For many centuries, beauty and wellness have been an inextricable part of Japanese culture.
The Japanese beauty industry dates back to the sixth century, where elements like red lip, rice powder (as a makeup mattifier and setter), and calligraphy style makeup brushes originated.
The country has always been a hearty fusion of both the old and the new – its beauty and skincare market are no different.
By combining age-old beauty practices with technologically advanced methods, Japanese skincare products continue to be an integral part of the global beauty market.
And what’s the secret to the success of J-beauty products? You can check it out in this video:
J-Beauty Secrets and Rituals
For the Japanese, beauty is more than a routine or regime; it is an integral part of their daily lifestyle.
Aside from the temperate climate and great genetics, the secrets behind the Japanese’s flawless skin lie in their day-to-day practices.
Part of a Japanese woman’s habit is to protect her skin from the sun, and as we all know, prolonged exposure to the sun presents several skin problems down the line.
Japanese women take further precautions by wearing hats, driving gloves, and carrying parasols. They are particular about how skincare products are applied, too.
Facial massages, whether by a salon or by rollers and gua sha tools, are a massive trend. These tools help with the absorption of facial products and tightening and strengthening of facial muscles.
They help keep the skin look younger, especially since anti-aging is a huge market in Japan.
That’s why content marketing strategy for Japanese cosmetic brands mostly focuses on a story behind the extensive list of traditional and innovative ingredients used and their beneficial qualities, be it on product labels, store signages, or company websites.
The use of superfoods (like matcha and collagen) and other potent sources is also what makes J-beauty products well-known.
Probiotics and fermented food are also included in their diet. Foods such as miso, nato, and amazake are vital because they improve one’s gut health, which is directly connected to one’s skin.
Eating or topically applying probiotics helps rebalance the skin and repair it from damages caused by the over-stripping of the natural bacteria and oils from harsh scrubs and abrasive cleansers.
But the latest J-beauty trends are steadily yet confidently taking over the beauty market by storm.
Skincare Battle: Glass Against Mochi
Also known as Mochi Hada or rice cake skin, Mochi Skin emphasizes the beauty of having plump and bouncy skin. It is inspired by the velvety, soft outside of the dome-shaped Japanese desserts.
Most trendsetters would say that this is Japan’s answer to Korea’s glass skin trend ensuing a sort of skincare battle between K-beauty vs. J-beauty products.
In comparison, the glass skin boasts of a high shine with a dewy finish, whereas mochi skin emphasizes having a poreless look with a supple and ageless glow.
Another take marketers highlight is that K-beauty is about looking more bright and outstanding as opposed to J-beauty’s sweet, princess-like appearance.
A closer look at the K-beauty vs. J-beauty skincare wars shows a telltale difference in their routines as well. K-beauty involves a 9 or 10-step routine to achieve their elusive, seemingly transparent, and luminous complexion.
Meanwhile, the J-beauty routine is far simpler than that of K-beauty’s, further propelling commentary that it is a formidable contender that may beat the glass skin trend.
The Difference in Beauty Routines
Achieving the latest J-beauty trend starts with double cleansing (a practice observed by geishas) in the morning and night. Once the skin is clean, it is hydrated and nourished with a Biyou-Ekiyoueki (lotion) and a lightweight moisturizer.
In the morning, the routine is finished with sunscreen. At night, a hydrating mask is used on alternating days.
What is also interesting in this routine is its lack of use of physical exfoliators. J-beauty follows a principle to avoid these as they believe they can create damaging micro-tears in the skin and thin out your skin barrier.
And when one opts to skip on the sunscreen, they are more prone to pigmentation, sunspots, and freckles.
Caring for one’s gut organs is also essential to achieve mochi skin. This practice entails eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, which goes far in attaining youthful, beautiful skin.
The Japanese take it a step further by maximizing green tea’s potent anti-aging properties, which as research reveals, combats the signs of aging when ingested or applied topically.
And much like their products, achieving good skin takes time. They believe that worthwhile results are not a short-term goal.
Facts and Stats of Japan’s Cosmetics Market
With how detail and quality-oriented the Japanese are, it is no wonder that the country is a beauty giant. It is actually the world’s second-largest market for cosmetics and personal care products after the U.S.
Its domestic cosmetics market generated a revenue of over €30.5 billion ($36 billion) in 2017. It holds a share of nearly 47%, with skincare as the leading category in the domestic beauty market.
Skin lotions are the most popular products in Japan as of 2019, which have become an essential part of the Japanese beauty routine. Other products that sell are those that are high performance, cost-effective, quick-acting skincare.
Even men’s skincare and grooming products in Japan are gaining traction, raking in a value of 21.6 billion yen back in 2016.
With its consumers becoming more conscious of quality, value for money, and the types of brands they purchase, Japan’s personal care sector has projected revenue of €5.6 million ($6.7 million) in 2020.
Things like product design, packaging, and promotion are also key factors in their decision making. Hence, all these are vital cues for content marketing for skincare products.
Its major beauty companies include Shiseido, Kosé, and Pola Orbis, which are often listed as some of the top global beauty manufacturers that significantly contribute to the success of Japan’s cosmetics industry.
