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Every beauty product I bought at Cosme in Japan

Few global shopping experiences have wowed me more than Cosme. The Japanese retailer is a goldmine of skincare, haircare, makeup, sheet masks, sunscreens, brushes, sponges and other beauty-adjacent trinkets. Every which way you turn, there's something special to be discovered... My version of paradise.

While Cosme is home to well-known players like Shiseido, NARS and Dior, the shop floor is predominantly crowded with Japanese and Korean brands — unchartered beauty territory for me. Plus, everything is ranked from 1 to 10 — like online reviews, but in real life. The ranking system is determined by shoppers and apparently, a very coveted accolade. It's also updated weekly, so you always know what's trending. More proof that Japan is the city of the future.

I could have spent hundreds, but luggage limits stopped me at eight products. I've detailed them all here, in case you're also making your way to Tokyo...

Canmake Tokyo Cream Blush


This blush weighs nothing but what it lacks in product, it makes up for in dewy pigment. I picked this 'clear red heart' shade because it promises to recreate a 'happy, just-woken complexion' and that's always the goal. It's very moisturising, therefore the finish is plumping, a little wet even. But it's super fresh and I truly love it. I just wish I bought more colours...



TirTir Mask Fit Red Cushion


This cushion was only available in two shades (?) which is both strange and inappropriate, but it's very viral and ranked #1 in its category, so I picked up shade Sand. I should note that online there's more shades available, but the entire Harajuku Cosme only carried two...bizarre? It's touted as a long-wear formula with enough pigment to render even the largest of pores invisible, and I have to say it's true. Sand was just a little too yellow for me but the coverage is infallible. Plus, some fake tan will fix that up. A tiny bit goes a long way (I applied too much initially), but I understand the hype. It has a strong fragrance but if that doesn't bother you, I highly recommend.


Kate Frameless Film Mascara


A Japanese fashion editor recommended this mascara and now I'm forever in her debt. The comb wand takes some getting used to as the bristles are widely spaced apart — clumps can happen if you're not careful — but it creates this long, wispy look that looks incredible. It's quite wet, so it requires patience, but the lengthening capabilities are worth it. Also the two sides are for the top and bottom lashes — genius.

Bbia Over Original Glaze Stick


One thing I noticed in Tokyo is that people are unbelievably good at doing their makeup; they have this knack for seamless colour and marrying matte with gloss in an understated way. I wanted in on the gloss, and this Bbia Glaze stick came highly rated. It's very malleable, almost like a semi-solid lipgloss, and the original shade is glassy with just the smallest amount of shimmer to catch the light. It also contains menthol (or something similar) to increase circulation for a natural plumping effect.


Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence


This is it, the SPF from Bioré that everyone on the internet loves. Japanese sunscreens are right up there with Australian and Korean sunscreens in terms of their virality, and I think it's got something to do with the emphasis on texture. This Watery Essence is very lightweight — more like a serum than a cream — but still feels beautifully hydrating. It's actually a great middle ground for anyone that wants moisture without that dewy sunscreen feeling.


Abib Gummy Sheet Mask


This was $2, and I was intrigued by the word 'gummy'. It's a classic Korean sheet mask formulated to hydrate and soothe. There's mushroom extract, centella, hyaluronic acid, ceramides and squalane for moisture. But what's mostly impressive is the way it hugs the face, creating a seal that gives the serum component nowhere to go but in. While it's not life-changing, it does what it says and for the price who am I to argue.


Laka Fruity Glam Tint


I wanted a lip product that looked like watercolour, and the campaign for this one lured me in. It's super shiny with a sheer-ish tint, and while it's not very long-lasting, it looks amazing on — almost like a tinted jelly. I got the shade 104 Cherry, a reddish-pink with blue undertones. It's relatively hydrating, too.


&Honey Deep Moist Hair Oil


I am not typically one for hair oils as I have very oily hair, but this was one of the top ranked products at Cosme, and a big deal in Japan generally. It's an organic formula comprised of honey, royal jelly and ceramides and argan oil, and claims to seal moisture into each strand. It's a finishing product, so I used it sparingly on mid-lengths and ends, but if you had coarse hair it would be great all over. I've been enjoying it as a pre-wash treatment, too.


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