May 08, 2017 | By Carlene Thomas Bailey
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Korean beauty products and routines may be on everyone’s radar right now, but we can’t beat the amazing and cult beauty brands from Japan: Shiseido and its cleansing oil, Shu Uemura and their award-winning eyelash curler and not forgetting SK-II’s facial treatment essence, which I must admit is truly amazing!
Having just returned from a research trip in Tokyo and a beauty trade show in Osaka last week, I was really inspired by the sheer amount of beauty products in Japan, from the drugstores piled high and low with hundreds of different variations of make-up products to the independent beauty retailers that offer a carefully curated edit of the best Japanese cosmetics. One thing that stood out was the large selection of natural and organic beauty products on offer from department stores and retailers.
Below are 5 of my favourite beauty retail stores worth checking out in Tokyo:
1. Beauty Library
Mark this place as your first stop in Tokyo if you love natural and organic beauty products, like me! Located in Aoyama, The Beauty Library (which opened only last year) houses a wide selection of Japanese and international brands. You’ll also find a nice range of healthy food and drink products. There’s also a super cute little cafe serving smoothies and juices as well as menu of healthy treats and salads, if you fancy a spot of lunch. I love the vibe of this place – it’s clean, minimalist and the floor-to-ceiling book shelf units filled neatly with products makes it feel just like a (beauty) library. The staff are also lovely – greeting me with a warm smile and a cup of warm tea when I entered.
2. Three Cosmetics
Situated a couple of doors from the Beauty Library, Three‘s beauty concept store is a real gem of a place. I must admit it is a little hidden, but that’s what makes this place even more special. As soon as you enter, a sense of serenity and tranquility evades the whole body, as if you have stepped into an oasis of calm. The ground floor is the shop featuring every product from the brand from skin and bodycare to make-up and home products. Upstairs is a spa offering some of the face and body treatments and a cafe serving delicious food and drinks next door. If you haven’t tried some of the brand’s products before, I highly recommend checking out the skin and body care products.
3. L’Occitane Cafe
You may be familiar with L’Occitane, but did you know that in Asia they have a cafe inside the shop too? I stumbled across the L’Occitance shop and cafe in Shibuya on my first day of arriving in Tokyo by accident – and I’m so glad I did! Similar to the concept cafes I saw in Seoul last year, the L’Occitane cafe is set on three floors, with the shop on the ground and the second and third space dedicated to the cafe, which serves a range of salads, sandwiches and soups as well as teas and cold drinks. I ordered a crab salad and honey lemon soda tea for lunch, which was delicious.
One of the highlights of my trip was visiting Shisiedo’s flagship store in Ginza. It’s a massive building and one you can’t miss if you’re in the area. I was really fortunate to have been given a personal guided tour of the three-storey building by Ms Yukari Oe, Shiseido‘s global trend analyst. The first floor is a self-select cosmetic area housing all Shiseido products, including the new Playlist line aimed at a younger target audience, and its umbrella brands such as Cle De Peau. I also had a play on the Mirai Mirror, a virtual reality mirror that allows you to try on make-up colours on your face. Fun! One floor up is the Bihada Lounge, Beauty Boost Bar, Photo Studio and Dressing Table room – a lovely space for trying out make-up and treatments. The Personal Beauty Session area – where you can book a private one-to-one tutorial with a consultant – can be found on the third floor as well as the Espace Cle De Peau Beaute salon.
5. Beauty Pedia at ShinQ
While browsing in ShinQ, I stumbled across this amazing space called Beauty Pedia. The idea of this space is to provide a place to relax, explore and learn. There are four lifestyle shelves (cosmetics, music, book and green) filled with fascinating things you can touch, read, look and listen to. You can pick and read books from the Book shelf or listen to soothing music from the Music shelf or make your own natural scents from the aroma oil blender machine.
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