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Japanese Cosmetics in the UK (and Where to Get Them)

A Touch of Blusher
Japanese Cosmetics in the UK (and Where to Get Them)

As requested by a reader, today I am focusing on Japanese cosmetics brands available in the UK and where they can be found.

(If you are reading this from other countries or if you live in the UK but are quite far away from the counters, I will be mentioning possible ways to purchase from some of these brands on-line or through Selfridges.)

Here we go...

So far, there never seems to be a wide array of Japanese cosmetics lines in the UK. But what is available here is nonetheless a good selection of what the Japanese cosmetics industry has to offer. It also includes one of my favorite Japanese brands, Paul & Joe, which we will start with.

--- Paul & Joe

(Paul & Joe spring 2008 collection: Sweetie)
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Launched in Japan in spring 2002, Paul & Joe was an instant sensation. With its beautifully feminine packaging, it was almost the Jill Stuart before there was Jill Stuart.

To my delight, it was launched
a couple of years later in London's Harvey Nichols, where I saw the line in person for the very first time. Now it is available in Fenwick and Harrods in London, apart from the three Paul & Joe's London boutiques. If you only have time for one counter when you are in London, go straight to Fenwick. The counter there is larger and has a better testing area.

There are several authorized on-line sellers of Paul & Joe in the UK, some of which deliver internationally. You can find them on the Shop Info page on Paul & Joe's English website.

If you are interested, you can read my reviews on Paul & Joe's Foundation Primer N, Lip Gloss N, and Face Powder, as well as my personal take on the brand.

--- RMK

(RMK spring 2008 collection: Shiny Mix Dots)
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Developed by Japanese makeup artist Rumiko, the minimally packaged makeup range is trendy but wearable and has featured a lot of distinctive seasonal collections. Some of RMK's most popular products include primers, lip glosses, and mascaras. I myself love RMK's Cleansing Oil N.

Like Paul & Joe, RMK debuted in London's Harvey Nichols. Later, it moved to House of Fraser on Oxford Street and it now resides in the nearby Selfridges. It is also available in Selfridges in Trafford Centre in Manchester and House of Fraser in Glasgow.

At the moment, UK is the only country outside Asia where RMK has a retail point. But you might be able to buy from the line from Selfridges by phone (from within or outside the UK). Check out Selfridges' Contact Us page for detail.


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SUQQU's launch in London's Selfridges in November 2006 took me by surprise, as it took a different expansion path. Prior to that, outside Japan, it was only available in Bangkok, which was another slightly unconventional move.

SUQQU's strength and popularity lie in its base makeup range. Its concealers, cream foundation and Clear Veil Powder are what make the brand well-known in Japan. Its eyelash curler is another cult item. I personally love the ultra-sophisticated brand image as well as the luxuriously smooth and silky texture of SUQQU's lipsticks, eyeshadows, and blushers.

Recently, I have noticed that SUQQU has been trying hard to get featured in major fashion and lifestyle magazines in the UK, which is great to see. You can read my personal thoughts about SUQQU as well as my reviews on SUQQU's Powder Foundation Glow and Sanzekan Eau de Toilette.

Like RMK, SUQQU's counter in Selfridges is the only retail point outside Asia. (Again, please check Selfridges' Contact Us page if you are interested in purchasing their items by phone.)

--- DHC

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DHC is a very recent addition to the UK beauty scene and is currently available on DHC's UK website. You can read about my thoughts on the brand in one of my recent posts.

--- SKII

(Cate Blanchett for SKII)
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Currently owned by Procter & Gamble, this luxury skincare and base makeup line has its roots in Kobe, Japan, and its brand image has always maintained an oriental feel.

SKII is currently available in several major cities in England and Wales. You can check the Store Locator on SKII's UK website for detail.

--- Shiseido International

(Shiseido The Makeup fall 2007 collection)
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The Shiseido lines available in the UK include Shiseido The Makeup, Shiseido The Skincare, Bio-Performance, Benefiance, Pureness, Future Solution, Shiseido Men, and a selection of body and fragrance products.

Shiseido International is currently available in London's Harrods and Selfridges as well as various other department stores in the UK (apart from Northern Ireland). You can use the Store Locator on Shiseido's UK website to find your nearest Shiseido counter. A selection of skincare products is also available on QVC UK.

--- Kanebo International

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Only Kanebo International's Sensai line (skincare, bodycare, sun care, haircare, and makeup) is available in the UK. It is currently sold in Harrods and its on-line store (where you can also find Shiseido International and SK-II). I am not entirely certain if the line is available in other department stores in the UK. (Do please let me know if you have more information on this. Thank you!)


It is perhaps worth mentioning that Anna Sui was available in the UK for some time before it left several years ago. (It used to be seen in Selfridges and House of Fraser in London.) Also, very intriguingly, one of Kanebo's makeup and skincare lines, Chic Choc, was very briefly available in the Boots store at Piccadilly Circus in London.

According to what has been happening in the UK in recent years, I suspect that there might be more Japanese brands coming to the UK. I am sure it will only happen very gradually, but I remain optimistic!