You've heard of K-beauty, now it's time to wise up on J-beauty
The world has been obsessed with Korean beauty products for several years now, but Japanese beauty has just as much to offer in terms of excellent and effective beauty products.
The truth is that Japan is responsible for creating some of the very best face serum, cleansers and lotions in the whole wide world, and is the birth place of some of the world’s biggest brand names. SK-II? Shiseido? SUQQU? Yep, all Japanese.
One of Japan’s best-selling brands, Decorté actually invented the world’s first face serum – and the Liposome Moisture formula is still the number one best-selling serum today. It works to strengthen the skin’s barrier and gradually release hydration throughout the day so that your complexion’s moisture levels are at their optimum all day long.
Meanwhile DHC’s Deep Cleansing Oil, £24 at Lookfantastic, is one of their best cleansers; inspired by cleansing with virgin olive oil, the thick formula is worked into dry skin and, as if by magic, dissolves make-up in a jiffy. Emulsify with water and rinse the whole thing off, and you’re done. A great make-up remover and deep cleanser all in one.
Then there’s the iconic Fairy Drops mascara, which has a really great story behind it. Aya Yasuda, one of the country’s biggest TV stars, had struggled to find a mascara that made her eyes stand as much as she wanted while on-screen. After snipping away at a brush she ended up with the famous (and now patented) ‘bobble’ wand, and one of the world’s best volumising mascaras was born. Look up ‘amped-up lashes’ in the dictionary and you’ll find Fairy Drops. Probably.
Ready for your crash course in J-beauty? Keep scrolling to learn about some of the best Japanese beauty products you can get your hands on in the UK, including both make-up and skincare buys.
Now with three stores in London, the UK was actually the first country in which Shiro launched outside of Japan. There's a range of great skincare and make-up products to suit everyone's tastes, including these excellent metallic cream eyeshadows – use a cream shadow brush or your finger to blend across the lid. Easy.
Japanese skincare and lotions go hand in hand, and SK-II's is possibly the most famous out there. Cate Blanchett is a known fan of this Pitera-rich essence, which clears and refine's the skin's appearance and texture over time for a "crystal clear" look.
Japanese-inspired brand Tatcha's founder, Vicky Tsai, spent close time with geishas before developing her products. 'Underneath their iconic white make-up is the most breathtakingly pure skin I had ever seen in my life,' she writes in a blog post. 'I have met trainee geisha as young as 19 and senior geisha as old as 70, but regardless of age they all share the same exquisite complexion.' This exfoliating rice powder is one of their best sellers and helps to keep your complexion radiant.
This one is Japan's best-selling serum, and it's a hydrating dream. Dehydrated and unhappy skin's thirst is quenched almost instantly, with tiny capsules that absorb into the deepest layers of the skin, and slow time-release technology keeping its moisture levels topped up throughout the day.
Licorice is a big name in Japanese beauty when it comes to trusted ingredients, as it calms and detoxifies the skin while brightening the complexion. Kosé's medicated lotion is full of the stuff, and improves radiance and skin texture over time.
Fairy Drops was born when Japanese celebrity, Aya Yasude, customised her own mascara brush. Struggling to find a mascara that was just right for her TV appearances, she took a pair of scissors to a mascrara wand and cut away until she was left with a brush that made her eyes pop. The distinct 'bobble' wand is the perfect companion for the jet-black, water-resistant formula that leaves lashes big, bold and camera-ready.
Think of this cream as being to Japan what something like E45 is to the UK: it deeply soothes, protects and repairs skin and is found in most homes across the country. It goes on with a strong smell of camphor that disappears within seconds.
Taken from the Japanese word meaning 'posture with attitude', SUQQU is all about the modern woman with a fresh, polished and radiant approach to beauty.The Designing Colour palettes contain four complementing shades that are everything you need to define, shadow and contour the eye area for day or night looks. We wouldn't be without one (or four or five) in our beauty kits.
If you have sensitive skin, this facial wash is a great exfoliating option for you; the powder transforms into a light foam as you wash and cleanses the skin leaving it feeling fresh and smooth.
One of the brand's most popular products, the Ibuki Concentrate is a great pre-moisture treatment lotion that soothes and smoothes. A great step in your journey to that coveted 'baby skin' texture.
The teeny-tiny wand on this mascara allows for the ultimate precision when trying to lengthen out every single lash. As indicated by its name, the formula is only removable with water at a temperature above 38 degrees, making it sweat and humidity resistant.