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Japanese Beauty from the Inner Core

May 2013

By Helene F. Salvini, Tokyo

It is common knowledge that Japanese people are fine gourmets who live in a country where more restaurants have been honored with Michelin stars than elsewhere in the world. This makes it even more natural that the average Japanese person will care about what they eat, and how every bite of that delicacy on his or her chopsticks will affect their health. Indeed, Japanese people are obsessed with food! And rightly so. Japanese people have the longest life expectancy in the world, doctors claim, mostly thanks to their healthy eating habits.

The Japanese are no longer satisfied with simply good taste nowadays, however. People here strongly believe that “you look like what you eat,” so while health-conscious men and women search for tasty food with benefits, cosmetic companies have gradually extended their field of expertise from “what you put on (your face)” to “what you put in (your mouth).”

Unlike beauty campaigns in the Western world where BB creams and CC creams help you look and feel your best on a topical, Japanese brands are now focusing on making your skin glow from within. The concept of using eco-conscious and organic cosmetics is a past trend in Japan. 

The growing trend in skin care over the recent years is oral supplements-- not your ordinary vitamin, or magnesium pills. Consumers are invited to chew, drink, eat, or swallow supplements made out of placenta, hyaluronic acid, coenzyme Q10 and collagen, to name the most popular substances. The idea with this method is that consumers should drink/eat the supplement on a daily basis as a beauty habit. Shiseido, Fancl and DHC are known to be the pioneer cosmetics and skin care brands to have expanded into the so-called “beauty drink” market over the past few years.

Japanese people like scientific proof and explanations on the structure of skin cells. They also appreciate the concept that a treatment’s effects are deep. The Japanese approach is not one about erasing symptoms on the surface, but rather reaching far inside the system where you can restore the best possible condition at the core. 

Japanese women are still considered the ones to spend the most time putting on make-up every morning (an average of 45min). After all the treatments they give to their skin to shine naturally, another social belief inevitably takes over. It’s simply not appropriate for a city woman to leave her apartment door without the sophisticated look: foundation (always UV-protected to stay white), extension eyelashes, thick eyeliner, pencil-drawn eyebrows and  a lipstick in the season’s trendy color. No matter how beautiful your natural skin, it is still rude to show yourself in the scene without proper make-up attire!

Health & Fitness
Food & Drink
Fashion & Style
Blog Issue: 
Japanese fashion magazine Madame Figaro Japon spread on beauty products
Japanese beauty drinks ad in the Tokyo subway
Beauty drink featuring hyaluronic acid

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