Over the last few years, K-Beauty has taken the world by storm. Drawing emphasis away from heavy makeup in favour of a naturally radiant and healthy-looking complexion, the worldwide obsession with K-Beauty is certainly here to stay. But what about the way that Japanese ingredients are powering our skincare collections?
Since working at Escentual, I’ve seen Japanese skincare ingredients pop up more and more, and it’s safe to say that they impress me time and time again – which is why I wanted to showcase some of them in this edit. Japanese-inspired skincare often utilises traditional, natural botanicals, which have been innovated for the 21st century to create efficacious and tech-driven formulations.
For the seventh edition of my technology series, I’m going to be looking at some of the most exciting Japanese ingredients that I think you’ll want to keep an eye out for. Not only will I focus on two leading Japanese brands – Shiseido and DHC – but I’ll also shine a spotlight on the way bareMinerals have sought inspiration from the unique and bountiful landscape of Japan in one of their more recent collections.
Read on to find out more…
1. The Florals Blossoming Within The Beauty Industry
Floral Ingredients: Japan’s beauty traditions date back over 3000 years, so lots of their most beloved ingredients – including key floral ingredients – have been used and celebrated for generations. One standout flower in Japan is the camellia; historically, its oil has been used by geishas for years to protect and nourish their skin and hair. Nutrient-rich camellia oil continues to prove popular in Japanese skincare today; not only does it improve skin elasticity and calm redness, but it’s also renowned for its deeply moisturising properties and skin-healing benefits. Another key flower that you’ll spot in Japanese skincare? Sakura (cherry blossom) – it’s renowned for its soothing, smoothing and brightening abilities, as well as its antioxidant benefits.
My Standout Choice Of The Moment: Shiseido Men Ultimune Power Infusing Concentrate Serum
Japanese brand, Shiseido, are one of the absolute leaders in skincare innovation (you’ll often see them cropping up in my tech edit due to their science-driven formulations). Many of their beauty products celebrate and utilise Japanese ingredients and know-how, but it’s their latest serum for men which has really caught my attention this month. The Shiseido Men Ultimune Serum is powered by an impressive Triple TSUBAKI Technology, which is built around antioxidant-rich Japanese camellia extract.
But how exactly does this tech work? Featuring extracts from the leaf, flower and seed of the Tsubaki plant (a Japanese camellia), the Shiseido Men’s serum strengthens the skin’s defences while minimising signs of ageing and fatigue. Specially designed to meet the needs of male skin, the lightweight, liquid serum leaves skin deeply moisturised, while it also effortlessly smooths away fine lines and roughness. Another bonus? The Shiseido Men’s serum doesn’t just enhance skin now, but it also protects and future proofs the complexion.
2. The Aquatics Making Waves In The Skincare World
Aquatic Ingredients: When you’re dehydrated on a hot day, nothing quite quenches your thirst like a cool glass of water – and the same goes for your skin! As an island state, water is naturally a component of Japan’s identity, so it’s no surprise that aquatic and oceanic ingredients inspire J-Beauty formulas. But it’s not just algae, seaweed or sea water in Japanese skincare, you might even spot a trend of skin-soothing, hydrating rice water.
My Standout Choice Of The Moment: DHC By the Sea Lotion
New for 2021, DHC’s By the Sea collection certainly taps into the natural powers of Japanese seawater. Another iconic J-Beauty brand, DHC promotes the time-honoured tradition of double cleansing, which is why their best-selling olive oil-based cleanser is perhaps one of their most well-known products. But here, they’re stepping away from their roots to delve into skin-quenching aquatic ingredients. Out of the range, I want to focus more so on the lotion as the use of lotions is a popular step within J-Beauty skincare routines.
Formulated with 92% natural ingredients, the lotion is infused with mineral-rich deep sea water from Japan’s Izu peninsula, drawn from 2,000 feet below sea level. The water is filtered twice to ensure the perfect balance of hydrating and skin-nourishing minerals. But the oceanic theme doesn’t stop there; the moisturising lotion also floods the skin with a blend of marine botanicals like fermented lactobacillus liquid derived from Akazawa deep sea water, which promotes plumper, firmer-looking skin. An additional dose of purple laver seaweed boosts ceramide production to increase the skin’s moisture barrier and enhance protection, with a type of seagrass added to the mix to support radiant, glowing skin. I also love that the moisturiser works in absolute harmony with the lotion as it’s infused with the same deep sea water, while the addition of kelp extract defends against environmental stress for a firm, lifted look. To tie us back to the theme of technology, the collection is even hailed for its use of ocean-derived technology, paving the way for “blue” innovation.
And I couldn’t mention DHC without mentioning their philosophy; they embrace the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi, which teaches that there is beauty in imperfection. Wabi-sabi promotes the idea that each of us is “perfectly imperfect”, with DHC’s collections encouraging you to feel beautiful in your natural skin.
3. The Botanicals With Roots In Anti-Ageing
Roots and Herbaceous Ingredients: Lots of Japanese skincare ingredients are not only renowned for their skin-boosting abilities, but also for their flavour-enhancing properties that are utilised in Asian cuisine. In fact, you’ll find lots of edible roots, grains and botanicals within skincare products, from skin-quenching rice extract to antioxidant shiso – and not forgetting tone-evening Shiitake mushroom. There’s no doubt about it; Japan’s breathtaking landscape is home to a range of antioxidant natural ingredients that are inspiring and enhancing skincare collections all over the world.
My Standout Choice Of The Moment: bareMinerals SkinLongevity Long Life Herb Serum
Powered by a skin-strengthening superfood, bareMinerals’ SkinLongevity collection centres around Chomeiso, also known as Long Life Herb. Native to Okinawa – just off the coast of Japan – Chomeiso has been part of the Okinawan diet for centuries. It supports their overall wellness and is thought to help contribute to their incredibly long lifespans – did you know that Okinawa is nicknamed the ‘Island of Long Life’ as residents there live longer than almost anyone on earth?
Grown in calcium-rich, mineral-rich soil without agrichemicals, pesticides or chemical fertilisers, the Long Life Herb has a higher mineral and vitamin content than even the world-renowned superfoods, kale and spinach; plus, it’s loaded with antioxidants. So, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that bareMinerals have selected this jaw-dropping superfood to lace their SkinLongevity anti-ageing skincare range. Featuring patented Long Life Herb extract, the vegan serum is clinically shown to strengthen skin so that it looks younger and firmer. Not only does the serum strengthen the skin’s barrier by up to 45% – so it can better resist environmental stressors and free radicals – but it also tackles fine lines and wrinkles, while improving tone, texture and radiance. If that isn’t superfood, I don’t know what is!