It’s come to my attention that as much as I blog about J-beauty and skincare, I actually haven’t sat down and written a proper guide to shopping for skincare products in Japan. Find out where to buy skincare products in Japan, including shopping for K-beauty and other international brands, too! Be sure to check out this list of 10 Best Japanese Skincare Products Under 1000 yen before you go. Happy Shopping!
Where to Buy Skincare Products in Japan
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Local Options: Drugstores & Convenience Stores
You can do most of your skincare shopping at the drugstore, while convenience stores are a great place to look if you need something in a pinch!
Drugstores are perhaps the best place to look if you’re new to the world of Japanese cosmetics. This is where you’ll find popular skincare brands like Biore, HadaLabo, Lululun, DHC, FANCL etc. conveniently under one roof.
Those of you with sensitive skin should begin your search here as you will find a wide range of products from Curel and Minon. Depending on the location, you may also find a selection of K-Beauty products and other imports, too.
If you are able to hold a conversation in Japanese, reach out to staff who can assist you in finding the right cosmetics for your skin type or concern. Check out my cheat sheet to brush up on all the vocabulary you’ll need to know: How To Talk About Cosmetics and Skin Care Products in Japanese.
Japanese convenience stores, or “combini,” are a wonderful one-stop-shopping location. In addition to tasty bento and limited edition drinks and snacks, you can pick up parcels, pay your utilities, and also buy skincare products, too! Convenience stores typically stock travel sized products, in addition to 3- or 7- day sets that include cleanser, toner, and a cream or gel.
Here’s a brief rundown on what to expect at the three major convenience store chains:
7-Eleven has its own brand, Botanical Force, which is produced by FANCL.
Speaking of which, FANCL products can also be found at Family Mart. Click here to see what’s available.
In March 2020, Lawson debuted its own line of Natural Lawson skincare products. The line is additive free and does not contain artificial colors, fragrances, parabens, mineral oils nor alcohol.
Specialty Stores: Plaza, Its’Demo, Loft, & MUJI, Tokyu Hands
I listed Plaza, Its’Demo, Loft, MUJI, and Tokyo Hands as “specialty stores,” meaning they tend to stock niche skincare products or “exclusive” versions of skincare products. (Or, in the case of MUJI, they have their own line of skincare products)
Plaza, Its’Demo & Loft
These three retailers have similar customer profiles: women in their 20s and 30s keen to fill their cabinets with products that are kawaii and functional. Think products featuring Disney princesses, Pokemon, Sanrio characters (Its’Demo); exclusive versions of Saborino morning sheet masks (Plaza) or mid-range “natural” brands like ETVOS, WELEDA, Sritana, Bioderma, etc (Loft).
If you’re new to the world of Japanese cosmetics and have concerns about ingredients and prices, head straight to MUJI. They have their own line of in-house skincare (and makeup) products that frequently make appearances on Japanese beauty blogs.
MUJI is worth checking out if you’re looking for affordable skincare products for sensitive skin or mature skin. Their skincare products use natural spring water sourced from Iwate Prefecture.
Nearly all MUJI skincare products come in transparent or semi-transparent packaging. This means that you can clearly see the texture of the product — and see how much product is inside!
Tokyu Hands* is Japan’s “one-stop creative store” that sells kitchenware, cosmetics, toiletries, stationery, and everything in between. They’re primarily concentrated in the Kanto region, though you’ll find locations in major cities across Japan. You’ll find classic, mid-range skin care brands here along with imported items.
As of October 2022, Tokyu Hands has rebranded itself as Hands.
High-End Skincare: Department Stores & Flagship Stores
As with high end makeup, you’ll have better luck finding domestic and international luxury skincare products like La Mer, Clé de Peau, Albion, SK-II if you head to a department store. Think Takashimaya, Seibu, Sogo, Daimaru, Matsuzakaya, Sogo, or Isetan.
Those of you in large cities like Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Fukuoka, will certainly have better luck in this case when it comes to in-person shopping. Recently, there is a trend among Japanese department stores to create “concierge spaces” that only stock niche brands, mainly organic and natural brands.
This year, Isetan Shinjuku opened up their first K-Beauty concierge store, Yep’s bySEEDSMARKET. Learn all about it here: 5 K-Beauty Brands You Need To Know in 2022
Discount retailers: 100 Yen Shops, Don Quijote & Costco
100 Yen Shops
In recent years, 100 yen shops, or hyakkin (百均), as they are casually called in Japanese, have become the holy grail of cosmetics shopping. There are 3 major chains of 100 yen shops — Seria, Daiso, and Can-Do— but Daiso carries a better selection of cosmetics, in my opinion! Plus, you can shop (in bulk) online for their popular skincare products like Collagen Deep C Moisture Gel.
