I’ve stayed loyal to my Avarice nail salon in Harajuku (previous posts) for several years now for Japanese gel nail art. Their work continues to amaze me and no matter what I come with they’re up to the task. NOW they have an English speaking nail artist who did a working holiday in Australia. She’s lovely and loves to chat in english. So I super recommend Avarice even more to my readers! Just remember if booking on hotpeper to mention English.

1950s Cinderella Gel Nails

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Disney’s Cinderella nails! I wanted these to be pretty simple but still have that great gel nail art. The art is based on the original 1950 animated feature. I’ve become a big Disney nerd and the classic styles of Disney are my favorite. Simple with a few details: Cinderella herself, her slipper and a hint of the pumpkin carriage.

Chanel Paris-Dallas collection Gel Nails

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My nails had gotten so short! But that’s no problem for Avarice Harajuku superb gel nail art everytime! This time I wanted the theme of the Chanel Paris-Dallas collection. Being a Texan I’ve always wanted a Texas flag or shape on my nails. Even though I’m anti-gun I’ve oddly also wanted gun nails. The Coco Chanel portrait was based on the flyers they handed out for the Paris-Dallas collection.

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Pretty close right?

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The gun was a 90s part of a belt. I liked it better than the Paris-Dallas gun jewelry so in it went.

Chanel Spring Vintage Nails

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 Mad Max: Fury Road Gel Nails

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I GOT MAD MAX NAILS!!! Mad Max: Fury Road is my favorite movie of the last few years. I knew when I had the chance I would try to make Mad Max nails happen.

My nailist hadn’t watched the movie, so showing her photos she gave me the look that said: why do you want this on your nails? It’s totally unkawaii. Then I played her the Japanese trailer and that did not win her over either. And then I tried to explain the movie in Japanese, which was a complete failure. Trying to explain it in English just ends up with me yelling WAR GUITAR!! or FURIOSA!! and then slipping into happy fangirl goo.

Then she got to it… and asked if it’s okay if I make them more “manga” and they won’t look exactly like them. I was like my expectations are low, I just need to fangirl more.

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BUT CHECK THEM OUT! OMG! War Boy! Furiosa! Mad Max!

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Furiosa was like my Mona Lisa nail. No matter the light she’s always staring at me.

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Mad Max and Furiosa! Avarice gel nail art wins all the awards.

My hands were super dry. I had just landed in Japan. My hands go horrible on the flight and stay bad in Japan. The air and public restroom soaps just kill my hands. Hand lotion is your friend in Japan. I actually discovered my favorite hand lotion for traveling is MUAC AHA Hand and Body lotion. I was given a sample and it just takes care of dry spots immediately because of its alpha hydroxy acids. It doesn’t provide the lovely scents of other hand lotions, but overnight total change in dryness!

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I haven’t posted Japanese shop staff snaps lately, but wanted to share these two ladies from Redy Azel and Oui Ayano Ruban. I have been slacking on the whole shop staff snap. I didn’t take any in Fall and I only mildly regret that. I’ve just fallen out of the snap phase.

I’m not sure I’ll get back into it in Spring, but Spring is all about new things so maybe! But I had to post these two girls from last Spring because looking at old Spring snaps gets me excited for the season.

Oui Ayano Ruban Harajuku Takeshita Shop Staff

Oui Ayano Ruban actually closed last summer. Which is a bit crazy since they had just opened their shop in Harajuku that Spring. It was huge space and the rent must’ve been super expensive. The shop was cute and the shop staff even cuter. Although it felt like the clothes were a little more Sweet-kei/Otona-Kawaii and fit better in Ginza or Shinjuku than Harajuku. The brand had just opened in 2013, which means it only lasted 2 years. Fashion is fleeting.

shopstaff-snap-oui-ayano-ruban-tweed-otona-kawaii

I loved her Spring look. What an excellent tweed jacket. Her simple long hair is goals. I want my hair to look that full. Although maybe Oui Ayano Ruban was too sweet looking for the Otona Kawaii crowd and too adult for the Larme crowd? Long tulle never really caught on with the Otona Kawaii crowd.

