Featured Slider

Showing posts with label Japan. Show all posts

My favourite drugstore in Tokyo -Ainz-Tulpe Harajuku Quest

In Japan, we have quite a few drugstores. The most famous one I believe is Matsumoto Kiyoshi, which you might stumble across often walking around Tokyo. Matsu-Kiyo -which is what we call the drugstore- is a traditional drugstore, where you find medicines, medical equipments, toiletries and some beauty products. It's not bad if you intend to buy tissue boxes, contact solution and a mascara -you know, commodities. But if you are a tourist who's visiting Japan for a few days and make the most of an opportunity to buy tons of Japanese drugstore beauty bits, then I recommend Ainz-Tulpe rather than Matsumoto Kiyoshi.

Ainz-Tulpe has multiple branches but I believe the one in Harajuku is the biggest and simply the best. They have the basement as well, full of skincare, body care and makeup products. Only a couple of minutes away from both Harajuku and Meiji Jingu Mae Station, the location is very convenient that you can drop by while exploring Shibuya, Harajuku and Omotesando areas.

You find some displays of newest products at the entrance. It usually boosts my excitement -which is a good thing and a bad thing at the same time, because it means I tend to lose control!

There are more displayed of new products near the entrance.

They have the whole shelf dedicated to showing what the popular products are in rank order, which is very helpful when you are overwhelmed. I also love how accurate the ranking is. The products displayed on the shelf are definitely the ones being raved about.

There are so many different types of false lashes as well....!

I couldn't take photos of all the sections because I was afraid to get told off, but there are haircare section, oral care section, medicine section and a small duty free section as well.

When you go downstairs, you find the skincare section, natural & organic section, health care section and quite a few drugstore beauty stands including Majolica Majorca, CANMAKE, Rimmel, Maybelline, Revlon, L'Oreal, Integrate, Kate and the list goes on.

The funny thing is that they have quite a big section for foot care. The average working hours in Japan tend to be longer than other developed countries, and most of them take more than 2 hours a day for transportation. What does it mean? It means their feet are abused! That is why the food care items such as the foot detox mask, some kind of disgusting peeling mask for feet, compression socks and cushions you can insert into heels to reduce the pain, sell very well.

There is nothing you cannot find at Ainz-Tulpe. I go there no matter what when I'm in the area, and end up with a bagful of beauty products to leave there. Story of my life.

Ainz-Tulpe Harajuku Quest
Address: 1-13-14, Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0001
Phone: +81-3-5775-0561

Point Magic PRO Pore Cover Primer

I never wear foundation without applying a good primer underneath. Primers create a smooth base that foundation would sit beautifully for hours without being patchy or cakey. My favourite primer is definitely Benefit Porefessional which I got at Heathrow Airport back in August. I had been dying to try it out as it was raved about among beauty lovers all over the world, but I did not have a chance as none of the websites besides the official website would ship their products to Japan -and the official website offers a pretty high rate of the delivery fee.

I purchased my first Porefessional tube at the airport, and haven't stopped using it since then. Whenever I wear makeup, I NEED to apply Porefessional to blur my pores and create a smooth, oil-free base for foundation. It keeps my makeup stay on my skin longer, and I now use my oil blotting paper much less throughout the day.

The only downside is that it's not available in Japan. I've been using the tiniest amount so that I won't use it up until I go back to the UK next time. So when I was given this primer called Pore Cover Primer from a Japanese drugstore brand Point Magic PRO, I was hoping it would be a dupe for Porefessional. The price is 1/3 compared to Porefessional, and it's widely available in Japan!

This primer helps foundation not to get into the pores throughout the day which enlarges the appearance of them. It contains Pore Flat Powder which fills the pores to create a smooth base, and Long Lasting Powder would make your makeup last for maximum 15 hours.

Though it does not leave any colour to the skin, it's got a tint of pink. The texture is similar to Porefessional but the biggest difference is that Pore Cover Primer is much more moisturising than Porefessional. It leaves the skin feel silky smooth, but at the same time you feel the moisturising residue which is ideal for dry skin, but not so much for oily and combination skin. In fact, it's too moisturising for my combination skin that I had to use extra oil blotting paper during the day.

So, is this primer a dupe for Porefessional? In my opinion, it's far from the quality of the cult primer from Benefit. But for 1300yen, it does an OK job to fill the pores and create a smooth base. If you find Porefessional too drying, you might like Pore Cover Primer. I am not sure about the long-lasting claim on dry skin, it may elongates the lasting power of foundation by preventing dryness, but obviously I cannot speak for them.

