Japan Trip Diary (Part 5) – Beauty Stores & Skincare Products In Japan


It has been 5 months since my recent trip to Japan in April 2011. I have earlier shared about food, shopping, scenery, hot spring ……………. and now I’m here to share something I love most – Cosmetics in Japan!

I decided to split into 2 posts as there are too many products to feature. In this post, I will be focusing on skincare products.

Shopping for cosmetics in Japan is a JOY! The selections are humongous! Look at the plentiful products, how could you not spoil for choices rite! Well, what I’m showing here are only part of the whole shop. Some beauty stores (shown above) are huge and the size of the whole shop is almost double the size of Watsons stores at Ngee Ann City.

There are so many of such beauty stores everywhere. The interesting thing is that I always manage to find something new and interesting at every shops. I love browsing through the enormous selection of makeup and skincare products. I can spend at least 2 hours in each shop. Thankfully my hubby was quite patient with me, if not I could have spent a day in just one shop alone.

In the recent years, many cosmetics shops such as this at Tanukikoji Shopping Arcade have been hiring shop assistants from China to help serve a large numbers of mandarin-speaking customers from Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Singapore and Malaysia.

Before the shop assistant from China attended to me, I actually have a hard time communicating with one of the Japanese shop assistant. He then brought out a detailed Handy Guide Book by Shiseido (see Shiseido’s logo in white circle) to see if I could find my answer from this guide book. I was just amazed that how much beauty information is covered in this book.

Aqualabel, which launched its first 3 skincare series Whitening, Hydrating and Acne in Singapore in 2010, carry other range of skincare products which are not available in Singapore yet, such as the pictures above.

I believe the “Royal Rich” (in light yellow packaging) products are under the anti-aging series. These different series are actually found at different stores. Although Aqualabel skincare products can be found at most beauty stores but different stores actually carry different ranges to Aqualabel.

Hada Labo also comes in other ranges which are not available in Singapore too. I have actually bought a Skin Conditioner Lotion out of curiosity although I have no idea what is it for hee hee………. I will try to figure it out before I use it. I hope to start using it before end of this year hee hee……….

Found this Hada Labo Collagen Drink from another store.

I have actually bought this new Hada Labo Retinol Lifting & Firming Lotion during this Japan trip, thinking it was not available in Singapore yet. But coincidentally it was actually launched in Singapore a few days after I’ve arrived back. Hmmm…… Anyway, I’ve been using this product for a while, click here to read my review on this new anti-aging product.

SK-II, one of the most popular and prestige cosmetic brands, is easily available everywhere in Japan. Be it at the small beauty stores or the upscale department stores. Surprisingly, although the beauty stores offer massive discounts on SKII products but after converting the discounted price to Sing dollars, it doesn’t seem to be any cheaper to buy in Japan anyway. I feel that the best deal for SK-II products is at Perfumes & Cosmetics outlets @ Changi Airport Transit Areas.

Shiseido Haku Melanofocus, an award winning whitening essence, is formulated with 4MSK and m-Tranexemic acid that is patented by Shiseido.

On its first one and a half years, it has achieved a record with more than 2 million products sold. Lao Niu (牛尔老师) from Nu Ren Wo Zui Da (女人我最大) has ever recommended this whitening product on the popular Taiwanese variety show å¥³äººæˆ‘最大 before.

Since this product is only sold in Japan, I didn’t want to miss this opportunity and bought a bundle set that comes with a whitening mask at 30% discount @ 7350yen (UP 10500yen) which is equivalent to S$116. Quite expensive though. I’m currently using it, do stay tuned for my review.

Dr. Cilabo, a popular cosmetics brand in Japan, can be found at most beauty stores in Japan. In fact it is now available in Singapore and there are 3 outlets locating at Isetan Orchard @Wisma Atria, Robinson @Centrepoint and Parco @Millenia Walk. Their most famous range of products is their Aqua Collagen Gel that comes in different variation. This season Limited Edition Aqua Collagen-Gel ALOE COOL was recently launched in Singapore and is priced at only S$68. Not too sure if it’s still available now.

These Obagi products are specially designed for Japanese markets and they are only available in Japan.

I was so tempted to buy one of these Obagi Vitamin C Brightening Serum that comes in 3 different strength 5%, 10% or 20% of L-ascorbic acid. Each time I “bumped into” these Obagi products, I could actually stand in front of the section and ponder for a long time as to whether to buy it or not. In fact, I have always wanted to try Obagi (a global specialty pharmaceutical brand from US) skincare products for the longest time. Well after much consideration, I didn’t buy it eventually as I realized I can somewhat find similar products in Singapore and in addition I have stocked up 3 boxes (comes in 8 vials in each box) of Sisley Brightening Serum in 5% L-ascorbic acid that I have yet to complete.

3 boxes?! Hee hee…..each time I travel overseas, I will buy a box of Sisley Brightening Serum at Changi Airport which I can save up to $90 for each box.

