As any self-respecting beauty buff can tell you, Korean beauty products have had a major moment in recent years, flooding the American market and sparking a whole slew of new trends and product categories. And while K-beauty isn't going anywhere, there's a newcomer on the block that's also making a big splash: J-beauty. As to be expected, there are some similarities between the two, but there are also significant differences.
"Skin care is deeply rooted in all Asian cultures, but each country has a unique approach," says Tatcha Founder and CEO, Victoria Tsai. Japanese and Korean beauty products both have elegant formulas and innovative textures, she adds, meant for women who are serious skin care buffs (and have the gorgeous complexions to prove it). Still, "Japan is known for innovation in skin care and color, but using time-tested rituals and ingredients at the same time. Trendy items, which are very popular in Korean beauty, don't work for a Japanese audience," explains Tsai.
It's all about a skin-first philosophy, focusing on creating the most gorgeous canvas for any makeup that's to come — which is why the popularity of J-beauty is booming, according to Tsai. "Western beauty has long been focused on makeup, but women are starting to learn that a beautiful painting begins with a beautiful canvas. K-beauty made Asian beauty part of the Western culture, so J-Beauty is a natural next step for beauty lovers who want to take care of their skin."
Intrigued? Get in on the trend with these six standouts.
From Japan's number one professional skin care company comes this new line, which uses ostrich egg yolk (stay with us here). It contains natural proteins found in the egg yolk that help fight against skin-damaging bacteria, pollutants and enzymes. This essence, a popular Asian product category (think of it as a souped-up serum) not only contains those anti-aging proteins, it also helps brighten dull skin.
This Japanese indie brand recently made its stateside debut with a range of haircare products that focus on scalp health (because after all, the skin on your head needs the same TLC as the rest of your skin). In this sudser, antioxidant-rich grape stem cells protect the scalp from damage, while pearl extract adds shine and luster to your hair with every wash. Bonus points for the super chic packaging.
Inspired by Japanese Geishas who start their makeup routine with a thin layer of wax (yes, wax) to create a flawless base, this primer straddles the line between skin care and makeup. True to its name, thin layers of silk hold in moisture, while silk powder creates a subtle blurring effect to camouflage pores, wrinkles and anything else you don't want showing. As if that weren't enough, there are also three unique Japanese ingredients, a super pure form of green tea, Japanese sea algae, and a nourishing rice, to further up the complexion perfection factor.
Way back before any type of Asian beauty was even a thing in the U.S., this cleansing oil from Japanese brand DHC was killing the game. The cult-classic (one bottle is sold every 10 seconds worldwide!) is olive oil-based to quickly and easily remove even waterproof makeup, yet it's so hydrating and soothing that you'll want to use it even when you're bare-faced.