Japan Haul: Makeup, Skincare, and Clothes Shopping in Osaka

Thursday, April 27, 2017

If there’s another shopping haven in the world you need to see, it’s got to be Osaka. From apparel, drugstore products, to food items you can only find in Japan, it’s right at the center of Osaka. Before flying to Japan last April 5, I listed down all the things I wanted to shop for. Majority of these were makeup and skincare since I love to hoard try different products, especially those raved about by beauty bloggers and YouTube content creators. 

Japan Haul
Japan Haul
I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be able to buy as much as I wanted to, particularly because of the current peso value. Before we left for Osaka, the exchange rate was ¥1 = Php 0.46 (almost half), as compared to the exchange rate in 2015 which was just ¥1 = Php 0.34 (only a third of the price). This Japan haul is only limited to affordable products and does not include high-end or designer brands.

So before we get into the haul, it’s only apt to warn you that shopping in Osaka is WILD. It’s a jungle out there, particularly at Namba / Dotonbori area AND especially when you cross the Shinsaibashi-suji shopping street, which is the major shopping spot. If you want to do your shopping conveniently, do it in the morning as the street becomes usually jam-packed with people starting in the afternoon until past 12 midnight. We stayed at Holiday Inn Namba-Osaka, conveniently tucked in the heart of these shopping places.



Shopping Tips for Tourists 

First of all if you’re a tourist shopping in Japan, you are entitled to get tax-free shopping if you are staying for less than 6 months (on tourist visa), and if you have reached a certain amount required by a particular store. It’s very convenient to shop for tax-free items in Japan because they apply the discount right at the cashier. You don’t have to go to the airport or designated tax-free locations to get a refund.

For instance, shopping for cosmetics in Laox requires you to reach ¥5,000 for your items to be considered tax-free. On the other hand, in Don Quijote (Donki for short), the total amount must reach ¥5,400. Since Don Quijote is a huge department store, you have to remember that they group certain products for your items to be qualified as tax-free.

Here’s an example. If your total bill is ¥7,000 but it’s composed of ¥4,000 worth of cosmetics and ¥3,000 worth of food products, you won’t be entitled for a tax-free program since each category did not reach the required amount, even if the total bill is more than ¥5,400. When you pay at the cashier in Laox, you just need to present your passport and they will automatically tag your items as tax-free upon reaching the required amount. For Donki, however, you have to pay the tax on each item at the cashier and then line-up at the tax-refund counter.

Second, tax-free items are usually sealed and packed so you cannot open them while you’re still in Japan. Other stores may allow you to use 1 or 2 of the items, but others may not. If you’d like to use a product while you’re still in Japan, you need to pay for the 8% consumption tax.
 

makeup, cosmetics, skincare in Laox
Beauty items I bought in Laox. The cost of these items reached over ¥5,000. I got them tax-free, so the items were sealed at the cashier.

In Uniqlo, if you reach over ¥5,000, you are eligible to claim tax-free shopping. At the tax-free counter, they will staple a receipt on your passport which you will surrender at the airport upon leaving Japan. (Tip: If you want to shop tax-free at Uniqlo but you won’t be able to reach more than ¥5,000, there’s a Uniqlo store at Kansai International Airport. Items are tax-free!)

Lastly, it’s very rare that you will find English translations in product descriptions and instructions in Japanese items. Before I purchased skincare, I researched online to know if I’m picking the right product because the packaging for the same brand is way too similar. It also saves time if you can get a screenshot of the product you want and show it to any of the store attendants so they can help you find what you’re looking for, without struggling to communicate verbally.



What I Shopped For in Osaka

Now that the basics are sorted out, let’s begin with the actual haul! These products came from different stores in Osaka and not everything I purchased is tax-free. I’ve arranged these items by store and I’ll put the prices before tax (hopefully I remember them correctly).

