When you think of impeccable beauty and fashion trends, places like France, Italy, and Japan come to mind.
These regions are renowned for their place in the fashion world and have had a tremendous impact on how we think of style and elegance.
Japan has had an especially strong impact on the world of beauty, as is easily seen by its impressive collection of makeup lines that sell in markets around the globe.
Take a look at our list of 19 must-buy Japanese makeup items below to learn more about available makeup items—from lipstick to face powder—the traits that make them so unique and desirable, and whether they just might be the beauty products you have been waiting for.
19 Must-Buy Makeup in Japan
Makeup has long been a part of Japanese culture, from the impossibly pale skin of the geisha—professional entertainers who have undergone rigorous training in traditional Japanese art, culture, and communication—to the more modern styles like Lolita, Gyaru, and Harajuku.
The Japanese fashion scene is immense and diverse, so it is no wonder that many renowned cosmetic companies cater to them.
Because of the inherent diversity of styles in Japanese culture, it is only right that we give you not only our top choices for must-buy Japanese makeup products but to give you the scoop on some of the major companies selling on the market today.
All about supporting girliness and fun, Canmake Tokyo is a brand that takes cute creativity to another level.
A look around their product line immediately evokes images of shimmering jewels, soft rose petals, and glittering, girly goodness.
From concealers to eye shadow, they seem to have a bit of any kind of makeup you are looking for, and it is all situated in neat gold-tinted or rose-colored packages.
There were many options to choose from for our list of must-buys, but it was the following items that won a place in our top nineteen.
1. “Beige Ochre” Matte Marshmallow Finishing Powder
This delicate matte finishing powder offers light coverage to complete your makeup routine.
Perfect for drier skin types, the Matte Marshmallow Finishing Powder promises to make your skin feel as soft and light as a marshmallow.
2. “Almond Terracotta” Cream Cheek
The Almond Terracotta Cream Cheek is a rich, earth-toned red cream blush that will bring that perfect hint of liveliness to the apples of your cheek.
This blush will bring depth to your look, with a flush of color that will complement the elegant or romantic image you want to achieve.
3. “Foggy Plum” Cream Touch Liner
Canmake’s Foggy Plum Cream Touch Liner will help you complete your bold look with its rich violet hues that will not only enhance but will draw attention to the natural, effortless beauty of your eyes.
The creaminess of this eyeliner means that it will glide effortlessly onto your eyelids, making for a pleasant experience while doing your makeup routine each morning.
With its slim structure, the cream touch liner will make it much easier to draw thin lines and detailed designs as well.
The Shiseido company is a cosmetic giant, and—having won awards for both their skincare and their makeup lines—their status as one of the top Japanese cosmetic companies does not come as a surprise.
Their products tend toward the more expensive side as their products tend to have multiple uses in terms of skincare, moisturization, sun protection, and, yes, beautification.
The company’s bread and butter are a host of creams and moisturizers geared toward luminance restoration, skin protection, and age-defying formulas, but Shiseido would be remiss if it did not have a line of lipsticks and mascaras too.
Below are some of the prominent makeup products currently on the market through Shiseido.
4. “Ochre” SPF 37 Sun Protection Stick Foundation
The “Ochre” Sun Protection Stick Foundation by Shiseido not only offers your skin dependable respite from sun damage, but it also is built for convenience, ease of use, and a refined complexion.
Boasting that it will give your skin a “luminous” finish, this skin foundation will leave your skin feeling creamy, cared for, and blemish-free.
If that was not enough for the stick foundation to make it onto our list of must-buy makeup, it also comes in a neat package that makes use and storage a breeze.
5. “Natural Light Ivory” Advanced Hydro-Liquid Compact Refill
The Advanced Hydro-Liquid Compact Refill is a foundation that promises to give medium to full coverage with an effortlessly beautiful finish.
This foundation includes a modest SPF 15 sunscreen, ensuring that while you are out handling your daily business, your skin receives the protection it needs from the sun.
The hydro-liquid component of this foundation is why it has made it onto our list of must-buys. It moisturizes your skin while providing as much coverage as possible, making for a soft but uniform look.
6. “Black” SMK Eye Micro Liner Ink
Like Canmake’s cream touch eyeliner, this micro liner is waiting at the ready to deliver precise and refined strokes to your eye makeup routine.
