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Beauty and cosmetics: new trends in the Japanese market

Beauty and cosmetics: new trends in the Japanese market

20 December 2017

Japan is the second world market after the United States for beauty and cosmetics consumption; being present in Japan is a must for every luxury cosmetics and fragrance brand. Japanese consumers continue to devote a substantial budget to beauty products, but the growth in Japan's business volume is also due to foreign visitors (mainly Chinese). The "weak" Yen has attracted more than 6 million Chinese tourists to Tokyo in 2016, generating 30% of total beauty profits.

Data emerged from the end of 2016 to the beginning of 2017 revealed which are the most popular trends in this market.  

Essential Oils and Plant Derivatives

In Asia, especially in China and India, there are strong herbal traditions based on the use of local essential oils and plant derivatives, used for massages and aromatherapy  .

The interest in the properties that essential oils can bring to personal care products is now in full revival: while high performance formulas with solid scientific feedback remain at the heart of Japanese consumers' interests, new products featuring precious essential oils and natural innovative ingredients are being marketed with great success.

Among today's most successful beauty products, many contain green tea, traditional herbs, ginko leaf and açai berry extracts, honey, bamboo, argan oil, rosehip seed oil, green coffee bean oil, citrus extracts, plus all the essential oils used in traditional healing (citrus, flowers, woods).

The benefit of naturural materials is sought after also with other scented products, like sanitary napkins infused with scents, air spray with soothing   attributes and candles specifically designed to give  energy.

Beauty products infused with natural oils and extracts are now perceived by Japanese as high-performing, reliable, fun and even sustainable.

Low Cost Beauty

In 2016, Japanese consumers have successfully launched the so-called "puchipura" cosmetics, i.e. affordable items for sale at drugstores such Kate, CanMake as well as other stores. The success of low price cosmetics is not only due to their affordability, but also to their claim for innovation, performance and ease of use.

Custom made beauty

On the other hand, the high-end of the market has witnessed the boom of tailor made products. These are basic formulations to be enriched with specifically intended actives (so-called "add-ons"), purely selected on the needs of the different types of skin. Specialized diagnostic devices help analyzing   skin conditions and needs, by providing scientific bases.

Here again, Nature complements the most performing patent ingredients with herbal mixtures, essential oils and other plant derivatives: the perfect formula for each individual need will be created real time, matching Science and Nature's gifts.

Instagram-friendly packaging

The new beauty frontier in Japan is... Instagram! Japan has just recently discovered this social network and most of the posted pictures feature cosmetic appealing to the eye, regardless their performance. Brilliant colors, extravagant, even whimsical shapes (flowers, manga dolls, pandas etc.), simple and fun use, generate hundreds of thousands views on the most followed Instagrammers. Developing the best Instagram-friendly container and packaging will be the key to next year's success for many brands.

Peel off

Japanese consumers brought to success gel-based cosmetics that peel off after applying.  When peeling off the film, pigments remain in contact with the skin for up to five days with intense coloring and a natural finish. Among the most popular peel off cosmetics are lipstick and colored mascaras for eyebrows (the trend of colored eyebrows comes from KPop musical scene). These cosmetics perform well and are easy and fun to use; they are expected to be the best sellers for a long period.


Multifunctional cosmetics seem to be the focus of many Japanese consumers: living in Japanese cities is often hectic, the lack of time being a problem. The typical beauty routine of a Japanese person envisages, in the morning, cleansing and hydrating with specific products for different facial areas. A highlighting base, makeup primer and make up, for about 6-8 products to minimize imperfections and to get a perfectly uniformly bright skin without freckles, wrinkles, spots or scars. However, applying all these products takes time. For this reason, the Japanese are asking for multitasking masks, creams and gels, granting the same result with fewer gestures. Here again, products with essential oils and plant derivatives are among the most successful ones.

Mask power

Among the top-of-the-range products in the Japanese market are masks of any type for any need: ranging from peel off to cotton, brightening, charcoal, tea, collagen, etc. all of which continue to be more favorable. But, in order to optimize the time dedicated to the beauty routine, masks have to be multitasking.   The new trend involves applying several masks simultaneously (forehead, neck, cheek, nose) to perform all the basic functions: to moisture, peel off types, to hydrate, to highlight, to close pores, and so on.


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Although the information contained in this document is presented in good faith and believed to be correct, Moellhausen makes no representations or warranties as to the completeness or accuracy of the information. This document is provided on an “as is” basis. No representations or warranties, either express or implied, of fitness for a particular purpose are made herein with respect to information or products to which information refers. Moellhausen shall not be liable for any irresponsible, improper or illegal use, direct or indirect, of the information or the products represented herein and it shall not be liable for any damage arising from any use in connection therewith. 

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