As the international schools wrap up for another year, many Tokyo Expats are getting ready to escape the intense heat and humidity of the Japanese summer, and head home to spend time with family and friends.
Amid last minute madness of sayonara’s and end of year parties most of us want to pick up some cute and quirky Japanese gifts to take home, and the quickest and easiest (and cheapest) place to buy some amazing and fun Japanese products is the local drug store.
So, in the spirit of the Japanese tradition of gift giving (omiyage), here is a list of the best Japanese drugstore gifts!
1. Japanese Face Masks
Face masks are having a major moment right now, and globally Japan and Korea are driving the trend of using sheet or gel face masks. Face mask’s are one of the best gifts that you can buy for friends outside of Japan because there are so many of them to choose from! Best of all they are small, light and will not leak in your luggage.
I love the Lu Lu Lun range for their cute packaging and affordable price (7 Day pack is ¥400)!
2. Japanese Bath Salts
Bathing is a fine art in Japan- visit any onsen and you see the ritual and tradition that has developed over the centuries. Even at home Japanese enjoy a long, hot relaxing bath at the end of the day. There are a myriad of Japanese bath salts on the market. Light, compact and individually packaged again these are ideal to take home as gifts. There are so many different kinds.
I love the Tabino Yado hot spring salts pictured above for the gorgeous Japanese onsen (hot springs) illustrations on the packaging (1 box contains 15 sachets- ¥500 ).
3. Japanese False Eyelashes
False eyelashes are definitely having a resurgence of popularity at the moment, and in Japan many women wear false eyelashes daily. The quality and affordability of Japanese false eyelashes can’t be beaten, and you don’t have to buy Shu Umera (although you definitely should as they are amazing) to get great quality. Drugstore brands such as Dollywink and DUP are fantastic quality and very affordable (about ¥1,000). There are more styles than you can ever imagine possible- everything from very full black doll-like lashes to extremely subtle, sophisticated soft brown lashes. Definitely an essential beauty item to use when recreating the “kawaii” Japanese girl look at home.
4. Baby Foot
Baby Foot (¥1,480) is a an extremely popular at home deep exfoliant for feet, that promises to return your unsightly dry, weathered feet back to a more soft and presentable state. In equal parts fascinating and disgusting, you don the pair of Baby Foot plastic booties that are filled with a gel packed with alpha hydroxy fruit acids and moisturising plant extracts. Results do vary from person to person, but within two to seven days you should experience a significant amount of dead skin peel from you feet, and perfectly soft baby skin appear underneath.
5. Japanese Mascara
As I have mentioned in my previous post about Japanese mascara’s (here) Japanese drugstores have THE best mascara and who doesn’t love a good mascara. Guaranteed, your girlfriends, sisters and Mum will be putting in their repeat orders for your next trip home.
Most Japanese drugstore mascara’s are under ¥2,000 each!
6. Rice Powder Cleanser
Japanese women have long used rice powder washes to achieve beautifully clear and radiant complexions. Rice powder contain a gentle exfoliating enzyme that helps remove dead skin cells that build up on the skin causing dullness and blocked pores. Gentle and moisturising, powder cleansers work for all skin types. They are also quite easy and convenient to use, as many powder cleansers come in individual use pods or sachets, making them perfect for keeping in you gym bag or for easy packing when travelling.
My favourites are Suisai Beauty Clear Powder (from ¥1,000), Hadakiwami Powder Wash (¥1,400) and FANCL Facial Washing Powder (from ¥1,296).
7. Tsubaki Oil
For centuries, Japanese women and men have used tsubaki, or Japanese camellia oil to naturally nourish and moisturise their skin and hair. Camellia oil contains high amounts of oleic acid (Omega 9), known for it’s superior moisturising properties, and it’s ability to deeply penetrate the hair and skin. Camellia oil has a light texture and is quickly absorbed, so you are not left looking greasy. A true multitasking beauty product, Camellia oil can be used as a body moisturiser (perfect after a bath or shower), stretch mark oil, or as a hair oil and treatment. Camelia oil can be found in any Japanese drugstores- just look for the famous yellow and red packaging (¥1,500 for 60ml).
8. Hada Labo Hyaluronic Acid Lotion
One of my favourite Japanese skincare products is Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Acid Lotion. I have written about before on Tokyo Beauty Book (here). Hada Labo lotion (¥830) is a true Japanese cult beauty product. There are a few different variations to suit different skin types which you can easily decipher by colour: orange- original, green- light formulation for more oily skin, pink- milk formulation for dry skin.
9. Blotting Paper
It doesn’t really matter which brand you buy- all of the Japanese blotting papers will be much better than anything you have tried at home. Japanese blotting papers are also available in a huge range of fun packaging designs and colours. They start from around ¥300.
10. Children’s Toothpaste and Band-Aids
Kids will get a kick out of the fruit flavoured toothpaste and Japanese cartoon character like Pokemon and Hello Kitty on their Band-Aids.
To be on the safe side, grab a few packets of the latest flavour Kit Kat’s just to make sure you have everyone covered!
Where can you buy these products in Tokyo?
All of these product are widely available at the Japanese drugstore like Matsumoto Kiyoshi!
Where can you buy these products outside of Japan?
Minon Amino Moist Sheet Mask- Amazon
Lululun Sheet Face Mask- Amazon
Dolly Wink Eyelashes- Amazon
DUP Eyelashes- Amazon
Baby Foot- Amazon
Suisai Beauty Clear Powder- Amazon
Hadakiwami Cleansing Powder- Amazon
FANCL Facial Wash Powder- Amazon
Tsubaki Oil- Amazon