The Best of J-Beauty
Like many of its innovations, J-beauty skincare products are arguably some of the best in the beauty industry worldwide.
The marketing strategy of Japanese cosmetic companies mostly focuses on promoting skin soothing and nourishing qualities of the products and how they can protect the skin from the sun and other environmental aggressors.
Those with particularly sensitive, acne, or allergy-prone skin are guaranteed to find their favorites and staples in their extensive skincare lines.
From cleansers, moisturizers, and serums, here are some of the best Japanese skincare products of 2020:
1. Tatcha Water Cream
One of Tatcha’s best-selling and award-winning products, the water cream is a lightweight moisturizer with a gel-like consistency.
Bursting of skin-improving Japanese nutrients (like the Hadasei-3 Complex) and potent botanicals (such as Japanese Wild Rose and Leopard Lily), this product helps control oil production and minimize the appearance of pores.
This should be everyone’s staple for warm weather!
2. Shiseido Senka Perfect Whip Cleanser
Shiseido’s Perfect Whip is a powerhouse cleanser with a consistency similar to face cream and shaving cream.
This popular, unisex facial wash gently cleans pores and removes makeup thoroughly. It also comes in another variety – the Perfect Whip with Collagen.
The addition of collagen and double hyaluronic acid has the skin feeling more nourished and hydrated.
3. Sekkisei Clear Brightening Mask
For an overall skin cleanse and clarity, Sekkisei’s Clear Brightening Mask is the solution to blackheads and dead skin cells. The signature peel-off mask gets rid of skin impurities while controlling sebum and refining the pores.
It also contains premium hydrating ingredients like Coix Seed, Angelica, and Melothria extracts that will leave the skin supple and moisturized after use.
4. Chojyu Collagen Source Solution Ball
Chojyu’s idea of applying 100% collagen directly on one’s face is pure genius. The solution ball is travel-friendly, designed to fit perfectly in the palm.
It also gives a lot of bang for one’s buck, with each pack containing about three months of collagen use. Those needing a serious boost in hydration are sure to benefit from this product.
5. SK-II GenOptics Aura Essence Serum
Skin is prone to dullness and darkness after prolonged sun exposure. Promising a radiant, clear, and glowing complexion, SK-II’s best-selling skin brightening serum targets both the visible and hidden effects of UV damage.
Many swear by its potent effects, reporting better and brighter skin after use.
6. Hada Labo Gokujun Hyaluronic Lotion
Dubbed as a “toning lotion” with its clear appearance but thicker consistency, Hada Labo’s toner-lotion hybrid is a moisturizer packed with three types of hyaluronic acid.
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It functions to hydrate the skin while prepping it to better absorb additional skincare products (like face cream and oil). However, it can also be used as a standalone moisturizer and is enough to leave the skin with a dewy, radiant finish.
7. Bioré UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence
Sun protection is incredibly important for the Japanese skincare routine, and Bioré has created a cult-favorite UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence.
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Hi #BioreBeauties! If you have yet to try our all time best seller sunscreen that is loved by many for its water like sensational texture, you’ll need to try it out and we are sure you’ll love our Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence too which is non-sticky and has water-like sensation! It also acts as a moisturising primer besides giving you long lasting UV protection! #360BeautyRadianceProtection #BioreUVAquaRich #WorldFirstMicroUVDefense
Applicable to both face and body, this sunscreen is loved for its waterproof, thin, and workable consistency that melts seamlessly into the skin.
It also has the best non-comedogenic moisturizers (hyaluronic acid and royal jelly), making it ideal for dry, oily, and acne-prone skin alike.
8. DHC Deep Cleansing Oil
Double cleansing has long been a Japanese skincare practice to remove stubborn makeup (or ceremonial paint back in the day).
DHC’s olive oil-based cleanser does this exceptionally well while also ridding the skin of surface oils, sunscreen, and other impurities without clogging the pores.
It also has rosemary leaf extract, which has anti-inflammatory properties, and vitamin E, which prevents free radical damage.
9. Cure Natural Aqua Gel
As the country’s number one best-selling exfoliator, one can bet that Cure’s activated water-based and gel-textured chemical exfoliant works like magic.
It gently and effectively picks up and sloughs away dead skin without the harsh chemicals, leaving the skin soft, smooth, and flawless.
It is safe and suitable to be used by all skin types (even the most sensitive) and can even be used on the hands, neck, elbows, heels, and anywhere else that needs softening.
10. Curél Intensive Moisture Cream
Ultra-soft and gentle on skin, this post-toning moisturizing cream from Curél contains soothing, strengthening, and moisturizing ingredients like ceramides, squalene, and allantoin.
The consistency is like that of Greek yogurt, which absorbs quickly, does not clog pores, and leaves no greasy residue behind. It is best used for those with dry, sensitive, or inflammation-prone skin.
As a dormant beast in the beauty industry, it can be said that Japan has now fully awakened to its full potential thanks to its adaptation to global trends while retaining its authentic, sustainable, and eternal culture.
The country continues to flourish in its beauty industry endeavors, given its incredibly complex nature and traditional-yet-innovative formulations used in personal care products.
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