I am knee-deep in sifting out beauty products for Biteki and Elle Canada, so do excuse the lack of proper review posts in recent weeks. I really enjoy testing out different products and noting down their strengths and failings, but most of them aren’t really suitable material for RatzillaCosme. So here’s a fun post for a bit of variety.
A snobbery confession to make here: I rarely go into 100-yen shops and I have never actually shopped in dollar stores. There’s just something so annoying about seeing mountains of seemingly useful disposable crap that actually no one needs. I rather splash out more for better quality and shopping experience. (I actually buy most of my basic essentials online with same or next day delivery so I don’t usually go into drugstores either.) But there are still fantastic things squashed onto those shelves if you look hard enough. They do such a good job for the money that I don’t see any reason for paying more than ¥100, which is less than US$1!
I once answered the door at night wearing this Silicone Moisturising Mask (and a thin white robe) and scared the poor old Amazon Japan delivery man half to death. With my long dark hair down and the lights dimmed, I looked like Kayako from the Ju-On (呪怨) movies. This is a reusable silicone sheet mask that you wear over your normal sheet mask to boost its effect. It works far better in the bathtub — the steam from the hot water combines with the trapped heat from your face mimic the effect of a facial steamer. It really softens the skin, which means that products can penetrate the skin easier, faster, and deeper!
The Everbilena Eyebrow Coat (エバビレーナ アイブローコート) is most definitely deserving of its “cult” status — it actually does what it promises to do (a rarity in itself for beauty products)! It’s basically an invisible liquid layer that makes your makeup underneath absolutely budgeproof! I use a separate brush and occasionally use sparingly (and very carefully) over my eyeliner as well. The topcoat is rather pointless for the cooler months, but it’s handy to have when summer rolls around.
Hair tie is called “hair gum” in Japan and this thick, 1.5m long, Japan-made elastic that you cut and tie to desired length is my favourite. For plain hair ties, I much prefer this Takumi Black Free-Cut Gum (匠 ブラックフリーカットゴム) over premade round ones. It’s super stretchy, snag/tug-free, strong, and durable. In all these years, I’ve never had one breaking.
The Shower Cap Treatment (トリートメントキャップ) is made of thick aluminum film and sturdy enough to be reused multiple time, but I still buy this by the handful. I apply a treatment or deep conditioner and wind my hair up on to the top of my head before putting on the cap. It traps and reflects the moist heat produced by the steamy bath/shower and also your head to enhance the deep conditioning effect. It also stops my hair from going into the water. Talk about killing two birds with one stone.
Haruhime Foundation Puff (¥200) blows Beautyblender out of the water in terms of quality and performance for its value. Don’t get me wrong, Beautyblender is excellent and better, but US$20 for a sponge made in China is ridiculously overpriced! It’s certainly not 10 times better than this ¥200 version. (The pink Beautyblender I had actually started to fall apart after just 3 months, so it isn’t more durable!) I much rather buy this nearly-just-as-good dupe and spend the money on other things. (Don’t mistake this with the Haruhime Makeup Sponge that’s only ¥100. It may look the same, but it isn’t! That sponge is stiff and hard.)