Luxury brands like SK-II and Clé de Peau have been huge players in the Japanese beauty game—but honestly, it’s the drugstore stuff that keeps us coming back. On the off-chance that you’re new to J-beauty, you might find yourself lost in translation (it is, after all, an explosion of kawaii). So here’s what we’ll do: let our customers list their budget-driven bests, straight out of Tokyo. Once you’ve decided on your new thrill, you’ll find it right here, waiting patiently for you in the heart of MNL.

Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery BB Cream 3D Effect, P450
Janica, 19, Medium Skin: “I’m a college student and a makeup lover. However, I don’t like to appear that I’ve taken pains to fix myself i.e. put on foundation, bright lipstick, etc. So I’ve always been inclined to purchase makeup that brings the no-makeup makeup effect. This BB Cream is DEFINITELY giving me that. At first I was worried because there wasn’t even a shade selection. But…the product blended well with my skin, anyway. I love that it has no scent whatsoever and it really brightens up your face! It doesn’t look like I applied anything at all but my face looks so much brighter. When I ask my friends how I looked, they said that I looked super fresh!”

BCL Cosmetics Curvy Lip Silicone, P600
Samantha, 24, Fair Skin: “In all fairness to this BCL Cosmetics brand, this lip plumper really works! This one left my thin lips super glossy and juicy-looking. It made them look sooo fat and luscious and moisturized! Shade 804 is a gorgeous sweet pink shade. Just a disclaimer though, it is rather sticky.”

Kosé Cosmeport Precious Garden Relaxing Flower Body Milk, P400
Ana, Normal Skin: “I love this body milk lotion! I like using multi purpose beauty products and for this one, I don’t need to spritz body spray or perfume (been using scented hand creams and lotions since I prefer a more subtle scent). The floral combination of this Japanese lotion is perfect, not too cloying and not too light and it does really feel relaxing! The tube is also huge so this can hopefully last a long time.”

Dolly Wink 3-in-1 Renewal Long Mascara, P800
Jonalyn, 41, Medium Skin: “This is my go-to mascara when I want a my-lashes-but-better look. First of all, it doesn’t clump together, second you won’t see the product [on] your lashes (because lets admit, it doesn’t look good), and third, it makes my lashes look lively.”

Shiseido Medicated Hand Soap, P236
Issa, 23, Combination Skin: “When I first saw this, I was instantly intrigued. I have sensitive skin that gets easily irritated with scented soaps, so the mild scent of this soap is really good! I also love how it doesn’t dry out my hands the way other soaps do. After trying it once, this soap replaced the current soap I have on my sink counter. I’d definitely buy again and make sure to stock up on it!”

Hana Anti-Hairfall Shampoo Set, P376
Dianne, 28, Combination Skin: “I’ve been using this shampoo for about 2 months now and bought more recently because it is on sale. I love how this seems to make my hair stronger and I also noticed that my hair is getting longer a lot faster. It does make your hair manageable and shiny so that is a nice bonus aside from the anti-hairfall effect. I liked this shampoo so much that I bought more Hana products to try out.”

Palty Bubble Hair Color, P500
Maria, 31, Oily Skin: “I really enjoyed using this product because of the following: 1. The smell won’t hurt your nose, 2. easy to apply on hair, and 3. after rinsing and drying, my hair was so shiny and smooth. I have really thick hair, so 1 box is not enough. For all you ladies who want to achieve good hair color quality but have thick hair like mine, I suggest you buy 2 boxes. It’s worth it!”

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