Japanese cosmeticsJapanese cosmetics are manufactured in a strictly regulated industry. Following rigorous standards set by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) of Japan, cosmetics are split into two categories: general cosmetics and quasi-drugs. General cosmetics cannot be advertised with functional claims on the packaging, but they benefit from looser regulations. Quasi-drugs, on the other hand, require a rigorous approval process and include medicated cosmetics with function claims like anti-aging, skin-lightening, and protective skincare effects.
Benefiting from the strict regulations, J-beauty products are valued for their high quality and product safety in the global market, hidden in a minimalistic design. Through large cosmetics manufacturers like Shiseido, Kao Corporation, and Kosé Corporation, J-beauty is particularly represented in the prestige segment overseas. Within the domestic market, the enterprises are covering the mass and prestige markets through their extended brand portfolios. In the highly competitive mass market segment, brand manufacturers compete with retail stores that employ contract manufacturers to produce cosmetics for their private labels.
Trends in beautyA groomed appearance is considered part of a healthy image, and good manners not only in formal situations but also on private outings in Japan. Apart from grooming before leaving the house, beauty routines are heavily tied to a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle, with the health and functional foods market benefitting from consumer desire to maintain their body. To cater to the limited time for beauty care in daily life, cosmetics and beauty goods in Japan are marketed as state-of-the-art technology revolutionizing beauty routines that combine functions like cleansing, hydrating, and sealing in one product.
Stirring up the domestic market trends are foreign beauty routines, with social media and influencer marketing facilitating the circulation of trends among young people. Korean beauty experienced a boom among young Japanese women with the frequent media coverage of K-Pop and Korean influencers during the coronavirus pandemic. Chinese-influenced makeup followed to off-set the image with a mature and translucent look as TikTok and online tutorials are driving the emerging trend.