What’s Behind Japanese Beauty?

The best-kept secrets of Japanese women to inspire and encourage your skincare routine. And don’t miss Tokyo’s makeup trends!

By Jennifer Micó

They look smooth, moisturised, shiny but never greasy. Walking down the street, you’ll find teens with big smiles but no trace of acne issues. Even if you tried hard, you won’t guess the age of that lady that you’re staring at: not a single wrinkle, not a single spot!


Trust me, I’ve found the worldwide known porcelain doll face in Tokyo. It seems that, in this city, people have no skin problems. And, even if they did, Who could notice them, beneath plenty of cosmetics’ layers and countless hours devoted to the skincare ceremony?

What do these gorgeous, flawless-faced women do? Today I want to share with you the tips that a specialist gave me. Her name is Misaki and she works at Shu Uemura: one of the main Japanese skincare and makeup brand (and they also have very popular hair care articles). Mr Shu Uemura, the brand’s founder, was Frank Sinatra’s makeup artist. When he was back from the States, he began a whole skincare revolution in Japan, which effects can still be seen on the streets. So, get your cleansing oils ready, because that’s precisely where the magic begins!jenny5

1- Skincare is not only a routine but one the most beloved customs a child inherits from her mum. Just like brushing their teeths, Japanese girls soon get into the habit of taking care of their skin’s health.


2- Daytime and nighttime creams are not enough. With only two jars of creams, we’ll stay far away from what a decent skincare routine must be like. A more complete pack would consist on cleansing oil, toner, serum, whitening, emulsion and moisturizing cream (just to mention the most important ones). Yes, they use all these products twice a day, the seven days of the week!

3- Forget the towel and go for the tissues! After rinsing the cleansing oil, Japanese women use a tissue. The purpose isn’t to dry the face but to remove the water excess.

4- Silky cotton: that’s the key! There’re special cotton pads that have one cotton side and one silky side. This type of pads are ideal when applying the toner.

5- Got your anti-age cream, already? If not, maybe you should. Buying the first anti-age cream at forty it’s too late, even at thirty. In Japan, once you’re in your twenties, you must add an anti-age cream to your beauty kit.


6- Enjoy! A skincare routine shouldn’t be a tedious activity but a relaxing one. After doing it for years, and feeling happy with its results, you come to a point where you can’t wait for your skincare ceremony time.

7- Be sure creams remain on your face, not on your pillow. A skincare routine may take about 20 minutes, a big amount of energy and a lot of love. So, to make it worth it, don’t go through the whole process right before going to bed. Read a book, talk with your partner, call a friend: just keep yourself entertained as you let the magic of the creams begin.


Latest Tokyo’s makeup trends:

  • Under base with SPF and mousse texture for a natural look: it’s an unique Shu Uemura creation and that’s probably why it’s one of the brand’s signature skincare articles. It makes the pores disappear.
  • Not all women are Geishas, but there’s still a lot of eye-art in their makeup. When in Tokyo, in any little shop or drugstore you’ll easily find a wide variety of eyeliners, especially liquid ones. Shu Uemura has its own model: a Japanese calligraphy inspired eyeliner. The brush makes it effortless to draw a perfect line. And, good news, it’s waterproof!


  • Mascara is getting less popular. Not all women around the World pursue voluminous and XL lashes. No matter how much makeup they use, Japanese women will always try to keep a look as natural and naive as possible. Hence, if they wear a mascara, they’ll probably prefer the less impressive one.
    • “Oh how I wish that I had a daughter that had skin as white as snow, lips as red as blood, and hair as black as ebony.” (It’s impossible not to think of Snow White, while writing about Japanese beauty!) We can leave lips and hair for upcoming posts and let’s focus on skin. Highly influenced by different companies advertisements, Japanese people associate white skin with the concept of beauty. In fact, in Tokyo, any poster publicizing sunscreens will have a white model on it: never tanned! That’s why, even during the hottest days of Summer, Japanese women cover their legs and arms with dark clothes and won’t leave home without a parasol.
    • As well as white, Japanese women prefer a childish look. Pastel eyeshadows and pink blushes are the basics in the girly palette.
    • Grown-ups may quit makeup but they’ll keep their skincare routine forever. After reaching a certain age, Japanese women leave makeup aside and focus on oils, toners, serums and the rest of products to maintain their faces as radiant as a girls in her teens.
    • What’s coming next? This Summer, Shu Uemura will launch a transparent and sparkling gel eyeliner: ideal for shinny look in sunny days.


Did you know the Japanese beauty routine? How is your skincare ceremony? Got any other tip you want to share with us?

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