K-Beauty vs J-Beauty in 2023
Lauren shares her thoughts on some of the differences between K-Beauty and J-Beauty in 2023 based on her observations in Japan. From fragrance in skincare to what’s trending in makeup, sheet masks, SPF, pricing and more how is Japanese beauty different from Korean Beauty? Let’s take a look.
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Some General Observations:
As a consumer, it's harder to shop for beauty products in Japan without any Japanese skills because the packaging is almost 100% in Japanese. In fact, I gave up on several products because I just didn’t know what I was purchasing. That's just not the case in Korea, where most products have a product name, ingredients list and a how to use section in English as well.
It is easier to buy things like makeup and sunscreen in Japan because the key callouts are written in English. Makeup obviously doesn't need as much of an explainer.
- Light fragrance definitely seems to be the preference for J-Beauty products, particularly at the mid-higher range end of the market
- Most of the more expensive brands seem to have a signature scent
- In K-Beauty, some brands do have a signature scent (i.e. Huxley) but others tend to keep one fragrance to a particular line, like Skinfood's Royal Honey Propolis line.
- I saw quite a few more lotions and emulsions in Japan than I’ve seen in Kbeauty recently - I feel like these steps have fallen out of favour in the last 10 years in Korea
- Japanese makeup seems to have a preference for lots of light, shimmery shadows and blushes - this is similar to Korean makeup.
- Mascaras and eyeliners - feature similar brands to what is available locally in Korea.
- Foundations, BB creams and tone up creams are more popular in Japan vs BB cushions and pacts, which are the most popular in Korea
- K-Beauty is very heavily represented in Japan - Romand is popular, as is Tir Tir.
- Then there are all the usual Japanese brands like Canmake, Kate, Kiss Me etc
- Still more sheet masks in Japanese skincare than sleeping masks, although I did notice a lot of brands have a sleeping mask. I even saw another cherry blossom sleeping mask.
- Japanese brands have a very wide range of SPF products, including a lot more sun milks and gels than I see in Kbeauty sunscreens.
- Most Japanese beauty stores have an entire aisle dedicated to SPF from a wide range of brands. A lot of the products I saw on shelves were new to me and not things I’d seen online or in Korea.
- I felt like the price of many J-Beauty products was maybe just a touch higher than Kbeauty prices, particularly for sunscreens.
- This will vary depending on the exchange rates, and which currency you are coming from obviously.
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