The thin SMK Liner crayon is specially designed for detail work, and using it will ensure a flawless and impressive lining.
Careful with this crayon, though. Unlike Canmake’s cream touch eyeliner, the crayon is a bit more rigid and therefore brittle. Use a delicate touch with it to make sure it does not break.
7. “Black” Full Lash Volume Liquid Mascara
Shiseido’s Volume Liquid Mascara is as sleek as it is glamorous.
Coming in a wavy black container that imparts the very same elegance and sharpness that it will give to your makeup look, this mascara offers a “silky” finish to your eyelashes with only a few brush strokes, leaving no clumps on your lashes while serving all the excellence.
Shiseido’s mascara promises to give shape and a curled definition to your lashes. Being one of the more moderately priced pieces we found, it was only right that we should include it on this list.
8. Modern Matte Powder Lipstick Deluxe Mini Set
The 5-piece Modern Matte Lipstick Set has stolen our hearts without delay.
The lovely colors of these matte lipsticks range from Rose Hip to Dark Fantasy, and each one will work to enhance the look you want to rock, from the demure to the exotic.
Dolly Wink is a cosmetic brand that specializes in the beauty of the eye, namely your eyelashes.
Their collection boasts of mascaras, eyeliners, and different styles of false eyelashes, guaranteed to give you that signature, wide-eyed porcelain doll look.
Dolly Wink’s focus on the cute—or kawaii—style of makeup and making your eye makeup pop is why the company and its products have won a place on our list.
Their mascaras are particularly noteworthy, and with these two items that follow, you will undoubtedly see why.
9. “Black” Volume Mascara
This specialized mascara by KOJI Dolly Wink promises to increase the wow factor of your eyelashes by coating them in their signature formula, the striking black color combining with its waterproof seal to provide that dramatic, doll-like flair that Dolly Wink is famed for.
10. “Black” Long Mascara
Like its sister product, Volume Mascara, the Dolly Wink Long Mascara comes in a sharp, glossy black.
It boasts of its ability to lengthen your eyelashes using “long fiber formulation,” creating a romantic, whimsical finish.
This particular mascara is a must-have because it is useful for glamorous looks as well as for more reserved styles.
Careful, though, unlike the Dolly Wink Volume Mascara, this one is not entirely waterproof and can come off under hot water.
The makeup and skincare lines of Koh Gen Do inspire feelings of grace and elegance, primarily because the packaging and the products themselves are so carefully constructed.
Koh Gen Do’s two iconic products, listed below, resulted from the brand founder’s quest to find a product that genuinely cares for her skin even as it conceals and contours it.
Check out these two must-buy foundations from Koh Gen Do if you are looking for a product that will leave your skin feeling fresh and healthy.
11. Maifanshi Aqua Foundation
The Maifanshi Aqua Foundation is a medium-coverage foundation that will hydrate your skin and leave it with a healthy, dewy glow.
A relatively expensive serum, the water-based foundation is made to support your skincare by creating a breathable layer of makeup that will endure even in the face of sweat and natural oils.
12. Moisture Foundation
Yet another medium-coverage foundation, the simply titled Moisture Foundation, comes in at a whopping $100 per ounce.
However, with a formula built to protect and nourish your skin, offering a lightweight layer of makeup that not only shields from external elements but gently conceals blemishes, a little just might go a long way.
The Shu Uemura company carries a modern, urban feel that is exalted in each of their products.
There is an apparent thoughtfulness given to every item currently available from the cosmetic line, but the following four products stole the show.
13. Colorless Matte Face Powder
Shu Uemura’s colorless face powder is the perfect neutral powder to set your face.
Because the powder itself carries no pigment, the delicate powder will blend perfectly with whatever look you choose for the day and ensure that your makeup lasts throughout the whole day.
14. “Pink” UV Under Base Mousse
The Under Base Mousse by Shu Uemura is not only light, an airy base for your foundation and eyeshadow; it is also made to conceal and minimize your pores for more flawless, healthy-looking skin.
Not only is this gentle mousse ready to prep your skin for heavier forms of makeup, but it also provides a layer of sun protection, with an SPF level of 35 and a guarantee that UV ray penetration will be significantly diminished as well.
