Ah the curiosities of Japanese drugstores….To be completely honest, there were some purchases that we weren’t entirely sure of…in that we didn’t really know what they did but they were intriguing and/or affordable enough to take a chance. The one thing I did stay away from is the ubiquitous skin bleach that is found in many products as the Japanese value pale and blemish free skin which also explains the fact that they have the best sunscreen in the world. Luckily the labelling on these products was often in English/Roman lettering as well as Japanese characters and you learn pretty quickly what to avoid–anything that “whitens, brightens, illuminates, blanches, or bleaches” your skin. Tightening, firming, youthful, pretty, baby (yes, they have a whole line based on “baby” skin which I originally thought was cosmetics for babies and toddlers), lovely and collagen are all words that usually indicate a product with collagen or vitamin C/E instead of bleach. I did learn the Japanese characters for “face bleach” just to make sure 😉
One of our favourite products in addition to the camellia oil, the Shu Uemera facial cleansing oil and the Hello Kitty Collagen Wash is the fat-burning gel. Karis found it at the Don Quixote store and we thought we’d give it a go. The first brand we bought says “Esteny THE MASSAGE Body” on the label along with a picture showing a tomato and some ginseng or ginger. The instructions show that you are supposed to rub it into your stomach. That’s it. No more English but it was only about $6. Karis tried it, and whilst she did smell a lot like a tomato, she claims that it got really hot and she swears her stomach is flatter. She’s a believer. Though this is a child that believed the house hippo was real for quite some time….
The second tube we bought had a lot more English on it as well as a picture of a hot pepper and ginger noting they are HOT. It also has the following in English: DEEPTOCX sweat switch hot scrub massage. Use DEEPTOCX to complete cleansing of your body. Promotion of blood circulation by massage activates your body. DEEPTOCX promotes sweating to remove excessive moisture and waste containing unwanted substances. How could I possibly resist? Apparently it also contains the Hawaiian coffee fruit and gets rid of arm fat (AKA batwings). I haven’t used this product yet, but I did use Karis’s Esteny gel on my arms. I didn’t feel hot sensations, though to be fair the product has a lot more fat to work through on my arms than the negligible amount of fat on Karis’s stomach. My arms are slightly smaller but I’ve also been working out so I can’t really tell what caused the reduction. If the fat-burning gel actually works I will be importing a container of it and bathing in it daily. Stay tuned.