Japan Archives - She Makes Him Known

Favorites, Lately

In an attempt to produce more organic entries, I’m adding a new series to regularly update you guys with beauty and skin care products I’m loving. From underrated drugstore gems to holy grail status must-haves, I’ve got you covered! Before another month discovering new products and, maybe, rekindling my love for old ones, here are some things I’ve been obsessing over all year.

Skin Care

Toner

Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener (Althea Korea, P440)

Aside from the CosRX One-Step Pimple Clear Pads I use at night, I’ve been enjoying the Etude House Wonder Pore Freshener I received from the Althea Korea Anti-Pollution Box. My pores (mostly around the nose area) have become significantly smaller. Again, I still prefer more viscous toners but I have no problem finishing this bottle if it means looking Photoshopped. I’ve even been skipping my mattifying primer because there’s, literally, nothing to cover – considering I already have small pores to begin with (thank God!).

Facial Cleanser

Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser (Beauty MNL, P408)

My recent trip to Osaka allowed me to familiarize myself with the black hole of *kawaii* that is their drugstores. The best discovery I had was the best-selling Shiseido Perfect Whip Foam Cleanser; it’s #1 for a reason. Other cleansers tend to strip off moisture post-wash, and this doesn’t. It’s super thick, creamy, and even foams up if you diligently whip it with your hands or a whip maker. This removes whatever impurities I have left after my cleansing balm, too. I’m so in love with it, I’m sure I’ll get more during my trip back next month.

Essence

COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence (Beauty MNL, P873)

Essences are unsung heroes of skin care. My acne scars and dark spots are notorious for staying on my face for months but some (not all) faded in weeks, thanks to the COSRX Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence. I noticed that my smile lines are slowly fading, and my forehead is less wrinkly. How? Snail mucin repairs and heals skin. It also makes it tight and firm. The product itself can be a bit sticky but the discomfort fades within seconds. I apply it, day and night, after my toner and before my moisturizer and eye cream. My skin texture has gotten much smoother, and I love how you only need a pea-sized amount!

Read: Snail Mucin: The Superhero of Skin Care via The Klog

Eye Cream

Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream (Beauty MNL, P294)

Because I’m not over snail anything, I had to get the Mizon Snail Repair Eye Cream. I noticed a visible reduction of wrinkles and a brightening of my under eye area – considering how bad my sleeping schedule is – in just a month. I cringe whenever I see old selfies (let’s face it, I take a lot) and realize how important having a good eye cream is! I think this is good, especially for the price, but I’m still on the search for the best.

Sunscreen

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50+ PA++++ (Watsons, P420)

For years, I’ve been stubborn, neglecting the most important of my day time routine: sunscreen. Now, I can’t live without it, especially after purchasing the much raved about Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence – cheaper in Japan, of course. It doesn’t give me white cast, it’s not sticky, and it’s super moisturizing. I plan on purchasing the recently launched spray form – a possible God-send for us lazy folks – after emptying this.

Oil

The Body Shop Tea Tree Oil (The Body Shop, P495)

I’ve been suffering from really bad hormonal acne on my nose and right cheek – weeks after the best skin of my life. I was desperate for anything to treat it. I’ve been hearing about Tea Tree Oil for said dilemma and wanted to purchase it from Human Nature but it was sold out in store, so I purchased mine from The Body Shop. This is Heaven-sent. I place the smallest amount on affected areas, day and night, and it calms down redness and dries it up; it’s gone for as quick as 2 days to a week. Of course, it still leaves acne scars, which other products can treat.

Beauty

Foundation

Maybelline Super BB Cushion in Natural (Watsons, P749)

The entire process of putting on foundation – mixing 2 different products to perfect my shade and setting it with a loose powder – is not for the lazy girl. The Maybelline Super BB Cushion is a life-saver. It’s also travel-friendly! It provides great coverage considering how bad my skin has been because of my hormonal breakouts. Now, I wouldn’t wear this for an event. It’s best for everyday wear in the office or university. The color selection lacks variety with only 2 available colors, Light and Natural, but it matches my skin pretty well. It provides a naturally dewy look, which I’ve been loving lately. Maybelline also recently released the Super BB Cushion Fresh Matte – best for oily to combination skin – which I plan on trying out when I empty this!

Features & Shades BB Cream in Filipina (Watsons, P350)

Lately, I’ve been enjoying days without the heavy full-coverage foundation-and-loose powder combo. I’ve never owned a BB Cream in my life since I’ve gotten the misconception that it only caters to my fair-skinned friends. Finding a shade match for morena skin is near to impossible but Features & Shades BB Cream in Filipina is perfect! Fret not, they have 2 other colors, Oriental and Mestiza, to cater to other skin tones. I’m thoroughly impressed how flawless my skin looks every time I use this; it can even cover my blemishes. It keeps my skin matte so I’d give this a go for people with oily to combination skin. It claims to be a breakthrough product acting as a foundation, concealer, moisturizer, and sunscreen but I still recommend having separate products.

