Team Interview: What Is Everyone’s Favorite J-beauty Products?
Posted on June 12 2020
If you’re reading this article, or have come across Cosme Hunt, I’d like to assume that you are either already familiar with J-beauty or are interested in learning more about it. Japanese beauty industry is drastically different from the Western beauty industry. Living all my teenage years in Canada, I had little to no knowledge of Japanese beauty brands and products. When I just started getting into J-beauty, I had no idea where to start. Do I start from searching “ best J-beauty products”? How do I know what’s suitable for me? I had to dig deep into the internet to find brands and products that matched not only my skin but my needs, values, and price range.
I’m Momone, and I manage the social media platforms for Cosme Hunt and occasionally write some articles! I did my first interview article that introduced Cosme Hunt and the various positions that make up our team. For my second interview article, I wanted to look at the Japanese beauty industry from various perspectives. I interviewed seven lovely Cosme Hunt team members to help me spread and understand the charm of Japanese beauty!
The charm of J-beauty
To start off I wanted to ask Chloe, the founder of Cosme Hunt about Japanese beauty. I think it’s important to know what makes J-beauty so unique and different from the other beauty communities.
”I think Japanese beauty has a remarkable sophistication in the beauty philosophy. It actually comes from the Japanese traditional lifestyle and ritual. Japanese people prefer a less and simple lifestyle that reflects beauty spirit.”
Similarly, Mayu who is in charge of human resources and marketing describes the charm point of J-beauty as how “natural” it is.
It was interesting to hear that Madoka, Lauren, and Arya all answered similarity when asked to describe J-beauty.
“In terms of makeup, Japan tends to stay natural and enhance one’s natural glow than compared to the popular glitter or matt look from K-beauty and the recent trend, “Chaiborg” from China.”
Madoka also mentions how in her opinion Japanese beauty products are less irritating to the skin. For Lauren, a Cosme Hunt writer, it was the low expectation of makeup use that appealed to her. Lauren is based in the US but has experience living in Japan.
"In Iwate (prefecture), I noticed that most women either did not usually wear makeup, or wore very natural makeup. When the makeup was obvious, it wasn't very showy. In America, I feel that more or less heavy makeup is an unspoken requirement for women and girls. Using (at least) primer, foundation, highlights, shading, mascara, and lipstick gets very expensive and time-consuming.”
"While natural might be trendy here, Western products are far less organic and natural than J-Beauty. I get the sense that making the most of nature has always been a thing that companies like Shiseido stuck to back when they were just Pharmacies and that Japan’s love of using plants and fruits for beauty goes way past the fads of organic and natural products. But that’s just an intuition!”
”I never thought of J-beauty as so unique and outstanding until I moved to North America at 25 years old.”
By exploring J-beauty, she feels like she is exploring herself and her origin. So far, she is really happy that Cosme Hunt is able to deliver “lots of brands that have their long history and meaningful stories”.
“J-beauty, especially Japanese skincare products, could be helpful for those who are struggling with skin problems. My boyfriend had terrible dry skin genetically but with Senka’s perfect whip cleanser, moisturizer, and a lotion, his condition was drastically improved.”
I personally noticed how popular Senka’s perfect whip cleanser is, when I lived in Canada. Few of my friends have asked me to bring it back to Canada, whenever I was back in Japan for a visit. That is when I also realized that in Canada, there were no foamy cleansers like SENKA.
(Article: Why You Should Try Foaming Face Wash)
What comes to your mind when you hear the word, J-beauty?
Next, I turned to Maria, the marketing and product manager. Like Chloe, she has experience in both living in Japan and in the United States. The first question was “What comes to your mind when you hear the word, J-beauty”?
“I was born and raised in Japan and have always loved Japanese cosmetics since I was in junior high school. So, when I encountered the word of J-beauty, I felt that it was starting to attract attention not only in Japan but around the world, and I was very pleased to remember it."
Through marketing and various projects, she hopes to deliver the charm of J-beauty, which depending on the product, can take more than 10 years of time and effort to develop! Since J-beauty is still under the veil, she believes that it is important to convey the appeals of Japanese products as a marketing manager. That’s why Cosme Hunt is constantly challenging new projects and methods to spread our message.
Where can we start?
So, where can we start? I asked Maria for some recommendations for those who are just getting into J-beauty.
“Hadalabo” series for the first step into the J-beauty community. Many people might not fully understand their skin types, whether it is oily, dry, acne-prone...etc. Hadalabo has products that are suitable for all skin types. Among them, Gojokun works especially well on dry skin.” The Hadalabo series is also one of our top sellers on our website for a long time."
What sets J-beauty products apart from the others?
Next, I interviewed Mayan, based in Tokyo, who would be able to tell us from a more Japanese point of view. I thought it would be interesting to hear from her since she is very knowledgeable in the latest J-beauty trends and products. She states that she feels passionate about J-beauty because we have numerous team members around the world, with various cultures, time, and lifestyles but that doesn’t stop us from loving J-beauty.
"I would say, how “skincare and makeup” are especially stunning in Japan. In terms of makeup, the packaging keeps evolving to aim for more convenience, aesthetics, and to include more of Japanese culture in it."
