Beauty

Japanese Cosmetics – Worth the Hype?

When I went to Japan a few months ago, I asked one of my good friends C if she’d like me to bring anything back. She’s the kind of girl who rarely asks asks for anything, so I was surprised when a few days later she had emailed me a massive list. “I’m so sorry,” she said, “But I’m obsessed with Japanese makeup and skincare. It’s so hard to get certain brands here in the U.S.”

Thus before we left, I promised to C that I’d dutifully visit Matsumoto Kiyoshi (a massive chain in Japan, kind of like Ulta) to pick up her requested items. I was curious about what would have driven this very normal girl born and raised in Minnesota to go so crazy about Japanese makeup – after some light Googling, came across a bunch of Japanese cosmetics fan sites. I also discovered a fantastic New York Times article here, describing the craze for Japanese cosmetics in the West. The article was fascinating, with quotes from women who described Japanese makeup as being a) better quality (even at the drugstore level) than what Western brands had to offer, b) produced within a much more competitive market than the West and thus held to a higher standard of excellence, and c) very waterproof due to the humid temperatures in Asia.

Of course after all of that research, I had to pick up some products for myself as well while in Japan. I’ve had a few months to test them all out and see if they were worth of their exhaulted status, and here are my thoughts.

These were five of my favorite products – Dolly Wink eyelash glue (recommended by Christine), Dolly Wink liquid eyeliner, Kiss Me Heroine mascara, Love Liquid liner, and random brand Q-tips.

I had tried liquid liner before, but it never worked on me until I tried Japanese brands. They are indeed very waterproof but wash off very easily with soap and water. The brushes on them are also very small and fine – easy to draw natural lines. Dolly Wink is available at several stores in the U.S as well as here. I loved these little cotton swabs because they were so small and incredibly precise for great attention to detail.

I also bought Cure gel based on the recommendation of friends – it’s become one of my favorite products in my skincare routine! Very gentle exfoliator and it really works. I already bought a refill on Amazon here for what I think is a good price, especially when you take into account how annoying it was to bring this big bottle back from Japan. I actually have no idea what the pink foam things next to the Aqua gel is- but I’ll probably try it out on a homebody day in case the results are disastrous!

Finally I wanted to share with you all the only makeup item I had ever used from Japan prior to this trip – Yojiya oil blotting papers. Yojiya is based in Kyoto and all around the city you can find their shops. They are most famous for their blotting papers and for good reason – I have never found  better blotting papers than those made in Japan (Tatcha’s, another favorite, are made in Japan as well).

After trying a multitude of products over the last few months, my verdict on Japanese makeup was uniformly positive. I loved the products I tried out (especially the liquid eyeliners) and found that there was a great amount of attention to detail in packaging and applicators. I also just felt that the products were gentler to my skin, without unnecessary additives. That being said, I didn’t think there was anything outrageously better than the Western brands I’ve tried (again, except for the eyeliners).

I’m curious now – have you all tried Japanese (or Asian) makeup? Do you love it, and what are your recommendations? Do you prefer them over Western brands?

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66 Comments

  • Reply
    Jyoan
    August 6, 2012 at 7:01 am

    Hi. I am Asian, Singaporean, and so have large access to Japanese and Korean makeup/skincare. Due to Singapore’s relation with the West, we also have a lot, a lot of Western brands here, Tom Ford, Laura Mercier, Becca, Hourglass, Burberry, Sephora, and standard counter brands are all here. We have little shops selling NYX, Coastal Scents, e.l.f, and more.

    In my very honest opinion, I really do not think Japanese makeup/skincare are exceptionally better than Western. I use from both East and West of course, but I swear by Urban Decay and Make Up For Ever, just as much as I swear by Japanese Majolica Majorca, Dollywink, etc.

    I like MUFE Aqua Smoky Lash better than Japan’s Majolica Majorca. I like M.A.C Pearlglide and Chanel’s eyeliners better than Dollywink. I like Milani’s Baked blushes, Laura Geller’s, etc, etc.

    I swear Western’s drugstore brands are of higher quality and much, much, much, much cheaper than Japanese ones. Japanese drugstore brands are almost the price of Stila, here in Singapore.

    People here in Asia are craving for Wet ‘n’ Wild and Sleek to come. There is still Illamasqua and Inglot that I am waiting for.

    I guess it’s really a case of the grass is always greener on the other side.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 6, 2012 at 8:19 am

      This was fascinating – thank you Jyoan! I agree that I found Japanese drugstore brands quite expensive (though I wasn’t sure if that was just the exchange rate talking!).