Highlighter

Essence Pure Nude Highlighter (Watsons, P379)

I’ve been on the search for the perfect highlighter since I threw out my expired Benefit Watt’s Up!; Essence’s Pure Nude Highlighter is pretty close. This has been on my to-buy list for months but it’s been sold out locally since every YouTuber raves about it. I finally got it in January! This swatches like nothing on my hand but applies beautifully on my face. It looks good on dark and fair skin. It can go from subtle to beaming, and it won’t accentuate any texture on the face. Because it’s a powder formula – yet still looks wet – it doesn’t appear streaky. This is definitely the best highlighter available in the drugstore.

Banila Co. So Strobing Stick (Beauty MNL, P865)

This product isn’t for everyone. It makes my face look dewy, almost wet, a look popular among Koreans. If you’re oily, I’d say stay away from anything with the word strobing in it. This is what a MAC Strobing Cream looks like but more intense – giving your face a healthy, natural glow. It can look streaky when not blended well so instead of directly applying it to my face, I use a beauty blender to distribute the product. I also use it to intensify any highlight, putting it before I top it off with a powder highlighter. This applies much better above a cushion foundation or a BB Cream than, let’s say, a full-coverage foundation. The metallic packaging is also such eye candy!

Make-up Spray

L’Oréal Infallible Setting Spray (Watsons, P500)

If you have a whole day event or want a little extra something to keep your make-up intact the entire day, the L’Oréal Infallible Setting Spray will be your best friend. This will make you want to rethink removing your make-up at night because it still looks so good. It’s currently on sale for P250 until April 2 so better get yourself a bottle, or two!

Others

Hair Care 

Dove Style+Care Nourishing Amplifier Mousse (Watsons, P285)

For days when my hair is out of control, I apply an ample amount of Dove Style+Care Nourishing Amplifier Mousse, and it tames it and makes it extra smooth and bouncy. I never get a bad hair day with this as my armor.

What have you been loving lately? Let me know in the comments below! ✨

P.S. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram for mini beauty reviews!


Travel Diaries: Osaka, Japan

Japan has always been a special place for me. Immersing myself in Haruki Murakami’s captivating world as a 20-year-old led me to dream of a country of color and solitude. I lived vicariously through his lonely, pensive male characters. Visiting Tokyo, then, was a dream I kept reliving, and I had the opportunity to continue my love affair with Japan – this time in Osaka.

From crowded subways littered with homegrown clothing brands, restaurants, and coffee shops, each space offered something new. We stayed in a small Airbnb in Nishinari-ku, a 5-minute walk from the Tengachaya Station. I experienced a more provincial part of Japan – a small, quiet town with a supermarket that closed at midnight. Every day, I would eat my curry – my stomach would regret it, I won’t – and the dreamiest vanilla mochi ice cream available in convenience stores. People were warm but kept to themselves.

I encountered my first winter, learning how to layer a turtleneck after another and finishing off the entire outfit with a mustard-colored wool coat I got on sale. I praise the Lord for Uniqlo’s Heattech Technology (and my pink Nike rubber shoes). The cold felt all kinds of wonderful, a reprieve from sunny Manila.

Where to go?

  • Universal Studios: I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve only read 4 books from the Harry Potter series. *prepares to be ostracized* Die-hard follower or not, everyone can relive a part of their childhood in Universal Studios (for ¥7,600/P3,300). Prepare yourselves for a lot of waiting and walking. Have your power bank fully charged for an endless amount of Insta-worthy spots.
  • Dōtonbori: For a black hole of good food open until the wee hours of the morning, Dōtonbori is a must visit. The large, eccentric signages point out the food being sold in each area. You can also do some crazy shopping. You’ll find international brands like Forever 21 and H&M here, which isn’t common in other areas. It’s best to visit at night because it’s more alive and incredibly beautiful – perfect for photo opportunities.
  • Daiso: You won’t run out of discount stores in Osaka. Perfect for pasalubongs, Daiso is a treasure trove of super cheap gifts and trinkets like stationery, clothing, and make-up. Most items are ‎¥100, so don’t forget to get something for yourself, too.
  • 3 COINS: If you’re not yet done shopping, 3 COINS carries‎ everything at ¥300. With 3 available types of stores (3 COINS, 3 COINS + Plus, and 3 COINS OOOPS!), you can easily find these in the subway. They carry a lot of trendy items targeted amongst teenagers like self-tie chokers, colored socks, and graphic tote bags. I even purchased my pretty mirror, which I use as a make-up holder there!
  • Tsutaya Ebisubashi: Finding Tsutaya in the midst of busy Dōtonbori for the bookworm in me was priceless – though I left with a magazine, or 2. I enjoyed 5 glorious stories of books, cosmetics (!), and CDs. A Starbucks is also situated on the 1st floor, where you can rest after a full day of shopping and eating. Just know it’s a particularly crowded area – with locals and tourists alike – so it isn’t the quietest spot.
  • IKEA Tsuruhama: It took a kind Japanese local and her daughters to bring us to the free IKEA shuttle bus service in JR Namba Station, a 15-minute ride away. Of course, I had to have the infamous Swedish Meatballs served with mashed potatoes, lingonberry jam, and green soybean.