All I can say is that if you are looking for a dupe for Porefessional, this is not the one as it works differently. While Porefessional makes your skin smooth and prevents oiliness throughout the day, this one keeps your skin hydrated. Again, if you find Porefessional too drying, it may be worth trying this primer out!

TOFU LOVE Professional Makeup Sponge

TOFU LOVE Professional Makeup Sponge 380yen
Can you believe that Beauty Blender isn't officially available in Japan? I seriously wonder why, because Japan is one of the 'advanced countries' when it comes to beauty. I have heard countless beauty bloggers and youtubers raving about Beauty Blender for years, but I have never tried it myself. I liked Miracle Completion Sponge from Real Techniques but hearing everyone saying 'There is nothing like the original Beauty Blender', I still am dying to try it.

But what can I do, it's not available in Japan unless I order on Sephora or something. So, I picked up this sponge called Tofu Love. How cute is that? I thought it's just a heart shaped sponge, but actually it's a heart shaped sponge divided in half. Meaning one pack comes with two sponges.

The sponge is thick but not too soft when it's dry. It feels very condensed. You can use it dry or wet according to your liking, but I never use it dry because it doesn't do anything special that way. But once it's wet, it expands and becomes much softer and kind of like Konjac.

The left half is dry, and the right one is wet. It feels so soft on the skin when it's wet, and blends foundation and concealer seamlessly. I blend foundation with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush, and then pat with this sponge. It evens out the layer of foundation beautifully and makes my skin look flawless. Then I apply concealer, and blend with this sponge so that it doesn't look heavy or cakey. It does not absorb foundation and concealer too much, but definitely controls the amount that goes on the skin if that makes sense.

The only downside is the shape. I wish it was round or heart shaped so that there is no edge. The tip of the heart (is that what it's called?) is too thin that's breakable. The round part is then too thick that doesn't fit anywhere on my face. Apparently they used to have a pentagon shaped version as well but I haven't seen it anywhere recently.

If you are sensitive like me, you would think it's not a good idea to buy a white makeup sponge. But this one cleans amazingly for some reason, every time I wash it with  Magic Soap, it looks like brand-new!

I cannot compare this sponge to Beauty Blender, but I am pretty satisfied with this for now. Of course I will try to get my hands on the original Beauty Blender when I can, though.  Considering the price, I think it could be a good dupe!

Shiseido Integrate Matsu-iku Girls' Lash Otemba Curl

Shiseido Integrate Matsu-iku Girls' Lash Otemba Curl 1,296yen
As you may know already, I am very fussy when it comes to mascara. Japanese mascaras are designed for Japanese lashes -short and growing straight down that don't hold a curl. That is why you find that the most of Japanese mascaras have fibres in them to make your lashes longer. Also Japanese people love waterproof ones to avoid smudging and 'panda eyes'.

I have quite long lashes that hold a curl, which means when I use a mascara with loads of fibres in it, my lashes look too long and kind of freaky. I hate it when fibres make your lashes look wonky, too. I also don't like a waterproof mascara because it's pain in the butt to remove at night, and nothing is more annoying than looking in a mirror finding your mascara hasn't been removed after washing your face.

Integrate Matsu-iku Girls' Lash in Otemba Curl  -such an odd name, though. Matsu-iku means growing lashes and Otemba means tomboy- is everything that I don't like about a mascara. It's got fibres and the comb wand which I don't like, and it's waterproof. I thought it would be a disaster. But you know what, I am in love with this mascara.

First I thought this curvy comb wouldn't do anything to my lashes besides making them look wonky. But actually, it does the trick! It's very hard to explain but let me try...basically, when you apply the mascara on the centre of your lashes, you place the comb at the same angle as the lashes -I know it doesn't make sense, but I can't find any other way to explain this! I mean, the comb should be fitting the shape of your eye. Then, when you apply it on the outer corner of your lashes, flip the comb and use it like a spoon. Like, scooping your lashes with the comb. That way, your lashes curls upwards and they hold it hours and hours.

Despite the fact it's got tons of fibres, it's not clumpy at all. It coats each lash and separate them, for a voluminous and fuller look. I love the fact that it doesn't stick the lashes together, too. Though I wish it was a 'film mascara' that washes off with warm water, I am obsessed with this mascara because I love how it makes my lashes look.