I’m glad to have discovered this amazing cosmetics brand named Sofina. Sofina carries a super wide range of products that includes whitening, hydrating, acne, anti-aging, makeup and many many more. Such a waste it is not available in Singapore. I’ve bought a bundle set that consists of a whitening day moisturizer with SPF50+ PA+++ and a whitening lotion. I actually love the day moisturizer very much and I’m finishing it soon. I’m thinking to do a review on this product, watch this space.

This Totty Facial Soap is formulated with raspberries which has great antioxidant benefits.

This apple AHA foaming product is believed to help remove dead skin cells and reduce pore sizes.

I doubt this whitening range Shiseido Elixir White is available in Singapore rite? I don’t remember seeing this here. Maybe it is replaced with White Lucent in Singapore.

I wish I can read Japanese words. There are so many interesting products such as this tangerine product that I’m quite keen to know more about. As tangerine is claimed to help reduce tension and improve mood, so I reckon this product should be meant for body use.

Found this interesting product Eudermine by Shiseido in a corner of a very small beauty stores. I reckon it’s a rose water lotion.

These hand-held lifting facial massagers look interesting! They are not cheap though, the ‘V’ massager priced at 24,900yen (S$393), ‘O’ massager priced at 13,800yen (S$218) and ‘I’ massager priced at 14,800yen (S$233).

I’ve bought this facial scrub sponge out of curiosity in fact. Find it interesting that the sponge is always wet in the packaging. Yet to use it though.


That’s all for skincare products in Japan and I will be focusing more about makeup products on my next Japan diary post. Are you interested to try any of the products above? I’m actually quite keen to know what my readers like too! Do share. Thanks for reading, Sayonara! ;-)


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10 Comments on "Japan Trip Diary (Part 5) – Beauty Stores & Skincare Products In Japan"

  1. Coraline says:

    Hi Shirleen,
    It seems like you had a lot of time shopping at Japan, so jealous!!! :p
    The Hada Labo Skin Conditioner is a toner/softener that should be used after face wash. I think you can also use it as a DIY cotton mask too.
    The Shiseido Haku essence looks quite tempting. White Lucent serum has same ingredients but for much more expensive price tag. So lucky that you got the Haku one. I heard it is advised to incorporate Shiseido Elixir White with it since the Elixir White doesn’t have any essence/serum
    Last but not least, have you checked out any Fancl products while you were there? It’s much cheaper compare to Singapore’s prices
    Cheers :)

  2. Shirleen says:

    Hi Coraline,

    Yes, I practically spent most of my time shopping.

    Thanks for the info for the Hada Labo Skin Conditioner. If it’s a toner/softener, well I guess there’s not much different from the HL Super Hyaluronic Acid Moisturizing Lotion then.

    I believe White Lucent doesn’t have 4MSK, one of the key ingredients in Haku.

    I didn’t manage to check out the Fancl stores. ;-)

  3. goldenlime says:

    hi Shirleen,
    I am actually currently using the Hada Labo Skin Conditioner, it is a toner,the main purpose is to curb breakouts :) My skin is loving it lots !

  4. Shirleen says:

    Hi goldenlime,

    Thanks! Hope it will be available in Singapore soon. ;-)

  5. Coraline says:

    oh..i thought the White Lucent Intensive Spot-Targeting Serum contains the m-Tranexamic Acid, 4MSK, Vitamin C and natural Yomogi Extract…?

  6. Shirleen says:

    Hi Coraline,

    Yes you are right. It seems like only White Lucent Intensive Spot Targeting Serum contains 4MSK, the rest White Lucent products including White Lucent Brightening Serum do not contain 4MSK.

  7. MsAnge says:

    Hi Shirleen,

    Love your skincare posts. What’s a good make up on not-so-good skin, rite? Thanks to you I’ve rediscovered Paula’s Choice. Used it a long time back but not the right product for my needs. Also come to realize it’s now available in Indonesia. Yay!

    My question is act. re. product purchase. You’ve mentioned best pricing on some items is in perfume/makeup counters in Changi. Whilst I’ve quite often come through Changi I realize not all terminal is equal in terms of availability of brands. Which terminal do you think have the most complete skincare offering?


  8. Shirleen says:

    Hi MsAnge,

    It depends on which brands you prefer and leading cosmetics brands such as Estee, Lancome, Clarins, EA, Dior, Chanel…. are available at all 3 terminals.

    I personally love to purchase Sisley at Changi Airport which only available at Terminal 2 & 3 if I’m not wrong.

    I think terminal 2 have more selection cos you can find Bath & Body Works, Shu Uemura plus Kiehl’s and Mac exclusive stores at terminal 2. If you are a fan of Smashbox, it is available at terminal 1.

  9. Ms Piggy says:

    Hi Shirleen,

    After coming across your blog by chance, I got
    to read your reviews abt many beauty products which r very informative. Thx

    I am interested to try Sofina’s pdts n Aqualabel anti-aging series, too bad they r not available in SG.

  10. Shirleen says:

    Hi Ms Piggy,

    I’m glad you like reading my product reviews and do drop by again.

    Yes, it’s a waste that Sofina products are not available in Singapore. I extremely love its whitening day moisturizer very much. I’m not so keen on Aqualabel Anti-aging series though.

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