Men’s hair product Gatsby’s Moving Rubber promises change for all kinds of hair. Their new ad campaign near Shinjuku Station’s West Exit now brings the message to life. Passers-by in one of the world’s busiest train stations can stand under wigs hung at head-height on a big mirror to try out a new ‘do or two. Considering weaving in some dreadlocks or perming up an afro? Forget Photoshop; nothing can give you a clearer picture than this.
With seven different types of hair wax, some of which include Wild Shake, Loose Shuffle and Grunge Mat, the options are widely varied. Gatsby’s colorful pucks are differentiated by texture, holding strength and hair length. The range has been around for years and is hugely popular both in and out of Japan.
And if you need tips on how to use a particular Moving Rubber, here you go.
A relaxing bath in sawdust is just the thing for beautiful skin
Sawdust has more uses than sopping up blood on a butcher’s floor or providing a cosy bed for pet beetles, according to Café Googirl: It’s now trending as a beauty treatment.
Enzyme baths, filled with sawdust from cedar and cypress trees, are said to improve circulation, cleanse skin and help with muscle pain, among other health claims. Enzymes from vegetation and fruit ferment within the sawdust to produce heat and it’s said that this fermentation provides the skin-enhancing “magic.”
The “bathing” here involves getting buried up to the neck in sawdust by rake-wielding salon staff. The heat generated by fermenting enzymes then brings the temperature up to around 40 degrees centigrade. Café Googirl says you need to sit in the bath for between 20 and 30 minutes.
The treatment, which actually started in Hokkaido in the 1940s, can be experienced at salons around the country: Hi no Ki in Tokyo; Ogakuzu Koso Yoku Sakura, with branches throughout the country; and Yu Shin Ion Koso Ogakuzu Furo in Saiki City, Oita Prefecture, which opened early this year. Though Yu Shin Ion claims that its baths can help with “irregular periods,” its main clientele, according to Asahi Shimbun, appears to be men returning from trips to a nearby fishing spot.
Salon owners seem to believe that there’s almost nothing these feisty enzymes can’t cure. Ion House Sayama, based in Saitama, says that a 20-minute dip will help with complaints including acne, anemia, hypertension, arthritis and even obesity. While we can’t vouch for that, we don’t be surprised if this unconventional treatment catches on.
While the cosmetics industry has women slathering their faces with a variety of high-price lotions and potions, up until recently Japanese men have been relatively immune to the pseudo scientific claims of anti-aging creams. But it looks like that’s all set to change as manufacturers begin to bring out a range of products that promise to return elasticity and shine to middle-aged men’s skin.
Nivea’s Revitalizing range has proved popular
The breakthrough brand, according to Nikkei Trendy, on the Japanese market has been Nivea. When the company’s Revitalizing series was launched in 2006, sales that year were an impressive ¥3.5 billion, but they have steadily climbed and in 2010, almost doubled to ¥6.2 billion. Nivea’s success is thought to be down to both straightforward advertising, which simply states the product is for men who feel their skin is lacking tautness and looking a bit dull. It’s also thought that men who are embarrassed to ask advice about anti-aging cream feel they can trust the brand because they are familiar with it through their mothers or wives.
Otsuka pharmaceuticals were next to follow suit. In September 2008 they launched a range of moisturizing products for men called UL.OS. Their research indicated that though young men spend a lot of money on facial washes or on aftershave, only 10 percent were moisturizing. The range includes a lotion, milk and cream. The packaging is minimal and, compared to women’s moisturizing products, the price is extremely reasonable (200 ml of Skin Lotion costs just ¥1,890).
Lucido, a company that makes cosmetics for men, is boldly advertising that it has created a range for 40+ men. While this might not look too glamorous on packaging, the company reckons a no-nonsense approach is something that men, who are worried about losing their looks, will appreciate.
Lucido looks as though it might have a trump card up its sleeve with a new product launch at the end of the month. “Slightly Tinted Moisturizing Cream” is somewhere between foundation and a moisturizer; the product can cover unsightly blemishes while also, of course, replenishing the skin with essential oils. We think it might be a hit with men who might otherwise shy away from buying make-up products.
As companies target this potentially lucrative market, drugstores are giving over display space to men’s anti-aging creams. It looks like many in the industry are hopeful that they can revive the fortunes of the flagging cosmetics market (which has been rather depressed since 2008’s financial crash) as well as bring the luster of youth back to crinkling skin.
In the never-ending battle to remove unsightly hair, some Japanese women opt for a close shave. According to J-Cast, a kao sori (shaved face) boom is gathering momentum across Japan. Specialist salons offering kao sori services are increasing in number and earlier this year, a new specialist shaving razor for women was launched on the market.