Don't worry about a little smudge of mascara under the eye, I didn't notice I failed on applying it on my bottom lashes. Honestly, it's unnoticeable in real life! Anyway, how gorgeous my lashes look!? It looks like I'm waring false lashes. Every time I put a photo of my eye makeup wearing this mascara on Instagram, I get compliments or questions about which mascara I use.

This has been the mascara that I reach for on daily basis the most recently, because it never makes me want to start my makeup all over again which sometimes happens when I accidentally apply an old mascara that's kind of dried up and made my lashes look clumpy and smudgy and miserable. I apply makeup at 7am, and come home from work around 10-11pm on the weekdays, and still my lashes look exactly the same as they did in the morning. Incredible.

If you are a fan of separated lashes, I highly recommend this mascara along with Heroine Mascara.

My Autumn Skincare Must-Haves

Though I have pretty oily skin during summer that all my makeup melts throughout the day, I suffer from dryness during winter -which is why I call my skin type combination rather than oily. December started and the air is getting colder and drier in Tokyo that instantly spoil my mood. I love trying out different skincare items though I have some products that I completely rely on when my skin becomes unstable.

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream is definitely one of those products. This unscented cream seems very simple and kind of boring, but it basically mends the skin and make it look plumped. Even when I have rash due to some kind of allergy to new skincare products that my skin doesn't agree with, it heals the skin within a couple of days of use. It hydrates the skin whilst keeping the skin surface feeling smooth. I used up my first jar now that I am ready to repurchase. Though, I might wait for a while as I just ordered the moisturiser from First Aid Beauty which I have heard works similar to this one.

Terracuore Damask Rose Dew Oil that I mentioned in the past (HERE) can be used in different ways. I usually use it as serum, but it can be used right after the cleanser to softens the skin, or you can of course mix it with a moisturiser. The mix of rosehip oil, almond oil, avocado oil and safflower oil makes your skin feel soft and hydrated.

It smells like rose perfume in the nicest possible way, though I do not like a rose scent, but this one is an exception. It smells divine that I recommend to ANYONE. This is definitely one of the best smelling face oils out there. This none-greasy oil protects the skin from dryness, and balances out the oil production.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Premium Oil Jelly that you can read an in-depth review HERE has been living in my makeup bag. During the colder months, my makeup tends to look cakey and kind of powdery though I only use liquid foundation, and that can be fixed with a product like this. I LOVE how light it feels on the skin. It can be used in the morning, night and during the day -basically ANYTIME! This is what you want to keep in your bag all the time, ditch your vaseline and grab this one instead!

I use Trilogy Everything Balm  when my skin requires even more hydration. This is quite an oily balm that I rarely use, but when my skin feels very dry that Gokujyun Premium Oil Jelly cannot even fix, I rely on this balm. It smells very 'natural and organic'-like, which not everyone would love. I definitely smell something like ylang ylang or patchouli. The great thing about this is that you can use it on your hair, nails, hands, face...everywhere on your body. Apparently this is one of their best-selling products, and I understand why. It's slightly more tacky than Gokujyun Premium Oil Jelly but it works wonders on my skin. This mini that came in one of the look fantastic beauty box is super handy!

Do you have any products that you cannot live without during the colder months? Let me know!

Majolica Majorca Romantic Night Mascara & Eyeliner Set

Majolica Majorca Romantic Night Mascara & Eyeliner Set  1,800yen

I had been looking for a good navy eyeliner and mascara since the end of summer. But unfortunately, most of them I came across did't have the right shade -to my liking. They were either too dark or too bluey. So when I saw this limited set at Aintz-Tulpe, my favourite drugstore in Harajuku (other branches are pretty small, go to the one in Harajuku if you are interested) I did not even hesitate to take it to the till.

This set comes with their best-selling mascara called Lash Expander Edge Meister and eyeliner called Perfect Automatic Liner, both in the limited shade 'Romantic Night'. They also launched other limited products at the same time: body lotion that smells heavenly, lip stain / gloss, eyeshadow palette and nail-caviar thing that was very popular a couple of years ago.

The liquid eyeliner has this pretty design on the body -which somehow reminds me of Sailor Moon. It's the type of eyeliner that you twist the end part to dispense the ink. At first it would tend to dispense too much ink at once which I wiped excess on the back of my hand, but it started working fine after using it for a couple of times.

I twist the end of the eyeliner once, and apply it on both eyes. The amount of the ink it dispense by one twist is absolutely perfect. The shade "Romantic Night' is such a lovely midnight blue. It's shimmery which makes it even more appropriate for the coming holiday season. It dries very quickly, meaning you have little time to apply it without making the eyeliner look messy, but once you're used to it you won't find any problems.

