The Rise of J-Beauty

The Rise of J-Beauty

In the run-up to our J-Beauty Ingredient Day on 18 March, we wanted to find out more about the rise of J-Beauty and how it’s taking the global cosmetic market by storm. We had a chat with GlobalData about why J-Beauty is so popular right now.

Japan, a hotbed of beauty, steeped in ancient wisdom, traditions and time-tested ingredients, thrives on the concept of beauty and relies on centuries-old design principles to beautify multiple elements of everyday life – from the food they consume to the rooms they inhabit. J-Beauty (aka Japanese beauty) encompasses a diverse array of cosmetics and personal care formulations, from regime to ingredients, along with the innovative research behind it and the concepts rooted in centuries of Japanese tradition.

Two Geishas

“J-Beauty” has become one of the biggest beauty trendsetters around the world,  tracking back to the importance of flawless skin to Geishas; the traditional female performers in Japan who developed specific beauty rituals ranging from a well-crafted skincare regimen to eating food that enhance skin health. However, the J-beauty philosophy is very similar to a healthcare philosophy and more concerned with prevention and anticipation, with proven long-term results.

The major trends influencing J-Beauty

Shibui & kanso

Inspired by Japanese lifestyle principles such as shibui (“subtlety”) and kanso (“minimalism”), J-beauty routines follow a “less is more” philosophy by using a minimal number of products made up of a few, very effective ingredients.

This “make-up without make-up” approach resonates with the consumer shift towards shorter beauty regimens and we’re seeing increased demand for more efficient beauty products with a strong focus on multifunctionality. According to GlobalData 2020 Market Pulse Consumer Survey ASIA PACIFIC, 75% of consumers feel that simplicity of product formulation or packaging is as important/more important/ top priority when purchasing skincare products.

Well known J-beauty brands are producing hi-tech products that combat a range of skin complaints, like Shiseido’s sunscreen offering the benefit of a primer with a smooth matte finish that also prevents premature ageing.

Mochi-hada & pucci-pura

J-Beauty products strive to make skin plump, soft and bright in tone, taking inspiration from the Japanese mochi-hada (“sticky rice”), shittori (“moist”) or bihaku (“beautifully white”). You can also find “pucci-pura” (petite price) are products better suited for more travel-savvy consumers.

According to GlobalData 2020 Market Pulse Consumer Survey ASIA PACIFIC, 24% of consumers would be encouraged to change their lifestyle to give them a better feeling of purpose and in turn, improve their physical appearance.

Hybrid Skin Care/Makeup Products

Japanese brands work to enhance cosmetics with the benefit of protection, moisture and ingredients that look after skin. Therefore, formulas across all cosmetic areas are founded on skincare fundamentals, including high-coverage foundations with ultra-light textures, SPF face powders and moisturizing lipsticks.

One of the most famous and versatile products in Japan is the Canmake Marshmallow Finish Powder, know as “a Japanese treasure”. The formulators clearly focused on the buttery texture which leaves skin feeling soothed as well as evening skin tone in a cosmetics sense.

Double Cleansing

Double cleansing is increasing in popularity among skincare aficionados around the world due to its many benefits aside from just makeup removal, but it began in Japan. The key is to begin with an oil-based cleanser followed by a water-based one, then double moisturise with a serum and a cream to ensure hydration at every step.

We’re are seeing this trend develop around the world, partially due to the effect of word-of-mouth on social media, and brands are jumping on board with new, Japanese inspired cleansing products.

Skin Superfoods

Beauty and health are embedded in Japanese culture, establishing wellness as a national religion.

For instance, KITAO’s Matcha is a skincare line consisting of natural ingredients such as antioxidant-rich matcha, which has already caught women’s attention along with chia seeds, quinoa and acai, known for its essential ingredients such as calcium, minerals, and essential amino acids – the benefits well-known for a healthy body and beautiful skin

The key to J-Beauty is packing the formula full of high-impact, often natural-based, ingredients such as antioxidant-rich matcha, chia seeds and acai. The ethos is clear; a healthy body equals beautiful skin.

According to GlobalData 2020 Market Pulse Consumer Survey ASIA PACIFIC, 82% of consumers agreed that knowing about ingredients and understanding their source is as important/more important/ top priority when purchasing skincare products, something we’re seeing reflected in how brands are marketing their products.


‘Wabi’ refers to humility or humbleness and simplicity while ‘sabi’ denotes an appreciation for the ageing process and the well-worn patina of time. In line with this, the J-beauty industry is developing anti-ageing products to tackle specific geriatric skin and hair care issues such as wrinkles, rough and sagging skin, dark spots, greying hair, and hair loss.

According to GlobalData 2020 Market Pulse Consumer Survey ASIA PACIFIC, 81% of consumers feel that being able to see the positive impact of a product on the skin is really important when choosing which products to purchase.

What’s next?

J-beauty brands need to make their mark in the social media market by collaborating with popular local micro-influencers, bloggers, or podcasters to communicate the quality and efficacy of Japanese beauty products.

Japanese beauty has always been popular and well-known in Asia and has sparked an interest in Asian beauty overall. As western consumers are now more interested in a minimal skincare routine using single products packed with multiple, efficacious ingredients, there is more opportunity than ever for J-beauty to make a mark in the beauty sector.

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GlobalData is a data analytics company providing intelligence on a wide variety of industries, helping government, companies and industry professionals make faster, more informed decisions.

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