀️). ⠀ I’ll definitely repurchase these next time I’m in Japan. I tend to use sheet masks while working, and often leave them on for much longer than recommended on the packaging… Do you time yourself when using masks in general, or do you just play it by ear? ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ #byminoue #madewithpaper #jbeauty

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Beautytap Advisors (aestheticians, facialists, makeup artists, and beauty professionals) recommend these sheet masks.



Silicone Masks


I discovered silicone masks in Japan a few years ago, and still use them regularly. Recommended uses include over a sheet mask to help keep it in place, reduce essence evaporation, and prevent it from drying out (bonus: it also keeps the nose pads of my glasses from getting sticky), or worn alone while taking a bath to create a face steaming effect. They come in different varieties including full-mask versions, split in two (I like to use just the top portion over eye masks), and cute animal-inspired versions. You’ll find them at Daiso for just ¥100 ($1), with more elaborate versions available in other stores for up to around ¥800 ($8). I’ve purchased many of these as inexpensive gifts for friends—unlike regular sheet masks, they can be washed and reused many times, which also makes them a lasting souvenir. I own two or three, with varying fits: my favourite is the Darling Trendy House Slim Neko Mask. Aside from its cat face design and ears (was it created specifically for me?!), it fits my face nicely, without the ear loops pulling or being uncomfortable.


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Novelty Items


Think anime-themed makeup and skincare (hello, Sailor Moon compact-shaped lip balm and The Rose of Versailles face masks!), bath bombs with cat figurines inside, and that famous Kanebo Evita Beauty Whip Soap, which dispenses foaming facial cleanser in the shape of a rose. Japanese beauty aisles are literally brimming with fun, nostalgic, cute, and wacky products that make original souvenirs!


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This post about @kaneboofficial Evita Beauty Whip Soap 🇯🇵 has (literally) been months in the making, but I’ve finally put everything together—including a new blog post with my thoughts on the product [link in bio ☺️]. SWIPE 👉🏼 for a photo and video! Have you ever tried it? What did you think? 🌹 • • • • • #byminoue #illustratorsoninstagram #illustrationart #digitaldrawing #productjunkie #asiancosmetics #abeautycommunity #コスメ #스킨케어 #뷰티케어 #아름다움 #인스타뷰티 #뷰티블로거 #skincareluxury #skincareaddict #化粧品 #スキンケア #beautycommunity #skincareproducts #instaskincare #jbeauty #beautyillustration #abcommunity #skincareroutine #kbeauty #koreancosmetics #evitabeautywhipsoap #japanesecosmetics #japaneseskincare #animationart

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What is your favorite beauty item you’ve purchased abroad (Japan, Korea or elsewhere)? I’d love to read about your best discoveries while travelling in the comments!

Mariève has been writing about beauty online and in print for over 10 years. Half-Canadian and half-Japanese, she loves that being a freelance beauty writer gives her the opportunity to explore the cosmetics landscape from Montreal all the way to Tokyo. Also on her mind at any given moment: cats, music, figure skating, food, and her next trip to Japan. You can find her (and her beauty illustrations!) on Instagram at @by.minoue.




Great list of products! Eye steaming masks are the greatest invention ever! !!

Fantastic read! I can't wait to try the steam mask!


Thank you!

These were all so interesting to read about! the steaming eye masks and the silicone mask both sounds amazing to me! I can't wait until I can get my hands on some those

My husband and I both use the Kao MegRhythm eye masks. I have hide mine 'cuz he steals them. He doesn't have much of a skin care routine, but he uses those masks at least four nights a week. They relieve eye strain and are great when I have a headache.


I haven't been using mine lately as I usually save them to take with me on flights. I should really use them at home, too!

Most my regimen currently consists of K beauty products! I am very intrigued by the J beauty products and I'm excited to try the eye masks in particular. I really appreciate the beautiful and fun packaging among the Japanese beauty products as well!

I absolutely LOVE Japanese beauty culture. My favorite Japanese beauty item is the steam eye masks! I use them regularly and find myself so relaxed when using them. My skin feels nice and tight and healthy after every use. They definitely help reduce bags under the eyes, dark circles, wrinkles, etc.

Though I have not yet tried the J-beauty sheet masks (nor have I been to Japan) I believe the finds in this article are worthy of my shopping cart. I am already a fan of K-Beauty and their sunscreen-Missha Soft Finish Sun Milk EX SPF 50 (just saying) so I am looking forward to exploring J-beauty further.
My youngest has plans to travel to Japan so hopefully, I can bribe him into getting me some souvenirs to make momma look perkier!

Thank you for all of the advice!

Really good article


This is fun stuff to look over and to keep in mind!

I love J-Beauty! Especially all the different masks! Lol