 

3 COINS

3 Coins is a popular discount, lifestyle store in Japan. It’s a bit similar to Daiso and Japan Home Center, only the price for each item is at ¥300 (¥324 with tax, around Php 150). There are items which cost more, but majority are worth only ¥300. 3 Coins sells various items like shopping bags, pillow cases, wooden containers, stockings, leggings, fashion accessories, hair accessories, bedroom slippers, glasses, chopsticks, wooden carts, household items, and a lot more. I wasn’t able to take photos of the store in Temmabashi station as they don’t allow photographs inside (bummer). While Daiso products are made in Japan (some in Korea as per product tags), most 3 Coins products I saw were made in China. Nevertheless, it’s worth the trip there because there are really good quality household items which are perfect for those who like to decorate their homes without spending too much.

3 coins denim eco bag
3 Coins Denim Eco Bag, ¥300 || Stylish eco bag for shopping or carrying extra stuff

3 coins denim eco bag
3 Coins Denim Eco Bag plastic lining
I like how the inner lining is made with plastic-type material, which prevents liquid spillage. It’s convenient to carry this around when I’m shopping for sliced fruits and fresh products like fish and meat.



<3 coins kitchen sponges
3 Coins Kitten and Printed Kitchen Sponges, ¥300 per pack
They’re so cute, I’m sure my husband will enjoy washing the dishes more (lol!). They’re also good quality sponges. The sponges are dense, which makes scrubbing pans easy.

3 coins phone case
Coins iPhone 6/6s Flip Cover Case, ¥300 || Flip cover case, magnetic closure, golden metallic finish with star decorations
 
3 coins phone case
3 Coins iPhone 6/6s flip cover case with card compartments, full rubber case

3 coins phone case
The case is packed in a sturdy plastic. Description is written in Japanese. Made in China. Phone cases available were only for iPhone 6/6s and iPhone 7.
3 coins underpants and tights
3 Coins Underpants and Tights, ¥150 each (on sale)
This is my favorite purchase in 3 Coins! Fleece-lined underpants and tights for only Php 75! These were on sale at 3 Coins Temmabashi station and there’s only one size left. The pair of underpants is perfect for days when you’re wearing a dress or skirt. Tights can be worn on their own – just pair them with a long top, pullover, or tunic that goes beyond your bum.

3 coins tights with fleece lining
3 Coins Tights with fleece lining
See how it’s lined with fleece material inside? I tried on the pair of tights when I got home and I’m impressed, as it remained opaque no matter how much I stretched the material. It’s better than the leggings/tights I saw in H&M which became sheer when stretched. I don’t know how these will turn out after washing, but I liked them so much I bought two pairs of underpants and tights.


DAISO

If you’ve been to Japan, you know that ¥100 stores are extremely popular among locals and tourists, and the most well-known store would probably be Daiso. Everything you can imagine from food and household items, to beauty and office supplies are available here. In the Philippines, most Daiso items cost Php 88 each. In Japan, majority of the items cost ¥108 (tax included, equivalent to Php 50) only. I went inside the first Daiso store I saw in Namba area to check what’s in there, initially planning to buy a makeup brush cleaner (which was not available), but still ended up buying stuff unavailable here in Daiso Philippines (at least for the Daiso stores I went to).

daiso japan items
(Clockwise) White makeup brush containers (2), hair tie, plastic succulent plants (2), all at ¥100 each || I was very excited to see these plastic succulents because they’re very good quality for only ¥100.




Daiso Japan plastic succulent and white makeup brush container
Daiso plastic succulent and white makeup brush container
If you’re watching beauty vlogs or reading beauty-related blogs, you’re probably familiar with those round, white pots for makeup brushes which are commonly displayed in the vanity area. I’ve been looking for those back in the Philippines but the only ones left were colored containers which are too big to hold makeup brushes. So happy my husband found these white, sturdy makeup brush containers from Daiso! As you can see the container has divisions so it’s easy to segregate face, eye, and eyebrow brushes. This particular design/engraving is available in Daiso Philippines, but in bigger organizers (Let me know if you find exactly something like this here in the Philippines).


