Musings of a Muse

A Blog of Musings from a Cosmetic Whore

Apr 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:

  • (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 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!

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Blogger Askmewhats said...

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

April 22, 2008 at 9:02 PM  
Blogger Dalenna said...

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

April 22, 2008 at 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Critty said...

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 :-)

April 22, 2008 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

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

April 23, 2008 at 12:08 AM  
Anonymous regina said...

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.

April 23, 2008 at 2:00 AM  
Blogger Emilee @ GMM said...

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. :)

April 23, 2008 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey Askmewhats!

You're a darling :) Thank you so much for brightening up my blog with your awesome comments :)

I'm so happy you find this useful it makes the time I put into writing it all the more worth ;)

Big, big hugs!

April 23, 2008 at 9:12 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey D!

Aw I'm glad :) Enjoy! Hope it helps!

April 23, 2008 at 9:13 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey critty!


Thanks honey!

LOL I'll convert you ;) Resistance is futile!

Bigger Hugs back!

April 23, 2008 at 9:14 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

Hi Nicole!

How are you? You're most welcome :)

April 23, 2008 at 9:16 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

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 :)

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 :) Hope to see you around here!

April 23, 2008 at 9:19 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

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

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

Good luck and happy shopping hehe ;)


April 23, 2008 at 9:20 AM  
Anonymous helly said...

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 :D 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 :| 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.

April 23, 2008 at 11:09 AM  
Blogger Tanya Annette said...

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 :) Thanks again!...I don't know if my wallet can say the same =p

April 23, 2008 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...


Hehe indeed took ages right?!

LOL! I was a poor, poor college student at one time ;)

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 :( 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 ;) You have to do some serious searching but I promise they are out there :)

LOL helly you're adorable!

Hugs darling!

April 23, 2008 at 6:16 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

Hiya Tanya :)

Happy Hump Day ;) You know the feeling as you work in an office enviroment too!

LOL! Sorry for making you broke hehe ;)

I look forward to reviews should you buy anything!


April 23, 2008 at 6:17 PM  
Anonymous LithiaBlack said...

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!

April 24, 2008 at 6:06 AM  
Anonymous Emelie said...

Thanks so much for this entry. I've just begun checking out the asian brands and this will probably help me a lot! :)

April 24, 2008 at 3:06 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

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 ;)

April 24, 2008 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hiya Emelie!

My pleasure! You're welcome ;)

If you have any questions give a yell!

April 24, 2008 at 9:37 PM  
Blogger Gee said...

Fantastic post! It's really helpful since you got me wanting like a million things from your posts for Japanese cosmetics :)

April 24, 2008 at 10:06 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hey gee!

hehe this is kinda like I robbed your bank account post ;)

Don't blame me when all your $ is gone :)


April 25, 2008 at 11:10 AM  
Blogger babydollie said...

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 english. anyways, thanks!

April 25, 2008 at 3:43 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi babydollie.

Thanks for taking time out to post a comment here :) I appreciate it.

I appreciate your feedback and kind comments/compliments ;)

You're very lucky!!!!!! I wish I had easy access to J-Cosmetics :-) I depend on friends to get them for me!

I'm so glad you enjoy the blog entries I do on Japanese cosmetics :)

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!

April 28, 2008 at 1:24 PM  
Blogger slvrlips said...

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

May 2, 2008 at 9:58 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi silvrlips

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

you're most welcome :)

I look forward to hearing what you think of these brands ;)


May 5, 2008 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Jessie said...

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!!!!

May 12, 2008 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

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!

May 12, 2008 at 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Kaila said...

Hello Muse,

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

May 26, 2008 at 2:02 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

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 ;)

Will post it when I'm done!

Thanks for the comment!

May 28, 2008 at 12:45 AM  
Anonymous jocelyn said...

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 :(

anyway thanks for all the info! love yaaaa :DD

June 5, 2008 at 11:22 PM  
Anonymous kaila said...

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

June 11, 2008 at 5:34 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hello jocelyn!

He might! Maybe ask? He takes a bit to get back but he does in time :)

You're most welcome :) Kelly from ickbankao (spell?) will def do it :)

Hope this helps!

June 16, 2008 at 3:33 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi kaila!

You're most welcome :) Hope it helps you :)

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

June 16, 2008 at 3:34 PM  
Anonymous tomoyo said...

hi muse!! i love your site!!! there is this japanese brand which is quite popular! it has very sweet colors!!! :D

October 2, 2008 at 10:15 AM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi tomoyo

thanks so much! :) I appreciate your visiting me!

I love ettusais :) I've done a few reviews of their products on here :) and have many of the items.

They really do make cute items!

Thanks for the comment!

October 2, 2008 at 12:10 PM  
Anonymous Babycutie said...

Hi Muse,

I chanced upon this website when I am searching online purchase on Japanese Cosmetics.

Thanks for the writeup and tips given. It is very useful.

I don't know whether u can help. Actually I am looking for a skin care cosmetics in Japan. The brand name is PUCHURE. However, I have difficulty finding it as I realized all online store don't carry this brand.

Would you be able to guide me on where can I get this product online? With updated stock of course!! I don't want to buy outdated stuff and ruin my face :) Many thanks.

February 13, 2009 at 11:43 PM  
Blogger the Muse said...

hi babycutie!

my pleasure glad it was helpful!

ooo puchure...that's a tricky one my friend. the only place you can possibly get it is from as she'll take special requests however the prices will not be retail....just email her and tell her what you'd like and she can probably find it for you as she lives in japan and has access.

aside from that I've never run across it online...I tried a toner from them once a while back ago..believe it was a toner.

anyway stock will be fresh as she's basically cp'ing it for you but at a much higher price.

it's either that or try some makeup forums or mua and see if someone is in Japan that can purchase for you!

hope this helps hun!

February 17, 2009 at 3:28 PM  

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