Thursday, July 22, 2010

Drug Store Junkie

I love drug stores. It's a known fact. I could wander down aisle after aisle of any drug store for hours on end and be completely entertained. Everywhere I travel, I like to peruse the local drug stores to see what they have to offer. I love German lotions because they're so medicinal looking and almost always smell of random herbs. Before Nivea started selling chap stick in the US, I used to stock up on random trips to Europe. (Don't I sound sooooo pretentious talking about my no you can't get that here French lip balm?! It's awesome, right?) Vietnam...well, ok, Vietnam's drug store selection was pretty bunk but that's fine. I'm okay with bootleg bottles of Pantene so long as they never make durian scented lotion.

So today, I went to my local drug store in Tokyo (a chain called Tomod's) and took some not so stealth photos of some of the weird/interesting things you can find in Japanese drug stores. I know that this isn't really about food and my blog is supposed to talk about things you eat...but I did sneak in something you're supposed to ingest at the bottom*...though I wish this product didn't exist. Intrigued? Keep reading!

I'm starting with the more mundane stuff. Here's a Shiseido face care set. Japanese ladies love to take care of their skin, which is admirable but 4-steps is just way too many steps for me. I bought one of these trial sets once and figured out how to use 3 out of the 4 steps but still have no idea why I have two different kinds of "gel cream".  

Pro tip: if you are a cosmetics brand in Japan, mention the word "white" on everything. In Japan, white skin equals beauty and it's pretty difficult to find a skin product that does not have the word "white" in it. I have no idea if it does actually bleach your skin, but  I purposely avoid buying face lotions in Japan. I would definitely end up looking like Sammy Sosa circa now.

If I were to ask you what color a Japanese woman's hair is, what would be your answer? Black, right?! WRONG! Finding virgin black hair on a young woman in Japan is very rare. Everyone dyes their hair the same kind of brown color, similar to what you see above. 

"Hi! My name is Sebastian. I'm a good angel. Today, I have a present for you. Please open it like a treasure box once a week. It casts a spell on your hair to get brilliant and beauty hair."
No idea what this does, but I obviously need to incorporate it into my beauty regimen. 

As well as this. Gotta have some Sexy Girl hair cologne. The pink one on the right is Berry scented and the white one on the right is Peach. They both smell like candy I want to eat. 

Have you ever looked at someone's eyelids and been like "EWWWW! You are disgusting because you have no fold in your eyelid!" Yeah, me neither but in Asia, eyelids are a big deal. This is more of an issue with Koreans I think, but these "double eyelid maker kits" are popular in Japan too. Basically, you brush a clear glue on your eyelid, then use a plastic fork to prop your eye open as the glue dries. Once it dries, it creates a fold in your eyelid like a white person...I guess.

These are socks you wear to bed to make your legs skinny and/or attractive. I think. I see them all the time in the store but I can't wear socks to bed so I can't test them out and tell you about them. 

Ok, on to some weirder stuff. For $15, you can pierce your ears with these ear piercing kits. I have to say, as much as I hated crying like a little bitch in the middle of a mall, there's no way I would have wanted to pierce my own ears at home. This gives me shivers down my spine. 

Various supplements you can eat. Collagen is super popular with women. Next to skin whitening and brightening, I'd say this is the #2 pro tip for beauty brands in Japan. I believe that ingesting collagen does you no good - it's not like fat. If you eat fat, your face will get fat. But if you eat collagen, you're a sucker. As for Raw Shark Liver Oil, I have no idea what the supposed benefits are but I'd say you're pretty bad ass if you're popping those down with your morning milk. 

I mean, I just don't know what to say about White Placenta*. I guess "gross" is a good place to start. Also "whaaaaat?!" Props to this company for really taking notes on what sells in Japan because not only does this include collagen, placental protein is twice as effective in whitening skin than the leading whitening chemical. By the way, the product to the right is called The Placenta Jelly. 

A few other things to know: 
  • Products for men are packaged in black 
  • It's hard to find makeup and nail polish that do not contain glitter 
  • Japanese mascara rules
  • Things you probably won't find in Japanese drug stores: tampons and antiperspirant 
  • Mint is a really popular scent, flavor and sensation -- even in your eyes  

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