Why Japanese Skincare Formulations Are The Best In The World

Beauty and wellness have long been important parts of Japanese culture. In fact, Japan is one of the world's largest markets for cosmetics and personal care. Consumers worldwide are pulled to Japanese beauty products and according the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan, its cosmetics sales exceeded 1.6 trillion yen in 2017. It also has the highest per capita spending on skincare and cosmetics.

'Science combined with nature'- the key formula that has been used in Japanese rituals for centuries is backed by innovative technologies and stellar research and development. Stroll down the street of Tokyo or Kyoto, Osaka or Kumamoto, and the national obsession with beauty is immensely visible. Within two blocks there might be three drugstores, a claustrophobic’s nightmare with a confounding number of beauty bottles, tubs, tonics, and packs, and just around the corner, a couple of department stores with entire floors of even more brands. Japan is the best beauty country in the world. This aesthetic dedication extends into other parts of life. Onsen, the hot spring bath is still a common practice and the Japanese diet is full of skin-supporting foods like oily fish, seaweed, green tea, and the newly trendy fermented rice beverage 'amazake'. Wellness is practically the national religion of Japan.

The Japanese refer to nice skin as 'mochi-hada', or rice-cake skin, a reference to the ultra-soft and plump Japanese desserts. The concept of softness in general is a reoccurring theme in Japanese skincare. While the American approach is almost akin to attacking your own skin with aggressive exfoliation and harsh formulas, the Japanese have a nourishing philosophy like emphasizing on protection from sun, thorough but gentle cleansing and multiple hydrating and moisturizing layers. The basic Japanese skincare routine comes down to removing makeup, cleansing, hydrating with a “lotion” (more on that soon), treating with a serum, and sealing everything in with a moisturizer, plus masking on the regular.

"J-beauty” or Japanese beaty market, the sleeping giant of the cosmetic industry has finally woken up. Its key competitor is “K-beauty” or Korean beauty. Although, the latter has the advantages of efficiency and manufacturing speed, K-beauty can’t contend with Japan’s far more elaborate and delicate beauty routines. It also cannot compete with their long-term investment in technology. Japan’s obsession with beauty also makes it difficult for K-beauty to compete.

The Japanese beauty industry dates back to the sixth century with elements like the original red lip and calligraphy style makeup brushes being their attributes. The use of rice powder as a makeup mattifier and setter is also Japanese in origin. Much of what is exciting in Korean beauty regime came from Japan. It beautifully manages to wed the old and new with ease.

Japan has had quite a foothold in the US market for decades and the hunger for making quality products remains. Many brands have invested in innovation and Japan’s R&D is estimated to be two years ahead of that of the US. So what sets Japanese brands apart from their Western competitors? It's mainly the Japanese science and technology that enable the efficacy of their products. Their textures are also of a higher quality. This is especially true for creams, SPF products, and foundation. Japanese products can also be used in conjunction with those of the West. Now, the world seems to be taking cues from Japanese beauty secrets and adding to their existing skincare regimens to embrace the magical touch of Japan.