 

Redy Azel Shibuya 109 Shop Staff

Redy Azel (レディアゼル site) isn’t talked about much in English and I think that’s a shame. I keep wanting to talk about it more. Redy Azel is a clothing brand by the Samantha Thavasa/Samantha Tiara/Samantha Vega mega hand-bag conglomerate (I blogged about the Samantha Thavasa cafe here).

Redy Azel first opened up in Shibuya 109 Spring 2015 and its since grown to 10 stores. I started looking at Redy Azel because one of my faves former Dazzlin producer, Rumi Kon, left Dazzlin to work for Redy Azel. Now Rumi Kon is the fashion director for all Samantha Thavasa clothing brands: Redy Azel, Muller, Honey Bunch, Swingle, Will Selection and more. Since Rumi Kon left I’ve found Dazzlin’s clothing to be a bit lacking while the Samantha lines are doing quite cool.

Redy Azel is more of an Otona-Kawaii brand, but really it’s a mix of a bunch. Although its in Shibuya 109 I feel the age range is pretty 15-30+. It feels like good competition for Snidel.

I bought a set-up from Redy Azel and I really love it. I feel they do some simple pieces, but the fit is stellar. Pleats and cuts where things should be, which often doesn’t show up in Japanese fashion. :heartbreak:

shibuya 109 redy azel shop staff

I’ve complained multiple times about the horrible lighting in Shibuya 109 and this shows it off. Such a cute girl so badly lit.

She’s mixing so many cute whites together with denim. White was so big last year, I’m not sure how big it will be this year.

Both the Oui Ayano Ruban and Redy Azel shop staff are in criss-cross white platform sandals. This year they will be in the thin-multiple strap rope-like sandals (like the ones on my wishlist).

shibuya 109 shop staff snap

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Posing with another of their Otona-kawaii for Spring offerings.

The chiffon floral skirt would still fit in with my Spring 2016 Otona Kawaii trend predictions.

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Such a doll in the perfect haircut for her face.

3 posts in a week? Craziness! Posting is only shortly ramped up. I’m going on a mini vacation this weekend and then next week is Japan. IRL busy = less posts but more content for posts :sweatbubble: . My twitter and snapchat will ramp up, however :)

Need more shop staff posts? I’ve got you covered 

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I’ve been using Les Merveilleuses Laduree make-up line for three years and in those years I keep meaning to do blog post after blog post about them, but I haven’t. But finally here we go! First all about the brand along with in-store photos, then I’ll break down their make-up line the good and the bad which will be a multipost.

 

Get to know Les Merveilleuses Laduree

What is Les Merveilleuses Laduree?

website: http://www.lm-laduree.com/

Laduree is a French luxury sweets maker that has been around since 1862. Yup 1862! It’s one of the most famous sweets brands in the world and I’ve been lucky enough to sample their wares in Versailles. They’re very popular in Japan with several shops.

Les Merveilleuses by Laduree launched in 2012. Les Merveilleuses meaning marvelous in French are according to the Laduree website post-revolution “goddesses of liberty”.

Les-Merveilleuses-by-Laduree-brandstory2
Les-Merveilleuses-by-Laduree-brandstory

You can read the full story on their English website here

It seems like an odd combination for a luxury sweets maker to do a make-up line. However, Make-up is one of the most profitable money making schemes by luxury houses. Its speculated that Chanel makes 80-90% of its revenue in makeup, skincare and fragrance! (Chanel is a private holding so they don’t have to release profit breakdowns) So if you’d like to make some paper, make-up is where it’s at!

Les Merveilleuses by Laduree is Asia only for now

Although Laduree is a French brand, Les Merveilleuses Laduree is a mostly Japanese brand. It was launched in Japan first and has expanded into other parts of Asia (Taiwan and Hong Kong). It is around Sephora Paris locations but only a few products unlike their stand alone stores, I’m not sure how much it is anymore.

They also have a soap and lotion small line that began around 2013. In 2014 they expanded into skincare with a small line based on the pearl whitening.

Les Merveilleuses has no e-commerce site and they do not sell to third parties. So the in-store experience is the only way to buy. imomoko.com sells the brand at a price-hike here Les Merveilleuses Laduree.

