T he land of the rising sun isn’t just known for its sushi and sakura flowers. Japan is also one of the largest producer of cosmetics and skincare in the world, and rightfully so, we think. Japanese girls seem to have beauty down pat, with their flawless, milky-white skin and perfectly coiffed hair (which makes us so jealous!).
But the dilemma is – with so many brands out there, from powerhouses like Shiseido, Kanebo and Kose, to unavailable-in-Malaysia, cult brands like Vecua and Ayura, which one should you choose? However, many Japanese brands continue to stay surprisingly low under the radar, like these three brands:
Bet you didn’t know Fujifilm makes skincare, too! Did you know that collagen is the main ingredient that is used to make photographic film? The same Fujifilm company that produces film and cameras decided to venture into the cosmetic industry in 2011. Through years of research, they came to the conclusion that our skin requires nano-sized particles of collagen to maintain its youth and firmness, and thus applied the same type of technology used to produce film into their range of skincare products, Astalift.
Its bestselling product, Jelly Aquarysta (RM348, 40g), is indeed something we haven’t encountered elsewhere. The amazing thing is that it bounces back and smoothens out by itself, so every time you open the jar, the product looks brand-new. To be used after cleansing (before your toner), this gel serum boosts your skin’s ability to lock in moisture.
Trivia: In just 12 months, 1 million jars of Jelly Aquarysta were sold in Japan!
The older generation will be able to identify with Menard, which has been in the beauty industry since 1959. However don’t be mistaken – Menard isn’t just for our moms! The name of the brand is derived from the goddess Maenad, who served the Greek god Dionysus (the god of procreation and production). It’s also a French name, but every essence about the company is pure Japanese, with the extensive use of Oriental ingredients like Black Reishi, Ginseng and Chinese herbs, to name a few.
Beauty junkies will fall in love with Jupier (RM60 to RM270), the brand’s premium makeup range, which boasts an ingredient that no other makeup brand has: Ginseng extract. The precious herbal ingredient helps to retain skin’s moisture level, keeping your makeup looking fresh all day long.
Trivia: Menard’s One Touch Stream Lipstick (RM78.75) has a patented design that allows you to open the lipstick with just the push of a single button, great for applying lipstick while driving, not that we encourage such actions… We like!
Back in the day, Japanese fishermen used the fluid inside ikura (sturgeon roe) to heal wounds and ease the pain of burns. The nutrient-rich ingredient enabled skin to heal without any inflammation or scarring. In 1980, researchers discovered the rejuvenating benefits of caviar and ikura for the skin. This knowledge was then translated into Lumine’s latest range, 3D Skin Perfection. The lavish range contains caviar, royal jelly, cordyceps and organic pearl extracts to lift skin for more defined facial contours.
Apart from skincare, Lumine is also well-known in Japan for its oral health and beauty supplements. Whitening Night Collagen (RM340), a bedtime drink, contains high levels of collagen and skin-loving ingredients that promise to reveal fairer, smoother skin.
Trivia: A study in Japan shows that more than 85% of people are at least 15 years older than their chronological age. Time to start taking care of your bodies, ladies! (source: Lumine website)