From sheet masks to snail cream, when it comes to beauty trends it tends to be Korea we look to for new product innovation and fresh formulas. However, as we move into a new year, there’s another Asian country giving Korea a run for its money: its neighbour, Japan. Thanks in part to the recovering Japanese economy, the beauty capital is having a resurgence and a sprinkling of Nipponese brands are set to make their way into our bathrooms and makeup bags.
Millie Kendall MBE, cofounder of BeautyMART and Asian beauty specialist, explains that she’s noticed customers now prefer a more stripped-back routine and prioritise hardworking products that offer style over substance – something Japanese beauty brands excel at. "We are seeing a return to the expert. The makeup artist, the hairdresser and the stylist are all being asked once again for their expert opinion and their tastes and use of product is based on performance, not gimmick. They need well-made products that deliver where there is not room for error, and that’s where Japanese formulations come on," Kendall says. For example, she states how celebrity makeup artist Jillian Dempsey fills her kit with Japanese brands.
As our tolerance for 10-step routines and quirky ingredients – so common within K-Beauty – takes a back seat, J-Beauty’s simpler approach is set to soar. "The quality and manufacturing is really superb and the thing that makes Japanese products so interesting to me is the fusion of natural and high-tech," Kendall points out.
Click through to see the brands and products to watch out for.