This “Pink” mousse comes in at just over $40 an ounce.
However, something that keeps your skin hydrated, protected, and prepared for makeup that is harsher on the skin and pores is undoubtedly worth every penny.
15. “Seal Brown” Brow Sword Eyebrow Pencil
Living up to its awesome name, the Brow Sword of Shu Uemura is pointed, precise, and ready to create long, sweeping lines for a natural but defined brow.
Don’t let the name fool you though, the lead of the brow sword is pleasantly soft and easy to use, making it a must-buy for anyone who loves a versatile and well-made eyebrow pencil.
16. “Stone Gray” Hard 9 Formula Eyebrow Pencil
Just like its fellow Shu Uemura product above, the stone gray Hard 9 Formula Eyebrow Pencil is a work of modern ingenuity.
Deceptively simple, the lead of the pencil contains an oil-reactive formula that interacts with your natural oils on contact to impart more pigment onto the hairs of your eyebrow.
This facet of the Hard 9 Pencil allows you to create greater depth with lighter strokes.
With an eyebrow pencil design that allows you to conserve more of it for later use, this product has earned a place on our must-buy list.
Named for the courage of the classic adventuring “heroine,” the cosmetic brand Heroine Make is colorful, creative, and animated.
Though they have a small collection relative to the other brands we have listed, Heroine Make nevertheless makes its dramatic impact with the products they do carry, such as the following eyeliner.
17. Jet Black Super Keep Smooth Liquid Eyeliner
Watch out; this super-smooth liquid eyeliner is a head turner!
Coming from the vivacious cosmetics line Heroine Make, it is no wonder that the Jet Black Liquid Eyeliner is so bold and intense.
This waterproof liner will see you through tears, sweat, and any other kind of liquid, powering through the day without once smudging or cutting into your perfect cat-eye.
Offering everything from Liposome Serum to unique Decorté fragrances, this cosmetic line has a bit of everything and showcases it in elegant simplicity.
Their line of makeup products is as equally impressive as the rest of the collection, with items available for the face, nails, and more.
There were many products to choose from, but the below simple face powder was one of our favorites.
18. “Luminary Ivory” Face Powder
This lovely little face powder comes in a beautiful rose gold case adorned with small floral embellishments, and it is nearly enough to say that the presentation of the makeup alone has captured us.
However, it is what is inside the case that is the real gift.
At $50 per jar, the Luminary Ivory Face Powder produces a soft, blemish-free look when applied, making your skin look silky soft, and pampered in an instant.
Its ability to take uneven features and make them look incredibly smooth has won us over.
A graceful product line from their lip colors to the very font they use on their site, the cosmetic brand Kailijumei is a treat for the eyes as well as any makeup lover.
Their signature collections, the Flower Jelly lipsticks, the Black Rose lipsticks, and the Crystal Lipstick collection all carry unique charm and beauty, but it was the following product that had to be on our list.
19. Flower Jelly Moisturizer Lipstick Set
The last item on our list of must-buy Japanese makeup is the fantastical set of moisturizer lipsticks entitled “Flower Jelly.”
Made to appear as flowers preserved by clear resin, this set of translucent, color-changing lipsticks are not only highly creative, but they work!
The Flower Jelly lipsticks change color based upon the pH and temperature of your lips, each turning a different shade of pink according to your body.
A clever gift as well as a practical source for moisture and comfort, it only fits that we conclude this list with one of the cutest and creative makeup products ever seen.
Our list of must-have Japanese cosmetic products is by no means exhaustive.
If anything, this exciting exploration of Japanese makeup has shown the Japanese fashion scene's versatility, creativity, and innovativeness.
From the high-end fashion lines like Shiseido and Decorté to the up-and-coming brands like Heroine Make and Dolly Wink, there is something to be discovered for everyone.
Now that you have had a brief glimpse into the world of Japanese makeup and have seen firsthand some of the must-buy products they offer, you now have the tools and knowledge to see for yourself just how useful and powerful these makeup products can be in furthering your own cosmetic goals.
Whether you are preparing for a night on the town and want to show up at peak glamour, or you are simply waking up for a typical day at work and want to be ready for the day, you know that with these must-buy Japanese makeup items, you will have the tools you need for any occasion.