LAOX

Laox is the first and the most popular duty-free shopping store in Japan. In Osaka alone, you’ll notice that Laox stores are pretty much available on every street and every corner. They sell cosmetics, skincare, perfume, food, electronics, medicine, kids and baby stuff, and a lot more. On my first trip to Laox (Yes, first; I went to Laox three times), which was also my first night in Osaka, I got myself all these items tax-free. Everything was on my shopping list so I was very excited to get them all in one place. Plus, the Laox store I went to had generous amount of testers.


Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam, DHC Lip Balm, Canmake Color Changing Eyebrow Mascara in 03, Shiseido Eyelash Curler, DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (150 ml), Heroine Make Volume and Curl Mascara, Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara
(Clockwise) Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam, ¥348 || DHC Lip Balm, ¥498 || Canmake Color Changing Eyebrow Mascara in 03, ¥500 || Shiseido Eyelash Curler, ¥800 || DHC Deep Cleansing Oil (150 ml), ¥1,600-1,800 || Heroine Make Volume and Curl Mascara, ¥1,000 || Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara, ¥1,000
Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam and DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam and DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing foam is the original version of the Perfect Whip line. This is also the cheapest. They now have the gel type and the double wash version, which I think is made to further cleanse the face from makeup residue. Then I picked up the DHC Deep Cleansing Oil to see if it’s a good product for makeup removal and double cleansing. My first ever cleansing oil and my favorite was Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Beauty Cleansing Oil but it was freaking expensive for $43 at 150ml.


Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam with a free Perfect Essence Silky sample
Senka Perfect Whip Cleansing Foam with a free Perfect Essence Silky sample
Shiseido eyelash curler #213
Shiseido eyelash curler #213
Asian beauty vloggers rave about this particular Shiseido eyelash curler. There’s a cheaper one worth ¥600, but this one seems to be more popular and works really well. I will try this one and see if it’s any good. Less than Php 400 for a Shiseido eyelash curler? Not bad at all!


<Heroine Make Volume and Curl Mascara, and Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara
Heroine Make Volume and Curl Mascara, and Heroine Make Long and Curl Mascara
I first heard about this mascara from Filipino beauty YouTuber Anne Clutz and she really loves Heroine Make, considering she has short lashes (like I do). I’m now using the Volume and Curl version. 


Canmake Color Changing Eyebrow Mascara in 03
I picked up this Canmake Color Changing Eyebrow Mascara in 03. Though we have this in the Philippines, Canmake is way, waaaay cheaper in Japan. This eyebrow mascara costs Php 490 in SM Department Store, but it’s only Php 230 in Laox.

Cosmetics and Skincare from Different Beauty Stores

Since I love shopping for makeup and skincare, I wouldn’t miss trying these Japanese products. Most items in my skincare line are Korean products, so I’m eager to try Japanese skincare. I’ve only used two Japanese skincare in the past: Shu Uemura Ultime8 Sublime Cleansing Oil and Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen (gold packaging). They are very gentle on my sensitive skin and I didn’t break out using them, but they’re definitely more expensive than the Korean counterparts.

I paid tax for these items because I bought them randomly from different stores such as Don Quijote (Donki), Laox (again), and another drugstore which I don’t remember the name (it’s near Namba subway station exit 14).



Heroine Make Mascara Remover, Heavy Rotation Eyebrow Mascara in 04, Miche Bloomin’ Lashes, Lululun Brightening Face Mask, DHC Lip Balm, Sana Nameraka Essence (yellow line), Sana Nameraka Toner (white line), Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, Shiseido Integrate Gracy Eyebrow Pencil in 662, Shiseido Integrate Gracy Lip Pencils in 634, 333, and 331, Cezanne Lasting Lip Color N in 306 (pearl finish), IRIS Heat Pads
(Clockwise) Heroine Make Mascara Remover (2) , ¥800-840 each  – Donki || Heavy Rotation Eyebrow Mascara in 04, ¥600 – Donki || Miche Bloomin’ Lashes (2), ¥1,000 each – Donki || Lululun Brightening Face Mask, ¥300 – Donki || (another) DHC Lip Cream, ¥428 (on sale) – drugstore near Namba station exit 14 || Sana Nameraka Essence (yellow line), ¥900 – Donki || Sana Nameraka Toner (white line), ¥800+ – drugstore near Namba station exit 14 || Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, ¥700+ – drugstore near Namba station exit 14 || Shiseido Integrate Gracy Eyebrow Pencil in 662, ¥400 – Laox || Shiseido Integrate Gracy Lip Pencils in 634, 333, and 331, ¥400 each – Laox || Cezanne Lasting Lip Color N in 306 (pearl finish), ¥500 – Laox || IRIS Heat Pads (10 pcs. per pack), ¥198 – drugstore near Namba station exit 14
 