So why the hell do women want to scrape their faces with a razor? The main reason is to get rid of downy hair around the mouth and cheeks, but Beauty Face, a specialist kao sori salon, claims there are other benefits, such as a noticeably whiter, brighter and softer skin.
While barbers were the first to offer a ladies’ shaving service (being as they specialize in wielding a razor), many women were reluctant to enter a male-dominated environment. Female-friendly salons, however, are a different matter. Since Beauty Face was opened in 2004, business has steadily grown, and the company now has 70 salons across the country. Beauty Face is not the only ones offering this service. We also spotted Soru on the web, a salon in Kanagawa, offering women’s face shaving. There’s also Napoli in Ebisu, Peau D’Ange in Shinjuku and Rev-own, who have 10 shops in Kanto and three shops in Kansai.
Beauty Face is keen to promote the concept of the ladies’ shave and has teamed up with Kai, a company that sells razors and beauty products, to conduct a dermatological study into the benefits of face shaving. The companies claim that if you use a razor correctly the amount of moisture and natural oil in your skin increases.
No matter how well you shave, facial hair grows back at around the 20-day mark, so you’ll be in need another shave by the time the month is out. As a simple face shave costs ¥2,362 in a Tokyo branch of Beauty Face, it might be more economical to do it yourself. Kai’s new lady’s face shaver went on sale in March this year and is targeted at women who’d like to shave their face in the comfort of their own homes.
Kai’s PR manager stresses the need to take care when shaving delicate facial skin and to avoid doing so when you’ve got sunburn. The woman in the video above demonstrates the correct face-scraping technique for those curious about the process. However, be warned. J-Cast says plenty horror stories of stinging, painful skin and even bloodshed can be found on the web.
Say what you want about man-made global warming. How come nobody’s railing against man-made global drying? At least in Tokyo, where a lot of indoor heating is some variation of forced air, hot blasts of air parch throats, gum up eyes and chap skin.
To combat the low indoor humidity, there are humidifiers in all shapes and sizes, from behemoths that sit on the floor to the ubiquitous bright plastic rings and teardrops and globes that puff away on lobby end tables and office desks. Now, moisture is getting more personal. This winter is seeing lots of new USB humidifiers, little tanks of water that plug into your computer (what could go wrong?) to sultrify your own workstation. Sauna Boy is pretty adorable, in a stressed-out cartoon kind of way.
The USB Humidifier from Green House is eco-chic, while Owltech makes USB plug-in humidifiers that look like cans of green tea or “Premium Moist” beer. To complete the college dorm effect, there’s one that looks like a styrofoam cup of instant noodles. That’s fine for people who sit still. But this is the age of people on the go! Who has time to sit around near a machine that pumps out warm steam or clouds of cool-to-the touch ultrasonic vapor? If the disheveled shelves at Bic Camera are any indication, not the people of Tokyo. Electronic personal humidifiers and misters offer a pocket-ready solution to a problem you may not have known you have: how to keep hydrated on the go?
Despite the rather unsexy name, Panasonic’s Pocket Inhaler (ポケット吸入器 ) is positioned firmly in the beauty market. Its 12-ml tank will electronically pump out a fine, 40-micrometer mist for up to 3 minutes to comfort a dry throat.
Battery-operated misters like Moisture Mist (not to be confused with enormous industrial cooling humidifiers with the same name) aerosolize any watery beauty fluid to rehydrate skin. The imiy (pronounced “I me”) slides open like a cell phone to deliver a proprietary nanomist-ified hydrating “essence.” The Ya-Man Photomister raises the stakes by adding a ring of little lights to its nanomist. This increases the moisturizing properties of the mist, they say. These devices range from about ¥5,000 to ¥20,000.
Similar in concept, Sharp has scaled down its line of Plasmacluster ion generators and introduced two new personal-sized devices this season. They don’t humidify exactly; they spray ions around you to, they claim, disinfect the air. The car Plasmacluster unit is shaped like a big coffee cup to fit into vehicle cup holders. The desktop unit plugs into a computer’s USB port and looks like a sleek, slightly overgrown cellphone. A display model spotted at Bic was even covered in applique crystals — would you expect anything less in the heart of Shibuya?
43% of OLs surveyed by OZmall went on a diet before their wedding day; 70% of them successfully lost weight, using everything from spa treatments to sports to keeping away from snacks and carbohydrates.
Here’s a new batch of Pulsations, links to fresh stories and visuals about Japan, shout-outs to fellow bloggers and highly clickable stuff that we think you might enjoy. In no particular order . . . The Mystery of Japanese “Sauce” (from Just Hungry): You may know the sweet brown concoction as “tonkatsu sauce” but it’s [...]