What is it about international skincare practices that's got us completely entranced? From French-girl favorites to Korean staples, we just can't get enough. To add another country's greatest skincare hits to the mix, we're also super into Japanese beauty products, namely the cult-favorite drugstore finds. Lucky for all of us, exploring the region's beauty must-haves is as easy as clicking over to Amazon.
You may not be able to read all of the characters printed on these packages, but you can rest assured knowing they come highly recommended by discerning, and rather particular, online reviewers. Ahead, shop the 21 highest rated J-beauty drugstore buys Amazon has to offer.
Japanese drugstores carry some unfamiliar products from super-familiar brands. Take this Nivea water gel sunscreen, for example. It's not available in domestic drugstores alongside other offerings from the brand, and according to the reviews, consumers outside of Japan are really missing out.
While eye masks sold stateside typically emphasize cooling effects, these little babies heat up to relieve tension in the face and eyes.
This review says everything you need to know about the sentiment surrounding this celebrated Japanese mascara: "What is this sorcery? Who made this? Who invented this mascara that curls, lifts, separates, volumizes, lengthens, *and* stays on, even in muggy Miami weather?" This is the kind of enthusiasm that makes us purchase without hesitation. (This editor did!)
To go along with the highly rated mascara from the same brand is this beloved mascara remover. You swipe it on, let it sit on the lashes, then wipe all the goopy gunk right off your lashes. "Nothing works as well as this specific mascara remover. All the other ones would leave mascara on my lashes (thus leading to them breaking) and some would burn my eyes," said one reviewer.
Amazon customers agree this eyeliner glides on smoothly, dries matte, and is strikingly black. What else could you ask for in a liquid liner?
Here's yet another example of a Japanese exclusive from a brand we know and love in the states. Reviewers say this sunscreen is perfect for daily wear because it's light, has a smooth consistency, and doesn't cause irritation. Sounds like a winner to us, too.
This activated hydrogen and water exfoliator for the face and body works by catching dry skin, allowing you to essentially rub dead skin right off. Pretty gross, and also seriously cool.
If you've ever poked around in the Asian Beauty subreddit, then you probably already know this stuff is the absolute truth. It has hyaluronic acid and collagen to give skin that soughtafter plump appearance. Not that 4.1 is a bad mark, but we would have expected to see a higher rating.
One review posted some instructions we think other customers may not have followed: "Here is how you use this product: After cleansing, do not dry your face. Apply a dime/nickel size to your wet skin, gently massage, in a circular motion, it into the face for at least 30 seconds, and then let it air dry. Trust me it is an amazing product if you follow these steps. I tried it dry and it did nothing and felt like it caused dry skin, but it transformed my skin when applied wet."
This pre-moisturizer "lotion" (not to be confused with the creamy stuff we call lotion in the states—in Japan, it's a liquid) helps improve the skin's moisture retention capacity, leading to must better hydration. You can also soak cotton pads in it to make your own sheet masks.
We love a cream blush that can be applied with the fingers, and reviewers swear by this Japanese option. As one purchaser put it, "Extremely easy to apply and blend out. Starts off as a cream, then sets to a long-lasting powder on the cheek."
If you haven't seen photos of what happens to your feet in the days after you slide these fruit acid–filled booties onto your feet, stop what you're doing and google it. The images are truly revolting and totally compelling.
Reviewers say this cleansing oil is great for removing makeup, loosening blackheads, and even helping to get acne breakouts under control. One satisfied customer even called out how counterintuitive it is to use an oil cleanser on oily skin, saying, "Putting oil on an already oily face seems to go against logic, but I am so glad I did! I’m not nearly as oily as I used to be. My pores appear smaller, and my skin is smoother."
Four sheet masks for 10 bucks? Sold.
If you don't already have a basic foaming cleanser in your skincare rotation, this might be one to try. Those who purchased it agree it gives a thorough cleanse.
Remember our talk about lotions? Well, here's another one. "Amazing," "impressive," and "holy grail" are just some of the ways reviewers described this ceramide-rich formula.
More than 600 five-star reviews have got us seriously intrigued by this oil cleanser. It's the lighter version of the deep treatment oil we talked about earlier, and Amazon shopper can't seem to get enough.
Reviewers agree that this is a fantastic eyeliner. They say it's quick-drying, seriously black, and won't budge on even the oiliest eyelids.
This isn't the first time a Hada Labo product has appeared on this list, and it won't be the last. This hyaluronic acid lotion delivers a water burst to the skin. One reviewer even ranks it above more expensive products, saying, "I'm almost 68 and have used top expensive brands that have done far less. Save your money; this Hada Labo is a great brand." Now, that's some high praise.
This lightly tinted lip balm can be spread over both lips and cheeks for a healthy flush wherever you need it.
Hada Labo, for the win… again. Five molecular weights of hyaluronic acid set this lotion apart from the other Hada Labo lotion on this list, which only has three. For just one more dollar, this seems like a worthwhile upgrade.
This lightweight gel moisturizer dissolves quickly into the skin without leaving a sticky residue. Reviewers with sensitive, acne-prone skin are plentiful, and all rave about this gel.
Ed. Note: Reviews have been edited for clarity.