French drugstores are such a well-known “hidden” beauty resource that they’re about as secret as the one Victoria has been keeping. But Japanese drugstores are an equally great, largely untapped source for high-quality beauty products at inexpensive prices. If you visit Japan, you’ll notice these drugstores are more ubiquitous than Starbucks, and filled with locals and tourists. A chain called Matsumoto Kiyoshi (recognize it from the Minion-colored awning) is like the City Pharma of Japan.
If you’re actually shopping in Japan, you’ll need to go into these drugstores with a clear idea of what you want, since English signage and English-speaking salespeople are both limited. (If you’re shopping on Amazon, this is less of an issue.) But if you do know what you’re looking for, you can find durable mascaras and eyeliners, glowing cream blush, magical muscle patches, the best eye drops and sunscreen, and many, many other under-the-radar gems.
To come up with this update from the post we did last year, the Cut talked with two Japanese makeup artists: Yumi Mori, whose clients include Julianne Moore and Gisele Bündchen, and Munemi Imai, whose clients include Solange Knowles. Click through the slideshow to prepare for any upcoming trips to Japan — or spins through a friend’s Amazon Prime.