      • Reply
        Ken Wong
        June 25, 2016 at 2:21 pm

        I believe to be fair, Japanese brands looks more appealing than Korean brands. When I look that girls applying on Japanese makeups, they look very hot and sexy. Whereas Korean makeups are just average.

        • Reply
          Ken Wong
          June 25, 2016 at 2:23 pm

          I believe to be fair, Japanese brands looks more appealing than Korean brands. When I look at girls applying on Japanese makeups, they look very hot and sexy. Whereas Korean makeups are just average.

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    August 6, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Hi,

    I’m from Hong Kong, where they sell the pink foam everything. It is for you to curl your hair without heating them. Do it with damp hair, so it holds better.

    Put the end of your hair into the line where the foam split in half, roll them up, then secure them with the loop hole at the end. Sleep with it. Then you will get some beautiful curls in the morning.

    I hope this helps!!!!!!! 😉

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 6, 2012 at 8:19 am

      Oh wow, thank you!! I am going to try this out now 🙂

  • Reply
    chocolatecookiesandcandies
    August 6, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I don’t use a lot of make up and I’m really really bad at make up application. I tend to visit Sasa, a popular cosmetic and skincare drugstore in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. I’ve only ever used Shu Uemura and it’s as good as any others (say, Laura Mercier etc).

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 6, 2012 at 8:18 am

      Me too – I love Shu! They stopped carrying it at retail places here in the US 🙁

      • Reply
        latkesanddimsum
        August 6, 2012 at 9:34 am

        The next time you’re in HK….do check out the Shu Uemura boutiques…this place is crawling with them!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Shopping Obsession
    August 6, 2012 at 7:33 am

    I have only tried the blotting paper you have. Want to try the Dollywink eyeliner though. I am using the Korean brand Super Skin 79 BB cream(hot pink). I have tried other Western brands but find the Korean brand is much much better. More coverage and has SPF, unlike a few of the brands sold here.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 6, 2012 at 8:18 am

      I have heard great things about Korean BB creams – thank you for the recommendation! Have you tried Skin Food?

      • Reply
        Kathy
        August 6, 2012 at 2:33 pm

        Aside from skincare, I loveeeee Skin Food’s nail polish. They’re so pretty, all of them! Their skin care line is very gentle. I tried their eye cream before and it was pretty good! The only Skin Food store here in LA is about 30 mins away from me.

  • Reply
    Tabitha
    August 6, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I haven’t but I would definitely try the blotting papers, I use the Shiseido ones and can’t leave the house without two tucked in my pockets, I’m ridiculously oily skinned.

  • Reply
    Linda
    August 6, 2012 at 8:09 am

    The Cure gel sounds really interesting!

    I have very little experience of Japanese cosmetics but I do like the Fiberwig mascara which I believe origins from Japan. I also like the moisturizing skin cream from http://www.yu-be.com.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

      The Cure gel is great, I’d highly recommend it!

  • Reply
    adele
    August 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I love all the packaging…so girly cute!
    Happy Monday Hun xoxo
    http://www.intotheblonde.com/
    Vote intotheblonde BEST LIFESTYLE BLOG in the Cosmo Blog Awards 2012
    http://www.cosmopolitan.co.uk/blog-awards-2012-vote

  • Reply
    Ammu
    August 6, 2012 at 8:47 am

    I have used kanebo and shiseido in the past and loved using both brands. That said, I am pretty loyal to French skincare (the keracnyl range by ducray) and American makeup (MAC and Bobbi Brown).

  • Reply
    mlleW
    August 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

    depends on what you take: I think the sunblocks are incredibly good, but I also think La Roche Posay is really good so are they better, not sure but they are good.

  • Reply
    Jess
    August 6, 2012 at 9:55 am

    You can get Koh Gen Do from Barney’s which has a very similar effect to the Cure you mentioned. Here’s the link if you are interested!

    http://www.barneys.com/Koh-Gen-Do-Soft-Gommage-Gel/00505008448095,default,pd.html

  • Reply
    Chrissybean
    August 6, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Loved reading this post, the comments and the linked Times article! I am definitely gonna check out some of these goodies, though my wallet is gasping and screaming “don’t you spend enough already on domestic cosmetics and skin care???” Ha! 80)

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    August 6, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Great post! I love Japanese anything, ie stationary. I use Shu Uemura everyday. I’m dying to go to Tokyo. I could wander around a drugstore for hours.

