3 Drugstore makeup brands: Here are Budget-Friendly Japanese Makeup Products
Posted on March 05 2019
The puchipura segment keeps gaining more market shares as the Japanese millennials try to merge quantity with quality in their consumption model.
Shiseido, SK-II, Shu Uemura, the Japanese brands that are commonly known in Europe or the US mostly belong to the high-end segment. Hardcore beauty enthusiasts and insiders also know about Bioré, a brand easily found in drugstores, as well as in most Japanese homes. (check the hand cleansing foams!) Quite recent market trends show that young women in Japan are more sensitive to the pragmatic appeal of these drugstore brands as they finally challenge what was for a long time, the exclusivity of premium beauty: quality: Puchipura. Now, you can have a skincare product such as moisturizers, highlighters, bronzer, and concealers that works, a lipstick that stays and hydrates, or an eye makeups such as eyeshadows and mascaras that overcomes greasy eyelids all while saving up!
The Puchipura trend
The Japanese know how to make things appear cute, amirite? Behind the adorable wording puchipura hide two slightly less adorable terms: petit (which means "small" in French) and price (read "puraisu" using the Japanese phonetic system) - not to be confused with purikura, those fun and life-changing sticker pictures.
In the global market,L’oreal, Almay (Revlon), Covergirl (Coty), e.l.f, Maybelline New York (L’oreal Paris), Ulta, Milani NYX, wet n wild etc can be found as drugstore makeup brands in CVS, Walmart and everywhere.
Fun fact: It’s a custom in the Japanese language to make up trendy wordings that mix up two or more generic words. Even Happy New Year, which translates into "akemashite omedetou" becomes "akeome" - and it’s not just text slang like our HNY, it’s colloquial.
Puchipura products are in fact, affordable items. It is a trend that is especially relevant in the consumption habits of cosmetic products. Japanese website @cosme, which specializes in everything that revolves around the cosmetic industry and market, tells us that in 2017 out of 684.470 reviews online, 54% were about products that fit this category. This is by the way, one of the reasons why K-beauty is so popular in Japan. Fun and affordable products that have adorable packaging? What do the Japanese want more than that? However, the purchasing of local products remains predominant, and 3 major Japanese brands are leading the way.
Your new makeup staples
The main passengers of the ‘petit price’ rocket trip mostly include makeup items. Products whose success is based on ingredient-trust such as skincare products, are still considered more worthy of a higher investment. When consumers know or at least estimate how much time and money goes into researching the best formula for a cream that is supposed to absorb into their deepest cells to recreate a new, fresh, upcoming layer of epidermis, they are more likely to spend money as trust is seen as priceless.
OPERA’s lip tint retails at Y1,875, or $16, on Rakuten
Beauty magazine BITEKI teamed up with @cosme to celebrate Japanese beauty for their Best Cosmetic Awards in 2017. The winner of the year: OPERA’s lip tint, dubbed as « the bride’s lipstick », for its beautiful and natural glow and also hectic-life-proof lasting power.
The very handy and refined packaging makes this product a go-to when looking for a lipstick that can do the job 24/7. Not only does it last pretty long, it also moisturizes the lips, preventing dry creases and discomfort. A soft and watery finishing touch that doesn’t smudge? What else could you want?
Source: CANMAKE's Instagram
There’s probably nothing more Japanese than the fusion of functionality and cuteness. And this is what the brand CANMAKE has been representing for 30 years now. The brand’s strength is to propose makeup tools, tips, and guidance (through a carefully curated offering of products) that can respond to consumers’ needs and social calendars every season.
Fun fact: seasonality is at the core definition of trends - be it fashion, beauty or lifestyle - in Japan. This tradition goes back a long way with rituals as timeless as kimono, crafts and tea. We often hear that Japanese beauty is exclusively about refinement and premium aesthetics, those of ancient beauties and wise empresses. Falling for this prejudice, we often end up thinking that apart from pinkish and orange-ish blushes or cute pink lipsticks, color doesn’t belong to the club. Even so, CANMAKE fights for the insertion of colorful eyeshadows and eyeliners especially into the definition and rituals of Japanese beauty. This summer: indulge in subtle splashes of colors to channel your island beauty.
Source: CEZANNE's Instagram
Cezanne is known for practical and handy products, that allow for a (very) quick glow-up. The brand is dubbed reliable by J-beauty fans and newcomers. Cezanne’s most famous line uses ingredients that are pure and safe, and carries what the core of the Japanese beauty industry is about, that is to say: a holistic lifestyle.
Everything is simple at Cezanne: the formulas, the packaging, the usage. For a makeup lover, it’s the perfect alternative between pursuing quality, comfort, at a reasonable budget. Beauty insiders go to Cezanne especially to stay protected from the sun as the brand boasts a multitude of anti-UV products that are as efficient as they are adorable and new!
An enthusiast of skincare, blazer jackets, cute animals and food, she’s passionate about the questions related to beauty with its dynamics and perceptions especially in Asia. Former fashion and beauty editor in Seoul, she is now based in Paris.