Face-off: Japan Times interns model the wide array of beauty masks now available in Japan.
A wise woman once said that beauty is pain, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. With designer face masks, even the simple act of skin moisturizing can become fun.
Face masks rose to popularity after the 2011 Korean BB Cream craze. Over the past four years, the “lazy girl” alternative to traditional, time-consuming facials has been gaining prominence worldwide. Coated in serums containing everything from collagen and hyaluronic acid to more adventurous ingredients such as snail extract, these face masks claim to moisturize and brighten one’s skin.
To stand out, face mask makers gradually started to experiment with different designs, such as cute pandas or classic kabuki makeup. Inspired by Japanese cosplay (“costume play”), they serve not only as a beauty essential, but also as fun way to remake yourself, if only for 15 to 20 minutes.
These face masks seemed to hit their stride this year. According to a PR representative from beauty company Pure Smile, design face masks first came to being when faced with the question of how to make regular, white face masks more attractive.
Fashion icon Kansai Yamamoto was recruited to design a line of colorful kabuki- themed face masks in March, and beauty company Pure Smile recently teamed up with special makeup artist JIRO to concoct three ghoulish designs for their “Art Mask” line. Prisoner No. 0, Test Subject No. 13 and Type A Zombie were released in early June.
Artist JIRO is already well known for his makeup skills that have transformed models from animals to aliens. In the latest installation to the Pure Smile “Art Mask,” line JIRO lives up to his name by making face masks that nobody would be afraid to answer the door with.
Even Japan’s favorite pear fairy Funassyi has made his mark on the designer face-mask trend, with a limited-edition Funassyi face mask included in one of Pure Smile’s face mask packs.
Of course, there is a built-in marketing value here. Once a private matter, the design mask begs for a selfie to be shared.
Pure Smile is even holding an Art Mask Photo Contest. Art mask enthusiasts can post their pictures to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #アートマスクコンテスト, and Pure Smile will select the winners.
What is the grand prize? Nothing other than a year’s supply of Pure Smile art masks!