April 22, 2008

A Guide to Shopping for Japanese Cosmetics

I get a crumb load of questions asking me how to shop for Japanese Cosmetics.

Where can I buy Japanese Cosmetics?
How much do they cost?
Any online shops I can buy them from?
Where do you get your Japanese Cosmetics?

I was going to do this post a very long time ago but I just never really had the chance and it was long forgotten on the bottom of my draft pile of blog entries that never got posted!

I’ve tweaked it a bit and rewrote most of it so here it is in all it’s glory!

First of all many Japanese brands are unavailable within the US, UK, and Europe in general. I’ve discussed a few various brands available in a few countries such as Korea, Japan, etc…this particular post will be a guide for purchasing Japanese Cosmetics but in a future post I may cover a few other countries.

If you’re purchasing Japanese Cosmetics online you’ll have to educate yourself a bit on prices and also arm yourself with a few tools.

My first suggestion is install a Chinese and Japanese Language Pack for your browser so you can view various Japanese Websites and get prices on various items prior to purchasing. Downloading and installing these packs will also unable you to copy the text and paste it into a translation tool which helps when trying to figure out what is going on at certain sites.

Click here to download the Japanese Language Pack

Click here to download the Chinese Language Pack

Note: For viewing Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and a few select Chinese sites you may need to install the Traditional Chinese Language Pack as these countries, cultures, and regions use a traditional, more complex form of character than other sites.

I’ve actually found that it doesn’t matter too much which Language Pack you choose however I have all three installed as I find it does make it a tiny bit easier during the tedious translation process!

The reason I recommend this is because most online shops charge anywhere from $5 USD all the way up to $12 USD on top of retail prices. Prices are a good deal higher online then if you happened into a drugstore in Japan and purchased the item yourself!

I almost always pay retail for my Japanese Cosmetics because I have some sincerely beautiful, wonderful friends that live in Japan and do shopping for me. However, on occasion, I am forced to buy items online. In cases like this I want to be sure that I am getting the best deal possible so I do alot of homework prior to purchasing items.

You should also keep in mind that many drugstores in Japan discount various items 25-30% which means the retail prices online do not reflect the discount.


T’estimo Palettes are shown on the Kanebo website at the price of $30 USD or so however upon purchasing one in a drugstore in Japan the actually cost would be $20 USD or so due to the drugstore discount.

This means it’s an open market for online sellers to charge you $30 and upwards for a palette they paid $20 USD or so for.

Currently, the Yen is very, very strong so you might want to Google around a bit and see if you can locate any Taiwanese shops that sell Japanese Cosmetics as the cost is a bit lower.

I highly recommend JPmon which is located within Taiwan. I’ve done a “how to order” from JPMon on another tutorial page you can find that article by clicking here and here. You’ll be happy to know that the prices measure up pretty nicely with what you’d see on Japanese sites however not the discount you’d get within a Japanese drugstore as mentioned above!

I’ve ordered from JPmon many, many times and I’ve always been very pleased with their services so I highly recommend purchasing from them! If you have a few online friends or friends in general into cosmetics doing a bit of “spree” with friends can cut shipping costs and each of you can split the total cost of shipping which always helps!

Another important tool you’ll need is a currency convertor. This is especially helpful for converting Yen to your currency of choice. This is good tool to have when you’re browsing various Japanese websites and looking at prices to see what the original cost of an item is versus what the online shop you’re buying from is charging. I use XE for conversions. It’s not the best convertor in the world but it does an ok job and is off a few cents at most.

Click here to bookmark XE.

Finally the last tool you’ll need is a translator. This is especially helpful for figuring out what certain items are for, what the details are for an item, etc…

Babel Fish does an ok job with translations but definately not word for word as the language is so complex that “literally” translating it into English (or your language of choice) doesn’t always mean you’ll understand exactly what is going on!

Click here to bookmark Babel Fish.

Babel Fish is especially useful as it translates both simplified and traditional Chinese plus Japanese as well!

I don’t use Babel Fish as much as I do a simple add on for Firefox entitled Translator. It works a treat and makes translating full websites a snap!

You can download this extension by clicking here!

Not many shops online sell Japanese Cosmetics but there are a few that I’ve used in the past and have had great experiences and success with!