I can’t believe I didn’t mention Don Quijote in my “Where To Buy Makeup In Japan” post! But, absolutely check out Don Quijote if you love skincare and bargain hunting. (If you’re from the U.S. Don Quijote has the same energy as Big Lots.) Japan’s largest discount retailer is named after the Spanish novel, but the mascot is a cute penguin. Make it make sense…
Shopping at “Donki” can be a very overstimulating experience for many, especially when it’s congested. Shop early in the morning or late at night if you’re near a 24-hour location.
Have no fear — Costco Japan won’t try to sell you an entire case of Biore UV gel sunscreen! But, you will find incredible deals on sunscreen, SK-II products, and Dr.Ci:Labo Vitamin C Toner.
Beauty Boxes: Raxy, My little Box, Bloombox
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The concept of a beauty box is pretty straight-forward. Every month you receive a box of cosmetics that fit your preferences and a monthly theme.
Raxy is a beauty subscription box from Rakuten Japan that costs 2,480 yen per month. Each month, members receive cosmetics tailored to their beauty profile, according to their makeup or skincare preferences. I’m also a Raxy Ambassador, and you can read about it all here: I’m a RAXY Beauty Box Ambassador
My Little Box
Delivered from France at the beginning of every month is My Little Box. It’s pricey, at 3,380 yen a month, but I think it’s worth it as I’ve been able to try domestic and international high-end cosmetics that I would normally hesitate to buy. Each My Little Box also comes with accessories/home trinkets and are packaged in a reusable box (which I use for storing my flatlay accessories).
Bloombox is a product of @Cosme, Japan’s online cosmetics review site and retailer. It arrives around the 20th of each month and costs 1,650 yen. I’ve always wanted to sign up for Bloombox for research purposes, but I already feel guilty about all the products in my cabinet. Thankfully, they’re unopened, so they will last me for a while!
Rakuten, Amazon, Yahoo! Shopping
When it comes to these three online retailers, where you shop for skincare products will depend on how soon you need your products and/or if you are about earning points.
If it’s points you’re after, you simply can’t go wrong with Rakuten. Sign up for a Rakuten Bank account, credit card, mobile service, and/or insurance, and the amount of points you earn per 100 yen increases. Rakuten card users also earn bonus points when they shop on any day of the month ending in 0 or 5.
Softbank users will benefit from shopping via Yahoo! Shopping where they’ll earn 10x bonus points.
Amazon Japan is great for Prime Delivery when you suddenly find yourself with an empty bottle of toner or blemish treatment. Plus, Amazon Prime is only 500 yen a month, which also gives you access to Prime Video and Prime Music.
No credit card? No problem!
Perhaps the best thing about shopping online with these three is the option to pay and pick up in the convenience store. You may also charge your shopping expenses to your monthly cell phone bill (キャリア決済 | kyaria kessai or 携帯決済 | keitai kessai). Back in my day, there was only COD or bank transfer!
Dokodemo is a one-stop online store that stocks Japanese cosmetics, food/drinks, pharmaceutical goods, baby care items, and so much more! They offer support in 4 languages (English, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, & Traditional Chinese) and accept payment by credit card, PayPal, and Alipay.
Plus, If you’re a regular reader of this blog or watch my Instagram stories, you know I am all about earning points. Well, Dokodemo has a point program (points valued at 1% of the purchase price) and they also run 10x points campaigns, in addition to flash sales.
Check out my shopping experience here: 10 Sakura Themed Beauty Finds For Spring 2021
For all you K-beauty fans who can’t make it in Shin-Okubo in Tokyo, there’s Yesstyle! Yesstyle is based in Hong Kong and sells Korean cosmetics as well as clothing. I recently became a Yesstyle influencer and am looking forward to the partnership and opportunity to try new K-beauty brands. Read all about my Summer K-Beauty Skincare Essentials With YesStyle and my code WADATENI5 at checkout!
Where to Buy Skincare Products in Japan
This was just a very quick guide, but I hope it will help you find everything you need to get your skincare fix! Now that you know where to shop for skincare products, be sure to get your skin ready for winter!