A trip to Japan is never complete without browsing the country's countless beauty counters and drugstores for the best skincare and makeup finds. But being spoilt for choice can be overwhelming, especially if you're looking for the perfect beauty souvenir to take back home. Our top pick? Sheet masks. Japanese sheet masks are not only of great quality regardless of price but also come in many unique designs that will surely suit anyone's fancy. Curious to see what made it to our curation? Ahead, Japanese sheet masks that double up as amazing souvenirs.
Isshindo Honpo Kabuki Face Masks
Unless you've been living under a rock the past couple of years, chances are you've seen these interesting kabuki-inspired sheet masks on the internet already. The company responsible for them? Isshindo Honpo. First presented as a gift to guests and delegates during the G7 Ise-Shima Summit back in 2016 to promote Japanese culture, these sheet masks have grown popular among tourists since its market release. Inspired by the unique kabuki makeup called Kumadori, take your pick between the red 'hero' sheet mask or the blue 'vengeful ghost' sheet mask and let the skincare fun commence. If animé-inspired masks are more up your alley, they have since expanded their range to include designs featuring Shingeki No Kyojin, Doraemon, and more as well.
Grab these masks in all Tokyu Hands branches, Haneda Airport Terminal 2, and these select establishments.
Pure Smile sheet masks
Originally from South Korea, Pure Smile has grown to be one of Japan's most popular sheet masks due to their unique designs and interesting packaging. With almost a hundred variants to choose from, the Oedo Art sheet mask (pictured above) is our absolute favourite given the Noh-inspired artistry in both its box and sheet mask design. More interesting selections like the Will You Be A Cat? sheet mask comes as a close second as it definitely fits Japan's knack for ingenuity. Did we mention that Pure Smile masks are also affordable? Single packs cost only between JPY150 to 250, while packs of eight play around the JPY600 to 800 price range. Find these must-covet souvenir sheet masks over at Don Quijote, Matsumoto Kiyoshi, and other select beauty counters all over the country.
Keana Nadeshiko Rice Mask
Asians love rice for many reasons. It's good for main course meals, it's good for desserts, and it's amazing for skincare. That's why you're totally missing out if you haven't tried Ishizawa Lab's Keana Nadeshiko Rice sheet masks. Named the Best Cosmetics by Japan's top cosmetics awarding body @cosme in 2018, this sheet mask packs on the power of rice serum to keep your skin soft, firm, and well-hydrated.
The brand also has an entire range dedicated to clearing and dealing with enlarged pores (as keana is the Japanese word for pores), made to perfectly complement their best-selling serum-enriched sheet mask. Available in all leading beauty counters and drugstores in Japan, you can get the Keana Nadeshiko Rice sheet mask affordably for less than JPY1000 per 10-piece pack.
Creer Beaute sheet masks
Whether or not you love 90s animé shows like Fushigi Yuugi and Yu Yu Hakusho, these Creer Beaute sheet masks (inspired by The Rose of Versailles manga) are bound to pique your interest as soon as you see them on the shelves. Dressed in amazing shoujo artistry (a genre of Japanese manga mostly targetting female audiences) reflective of pre-'00s animation style, you wouldn't regret picking this up just for the packaging as the sheet mask inside is also of good quality.
Creer Beaute has also released various interesting collaborations worth checking out, one being Sailor Moon and the other with K-pop group ASTRO. Each collab birthed uniquely themed beauty products, covering both skincare and makeup. Given the novelty and accessibility of their products (being available in all leading drugstores and beauty counters in Japan), we'd say that its price point starting at a JPY1500 is definitely not steep at all.
Kouji-Hime sheet masks
Capping off our list is Kouji-Hime's selection of masks that deliver both eye-catching aesthetics and good quality skincare. Some of their masks' prime ingredients include rice, sake, and Chinese plant extracts that ensure hydration, as well as brighter and more radiant skin. Staying true to its name, its kawaii packaging and pampering feel definitely provides all the hime-sama (princess) vibes to your (or your giftee's) skincare routine. Find it in Don Quijote, Matsumoto Kiyoshi, and select drugstores in any major city in Japan.
Looking for more J-beauty products to add to your shopping haul? Check out our top picks from Welcia, Shinjuku.