Behind the Brand

Laduree teamed up with the make-up manufacturers Albion the same people behind Paul and Joe Beaute, Anna Sui and Jill Stuart Beauty to create their line.

In Japanese it’s レ・メルヴェイユーズ ラデュレ
Yes Les Merveillesus by Laduree is expensive. It’s aimed at being a boutique luxury brand.

Brand vs. Les Merveilleuses Laduree Price comparison

I’ve decided to use Japanese yen and the Japanese prices on the cosmetics to directly compare. I chose to other brands of MAC and Chanel to show you the price difference on various items. MAC and other overseas brands are more expensive in Japan FYI.

Powder cheek blush

LM Laduree – 4,500 yen for compact and blush refill
MAC – 4,300 yen
Chanel – 5,500 yen

Lip Stick

LM Laduree – 2,500 yen
MAC – 3,132 yen
Chanel – 4,000 yen

Face Powder

LM Laduree – 4,500 yen for compact and powder refill
MAC – 4,100 yen
Chanel – 5,800 yen

 

The stores

Ahh it’s like being in Versailles but more homey. Lovely little jewel boxes of stores with comfy padded benches that you sit on waiting for your order to be rung up. Lots of light and mirrors. Just scroll down below to see how beautiful everything is, don’t just take my word for it.

 

The service

The service is definitely top level. I feel like Les Merviellueses are very conscientious about offering this experience. Their store is Versailles, you are a Princess because you’re there. After six months the staff remembers my name. Admittedly I’m a foreigner and I buy often there when I’m there, but still I appreciate the quality of service. The staff are all friendly and suggestive without being pushy. They also hold special in-store events for its clients to sample new releases or reserve seasonal items. I would say it’s very similar to a brand store in that respect.

Once you’re in their system they track your purchases which is terribly helpful when you want a blush refill and can’t remember the numbers. They’ll just look it up for you! You won’t expect to chat up about their personal lives like gyaru shop staff, but the staff are very lovely.

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Here is how my first purchase from Les Merveilleuses by Laduree looked. The lace bag held primer and foundation samples.

The more often you buy the more samples they’ll give you. My experience inside luxury stores and in luxury make-up counters is very similar to Les Merveilleuses.

Les Merveilleuses by Laduree makeup in store shots

I wish I could’ve taken higher quality shots of the inside, but photos aren’t usually allowed. I was allowed to take a few iPhone photos to showcase Frances. Because Frances is life, follow her on instagram at franceslovesyou!

All of the photos were taken at their La Foret Harajuku store which I mentioned in my Tokyo make-up and skincare post.

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Although I did not watermark these photos, please credit and link back to Universal-Doll if you share on tumblr, pinterest etc…

Next up about Les Merveilleuses Laduree is make-up reviews and recommendations on where to spend and not in their product line.

 

I like to blog and review about kawaii make-up from Japan and Korea. Check all the posts here.

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Buying skincare and makeup in Tokyo sometimes is just stumbling to the right places, but it doesn’t have to be! I’d like to simplify shopping and give you two easy walking areas to get all your make-up and skincare needs handled. I actually ended up making a google map that you can save for easy directions and access.

I’ve recommended shops located near two train stations Shinjuku and Harajuku. But just in case you’re parked somewhere else for your visit in Tokyo I’ve added a few points of interest.

I’ve also listed if places are tax free or not from my experience.

 

Google has allowed me to make notes on each map point so you can click through and see points of interest, but below I’m going to explain them all as well.


Skincare and Make-up in Tokyo – Harajuku area

Harajuku is slowly becoming one of the better places to shop for skincare and make-up in tokyo. Tourism has really ramped that up and there are several good places to check out between crepes and style gawking.

 

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Etude House

Takeshita-dori

japanese:エチュードハウス
address: 東京都渋谷区神宮前1-16-5
jp site: etudehouse.jp

Newly built Etude House on Takashita street is one of the wonderful improvements to Takeshita. The pink castle outside and jewelbox inside hold lots of stock and it’s the best place to shop for Etude House in Tokyo. From my experience they seem to offer more novelties (freebies) and if you’re searching for a particular Etude House product you’re most likely to find it here.

