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. Regulated under the Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices Law, cosmetics are split into two categories: general cosmetics and quasi-drugs. While general cosmetics are not allowed to advertise functional claims on the packaging, products are subjected to looser regulations and can be introduced to the domestic market in a more simplified process than quasi-drugs. Quasi-drugs, on the other hand, include medicated cosmetics with function claims like anti-aging, skin-lightening, and protective skincare effects. Furthermore, natural ingredients are praised for their functional use in skincare products, with by-products sourced from the food manufacturing industry like sake lee (kasu) being considered valuable additions in facial masks, creams, and other personal care products.
Benefitting from the strict regulations, J-beauty products are valued for their high quality and product safety hidden in a minimalistic design in the global market. Home to 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 high prestige markets through their extended brand portfolios, meeting the broad demand of Japanese consumers.
Trends in beautyBoosted by the desire of Japanese consumers to improve and maintain their appearances, the domestic beauty market is flourishing with functional products like cosmetics involving medical professionals in the development process and beauty devices incorporating the most recent technological innovations. Marketed as state-of-the-art technology revolutionizing beauty routines in the country, cosmetics and beauty goods in Japan cater to the limited time for beauty care by combining functions like cleansing, hydrating, and sealing in one product.
Stirring up the strictly regulated market in Japan are imported skincare routines, with social media and influencer marketing facilitating the circulation of trends among young people. Korean beauty, in particular, experienced a boom among young Japanese women, boosted by the coverage of K-Pop and Korean influencers during the coronavirus pandemic. While the ongoing pandemic impacted the beauty industry negatively due to the reduced time spent outside among people, facial skincare items remained a much sought-after cosmetic product among consumers.