    The hair curlers sound interesting. Do you know where they can be bought?

  • Reply
    Cassie
    August 6, 2012 at 10:31 am

    Currently the two Japanese cosmetic products I have in my arsenal are Shu Uemura brightening cleansing oil, and Fairy Drops mascara. Both have become bathroom staples for me. My skin is very oily, and I find almost every mascara and eyeliner ends up migrating below my eyes making me look very tired. The Fairy Drops mascara is the first one I’ve found that actually stays put all day. At the end of the day it washes off in solid chunks rather than a smeary mess. You’d think that you’d end up with flakes everywhere with that, but as long as you don’t let it get to old I haven’t found it to be an issue. If these two products are representative of what the Japanese market has to offer, I’ll be all over it.

  • Reply
    Anoushka
    August 6, 2012 at 11:37 am

    I bought a couple of items when I visited Japan a few years ago. While they’re cute, I do prefer my usual classic brands (Lancome, Clarins, etc.).

  • Reply
    Cynthia
    August 6, 2012 at 12:05 pm

    I’ve never used Asian brands. I saw them when I was in Hong Kong last Christmas visiting family, but as a 32 year old, the uber-kawaii packaging is a major turn-off – seriously, I really don’t know of too many women my age, here or there, who would touch stuff with packaging like that (but then again, all of my cousins attended university in the US or Canada). Do local-locals over 25 really wear these brands? Don’t they find the kawaii packaging embarrassing?

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 6, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Yes the Kawaii packaging was an issue for me too – that’s why I bought items that don’t go with me in my makeup case but are used in the privacy of my own home, lol! Would love to hear the opinions of others on this issue!

      • Reply
        Liyu
        December 17, 2012 at 7:25 pm

        I don’t really care about the packaging. I’m more worried about the prices than to worry about the packaging kekeke

        Love the dollywink eyeliner. Best liquid liner i’ve ever used. I love the paintbrush type tip, it’s, for an artist, very easy to control 🙂

        Koji is one of my favorite japanese brands. Their facial cleansers work best for my skin.

        I use a similar Gel-like toner with aloe vera, not sure what the brand is, as i’m not able to read Chinsese. 🙂

        Great review!

        • Reply
          Katherine
          December 18, 2012 at 10:44 am

          I really like my dollywink too – I’m going to buy another one I think 🙂 Very water resistent too!

    • Reply
      sonette
      February 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm

      Yes, people over 25 do. The packaging of Japanese cosmetics is one of the things that actually attracts makeup enthusiasts to buy them, apart from the quality of course. I live in Canada, but grew up in the Philippines. Asians, in general, just love the kawaii look. Japan, of course, being the motherland of all things kawaii. It’s different in Canada. Canadians, in general, aren’t into the kawaii-craze.

      • Reply
        Lindsay
        April 5, 2016 at 11:33 pm

        Korean cosmetics put Japanese ones to shame as far as Kawaii packaging goes. you will not find ANYTHING from Japan cuter than the stuff Holika Holika, Etude House, TonyMoly, or The Face Shop puts out. Skinfood has some cute stuff, too. Korean cosmetics are the crème de la crème of ultra cute and kawaii packaging.

  • Reply
    erica
    August 6, 2012 at 1:13 pm

    omg, yojiya blotting paper! i remember when we went to japan my sister made us hunt down this store just for those blotting papers! they’re great 🙂

  • Reply
    Dzung
    August 6, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    oooh! i love this post. i have tried fairy drops scandal queen mascara. it has this cool lumpy brush that is supposed to catch every eyelash. it was expensive though, but totally worth it!! how did your friend like the kiss me heroine mascara?

    as for liquid eyeliner – i never liked anything i’ve tried either until i found the stila liquid liner. it is amazing! dark, black, easy to apply, and stays on for days!! i will have to try some of the japanese liners .. i like that you mentioned it doesn’t have additional additives. any ideas on where to get them in the bay area?

  • Reply
    Dana
    August 6, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Hmm I haven’t tried many Asian cosmetics for a couple reasons 1) price 2) when I swatch anything the products seem to be pretty comparable to Western brands. What I have heard is that Asian mascaras hold curl better – take that with a grain of salt though, because I don’t curl my lashes on a regular basis.

