How much do beauty products cost in Japan?

The beauty industry in Japan is big. Seriously big. Japan is second only to the US as the largest market for cosmetics in the world, a market that is worth approximately ¥1.4 trillion per year. It’s all about looking good and looking after yourself.

Skincare is one of the top priorities for the Japanese, although unlike the western beauty industry many of the products focus on the overall look and feel of your skin rather than treating specific conditions such as ageing or acne.

Japanese products also tend to be made from more natural ingredients which means they can be a better choice for people who dislike using chemicals or have sensitive skin. They also tend to also be very cute to tempt the buyer into purchasing!

There are a number of outlets you can choose to shop at to stock up on cosmetics, personal care and beauty products, some of which are easier on the wallet than others.

For budget beauty products ¥100 stores (100円ショップ, Hyaku En Shoppu) are one of the best places to shop and these can be found throughout Japan. These are discount stores that sell a wide range of products for ¥108 (¥100 plus 8 percent consumption tax). Some stores may sell certain items for more than ¥100 and these are clearly marked and usually still exceptionally good value for the price. You can find nearly every beauty item at these stores including skin, hair and nail care as well as a wide range of good quality products.

Japanese drug stores are equally good places to stock up on beauty products at inexpensive prices. They can also be found everywhere and are always very busy. One of the most popular chains is Matsumoto Kiyoshi. Here you can find a whole range of beauty, personal care and cosmetic products. Some that may seem unusual to those of us from outside of Asia include charcoal face wash, tape to create a double eyelid effect, a wide range of collagen based products, face slimming mouthpieces and many, many more. Most stores carry budget, mid and premium range products.

At these kinds of stores you can expect to pay on average:

Mascara = ¥400-700

Toothpaste = ¥200-300

Face wipes = ¥150-500

Shampoo = ¥500

Tampons = ¥900-1000 (many Japanese women opt to use sanitary towels which are cheaper and are cost around ¥200-400)

Deodorant = Y700-900 (Deodorant is very expensive in Japan and I haven’t found it any cheaper than this so if anyone thinks I’m missing a trick please let me know!)

Don Quijote is a hugely popular chain of discount stores which offer a wide range of beauty products including cosmetics and personal care items. Just like the drug stores they offer a different products to suit varying budgets.

For premium skin care and beauty, all of the international brands as well as some excellent Japanese brands can be found predominately in most Department stores dotted all over the country and you can expect to pay comparable prices to the rest of the world. Tourists visiting Japan can purchase many consumables including medicine, cosmetics, tax-free (eliminating the 8% consumption tax) from designated shops. These shops usually have ‘Japan Tax-free shop’ on the shopfront to help tourists identify them. To benefit from this all items must be purchased at the same store on the same day, and the total spending must be over ¥5,000 but no greater than ¥500,000 and most importantly, you need to take your passport with you.