While K-beauty is rocking all over the world, J-beauty has quietly been doing business as usual, providing efficient products to the demanding, hard-to-impress Japanese market. Whereas K-beauty is often seen as very trend-driven, with a strong appeal to younger people, J-beauty is more about high quality and discreet luxury that speak to women in their 30s and 40s.
Everyone who has spent some time in Japan, knows that Japanese beauty products are fabulous, and even if you haven’t been to Japan, you have probably heard about Shiseido, which is one of the Japanese beauty brands that has also made it big internationally. Abroad, Shiseido is probably most known for their high-end lines such as the SKII (hey Santa, I want some SKII for Christmas!), but in Japan, Shiseido has a skincare line for every skin type and every wallet. I am curious to learn more about J-beauty and I thought that a good place to start would be to ask my Japanese friend Rieko about her beauty routines:
I clean my skin in the morning and in the evening. If I have been wearing makeup, I use FANCL Mild Cleansing Oil (5) to remove my makeup, before I use a face wash. In the morning, I use Mediplus C Wash Powder (2). You mix the powder with water, and it turns into foam which you then use to clean your face. Sometimes, I also use the DHC Mineral Face Wash (4) which is a gift from my mother in law. It was meant as a gift for my daughter Saki, but she does not want to use it. I did not want it to go to waste, and the face wash is also for adults, so I sometimes use it. When I was walking to the parking lot on the way home from my friend Takako Nojiri’s piano concert in Ginza, I got a free sample of Amino Acid Face Washing Cream from Hanajirushi (3) from the staff in front of a beauty store, which had just opened. I still have something left, which I use now and then.
After cleaning my skin, I use a lotion from INUP EX (8), which is another gift from my mom. It is my favorite product right now. In the evening I also use the Shiseido Elixir Lifting Moisture Lotion II (7) and Advanced Night Repair Eye from Estée Lauder (9, image below). I sometimes use an anti-aging face treatment from Electore (1) too. After applying lotion I use the whitening liquid from Haku (6) (a Shiseido product line), which is supposed to be very good for brightening dark spots but it does not work for my skin, so I am a bit disappointed with this product.
In Japan, many women wear makeup on a daily basis, and some employers actually require female staff to wear makeup on the job. I always wear makeup when I go out, even if it is just for grocery shopping or for taking Saki to kindergarten. I even wear makeup when I go to dancing classes:) The only time that I do not wear makeup is when I am at home all day.
When I was younger, I used a lot of bright colors, but now when I am older, I prefer a more neutral color scale.
Before I apply makeup, I always apply sunscreen. The Leisure UV Cut (6) sunscreen was a present from my mom and it is a very good sunscreen that protects your skin completely. My mom usually stocks a whole arsenal of sunscreen at home, so when I see her next time, I will ask her if she has more of this one left.
I use a stick concealer, Integrate Gracy, from Shiseido (2) to cover up dark spots. It is not very expensive, and it is a very good concealer, so I sometimes buy the stick as a gift for my friends.
My current foundation is from Estée Lauder (10). It was a friend that recommended me to get this foundation, but I don’t like it and I don’t think it provides enough coverage. Recently, I have also tried Macchia Labels Clear Esthe Veil (7) liquid foundation, but I do not like that one very much either, so now I am looking for a new foundation. Any tips?
I apply eyeshadow from a palette from Maquillage Shiseido (1). I then use the Excel Powder and Pencil (5), which is a 2-in-1 eyebrow pencil and powder. It is a really nice product that is very popular in Japan.
The lipstick I use the most right now is from Revlon (4), and it is a gift from a friend. I mix the lipstick with a lip gloss that has a yellow tone (3), so I get the exact shade that I want and a smooth and slightly shiny look.
Secret Beauty Tip
For a couple of months I have been using white sugar mixed with water as a facial scrub, and it makes my skin very soft.
My friend Rieko in Japan
I met Rieko when I was doing an internship at a Danish company in Hamamatsu. Because her English is so good, she was assigned the task of showing me around, and we immediately clicked. Together, we went to aerobics classes and visited an onsen, and I even got to join her for her calligraphy lessons. After my internship was done, we stayed in touch, and Rieko also came to visit me in Dubai. Today Rieko lives in Yokohama with her husband and she has the cutest little daughter, Saki, who surprised me with a birthday song on Line last time I had my birthday. When Rieko was younger she used to work in Tokyo for many years, so she really knows the city well. Rieko writes a blog (in Japanese) which you can read here.