Those sites are, as follows:

  • www.adambeauty.com
  • www.bobodave.com
  • www.facial-shop.com
  • www.ichibankao.com
  • www.jpmon.com
  • www.gooddealer.com
  • sh1.yahoo.edyna.com/hijapan (I’m sorry but I do not have a tutorial for ordering from Hi Japan but maybe I’ll do one in the future!)

The best possible prices are located at Adam Beauty and JPMon in my humble opinion and Facial Shop also has some incredible deals as well!

Other places you might see Japanese Cosmetics from would be E-bay. E-bay has many sellers that sell various Japanese Cosmetics. I find asking for a deal on shipping, asking for lower prices, etc..sometimes works with E-bay sellers. Remember to be courtesy when asking and reasonable. If something is marked as $39.99 USD and they want $9.99 shipping don’t go and ask them to give it to you for $20 with Free Shipping. I think you understand my point?

I also find that dealing with the same E-bay Seller over and over again makes the chances of scoring a deal from them easier!

Please keep in mind prior to purchasing cosmetics that freshness is important! I find in some cases some online shops do sell older items. This is particular true of BoboDave on occasion and Hi Japan. The good thing about this is that some items, such as LE, are still available from these shops but the bad thing is the product is older. Keep that in mind prior to making your purchase! This is one reason I do not shop at Strawberry.net. Items are awfully old and beyond shelf date!

Below is a list of links for various Japanese Brands that I adore (I’m sure I left a few out!):

I think I pretty much covered everything you need to know about ordering Japanese Cosmetics. If you need any help do comment and I’ll happily help in anyway I can!

Good Luck and Happy Shopping!


About the Muse

Isabella MuseIsabella is just an average everyday geeky girl who doesn’t blend her eyeshadow correctly, wears too much blush, and hopes she never finds her holy grail products because she likes the thrill of the chase so much. Her mission is to bring you super honest reviews on makeup, skincare, fragrance and all things beauty. She’s in no way an expert on the topic and she sure as hell isn’t a super model. But she’s passionate about makeup and is seeking like-minded individuals that like pina coladas, getting caught in the rain, and ones that enjoy spending hundreds of dollars at Sephora without feeling buyer’s remorse. If you’re that person feel free to reach out and leave a comment or follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Bloglovin‘.

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  • Askmewhats

    hi muse! wow that is indepth information with regards to japanese make up and shopping for japanese make up brands ๐Ÿ™‚ So helpful. I do appreciate how much time and effort you put for us readers. Muwah Hugs appreciate it THANK YOU!

  • Dalenna

    LOVE this post! I think it was about time someone post a how-to and where-to for Japanese makeup ๐Ÿ˜€ well done, Muse!

  • Critty

    Great post Muse! Very interesting and cool links. I’m still resisting the Japanese urge but posts like this make it very difficult!

    Big hugs,
    Critty ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Nicole

    Thanks for posting this, Muse! Very helpful and thorough guideline… I was wondering how you got all those Japanese Cosmetics!

  • regina

    hi! nice blog! by the way, have you tried the new coffret d’or by kanebo? i love the eyeshadows and the lipsticks. you should give it a try.
    i love japanese brands. their foundation is perfect for me. i perosnally love shu uemura uv. i have yet to rty freschel as mr. suzuki of kanebo recommended it to me when he did a demo here in manila, philippines. such a wonderful fellow.
    good work with the blog and congrats.

  • Emilee @ GMM

    Amazing and resourceful post! I’ve been wondering where some of the best sites to get makeup from were, and you’ve definitely answered my question. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • the Muse

    hey Askmewhats!

    You’re a darling ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for brightening up my blog with your awesome comments ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m so happy you find this useful it makes the time I put into writing it all the more worth ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Big, big hugs!

  • the Muse

    hey critty!


    Thanks honey!

    LOL I’ll convert you ๐Ÿ˜‰ Resistance is futile!

    Bigger Hugs back!

  • the Muse

    hiya regina!

    Thanks so much! I haven’t yet had a chance to try it! I’ve been meaning to get an eyeshadow palette for a while now. I miss T’estimo and I’m still in mourning hehe so that’s what I’ve skipped on Coffret ๐Ÿ™‚

    One of my fav lines of foundations is raycious from sofina! freschel is quite good. I’ve never tried any of Shu’s foundations just lippies, blushes, shadows, etc..

    Thanks so much for your comment ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope to see you around here!

