When my family was visiting over the holidays, I took my mum and sister to the shotengai right outside of Musashi Koyama station, you know, for a taste of local shopping outside of the glitzy malls and department stores. This shotengai is supposed to be the longest one in Tokyo. That said, I've tried to breeze through the one in Asagaya and found it exasperatingly endless, so I'm not sure whether this "longest shotengai in Tokyo" claim is substantiated.
What does this have to do with anything, you ask? Everything! Let's just say if you were searching high and low for some obscure, limited edition items/colors that are sold out everywhere else, the shotengai may be your last chance. Because nestling among the mom-n-pop shops are drugstores big and small, from which I found what might have been the very last of the Canmake Lip & Cheek Gel LE 04 Blood Cranberry (will review soon) and Tsubaki Oil Nouveau 2015 Winter Limited Shampoo and Conditioner set.
***Stock photo from Shiseido Tsubaki JP.
I was shocked when I saw this shampoo and conditioner set on the shelf in one of the drugstores, and there were only a couple of sets left. These were released early in December and yet I got my first glimpse only on the very last week of the month, and unexpectedly too. During the whole month when I scoured many drugstores in and near my neighborhood for gifts, I never even saw one set. Not a single one! WTF?! Am I just blind or do these sell out before I even see them?
Anyway, I missed the 2014 set and didn't want to pay the rip-off E(vil)bay price of $50, so I was giddy to have snatched this 2015 set for just 1,200yen (~$10)! How crazy is that? Anyway, the outer plastic packaging says clearly it's a non-silicone shampoo. However, the sodium laureth sulfate-free, paraben-free, and colorant-free part is more ambiguous, as in it's not clear if this applies to both the shampoo and conditioner or just one of them.
I have used Tsubaki hair care products in the past and liked but didn't love any of them, so I'm happy to say I do love this pair and am rather sad there aren't more available for me to hoard. Both are a bit perfumy but I don't mind the fragrance, which starts out buttery sweet but rinses to a flowery powder.
What surprises me is that despite being sodium laureth sulfate-free, the shampoo foams like it does contain some kind of surfactant. The conditioner is great though. It doesn't weight down my hair or turn it oily the next day. Used together, they keep my hair super soft, smooth, and shiny! Love!
By the way, if you're looking for all things kitchen-related, there's a great store waiting for you at Musashi Koyama's shotengai: Marusei. Check it out if you haven't yet!