    What I do have a weakness for? Asian skin care. For all over face care & masks I go with Korea brand The Face Shop. Their blemish zero line has been doing wonders for my skin and I’ve enjoyed the samples I’ve tried too – everything just smells and feels fantastic! I’ve dabbled a bit with Liole’s acne line (this is my area of concern so I focus) and it’s not bad either. I don’t know, just something about Asian skin care products makes me feel safe – maybe it’s the same ‘brainwashing’ that make women feel the cosmetics are better, lol? Either way I’d recommend both brands along with The Face Shop & My Beauty Diary face masks – they’re great treats after a long week!

    And thanks for sharing your thoughts – I love hearing other people’s opinions on stuff like this!

  • Reply
    Katherine
    August 6, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I actually really like the japanese cosmetics! I found them on my trip to HK and I love the dollywink eyeliner! It comes off really well and doesn’t smudge! I also tried their mascara – kiss me one which I think is better than the drugstore ones such as Maybelline or Covergirl. I don’t know if its because I have asian lashes? Either way I love them!

  • Reply
    alison*elle
    August 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Haha, I have noooo shame when it comes to purchasing overly cutesy Japanese (and other Asian) makeup. Two of my favourite drugstore Japanese brands are Lavshuca and Majolica Majorca. I’ve heard great stuff about that Dollywink liner but I always forget to pick it up when I’m in Asia.

    xo, alison*elle

  • Reply
    meowmixer
    August 6, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    I am an American-born Asian girl and I LOVE Japanese cosmetics (favorite brands include Koh Gen Do, Shu Uemura, and Suqqu) and am now itching to try out the eyeliner you recommended. Thanks for being an enabler!!! 😉

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 6, 2012 at 4:03 pm

      Happy to enable, love your name!

  • Reply
    SS
    August 6, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Hi. Happy to know you liked Japanese Makeup products!

    I do use both Western and Japanese cosmetic brands for makeup. Both are good.

    For skincare, I rely on Japanese brand… My skin is on dry and a bit sensitive side, I need a lot of face lotion, that kind of lotions western brands do not offer, after washing my face. I may try new skincare routine but for now, I do the same when I was in Japan. So I bought and brought a lot of Japanese skincare products.

    Regarding package… I think Japanese females just love anything cute. Once you remove outside package, it should be fine. Even I feel sometimes embarrassed when I buy since I feel I’m old for these ‘cute’ ones.

    Do you know Western brand offer somewhat different products between in Asia and in USA ete especially for skincare? They know the difference between them so they have to… in order to sell more in Japan!

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 6, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Fascinating, SS! Thanks for lending your expertise 🙂 What ar some of these US brands and products? Would love to hear more!

      • Reply
        SS
        August 7, 2012 at 5:34 pm

        Let me name a few.

        Some mascaras from Lancome (OK, it is french) are special for Japan since Japanese have more straight eyelash. You can get face moisture lotion from L’occitane in Japan but they don’t sell that products in other countries. Clinique do not say officially (I guess) but their skincare sold in Japan is more for sensitive skin than in Western countries. Regarding skincare, people often say even the same products, the one sold in Japan is more sensitive-skin friendly than the ones sold in others maybe just because of regulations… but not sure.

        • Reply
          Katherine
          August 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm

          Thank you for taking the time to reply, this is all so interesting! I have heard that Japan is stricter due to regulations…

  • Reply
    Amy
    August 6, 2012 at 6:49 pm

    Hi Katherine! I’m not a big user of Japanese products, but do tend to purchase many skincare products from Asian brands. I’ve found that the ingredients, such as licorice, green tea, rice bran, ginseng and fruit extracts, tend to fare much better on my sensitive skin than the Western brands. Over the years, I’ve developed a routine that includes multiple products that have really made a difference on my skin.

    My favorite brand is from Korea – Amore Pacific, and more specifically, Sulwhasoo. I came across the brand on a recent trip to Neiman Marcus in SF (although I think the Korean boutiques carry the brand too, without the mark up). The sales associate was incredibly helpful, and gave me enough samples to last 6 months (it certainly helped that she speaks Vietnamese!). The products have a bit of a ginger scent, but the effects have vastly improved the texture of my skin. It’s a bit on the shiny side, but I’ve used less foundation and powder. I also use their BB cream, and notice that my makeup glides on more smoothly. The brand runs a bit on the high end, so I’ve also looked into other brands, including Face Shop and Iso Knox to see what sort of ingredients make one product better than the other. I think staples like SKII and Koh Gen Do are probably great bets too.

    And of course, thanks to your recent posting, I’ve also looked into Tatcha. I can’t wait to see how the product feels!