Madoka, a marketing assistant, and a researcher said something very similar.
"I'm always surprised how high-end J-beauty products have amazing quality and pay closer attention to the packaging."
I, myself was amazed by the gorgeous packaging from UZU by Flowfushi. They definitely captured my attention, when I walked by it the first time at a store. When I posted about it on our official Instagram page, we got lots of positive reactions too!
In terms of skincare, she notices that there are more personalized products, ( just like how Maria mentioned Hadalabo having a wide range of products for all skin types).
Additionally, it is becoming more common for men to have a high sense of beauty as well. Therefore, there are more varieties of skincare products for men.
What made you interested in J-beauty products?
I was genuinely curious how and why Arya got interested in J-beauty, living in the US. She responded that she “was always interested in Japanese culture”. I guess starting an internship at Cosme Hunt was the perfect opportunity to get into it! Arya hasn’t tried any J-beauty products yet since she just recently joined the Cosme Hunt team. However, she said that the first product that left an impression on her was the neuro-cream by Shiseido.
"It’s a cream that was engineered to help your nervous system through some really complicated and interesting science. It really made me realize what I was getting into with J-Beauty, it's very creative and sophisticated!”
Since Lauren has experienced the Japanese culture and the J-beauty world-first-handedly, I asked her some questions as well.
"I got into the J-beauty world because I basically had little to no choice when living in Japan. Just like how Japanese beauty products are harder to find in the West, the range of Western beauty products are very limited in Japan too.”
Her method of discovering new products and brands was mostly from trial and error, and occasional recommendation from the thread on the site “Reddit” called r/skincare addiction. It seemed like both Arya and Lauren relied on the internet for beauty recommendations.
"For me, websites like Cosme Hunt and beauty blogs are places I go to find information. Scrolling through brand and retailer Instagrams is also entertaining!”
What is everyone’s favorite J-beauty products?
My biggest question going into this interview was “What is everyone’s favorite J-beauty products"?
”For me, it is La Sana hair essential. I've been using it for over 10 years now. When I first found La Sana, it was a little bit pricey for me as a college student. However, it turned out to be a truthful product that heals my hair damage from unlay and hair dying.”
“I love to use the moisturizing foundation primer from Paul and Joe. I’ve been using it for more than 3 years and strongly recommend it for those who aren’t sure which make-up base to choose. It also ranked top in the base-makeup category, @cosme in 2019. For my favorite J-beauty brands, I’m into Shiro which is a long-standing Japanese skincare brand these days. One of the outstanding points are the ingredients such as Kombu and Sake Kasu that make their products very unique. Though her most recent favorite is perfume freesia mist, which smells like you’re surrounded by flowers!"
“I’ve recently gotten some makeup from ETVOS! I like its design and brand concept, and its products are basically skin-friendly! It uses natural minerals for its makeup products, so you can remove your makeup with soaps. I want to try out its skincare products next time.”
"My favorite brands are ADDICTION, THREE, and RMK. As for the product, I adore the foundation primer from Paul and Joe, just like Maria, and Sekkisei whitewashing foam from KOSE. (It seems like foamy cleansers are a common choice!)"
"The skincare brand called “COMEITTO” is one of my recent favorites. It has a very minimalistic, simple aesthetic. I'm also into eyeshadows with bigger flakes of glitter."
"Although I haven’t actually tried any J-beauty products, I would say the Aroma Resort Body Milk from Kracie jumped out to mine the most. The lush, natural, and luxurious branding caught my attention. In early April during the cherry blossom season, all I wanted was to use one and just bathe in the richness of these different fruits and flowers. It’s so natural!”
"While I was in Japan, I used Hadalabo (the brand Maria also recommended) because of how reasonable it was, and how well it worked with her acne-prone skin. Additionally, I am using their pre-lotion Shirojun now, and the Milky lotion from Sana.”
If those were still not enough recommendations, here are some other products that were also mentioned in the interview. When I questioned Madoka about what brands she would like to try, but haven’t had the chance to, she responded SUQQU, to/one, and LUNASOL. All three of those brands give off natural, simple, lavish vibes. I think they represent Cosme Hunt’s J-beauty image well.
In my daily routine, I use toner and lotion from MUJI. For body cream, I apply Kracie’s Aroma resort body cream ( seems like this one is a lot of people’s favorites!), and for hair care, I use &Honey’s deep moist hair oil 3.0.
She states that she especially adores the brand &Honey, and uses their shampoo and treatment as well. This is one of the newest additions to our online store! I have also seen this product everywhere recently and was eager to try this.
I’m sure now you have more than enough recommendations and brands to check out! I hope this article helped you understand J-beauty more deeply and from various perspectives. Perhaps it sparks some interest to some. The Japanese beauty community is so broad, with endless possibilities. While Korean beauty is relatively known and accessible in the West, Japanese beauty, as Maria states, is still “under the veil”. Through Cosme Hunt, we hope more people are able to explore and take interest in J-beauty. Additionally, we hope we can spread how profound, refined, and historical Japanese beauty technology is!
Basically manages social media and occasionally writes articles at Cosme Hunt. I have lived in Canada for over 5 years, so it was always interesting to see the different beauty standards and trends in Western countries and Japan.