How To Buy Makeup At A Japanese Department Store in 6 Steps

Cosmetics floors at Japanese department stores may seem daunting, but in fact they're fun and you might find something you like. But how do you do that? Here's a step-by-step guide.



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You've come to the cosmetics floor of a department store in Japan. Everything looks great, and you want to try out a few products, but there's store clerks looking at you expectantly. What should you do? Here is a guide in 7 steps on buying makeup at department stores!

1. Look around.


Find a product to fall in love with. This desire must be strong enough to the point you want to try it on. If you know what you're looking for and have already tried it, skip to step 6. If not, proceed to step 2.

2. Ask store clerk whether they have staff that speak your language.


Ignore this step if you understand Japanese. It would be better if you understand Japanese since the store clerk will explain and advise you on the product. The bigger and more famous the department store, the higher the chance they have staff that can speak foreign languages.

But don't worry too much - even if you don't speak any Japanese, the staff will notice that you'll need help in another language, and even if there isn't anyone who speaks it, they will try their best to help you anyway! 

3. Say that you want to try the product on.


The store clerk will lead you to a seat to put the product on your face. There are 2 types of this service: point and full. Point makeup will be products such as eye shadow and lipstick. Full make up will be the whole deal, from foundation to the eyeshadow. It may be a little intimidating to have someone put makeup on you first, but these people know what they're doing. 

4. Listen to the store clerk's advice.


It's not all sales talk. Maybe they might find your new favorite color that you didn't even know looked good on you. Maybe they know which powder looks better with your complexion. Listen to what they say. You can always ask questions on makeup too. If you've asked for full makeup, some stores may hand you cards with what products they used for later reference.

5. Say clearly which product you want to buy.


The sales clerk may advise you to buy several items, but be sure to ask yourself if you have enough money, or if you really need it. Politely decline if they promote more products than you need. 

6. Buy it!


With cash or credit card, which ever means you prefer would be good. Buy the product. The sales clerk will see you off in the store with a smile and a bow. You might also get extra freebies or point cards, if they have that system. 

You did it!


You've purchased your first cosmetics at a Japanese department store! Hurrah! But be sure to actually buy something if you've tried it on, especially if you've made them do a full makeup on you. You don't have to buy every product, but one would be good.

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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