  • Reply
    Jessie
    August 6, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Finally, I see something I am familiar with on your blog. xOXo from Malaysia

  • Reply
    T
    August 6, 2012 at 8:28 pm

    I don’t use too much of Japanese skincare/makeup, just Shu Uemura’s cleansing oil as my makeup remover, but I do use quite a bit of Korean products.

    Have to say that I find they aren’t as harsh on my skin as Western products are, and yes, they “sit” better on my skin because they are formulated towards the Asian skin and Asian temperature. On days that I use Clinique’s BB cream, it starts “melting” off my face by noon. But when I use my Holika (Korean brand) BB cream, it stays put nicely throughout the day.

    The kawaii packaging bothers me a lot too… I am not one for that much “cute” in a package. I hide it in my makeup bag and will discreetly touch-up, hopefully with no one else looking! (:

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 6, 2012 at 9:56 pm

      I use Clinique BB cream too but haven’t noticed the melting (though it’s probably happening). I should try Holika!

      • Reply
        T
        August 7, 2012 at 3:11 am

        Holika is great! Their BB cream comes with a roller.. perfect for even application and lazy days.

  • Reply
    audrinajulia
    August 7, 2012 at 12:13 am

    I’m not found of asian make up brands as to western but I do rely on their skincare products. The only make up brand that I use from Japan is the Shue Uemura, love their blush and cleaning oil together with the eye curlash tools which is famous here in the Philippines. But I I would love to try koreans bb cream which sells like hotcakes here.

    I swear by western products like Mac powder, lipstick, hd foundation and blush, Loreal lipgloss.But for now I can’t live without Estee Lauder’s face primer, mascara and brush on illuminator together with Guerlain Meteorites. They help me to achieve the make up no make up look.

  • Reply
    rooth
    August 7, 2012 at 6:00 am

    I’ve tried Asian beauty products – particularly blotting papers. It’s amazing how much oil they soak up and how long they last but I don’t typically go around blotting myself so the utility is a bit low for me. It seems like you can find a lot of this stuff on Amazon though?

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 7, 2012 at 8:45 am

      Yes there’s quite a lot on Amazon – it’s great for us! I think because Amazon just consolidates from a lot of sellers…

  • Reply
    Sonia
    August 7, 2012 at 11:15 am

    This post is so interesting, Katherine.
    I never tried Japanese cosmetics (well, with the exception of those from big Japanese brands that can be easily found in Europe such as Shiseido and Shu Uemura, which I really like), and I’m very curious about them.
    Actually, thinking of it a Japanese friend of mine once brought me some oil-blotting paper from Japan and I remember it was very good (I don’t remember the brand, though).
    I’m sure if I ever visit Japan, I’ll bring back a suitcase full of local products. I wont be able to resist the novelty (and the oh-so-cute packaging!)
    xx

  • Reply
    Helen
    August 7, 2012 at 2:02 pm

    Very informative! I got pink eye recently and was told to throw out all my eye makeup including my liquid liner. So I might try Dolly Wink. And I have been looking for a good exfoliator, will try the Cure gel.

  • Reply
    Kay
    August 7, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    There are a number of online stores in the US that sell Japanese beauty products. I use iMomoko.com.. It doesn’t have all the brands you mention in your blog. Shu Uemura is sold online in the US at their official website.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      August 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm

      Ah, thank you Kay! I also heard that SaSa is a good source online 🙂

  • Reply
    Jo
    August 7, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    I definitely prefer Japanese brand eye make up (eye liner, mascara, eye make up remover) over Western brands. They are really lasting and easy to remove. Over here in Singapore, we can get Japanese brand make up fairly easily which is great.

  • Reply
    Maja
    August 7, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Hi, I too use western and asian cosmetics. I find Shieido powder works best for my skin. Japan has so many store that carry make up and cosmetics and other funny stuff– cute! As for the BB cream I use it when in a hurry– Misha brand from Korea is the best.

  • Reply
    Ashley
    August 10, 2012 at 12:58 am

    I’ve tried Asian cosmetics and sometimes I think it’s just a trend. I wouldn’t say Japanese makeup is better in terms of value. After exchange rates and shipping rates, it ends up being the equivalent to mid-range priced Western makeup. The skincare is unarguably some of the best that I’ve tried (*eyeing Hadalabo*) though!

  • Reply
    Rola
    August 13, 2012 at 11:04 pm

    When I travel to Asia, I always haul Asian brands and Asian exclusives when I am there. I think both Asian and Western brands have different things to offer and they are equally good.