As you can see, it looks absolutely gorgeous on the eyes!! The metallic finish is very pretty and trendy, yet it's not too in-your-face at all. It definitely defines the eyes like a black eyeliner does, but definitely makes the whole look softer and more natural. It also makes my eyes look brighter for some reason, which is another plus point in my opinion.

The mascara is even more gorgeous than the eyeliner, as it contains bigger glitter particles that look absolutely amazing on the lashes. The brush looks rather odd, and I didn't think it would work on my lashes at first. I assumed that it would make them stick together and look clumpy. But I admit it did not do any of those -it separates the lashes and holds the curl for hours and hours.

It's got loads of fibres which I usually hate because they make my lashes look wonky, but for some reason this mascara does not do that much. I just comb my lashes with a clean spooli right after applying the mascara, and all the excess fibres come out.

In this photo, I only applied the mascara on my bottom lashes as I didn't want to look too much with the blue eyeliner and mascara on. You can if you want, but I just wanted to tone it down. You can see the bottom lashes look sparkly, but it's not too bluey at all.

When applied on both top and bottom lashes, it makes the whole look kind of mysterious -which I LOVE!! I tend to pair it with a black pencil eyeliner to balance out the look. It goes well with olive green eyeshadow -my favourite is Eyes to Mesmerise Cream Eyeshadow in Veruschka by Charlotte Tilbury- as well as taupe, silver and purple eyeshadows.

I have been wearing them 3-4 times a week since I got them. Especially the eyeliner is suitable for a daily use as they are quite subtle. The mascara is perfect for a special occasion, like a night-out or a special event. It's a shame they are limited, as I would repurchase them if they were permanent. They are sold out online already, but I have spotted them in some local drugstores recently. Grab them if you've seen them, as I promise you that you won't regret it!

Limited sets for this holiday season! Coffret D'or Party Coffret

Coffret D'or Party Coffret / EX-1  5,000yen
Just like any other countries, Christmas Coffret' is huge around this time of the year in Japan. Most of the beauty brands come up with limited sets that look pretty and gorgeous that you cannot resist. I usually do not buy Christmas Coffret but this year I was given a wonderful opportunity to try out Coffret D'or Party Coffret to review for GLAM. They have 4 different sets that you can choose depending on your liking, and I was given EX-1 which comes with a bright pink makeup bag that kind of represents the colour theme of this set.

EX-1 contains Soft Glamorous Eyes Eyeshadow Palette in Rose, Premium Stay Rouge in PK- 293 and a nail oil. Pink is not what I usually wear when it comes to makeup, as I do not dress 'kawaii' and 'cute' like Japanese uni students do, and I always feel like pink makeup doesn't go well with my style. But this set completely changed my point of view!

Soft Glamorous Eyes Eyeshadow Palette in Rose is such a lovely palette for grown women. Just like most of Japanese eyeshadow palettes, there is no matte shade to define the crease in this palette which is the only downside I can think of. It's got a very pale baby pink, dusty mauve, brown cream shadow, brownish burgundy and glittery gold eyeshadows which create such a beautiful look when they are used in conjunction with each other.

As you can see, all of the powder eyeshadows are super shimmery. The pigmentation isn't the best in the world, but the shades are very pretty.

Don't you think it looks pretty on the eyes? Even though I did not use an eyeliner, the cream eyeshadow worked as eyeliner and defined my lash line perfectly. It is definitely pink, but it's not a 'kawaii' type of pink, it's more mature and classy.

Premium Stay Rouge in PK- 293 is a lovely pink which I usually avoid, but this one looks quite nice on my lips as it's sheer. The nail oil didn't excite me to be honest as I have much better one which is spilt-free and smells amazing.

As you can see it's sheer and has tiny glitter particles that make my lips look plumped and juicy! The shade is a little too bright for my liking but it doesn't look childish at all which I like.

The makeup bag is also very useful -the size and the material is very nice and it holds so much stuff!! If you are into pink, this set is a must-buy. And for those who usually don't gravitate towards pink makeup, it's still worth checking out.

My current base makeup routine

Every morning before I go to work, I spend about 20-25 minutes to do my makeup. I wonder why it takes so long although I don't go too crazy with it when I have work, because 20-25 minutes seemed too long for the result. But then I realised, I was taking about 10 minutes or more for my base. To me, base is the most important part of the makeup, so no wonder why!

So here are the base makeup items that I use on daily basis....