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Etude House Japan prices are cheaper than YesStyle and Jolse so stock up!! Since it’s on Takeshita getting there is a pain and it can get packed, but it’s still a lovely store.


 

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Matsumoto Kiyoshis are immediately recognizable for their garish mustard and blue colorways.

Matsumoto Kiyoshi

Tax Free

Takeshita-dori

japanese:マツモトキヨシ(マツキヨ sometimes shortened to)
address:東京都渋谷区神宮前1-16-7
site: here

Matsumoto Kiyoshi is a drugstore chain found most anywhere in Tokyo. It’s a great place to buy drugstore brands (Kate, Visee, Hada Labo, Shiseido, Canmake) of skincare and make-up in Tokyo or the rest of Japan. The two floor Takeshita shop is one of the larger ones, but can also be a bit packed. I also recommend the Ikebukuro location Sunshine-dori. But if your time is cramped maybe this is better saved for going to the one near your hotel?


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Ainz & Tulpe

Omotesando-dori

japanese:アインズ&トルペ
address:150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前1-13-14 原宿クエストビル
site: here

One of the hidden gems on Omotensando. Ainz & Tulpe is a two floor megastore of skincare and make-up in Tokyo. If you’re hunting for low or high priced Japanese brands it’s your best shot to find them here. Well lit and not as packed as Matsumoto Kiyoshi. They also have a location in Shinjuku and Shibuya’s Centa-gai but it’s not as well stocked.


 

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Les Merveilleuses by Laduree

La Foret – 1.5 floor

japanese: レ・メルヴェイユーズ ラデュレ
address:150-0001 東京都渋谷区神宮前1-11-6
site: japanese | english

It’s like stepping into Versailles but with make-up. Located inside La Foret the shopping experience is always wonderful. Browse all their collection, I have yet to be told anything is out of stock unless it was seasonal. Recommend picking up a blush of your skin type (cream for dry, powder for normal to oily).

Mitsukoshi Ginza is the other store in Tokyo. Others in Kyoto, Osaka and Nagoya.


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The Shu Uemura pop-up in Shinjuku

Shu Uemura

Tax Free

Omotesando Hills Mall – 1st Floor

japanese:シュウ ウエムラ
address: 東京都渋谷区 神宮前4-12-10 表参道ヒルズ西館1F
site: shuuemura.jp

Located in the ritzy Omotesando Hills mall, this Shu Uemura location is quite chic. But it’s also right on the ground floor and has a street entrance. The store is always packed with lots of staff and you can get in and out. Their oil cleanser is my Holy Grail item even if it’s pricey.

 


 

Skincare and Make-up in Tokyo – Shinjuku Area

 

 

Outside the east exit hip young mall Lumine EST should be your first stop for all types of make-up and then spread out walking to Tokyo’s Korea town, Shin-Okubo.

Etude House

Lumine EST – 2nd Floor

japanese:エチュードハウス
address:160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿3-38-1
jp site: etudehouse.jp

Not as big as the Takeshita location or as well stocked. This shop on the 2nd floor near Starbucks still has lots of options to see.


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Inside a Plaza store. Lots of displays and well lit.

Plaza

Lumine EST – 5th Floor

japanese: never used
address:160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿3-38-1
site: plazastyle

Plaza often has brands I have a hard time finding at other places. Excel drugstore make-up is one of them. Excel brow pencils are a savior if you are blonde or even a redhead and want the right color brow pencil. Lots of quirky gadgets, snacks and bath salts even roomwear and cups as well. The Shibuya 109 basement level two store is better stocked for make-up but this is second. Also the Plaza Ikebukuro Sunshine City store is nice.


 

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photo source

Skinfood

Not Tax Free

Lumine EST – 4th Floor

japanese: スキンフード
address:160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿3-38-1
jp site: skinfood.jp

A great place to sample and pick up tiny items, but sadly Skinfood Japan is very overpriced. A face cream may be marked 2x the original amount. Check your on-line prices before making any big purchases.