  • Reply
    Review: Cure Natural Aqua Gel «
    August 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    […] reading Feather Factor’s post on Cure Natural Aqua Gel, I had to try it. Of course I did a little preliminary research first and […]

  • Reply
    kyoko
    March 28, 2013 at 5:10 am

    hi, i m Kyoko living in Japan.

    This is beauty paper of a brand made in Kyoto Japan.

    “Youjiya”it was very good!!

    plz look!

    http://bit.ly/10gqmL0

    • Reply
      Katherine
      March 28, 2013 at 10:41 am

      I have this brand and love it! I always buy it when I’m in Japan. Thanks Kyoko and hi to you!

  • Reply
    julie
    August 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    I have everything you posted here. Love love love Japanese cosmetics!

  • Reply
    gulsah
    February 14, 2014 at 11:46 pm

    I believe Japanese and Korean cosmetics are one step ahead when it comes to skin care. I am now far away from my two home countries, the sun is amazingly damaging in NZ. I popped into one of cheap Japanese dollar shop and bought one eye shadow pan with12 colors in it for 3.5 dollars. Oh my this eye shadow was the nearest to mac s i ve been using for ages, if not better. It was not even low range cosmetics it was just labelled as Lj. Then I kept visiting this little Japanese and Korean shops, recently i bought a sunscreen with a research on makeupalley, it was spot on. This is followed by Shiseido, Kao and Naive skin care staff, mainly as foaming cleansers. As these brands are kinda cheaper or the same price as Rimmels and maybellines that you can not trust as skin cares.
    However I experienced there is nothing can protect your fair medium nc 20-25 skin from sun damage in here. So the perfect sunscreen search continues.

    • Reply
      Katherine
      February 16, 2014 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you for sharing your experience! I hope you find your perfect sunscreen 🙂

  • Reply
    Fanya B
    June 10, 2015 at 2:23 am

    To be honest, the Asian brands mentioned in the post and comments are mostly drugstore brands. So in general the difference with Western brands (if comparing to Laura Mercier, Bare minerals, NARS), will fall short.

    To compare more equally: Dolly wink, The Face Shop, Innisfree, Fiberwig, Hadalabo, Cure Gel etc – these should be compared to very drug store stuff in America like Loreal, Rimmel… (Sorry, not much of a drugstore fan so I don’t remember much). Therefore, from price point, the prices are not exactly cheap. But quality wise, way above and beyond. Quality of say, Stila or things sold in Sephora (mid price point).

    The only exception here would be: Sulwhasoo, Yojiya. These are considered good products. Comparable to Laura Mercier, Bare Minerals, Tarte. Here, you can see the price point is really good / cheap compared to Western stuff.

    And all the asian brands mentioned above are almost all natural / eco cert / organic even when they are just Asian drugstore.

    So in Asia, I’m never too worried if I run out of my regular face care and go to the drug store to grab a few cheap stuff to tide over. Because I know they are catered for sensitive skin and quite natural. Which I cannot say the same when I’m in North America.

    • Reply
      Fanya B
      June 10, 2015 at 2:30 am

      I forgot to mention, partly the reason for this is, Japanese don’t mind cheaper price point version of a product but the product must be good and has all the essentials that is expected: for sensitive skin, less chemicals etc. BTW Shiseido, Kose are drugstore products too.

      Of course as one gets older, they do transition to better products like SKII.

      My best friend studied there and has been living there for 15 years now. She studied her undergrad and all the way to phD there. So she had to study in Japanese for undergrad. She explained all this to me when I use to go visit her every year.

      • Reply
        Katherine
        June 10, 2015 at 2:56 pm

        Thanks so much for sharing your insight! And for sharing brands..if you have mroe recommended Japanese cosmetic brands please share! I love Yojiya too 🙂

  • Reply
    EppK
    April 3, 2016 at 5:38 am

    I think Japanese make-up products have really been underrated but I am so happy western culture is finally finding how great these products actually are! I first encountered Japanese make-up thanks to a blogger Inga Melon Panda whos’ interview (https://pinkycloud.com/japanese-cosmetics-a-look-from-the-inside-interview-with-inga-melon-panda) made me realize the X-factor missing from most western make-up products I had tried out before. Of course, it is a little tricky to order many products, unless they are in Amazon.com – though there are many wholesale sites like Webichi ((http://www.webichi.com/en/) that help you with that. For me though, Amazon has been the go-to place and I order my favourite Mascara – Kiss Me Heroine – from there. Japanese quality is something I had never seen before and when it comes to eye-makeup overall, I trust japanese cosmetics the most! The hype is definitely real and worth it!

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