Let's talk about the horror of navigating beauty products & other personal essentials in Japan when you don't read Japanese and don't speak all that much either. I'll go first!
You might be able to guess the story behind this horrible image. I ran out of my products from home when I was broke, which left me struggling to figure out which Japanese drugstore brands would do the least damage to my touchy, acne-prone, combination-type skin. I tried talking to clerks, but everything they recommended for any kind of special-needs skin was like twice the cost and I didn't trust them! Without a good girl friend in Yamagata to come shopping with me, I resorted to buying brands I recognized from the States: Nivea body lotion, Biore moisturizer, and Clearasil face wash. I was like, how bad can it be?
DUH, FUCKING HORRIBLE. The condition of my skin has just plummeted. Every day I'm more blotchy and dry and broken out and I'm starting to panic. MY CUTENESS NOOO! I seriously don't know how I thought I could get away with this. Only two things have ever worked on my skin: Clinique's 3-step system, and the Proactiv system paired with a good hypoallergenic moisturizer. I can get all that stuff here, but I was really determined to switch to Japanese brands for cost/simplicity. I knew that with my touchy skin this would have to involve a painful transition period, but this is unbearable. If I can't figure out some good Japanese products soon, I'm just going to shell out for imports.
Suggestions? HELP ME PLEASE.
And please share any stories or tips you have related to figuring out beauty/hygeine/health essentials in Japan. I wish there was a comprehensive guide online for all the expat girls kicking it over here...