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@Cosme Store

Tax free over 5,000 yen

Lumine EST – Basement 2

japanese: アットコスメ
address:160-0022 東京都新宿区新宿3-38-1
site: cosmestore.net

Located on basement level one next to the elevators this cosme store is not the best lit and can be a pickle getting to for a first timer. All that aside @cosme store is actually the manifestation of cosme.net a ranking and review site used by thousands of women in Japan. It’s like Make-up Alley with a better interface. They also give out awards every year, kind of like “Allure’s Best of Beauty” winners. Make-up companies happily sticker on their products that they are #1 in the @Cosme rankings. Too bad the location and the lighting drive this down a little, but tons of good make-up brands high and drugstore and rankings clearly shown in front of make-up products.

cosmestore-shinjuku-ranking

Their big ranking system and horrible lighting. See all those stickers on their products, that goes in all stores not just the @cosme store

Loretta hair care line sells inside @cosme Shinjuku and smells amazing and has gotten me addicted thanks to the recs of Nicola, Alanna and Siobhan.

Marui Shibuya 5th floor also has an @cosme store, Ueno Marui and Lumine Ikebukuro are other locations. (Marked on the map)

If you are in Osaka. I 120% recommend going to the @cosme store inside the giant Tsutaya on popular Dotonbori in Shinsaibashi. It’s on the 4th floor and is everything that the @cosme store in Shinjuku isn’t. Well lit, wood paneled, lots of space.  Since it’s inside Tsutaya they even have lots of magazines related to beauty right on the same floor. And there’s bench seating to sit and read. And!!! It’s open until 12:00!! If you love make-up or skincare even a little and you’re in Osaka, do not miss it.

 

…also in Lumine EST a MAC store (b1), BodyShop (b1), Paul & Joe Beauty (b1)


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Jill Stuart Beauty

Shinjuku – Lumine 2 2nd Floor

japanese: ジルスチュアート ビューティ
address: 東京都新宿区新宿3-38-2
site: japanese | english

Jill Stuart gets a lot of love for its packaging, bright girly colors but also for its aesthetic of using gel colors and shimmer. Its sister brands are Paul & Joe Beaute and Les Merveilleuses by Laduree. Nestled next to Lumine EST is Lumine 2 in Shinjuku.


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DHC

Shinjuku East Exit Underground – Subnade 2nd floor

address:160-0021 東京都新宿区歌舞伎町1サブナード1号 新宿サブナード地下街2丁目
site: dhc.co.jp | english site: dhccare

DHC calls itself “direct skincare” selling out of tons of shops inside Japan. Its biggest love overseas is the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil for make-up removal. Inside Japan they’re know for peddling tons of diet pills and protein shakes. Imagine if Slimfast did make-up? Kind of DHC. The easiest one to get to in Shinjuku is inside Subnade an underground shopping complex reached by the JR East Exit or going down many of the staircases in Kabukicho noted with “Subnade”. But there are several located around the Tokyo area (Ikebukuro, Shibuya).

You might want to check if Matsumoto Kiyoshi has the DHC product you’re looking for first instead of going on this hunt. They do stock a small selection.


Muji

Shinjuku West Exit

japanese:無印良品
address: 東京都新宿区新宿3-15-15
site: muji.com

The famed simple shop has launched a line of make-up that’s made with basic ingredients and is praised by some. More sought after by skincare and make-up lovers are the jars and acrylic storage that make hoarding that much easier. A pass if you’re not deep into skincare or makeup or worth checking out. Muji is one of my favorite places to buy gifts for others.


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Takashimaya

Shinjuku New South Exit

japanese: タカシマヤ
address: 151-8580 東京都渋谷区千駄ヶ谷5-24-2
site: takashimaya.co.jp

This big department store can be hassle to get to sometimes, but for that reason maybe it is also quiet. If you’d like to buy high end make-up and get pampered I really recommend this department store. When I was in college this was my horrible day at school escape.

Avoid: Shinjuku Isetan. Crowded with tourists definitely not the pampering experience one should expect with high end cosmetics.