Primer: Benefit POREfessional
Work day foundation: Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation
Weekend foundation: L'Oreal Infallible 24hours Matte Foundation

I bought Benefit POREfessional at Heathrow Airport when I went to England this summer. I wanted it so bad that I thought of purchasing it from Boots so that I could use it during the stay, but I ended up purchasing it from Duty Free to save some money. The texture is similar to Micro-blur Skin Perfecter from Kiehl's -even better actually. I loved the one from Kiehl's but it separated a couple of weeks after I started using and it was a big mess. Whereas POREfessional never separates, and the texture is thicker which stays on the skin better.

When I go to work, I use Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation which I purchased from Duty Free at Haneda Airport before flying to England. I ended up using this foundation only during my stay, because I became obsessed! I had used this foundation before to write an article, and I instantly fell in love. I wanted to buy one immediately but the price tag put me off -it's about 8,000yen I believe. Duty free didn't make a huge difference but I took the opportunity. My shade is Sand 02, which could be a little bit lighter than my skin tone if I apply too much, but it's quite a good match I must say. With SPF40, it's a perfect foundation to wear when I have plans outside of my house.

On my day off, I use L'Oreal Infallible 24hours Matte Foundation which I bought from Boots. I was at Westfield and they didn't have all the shades, and the testers were all messy and dirty. I should have waited to go to another branch but I wanted to buy 3 items from the brand to get the offer. So without matching my skin, I picked up the shade Sand 20 -which doesn't match my skin AT ALL. It's too dark and I cannot use it on its own, so I mix it with a foundation that is too light for my skin tone. It's a shame because this foundation is absolutely amazing that I wish I could use it without mixing with any other foundations! As L'Oreal cannot be shipped to Japan, I have to wait until I come to the UK again to get the right shade.

POREfessional blurs out my pores completely. I apply a tiny bit on the cheeks and nose, and it keeps my skin matte and smooth all day. I love the pleasant scent too. I am not sure when I will use up the tube as I only need a little bit per use, but I will definitely repurchase it once used up.

Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation looks super yellowy in the photo above but it looks beautiful on my neutral-toned skin which isn't too yellow but definitely not pink. The reason why I'm obsessed with this foundation is because it gives a natural glow to my skin without making it look shiny. I have combination skin and quite large pores on the cheeks, so I always avoid glowy finish when it comes to a base product. But this one gives the most natural glow as if I am bare-skinned. It covers up the pores and dark spots without being heavy. Also the lavender scent is just amazing.

You can see L'Oreal Infallible 24hours Matte Foundation is too dark and pinky...especially when applied next to the one from Bobbi Brown, it looks ridiculously dark! I heard they don't have yellow-toned shade, I hope they would expand the shade range soon because I love the finish! It doesn't look too matte, but definitely not glowy. It makes my skin look soft and smooth, and plumped. I love how natural it looks on the skin. It's definitely worth the hype.

Evens out the skin tone: LANAREY Prism Concealer
Dark Circles: Calypso Magic Concealer
Dark Circles and highlight: Za Cosmetics Perfect Fit Concealer

To conceal dark spots and blemishes, I use LANAREY Prism Concealer that I got to review. It's an OK concealer in my opinion, I don't think it's worth the price (3456yen!) but it works as a concealer for sure. I apply it under the eyebrows too, to evens out the skin tone and conceal pores and baby hair.

My hideous dark circles can't be concealed by ANY concealer in my experience, but this combo works well. I first apply this orange concealer from Calypso, blend in only on the dark circles.  Then apply lighter concealer from Za Cosmetics which sadly is discontinued, to brighten them up. They both are creamy and not drying at all which is important when you choose a concealer for under eyes.

I have the shade 02 Natural of LANAREY Prism Concealer and it's quite a good match to my skin tone. I just click the end of the pen twice, apply it under the brows, on blemishes and dark spots, as well as around the nose, and blend with a sponge. I carry it around in my makeup bag when I have a pimple that I want to cover up so that I can touch up during the day.

You can see Magic Concealer from Calypso is pretty orangy on my skin, whereas Perfect Fit Concealer from Za Cosmetics is much brighter. I LOVE this concealer from Za because it kind of melts on the skin when applied, and it never looks cakey or drying. The only downside is that it's hard to control how much to dispense because of the tube, I sometimes dispense way too much. The shade is perfect to brightens up the skin without looking too bright. I also like the fact it's not pinky at all.

Phew, it became a much longer post than I expected. I sometimes switch my foundation to BB or CC cream, but these are the products I use on daily basis. Let me know what your favourite base products are!