  • the Muse

    hello Emilee!!!!! How are you!?

    Thanks! I’m glad it’s of some help!

    Good luck and happy shopping hehe ๐Ÿ˜‰


  • helly

    you finally posted thissss!! *hugssss* lol; even though i’ve been and checked this sites (hehe you have left clues on previous posts) overrr and overrrrrrr again to see if i can steal a bargain (i’m a poorr poooor design student lol), this post still helpeddd!!

    bobodave to me seems like a real markup :/. i dun think i’ll ever buy from there; no matter how much i crave paul and joe lol. but adamn beauty is loveeeeeeeeeeee. did you know (lol i’m sure you do) visee palettes are only $18.50 there? bt retails for 2300yen (i think)?? thats makes little helly happyyyyyyy~~ lol

    but yea ๐Ÿ˜€ ebay;;; still so scared to try. i once saw this someone on MUA post on a seller who sells fake shu stuff, and that person actually got heaps of positive stars ๐Ÿ˜ and i always hear fleckenschnitte talk about finding ebay steals (major steals too)….but all i find are higher than retail + shipping ><" lol but i’m happyyyyyyyyyy. adamnchan=love lol i blab.

  • Tanya Annette

    Thank you very much for sharing these links! I’ve been very interested in purchasing Japanese products and I’m definitely looking at the sites ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks again!…I don’t know if my wallet can say the same =p

  • the Muse


    Hehe indeed took ages right?!

    LOL! I was a poor, poor college student at one time ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I cross my fingers you nab a deal love!

    bobodave is marked up but on a rare occasion you can nab a deal and he’s also friends so sometimes if I ask nice he’ll do a deal!

    The visee palettes are wonderfully cheap! he really does a nice deal over there!

    That makes the Muse happy too hehe!

    Mmmm I know ๐Ÿ™ It’s sad with Ebay but I can honestly say I have a feedback rating of 1022 from both buying and selling and I only ever got screwed once. The items have always been very good honestly!

    I find some amazing deals as well Japanese and other ๐Ÿ˜‰ You have to do some serious searching but I promise they are out there ๐Ÿ™‚

    LOL helly you’re adorable!

    Hugs darling!

  • the Muse

    Hiya Tanya ๐Ÿ™‚

    Happy Hump Day ๐Ÿ˜‰ You know the feeling as you work in an office enviroment too!

    LOL! Sorry for making you broke hehe ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I look forward to reviews should you buy anything!


  • LithiaBlack

    Thank you so much for this guide! My wallet is crying in pain and my make up stash to but I’m so happy for this.
    Next months paycheck will bring lots of fun!

  • Emelie

    Thanks so much for this entry. I’ve just begun checking out the asian brands and this will probably help me a lot! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • the Muse

    hi LithiaBlack!

    You’re most welcome! Although I’m sorry for making you broke teeheee!

    Enjoy! Happy Shopping!

    Do let me know what you pick up ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Gee

    Fantastic post! It’s really helpful since you got me wanting like a million things from your posts for Japanese cosmetics ๐Ÿ™‚

  • the Muse

    hey gee!

    hehe this is kinda like I robbed your bank account post ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Don’t blame me when all your $ is gone ๐Ÿ™‚


  • babydollie

    i have never posted on your site before although i have been a fan of your blog for quite some time now – i just want to say that you put so much effort (and money, i’m sure) into it! thanks for that.
    i’m surprised that you actually took time to write a post about shopping for jap cosmetics – i personally love jap cosmetics too and i’m lucky that i’m from Taiwan so I have access to all the cool jap cosmetics without having to fly to japan. its always nice to see you do reviews on them because its hard to find reviews of those products on blogs..in english. anyways, thanks!

  • the Muse

    hi babydollie.

    Thanks for taking time out to post a comment here ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate it.

    I appreciate your feedback and kind comments/compliments ๐Ÿ˜‰

    You’re very lucky!!!!!! I wish I had easy access to J-Cosmetics ๐Ÿ™‚ I depend on friends to get them for me!

    I’m so glad you enjoy the blog entries I do on Japanese cosmetics ๐Ÿ™‚

    I hope you’ll be looking forward to the Summer reviews I have planned shortly such as the Lavshuca, MJ, etc..!

    Do comment and let me know your thoughts!