Watch: Best Things to do in Osaka via Erwan Heussaff

Anyway, I’m sorry for the lack of information since this trip was so spontaneous! We also prioritized more shopping spots, oops. I’m coming back over the summer and will definitely explore, take down notes, and prepare a more informative entry. Enjoy your weekend – wherever it may take you. Sayōnara! 🇯🇵

For more photos from Osaka, follow me on Instagram: @shemakeshimknown.


A Guide to Beauty and Skin Care Shopping in Japan

I just came from a short trip to 2-7° Osaka and before all the ruckus – including daily responsibilities, occasional (almost) quarter-life crises, and mild anxiety attacks – I’m dedicating a few entries to Japan, beginning with a guide to beauty and skin care shopping!

Japanese drugstores are everywhere, and they’re overwhelming – to say the least. They’re bright, colorful, and carry thousands of beauty and skin care products from both local and international brands. You may get lost in the array of cutesy packaging – Sailor Moon liquid eyeliners and Hello Kitty sheet masks, anyone? Catered to the Japanese, packaging includes indecipherable language for the ordinary English-speaking fellow. How can you wisely spend your hard-earned money on your next trip? Let me help you with that!

First, where can you buy skin care and make-up? Fortunately, you can easily spot a drugstore. They’re outside your Airbnb, inside the subway, jumbled within shopping districts, and even the airport. Drugstore chain, Matsumoto Kiyoshi, can be found outside, and you’ll see it immediately by its mustard yellow and royal blue logo. They carry international drugstore brands (Maybelline New York, L’Oréal Paris, Rimmel London, etc.) plus local brands (Canmake, Shiseido, Excel, etc.). @Cosme, on the other hand, is a special beauty store that I found in Tsutaya located in Namba (near the crowded Dōtonbori area – beside Forever 21). There are locations both in Tokyo and Osaka. From an online platform – rating and reviewing the best in Japanese beauty – to a physical store, they carry a mix of Japanese drugstore and high-end. If you feel like splurging and you’re on the look-out for international high-end brands (Dior, Chanel, bareMinerals, etc.), Takashimaya is a good place to be.

How to make the best out of your shopping? Here are some tips!

  • Buy in tax-free shops.

Spot the cherry blossom logo! Overseas visitors staying in Japan for less than 6 months can have their taxes returned – the higher the purchase, the greater the discount! Bring along your passport with you. My biggest mistake was buying a single item in different stores thus not qualifying for tax-free shopping. I could have saved so much money!

More on Japan’s tax-exempt shopping here.

  • Research!

Peruse Japanese beauty blogs and websites like Tokyo Beauty Book, Savvy Tokyo, The Beauty Maniac in TokyoRatzilla, and Cosme plus watch YouTube vlogs from Kim Dao. Be on the lookout for best-sellers which have #1 on the packaging.

  • Keep photos of your to-buy list.

I hardly met people who knew how to speak English. If you’re looking for specific products, it may be difficult to converse with the salesladies, no matter how willing they are to help. Hand gestures are not enough! Keep photos of items you want to buy, and if you can’t find it on your own, just show your phone.

  • Buy items available in Manila but are cheaper in Japan. 

Stock up on Bioré’s UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence, Shiseido’s Perfect Whip Foam, and Canmake’s Shading Powder, which are significantly cheaper abroad. If you’re also packaging-conscious, you can buy your favorites with a Japan-exclusive packaging. I went loca upon seeing my favorite Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara in a pink metallic packaging that I had to get it (although it was twice the price, oops). Brands that are also available in Manila carry Japan-exclusive items so check that out! L’Oreal’s Lucent Magique Cushion and Cushion Glow Blushes are divine!

Hope this helped, and I can’t wait to show you my Japanese beauty and skin care haul next!