Shiseido eyebrow pencil and lip pencils
Shiseido eyebrow pencil and lip pencils
Shiseido is a high quality beauty brand known worldwide. These eyebrow and lip pencils are so creamy and pigmented, but they aren’t too soft nor too hard – just the right amount of firmness to apply on your brows and lips.


Shiseido eyebrow pencil
Shiseido Integrate Gracy Eyebrow Pencil in 662 is a brown tone, brow pencil. It comes with 1.6 g of product
 
Shiseido lip pencils
Shiseido Integrate Gracy Lip Pencils in 331 (orange brown shade), 333 (warm tone red), 634 (berry shade)

Shiseido lip pencil in 634
Shiseido lip pencil – pretty berry shade in 634
I almost didn’t purchase any of the lip pencils, but as soon as I swatched 333, I knew I had to buy all shades. The Shiseido product is the best lip pencil I’ve tried so far. You just need a light hand to apply this on your lips. Too bad there were only three colors available.

Bioré UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence
Bioré UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence
For ladies with combination oily and oily skin types, you can now enjoy wearing sunscreen with Bioré UV AQUA Rich Watery Essence. It’s light and doesn’t clog my pores even after several use. It has a light texture and can be easily absorbed by the skin.

Heroine Make Waterproof Mascara Remover
I bought two Heroine Make Waterproof Mascara Remover. This mascara remover had a 10% discount at Donki. It wasn’t available in Laox and other drugstores I went to.
 
Cezanne lipstick in 306
This Cezanne lipstick in 306 is super moisturizing. It’s actually a mauve shade which flatters any skin tone. The other shades available were too light or bright for those with medium skin tone.

Heavy Rotation Eyebrow Mascara in 04 and DHC Lip Cream
Heavy Rotation Eyebrow Mascara in 04 and DHC Lip Cream
I got myself another eyebrow mascara, this time from Heavy Rotation. I hope it doesn’t have a reddish tone to it as there wasn’t any available tester at Donki. As you can tell, I bought another DHC lip balm. YouTuber Kim Dao raves about this so I grabbed another one. I wish I picked up more!

Lululun brightening mask 7-day pack
Lululun brightening mask 7-day pack
This 7-day pack comes in different color packaging (pink, purple, etc.), but the white one is meant for skin brightening. Lululun masks are also available in large quantities, but the downside is that they’re not packaged separately. I honestly don’t know how the masks look inside. I’ll soon find out!

Miche Bloomin’ lashes No. 03 and No. 10
Miche Bloomin’ lashes No. 03 and No. 10 with @cosme sticker
Beauty vloggers say you should include fake lashes in your shopping cart because Japanese lashes are quality ones. Since we already have Dolly Wink here in the Philippines, I got these Miche Bloomin’ lashes instead. The black ones are in No. 03 Pure Sweet, while the brown pairs are in No. 10 Natural Brown (I already used two pairs while in Osaka). What’s good about these lashes is that they fit small eyes. You don’t need to cut around the edges. Donki carries plenty of brands when it comes to lashes, but I picked this brand with @cosme sticker.

Tip: If you’re unsure of which cosmetics or skincare to buy, just look for those with @cosme stickers on them. These products were awarded by @cosme, a cosmetic review portal website, as one of the best products based on actual user votes and reviews.


