The haul post is coming, I promise. Just let me ramble on some more about Japanese beauty shopping.
Think of this as a Part 2 from my previous post.
For general conveience, just go to a large Matsumoto Kiyoshi (chain drugstore) for the biggest range. However, as previously mentioned, not all MKs are equal, e.g. differences in range, pricing, samples for sale, discounted multi-packs, etc. For brands you can’t find in the pharmacy chains, you have to go to @cosme, Tokyu Hands or department stores.
If you want to be able try before you buy, note that not all stores have testers. Top places for testers are @cosme and Ainz & Tulpe. Both seemed to offer testers for all nearly all products. Both of these places do tend to sell all their products at full retail price, so less discounts. My tip would be test products here and go somewhere else to purchase, if you can.
I used to love Daiso. I discovered something better this time. Daiso is a 100 yen shop, which means (almost) every item costs 100 yen + tax –> 108 yen. They do have a few more pricier items, but these will be marked. This year, I stayed near a particular Daikoku Drug store which had a “100 yen corner”, where items were actually 100 yen inclusive of tax. Even better, on the 10th of each month, the 100 yen items go down to 90 yen! I was lucky to be there on the 10th December, so despite their 100 yen corner range being quite limited, I still went a bit crazy! If you want some cheap snacks, souvenirs, household items, etc, please do check one out if convenient!
Every Don Quijote is different. They all will stock a base range of products, usually the really popular brands like Rohto Hada labo, Sana Nameraka, Biore, Gatsby, etc. Funnily, with this trip, I almost felt too “old” to shop at Donki. Turns out the layout was a major factor. The Shinjuku shop is especially claustrophobic. The Akihabara location was slightly better.
Not all sunscreen ranges and variants seem to be available in winter. You can easily find the popular Biore Aqua Rich blue tube version and Shiseido Anessa, but if you are after a particular, but less popular variant, I think you have to wait until the weather gets warmer…