    Looking forward to speaking to you again!

  • slvrlips

    This was the most informative post ever. Thanks so much for that. I have been wanting to try out some different brands an now I can. Thanks again

  • the Muse

    hi silvrlips

    I’m glad it was of some help to you lovie.

    you’re most welcome ๐Ÿ™‚

    I look forward to hearing what you think of these brands ๐Ÿ˜‰


  • Jessie

    Hi Muse,

    thanks for your informative post, I now have more option to buy my favorite Japanese cosmetics. I do buy from Jpmon a lot (for Kate, MJ, & sana)but they don’t sell some of my favorite like ettusais & canmake.

    your blog’s being really helpful cuz there ain’t many english blog reviewing Japanese cosmetic.

    muwah thanks again!!!!

  • the Muse

    hello jessie!

    Thanks for your comment! I’m glad this post was helpful to you! I buy from JpMon alot myself and I concur it sucks they don’t sell canmake, ettusais, etc…they carry some BdK but not all which is disappointing when LE’s are released!

    Aw thanks so much! I’m glad you are enjoying the Japanese reviews!

    Many hugs! Hope to hear from you again really soon!

    love talking to my readers!

  • Kaila

    Hello Muse,

    Thank to your info I find the product I been looking for years ๐Ÿ˜€ I want to know if you could help me out with how to order from hi-japan ?

  • the Muse

    hi kalia

    hi japan is a tricky one. I’ll see if I can do a tutorial for it soon!

    You’re most welcme! Hope the post helped!

    I have a jpmon tutorial up if that’s helpful and I’ll see if I can do a hi japan one. Last time I ordered from them it was quite tricky to firgure out so I’ll do a test run and see about setting up a tutorial ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Will post it when I’m done!

    Thanks for the comment!

  • jocelyn

    hi muse

    do you know if adam beauty can help buy other products that are not on the web? i tried to contact them but there is no reply yet ๐Ÿ™

    anyway thanks for all the info! love yaaaa :DD

  • kaila

    Thank you I will be waiting for the tutorial I hope you have a wonderful summer .

  • the Muse

    hello jocelyn!

    He might! Maybe ask? He takes a bit to get back but he does in time ๐Ÿ™‚

    You’re most welcome ๐Ÿ™‚ Kelly from ickbankao (spell?) will def do it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Hope this helps!

  • the Muse

    hi kaila!

    You’re most welcome ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope it helps you ๐Ÿ™‚

    Summer is fab so far hope yours is going grand as well!

  • the Muse

    hi tomoyo

    thanks so much! ๐Ÿ™‚ I appreciate your visiting me!

    I love ettusais ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve done a few reviews of their products on here ๐Ÿ™‚ and have many of the items.

    They really do make cute items!

    Thanks for the comment!

  • susan

    Did you say that you sell Coffret Dor eye makeup?
    If so how much are they. Thankx

    • the Muse

      hi susan there must be some confusion I didn’t say anything about selling coffret dor or makeup of any kind. the article is about shopping for japanese cosmetics.

  • Sara

    This was super fabulous! Thanks so much!!! My husband is leaving for japan in a couple days and you have helped me create my shopping list!! xoxo!

    • the Muse

      fantastic sara! Lucky YOU! Have fun with all the new goodies he brings back!

    • the Muse

      yay suz good luck dear girl! let me know what you haul from Japan! also check out imomoko.com which is a fab shop of mine!

  • chell

    I keep on searching where to get japanese cosmetics. Thanks for the information. You’re great

  • ivy

    i’ve heard of good reviews about naturactor concealer (meiko). any feedbacks? thanks

    • the Muse

      hi ivy I’ll see about a review for u soonish! I have it buried some place!

  • Alexa

    Hi Muse! This is very interesting. All of the products that you like are amazing. I also love Japanese cosmetics and have been looking up blogs that write about them. I have been a loyal customer to http://www.webichi.com and I think they are great! Although they don’t ship outside of the U.S., they sometimes give free samples with a purchase and are very customer oriented. Most of the websites you listed seem to be pretty popular but I always like helping the smaller companies. Try giving it a try next time! They have a large variety of products too.

  • Azure

    Love your Blog!

    90% of my kit is Mac but I’m looking for a foundation that is lighter than the lightest Mac foundation. What is your favorite light (color) foundation for a kit?