SANA Nameraka Honpo Essence and Toner
SANA Nameraka Honpo Essence and Toner
These SANA Nameraka Honpo essence (yellow bottle) and toner (white bottle) are my first Japanese essence and toner. It’s kind of overwhelming seeing all these SANA products on the shelf as they all look the same and don’t have any English translations. I just had to rely on photos searched online. These are made with soymilk and provide hydration and moisture to the skin. They can be easily found in almost all drugstore and beauty stores in Japan and they’re affordable, too. I already used the toner and so far, it doesn’t dry my skin nor break me out.


IRIS Heat Pads
Heat Pads at 10pcs per pack. These are stick-on pads which can heat up your garment for hours. Planning to use these for the first time on my next fall or winter travel.
IRIS Heat Pads
Back of IRIS Heat Pads. Everything is written in Japanese. These pads should be placed on clothes and not directly on skin.

GAP FACTORY STORE

When you’re traveling to Universal Studios Japan by train, you’ll see a GAP Factory Store at Universal Citywalk Osaka, just after exiting the train station. Though the selections are not as cheap as in the US outlet stores, the clearance section is worth the visit. You can get as much as 77% off the original retail price and you still get quality items even when they’re on clearance sale.

Gap knitted pullover
GAP light knitted pullovers at ¥900 each on clearance sale. Original price is at ¥3,900 each. Perfect spring and summer colors! Dress up in suit pants or dress down in shorts.

UNIQLO

When you’re in Japan, you gotta go to Uniqlo. Uniqlo is a massive clothing brand originating in Japan and has reached global recognition, too. While we have plenty of their stores here, Uniqlo is cheaper in Japan, particularly if you can get hold of their sale items. You can get tax-free items when you reach over ¥5,000. I’m not 100% certain but I overheard from one of the counters that you can only avail of their tax-free once a day per store. Nevertheless, just remember to keep the receipt stapled onto your passport and surrender the receipt before you exit immigration counter.

Uniqlo Wireless Bra, Ribbed High Neck Long Sleeve T-Shirt (black and navy), Ribbed High Neck Half Sleeve T-Shirt (pink), High Neck Chiffon Long Sleeve Blouse (cream)
(clockwise) Wireless Bra, ¥1,990 each (regular price) || Ribbed High Neck Long Sleeve T-Shirt (black), ¥500 (on sale) || Ribbed High Neck Long Sleeve T-Shirt (navy), ¥500 (on sale) || Ribbed High Neck Half Sleeve T-Shirt (pink), ¥790 (on sale) || High Neck Chiffon Long Sleeve Blouse (cream), ¥1,290 (on sale)
Uniqlo Ribbed High Neck shirts in black, navy and pink
Ribbed High Neck shirts in black, navy and pink
This is a staple top which you can dress up or dress down depending on the occasion. At Php 230 and Php 363, these shirts are a bargain! I own a brown and a yellow of this shirt back home and I get the most use out of it. 


High Neck Chiffon blouse
High Neck Chiffon blouse which is a perfect, office staple

GU

GU “is a Japanese discount casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer”, which is owned by Uniqlo. Once you get into their stores, you will notice a Uniqlo feel because some items are very similar, though GU is a bit cheaper. Apart from clothing, you can also buy shoes and bags at GU. One thing I noticed at this store is that even if they have more affordable items, especially those on sale, Uniqlo products are made with better quality materials. GU is popularly known for their ¥990 jeans.

GU Women’s Palazzo Pants (beige), Basic Stripes Long Sleeve Shirt, Women’s Palazzo Pants (black), Scarf
(clockwise) Women’s Palazzo Pants (beige), ¥1,990 (regular price) || Basic Stripes Long Sleeve Shirt, ¥590 (on sale) || Women’s Palazzo Pants (black), ¥1,990 (regular price) || Scarf, ¥390 (on sale)
I love GU’s palazzo pants. I wish I bought more colors, to be honest. They’re comfortable, lightweight and perfect for summer. I actually wore the beige one on a client meeting and it’s a chic yet sophisticated alternative to your regular slacks. It seems expensive, but for the quality and how it’s made, I assure you it’s worth the price.


I’m already using some of these products I bought in Osaka and I’ll be doing a review on each soon. Let me know if there are any other cosmetics, skincare or clothes that are worth buying in Japan! Would love to know your Japan haul, too.


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