Other department store reccomendations: Shibuya Station Tokyu, Ginza Takashimaya


donki-shinokubophoto source

Don Quijote (Donki)

Okubo/Shinjuku

japanese: ドン・キホーテ
address:169-0072新宿区大久保1-12-6
site: donki.com

Admittedly this is a walk from Shinjuku station but a pleasant one. However you can also get off at the Shin-Okubo JR Station via the Yamanote Line or the Okubo JR Station via the Chuo Line. This is my favorite Don Quijote inside Tokyo as I’ve said often. Lots of space, lots of things to buy and see.

tokyomakeup-donki-shinjuku

Tourist warning: Donki loves to triple wrap their packaging to prevent shop lifters buying cosmetics often requires scissors and the tools from Q and James Bond to open it up.

Other recommended Donkis: Ikebukuro East exit, Nakano Broadway, Ueno, and Roppongi

Donkis to avoid for better Donkis: Shibuya, Shinjuku

Protip: Right next to the Okubo Donki is delicious Hotteok shop or ホットク in Japanese Hotoke  definitely must try!


 

skinholic-shinokubo

Skinholic

Okubo/Shinjuku

japanese: スキンホリック
address:169-0072 東京都新宿区大久保1-12-15
site: http://ehiroba.jp/skinholic/index.html

The best Korean skincare and make-up store in Tokyo. ShinOkubo aka Korean town especially since the newest Korean wave has hit has put up so many tiny Korean skincare stores. Or its skincare mixed with Big Bang merch. They’re all fine and good but Skinholic stands out. Well lit, lots of tester bottles, new products. Mask super packs. This is my one stop shop for Korean skincare and make-up. One of my favorite things about Skinholic is they arrange most products by their type. So you can compare BB creams side by side without fluttering to one brand or another.

skinokubo-skinholic

Inside Skinholic (source)

I look in other shops in Shin-Okubo but I usually only end up buying from Skinholic. Their selection and displays can’t be beat.


 

The Face Shop

Shin-Okubo/Shinjuku

japanese: ザ・フェイスショップ
address: 169-0072 東京都新宿区大久保1-12-1
site: thefaceshop.jp

Located right near Skinholic, Korean brand The Face Shop launched its own stand-alone store in Shin-Okubo. It’s a classy two storied affair that has tons of stock.

 


 

Whoa Mitsu you listed like 90 places… tl;dr

Sorry I love make-up and skincare and I want to give you ALL THE OPTIONS! If you’re not as skincare and make-up obsessed or just short on time my top catch-all types of cosmetics and skincare recommendations are: @cosme, ainz&tulipe, Matsumoto Kiyoshi or Donki, and skinholic. I can’t lower any more than that, you’re a devil for asking  :catno: .

 


 

Before you leave out the airport! Yojiya

yojiyagoods

The girl the mirror is their famous logo. Pictured: blotting papers, Yuzu lip cream and Sakura soap

Extra shout-out before you leave! Yojiya Kyoto skincare and make-up in all Tokyo airports

japanese: よーじや
address: ALL AIRPORT TERMINALS IN TOKYO
site: yojiya

Yojiya, Kyoto’s long term brand famous for their blotting papers is located in all terminals of Narita and Haneda airports. Personal favorites are the yuzu lip cream and their selection of soaps in Japanese flavors like matcha, sakura and yuzu. They make great gifts and in airport they won’t count against your luggage weight! Yojiya is also located in the train station of Shin-Osaka and all throughout Kyoto.

Side notes:

I have left off all goods maker Loft just because their Shinjuku store is a little cumbersome and sometimes their beauty selection isn’t the best. Shibuya Loft is best if you’re in the area.

Although Korean brand Tony Moly once had a shop in Shinjuku it is since gone. Now they have a website (tonymoly.jp) that does on-line orders. Missha (missha.jp) has some stores in odd places around Japan although not many convenient to tourism. Missha’s Ikebukuro store in Lumine on the 7th floor is the best bet (171-0021 東京都豊島区西池袋1-11-1 ルミネ池袋7階). Missha and Tony Moly are both found in Skinholic along with select goods in Plaza stores.

 

…a map and everything. Man I feel like today’s post is the most organized I’ve ever been. Gudetama me is so proud of this. Coming up the companion to this post. Where to go to find individual Japanese brands of make-up by store.

 

I like to blog and review about kawaii make-up from Japan and Korea. Check all the posts here.

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