As beauty lovers, we’re always on the lookout for new beauty finds. A great tip when we don’t know where to start is to turn to dupes of our current favourites. What we have our eyes on at the moment are Japanese beauty picks that are great alternatives for well-known Western beauty brands — without losing their unique benefits and identity, of course. Curious about our findings? Check out our curation of J-beauty dupes for your current Western favourites below.
Base: NARS Radiant Finish Foundation and Koh Gen Do Maifanshi Moisture Foundation
Full coverage foundations reigned a couple of years ago, but dewier, skin-like finish bases like the popular NARS’ Radiant Finish Foundation has toppled them recently. Its easy-to-blend formula and impressive longevity are definitely to beat when it comes to the sheer and luminous foundation department.
But did you know that Koh Gen Do’s Maifanshi Moisture Foundation works just the same, if not better? Since Japanese beauty is all about mochi-mochi skin that looks plump, fresh and youthful, this foundation gives a fresh luminous finish that’s perfect for achieving natural-looking makeup, with some coverage to boot.
It’s also infused with the brand’s signature blend of jojoba oil, olive squalane and shea butter, which leaves the skin soft, supple, and well-cared for even under makeup.
Powder: Guerlain Meteorites Compact and Canmake Shiny Aquamarine Transparent Finish Powder
Guerlain’s Meteorites Compact is known for two things: a classy packaging and the ethereal-looking glow it gives to the skin. But there’s no denying that it’s not exactly the friendliest on the pocket.
Thankfully, Japan’s globally known drugstore brand Canmake offers a very similar product at a much lower price point. The Canmake Shiny Aquamarine Transparent Finish Powder definitely goes head-to-head with Guerlain with its multi-coloured pressed pan that transforms into a glow-giving translucent powder once applied to the skin. Its fine, shiny specks blend perfectly onto any base, giving the skin a natural highlight while keeping oiliness at bay.
Blush: MAC Glow Play Blush and Visee Foggy On Cheeks N Colour Blush
MAC’s recently launched Glow Play Blush definitely fits today’s obsession with buildable blushes that you can use to get a small pop of colour or an Igari effect. Its cushion-like consistency that melts into the skin naturally for a radiant and long-lasting flush definitely reminds us of Kose’s Visee Foggy On Cheeks N Colour Blush.
This drugstore pick also delivers the same flushed, dewy effect but with more benefits on the skin care department. Visee’s blush includes almond oil to keep your skin hydrated and nourished. Its colour variants are also similar to MAC Glow Play’s selection, making it a perfect — and improved — dupe in our book.
Highlighter: Laura Mercier Face Illuminator Highlighting Powder and Cezanne Pearl Glow Highlight
Whether you’re in a for a soft glow or a blinding highlight, Laura Mercier’s Face Illuminator Highlighting Powder has your covered. This 'gram-worthy pan of soft and creamy powders come in cool and warm shades that fit fair to deeper skin tones.
Still, if you find its price tag a little heavy on the wallet, Cezanne’s Pearl Glow Highlight — which you can also find in most Japanese drugstores — is definitely a worthy dupe. Just like its name suggests, this J-beauty pick gives off a nice pearlescent glow that can be as soft or as intense; it doesn't look chunky or too glittery on top of the skin. The pan design is good too.
Eyeshadow: CHANEL Les 4 Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadow and Excel Skinny Rich Eyeshadow
If you love luxury eye makeup, you’ve already caught wind of CHANEL’s Les 4 Ombres Multi-Effect Quadra Eyeshadows. The brand’s curation of four complementing colours make it great for whether you’re in for more casual looks or something a bit more daring. However, for a four-pan palette, it’s definitely a splurge.
Good thing Excel’s Skinny Rich Eyeshadow Quads fare similarly to this luxury product; it also goes for less than a quarter of CHANEL's price. This J-beauty dupe gives the same silky, blendable and pigment-rich application, especially the colours you'd use on a daily basis.
Mascara: Clinique Lash Power Long-Wearing Mascara and Dejavu False Eyelash Fiber Mascara
Clinique’s Lash Powder Long-Wearing Mascara is one of the brand’s bestsellers for a reason. Aside from being smudge-proof, waterproof, and long-lasting, it also gives the lashes a beautiful fanned-out look that can easily be mistaken for extensions or natural-looking falsies.
From the J-beauty turf, Dejavu’s Fiberwig Mascara gives the same results. This indie J-beauty brand will have you saying goodbye to clumpy and flaky lashes with its smooth and silky formula. It's also infused with a lot of beauty oils that keep the lashes strong and nourished even through full-day wear.
Eyelash Curler: Kevyn Aucoin Eyelash Curler and Shu Uemura Eyelash Curler
One of the most horrific things about curling our lashes is the painful pulling or pinching. That’s why not just any eyelash curler is up for this simple yet delicate task. A product that’s much raved about in the West when it comes to this arena is Kevyn Aucoin’s Eyelash Curler. This award-winning product is said to accommodate all eye shapes and can even give the most stubborn, stick-straight lashes a gorgeous lift.
If you find a hard time getting your hands on this prized product, Shu Uemura’s cult-favourite Eyelash Curler is a worthy dupe to try.
Loved by many beauty enthusiasts from all over the world for its long-lasting quality and performance when it comes to pre-mascara prep, the Shu Uemura Eyelash curler definitely holds the crown when it comes to the lash-curling department.
Can't get enough of J-beauty? Here are more under-the-radar Japanese beauty brands you just have to check out.