Posts Tagged ‘skin care’

The cutest little whitehead, Kakusen-kun

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Yeah, you’ve heard it a hundred times: Japan’s weird. “They had that bagel head thing,” you may say (which was never a “thing,” actually). Well, Japan has once again come up with something that will get under your skin, only this time it’s actually a “thing” broadcasted on national television.

It’s an animated series called “Nyuru Nyuru!! Kakusen-kun” (nyuru nyuru being the sound of something squeezing out of somewhere), which follows a newly formed whitehead (kakusen in Japanese) during his adventures living on the surface of a human nose. The two-minute show is supposed to be an obscure comedy that occasionally drops some skin care tips. The characters try their best to survive attacks by pore strips and face mites, which is more kimoi than kawaii. Popular idol group sings the theme song, adding to the buzz factor.

While we certainly appreciate the cuteness and fidelity of having an 8-year-old boy play the young protagonist, rather than an older girl (as is the practice in many anime shows), it is pretty strange to hear him saying stuff like, “I wonder how much money I’d have to spend to get that lady-whitehead to go out with me,” about a beauty queen contest-winning zit, or learning to appreciate the lashes of her whip later on.

If curiosity has gotten the best of you, check out more videos here.

The Korean beauty secrets are out

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Beauty products containing snake venom, distributed by Dodo Japan, on display at Cosme Tokyo 2012 (Mio Yamada photo)

In the West, Japanese cosmetics have developed quite a devout following, so it might come as a surprise that in Japan, women are actually becoming more interested in South Korean beauty products and treatments.

At Japan’s first-ever Cosme Tokyo fair, South Korean companies made a strong showing, taking the top slot among the non-Japanese exhibitors. In addition to shiny eyeliners, sparkling eye shadows, bright blushers and other makeup items, they presented crowd-drawing snail-slime moisturizers and synthetic snake-venom face packs.

Like K-Pop and Korean TV dramas, the popularity of Korean cosmetics has been undeniable for the past few years. And as South Korea has become a popular tourist destination, Korean cosmetic companies have begun to realize that Japanese tourists were perhaps some of their best customers. While it’s not all going to Japan, one thing is certain: Korea’s cosmetic exports climbed $600 million in 2010, up from $80 million in 2001.

Exotic ingredients aside, there’s not a lot to distinguish many of the Korean goods from Japanese cosmetics.  So what is it that gets consumer attention? While we can’t discount the lure of bright colors and cute motifs on the packaging, the most attractive draw is most likely the use of natural ingredients or the focus on natural derivatives for products. They’re also often far cheaper than their Japanese counterparts.

Skin Food, which opened its first store in Harajuku in 2009, for example, bases all its products on food extracts, using fruit, vegetable, grains and snail (well, yes, snails can be viewed as food). Missha, which is famous for its Missha BB “blemish balm” cream, uses snail and mixes it with natural plant extracts, as does Etude House, a popular line of products aimed at a younger generation — both brands opened their first stores in Shinjuku in March this year.

“Made in Korea” has become a selling point, and not only have prominent Korean brands opened up shop in Tokyo, but more Korean cosmetics in general have started appearing on the shelves of the city’s major drug stores (see DoDo Japan’s line of makeup).  A couple of new Korean-goods-specific stores have also opened in the city. In March, Chongane & Skin Garden in Shin-Okubo opened its doors to offer Korean foods, accessories and cosmetics, while  Skin holic, which opened last month, stocks a wide range of Korean cosmetics, including some of those already mentioned here.

Men look to shed a few years off their aging skin

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

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.

A close shave for Japanese women

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

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.


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