Beauty Culture

Modern Beauty in Japan

Jun 09, 2016

The Senteurist recently took a one-week break to visit family in Japan, and was so inspired upon returning that this week’s blog post will be all about the beauty culture in modern Tokyo. (Hint: it’s not just Harajuku girl-neon everything.)

When I think about trends in hair and makeup in Japan, most of the women I see gravitate towards fresh, pretty maquillage - pale shimmery eyeshadow and subtle eyeliner and mascara that create a “doll-like” effect. BB creams - which originated in Asia - are still very much in vogue, owing to the fact that many Japanese women prefer lightweight coverage that has a dewy, youthful skin effect. (The trend of a matte complexion - common with many American beauty brands - hasn’t really taken off in Asia.) When I visited beauty stores in Tokyo, liquid eyeliners and cushion compact foundations (also gaining popularity in the Western world) were some of the most prominently featured products.

Women keep hair very neat and feminine, and usually accessorized with a barrette or hair clip. Hair is rarely worn loose, and if it is, it is immaculately straight. Dying hair a lighter shade of brown - or even blonde or ombré) is very popular among young Japanese women, in addition to getting wavy or curly perms that add texture to hair.

Skincare is perhaps the biggest beauty priority among Japanese women, who usually incorporate up to ten products in their skincare regimen. Many begin with a gentle cleanser, followed by a lightweight toner, serum, essence, and moisturizer. (Sometimes, multiple serums that address different concerns are layered for optimal effect.)

If you’re familiar with our brand, you already know that ancient bathing culture of the Middle and Far Easts is a source of inspiration for us. Although the custom is centuries old, traditional onsen bath houses are still very common in Japan, even in Tokyo! Many Japanese houses are built to include a deep bathtub in the shower room, perfect for a relaxing soak. (My grandmother likes to add the rind of fresh yuzu, a Japanese citrus fruit, to enhance the relaxing experience.) Even in modern day, it'll never be possible to replace tradition.