Japan is also fabulous for (among other things) innovative beauty and health products. [I know you’re probably all sick of the whole “Japan is so great yada yada yada” routine, but honestly, if you got me started on the “Things I hate about Japan” that list would probably be longer.;-) So to keep things positive, I’m just focusing on the cool stuff – mainly consumerism and product innovation at its best.] Here are some neat products I’ve found:

Use instead of earring post nuts to keep your studs secure. Me, when I sleep on my side at night the studs I’m wearing in my ears always stab me in the side of the head when my ear is flattened. The nuts get caught on clothing and hair, get gunky with soap/shampoo/dead skin in them and have to be cleaned frequently – and I never thought about how much of a pain they are. These solve that, plus provide relief to people suffering from metal allergies (there are alot in Japan) since they are non-metallic. An added bonus: you can wear the pearls in the front and the stud in the back…very multifunctional! The store also had different versions like gemstone rounds or acrylic pastel colored balls for sale as well.
Cost: $8

For your Uggs, high-top sneaker, or other boots. Place inside the shoe in the heel area and it gives you a small height boost, so you don’t look short and with stocky legs, and don’t have the boot visually cutting you off at a weird place. They have ones that give you a 2 cm lift or a 3 cm lift. They’re made of silicone and so provide added cushioning to your heel – a big help for the tons of walking you have to do here.
Cost: $12.50 for the 3cm lift ones

Japanese people are also obsessed with ear canal cleanliness. Seriously. The colored Q-tips show the gunk you get out better, and the spiral shape really gets it all out. Or so I’m told.
Cost: $2.80 (from JBox.com; will ship to the U.S.)

Fake Eyelash Mascara
(sorry I can’t find a photo or a listing online, but basically, it looks like your average mascara)

Last year eyelash extensions were all the rage (I got some too) – they were cheap (about $80 for a full top set), lasted about 4-6 weeks if you were careful, indistinguishable from your natural eyelashes, you looked gorgeous round the clock with or without extra makeup….but they had problems, such as people being allergic to the glue, your natural eyelashes growing out and the extensions twisting and matting at strange angles and then poking you in the eye (yeah, that stage kind of sucked), and then your natural eyelashes growing in shorter or sparser because of the added weight and damage that the extensions had incurred. So now everyone’s just applying falsies for day and removing them at night with their makeup (even my 57-year-old MIL). But the problem is, no matter how realistic the false eyelashes look, they’re still kind of floating on top of your real ones. What to do? Enter this mascara, specially formulated to coat both natural and false eyelashes so that the two become indistinguishable. (Regular mascara can damage some types of falsies, but with this you can reuse your pair until they fall apart.)
Cost: $7

You know how, even after you shave your pits, you get this sort of bumpy terrain going on under there? I don’t necessarily mean ingrown hairs (which this product also helps alleviate), but just the sort of pit-appearance. It doesn’t look as nice as say, the skin on your forearm, does it? (Whether or not you use Dove Ultimate Visibly Smooth deodorant – which is specifically a growth retardent, not a skin-smoother per se.) Plus under there you also got deodorant buildup…well, it’s just an icky area of the body. Enter WakiLaLa Clear Wash, a product guaranteed to make your underamrs pikapika (smooth and shiny) by scrubbing away dead skin and deodorant buildup, and leave everything smelling fresh.
Cost: $7.50

Why didn’t they think of this sooner??? A pen with a tint made of self-tanner, you draw in your eyebrows with this (carefully, mind you) and even after you wash your makeup off what you drew lasts for 3-7 days. Brilliant – especially for those who’ve overplucked or have eyebrows so blond they disappear every time you wash your face (that’s me! Though not a problem most Japanese women have LOL)
Cost: $13 (the linked page above isn’t loading the product photo, so I’ve included the photo from this site here…the pens are henna-based, but still the same concept, tho they only last 3 days, and the Peach John version lasts up to 7)

I know you probably hadn’t thought about it before (I know I hadn’t), but those pierced ear holes get kind of…smelly and gunky after awhile, no? Clean them with ear hole floss! Like dental floss, but stiffer and shorter. Like a toothpick, but thinner and more pliable. Genius! I found both mint- and rosewater- scented versions.
Cost: $3

You can’t be female and survive Tokyo’s August without these. This work like blotting paper, except when you blot, the sheets impart a layer of soft, lightweight powder. Some sheets have separate functions for each side: one side wipes the sweat, the other re-seals your foundation once you’re done. Your makeup stays put no matter what! (And they have scented versions, and Men’s Sheets….)
Cost: $3

Most of these products you can only buy in Japan; the links on the titles will take you to pages where you can buy them but you have to have a shipping address in Japan. Some Asian supermarkets will sell them (I’ve seen the WakiLala Armpit Clear Wash at the local Uwajimaya in Oregon, for example). Some you may be able to buy on JBox.com (for example, the cotton swabs above), which is a treasure trove of all things Japanese!

xoxox from Tokyo


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