Japanese beauty: What’s it all about?

what japanese beauty products to buy

J-beauty stands for Japanese beauty. If you’d like to find out what Japanese beauty products to buy, or what Japanese beauty is all about, keep on reading!

If you haven’t heard about J-beauty before, it involves gentle, simple products, which focus on protecting the skin. When it comes to makeup, J-beauty is extremely natural and subtle. Although K-beauty is all the rage nowadays, J-beauty should not be overlooked. There are some similarities between the two, but J-beauty does differ from Korean beauty products!

How do K-beauty and J-beauty differ?

For me, the biggest difference between K-beauty and J-beauty is that J-beauty is more centred around minimalism. While K-beauty is known for having a focus on layering hydrating and nourishing toners, ampoules and serums, Japanese beauty routines tend to be more simplistic. J-beauty focuses on a few products, the key being cleanser, a good moisturiser and sun-screen. Japanese moisturisers tend to be lightweight water or gel formulas.

K-beauty is very trendy and it loves new releases, trendy packaging, and new, innovative ingredients. A lot of K-Beauty contains active ingredients (for more information on what active ingredients are, check out my skincare guide). I personally turn to Korean skincare when I’m looking for lightening and brightening products, but they also make amazing hydrating, skin healing and anti-ageing skincare.

K-beauty is also well known for its fun and quirky packaging.

By contrast, J-beauty products are more simple both in terms of look and their functions.

Sheet masks are an important part of K-beauty, and although they are beginning to become popular in Japan, this is a relatively new development and in Korea there is much more variety in sheet masks.

As with skincare, Japanese beauty is focused on the ‘natural’ look. Makeup tends to look very subtle, and this is reflected in the products sold. Japanese lip colours tend to be soft shades of pink while Korean makeup is known for its bright lip tints.

In Korea, both eyeshadow palettes and eyeshadow singles are popular, but in Japan, eyeshadow singles are far more popular than palettes! I think this is because Japanese people don’t tend to wear extravagant eyeshadow colours; just natural shades with a sparkly shadow on top.

My J-beauty top-picks

I really enjoy Korean and Japanese skincare. I find that J-beauty is a little more simple which I love; it’s easy to get discouraged to do your full routine when you have 130 steps to do!

For the most part, Japanese skin care is gentle on my skin and I love that that many of their products are fragrance-free. Fragrance serves no benefit to the skin, and it can irritate it! I have had a reaction to highly fragranced skincare before so I definitely prefer those without added fragrance.

As Japanese skincare is about hydrating and protecting the skin, I have tried several of their sun-screens and really enjoyed them and I enjoy many Japanese essences.

However, alcohol features in a lot of Japanese skincare, which I do not love. Alcohol can be really drying to the skin, and it really dries me out!

I also enjoy J-beauty’s simplicity in makeup and I’ve found that all the products I’ve tried so far have been gentle on my skin and extremely flattering. Apart from their foundations of course as I am mixed black and white so obviously I can’t find my skin tone in Japanese base products. I will say though that they aren’t as pigmented as Western products as they are natural looking, which can be a disadvantage when it comes to eyeshadows.

-Light Body Milk Peach & Jasmine
This lightweight body moisturiser has the most incredible scent! As I have mentioned, I don’t like fragrance in my skincare, but my body care is an exception (the skin on my body is less sensitive than my face.

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t have time for your moisturiser to sink into your skin in the morning, then this is the one for you. As it is a lotion, it’s more lightweight than a moisturiser, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t nourishing. I have dry skin on my body, particularly on my legs, and this lotion leaves me feeling balanced for about 24 hours, particularly in hot weather. In winter, I do need a thicker moisturiser.

Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic
I am such a fan of this lightweight, Hyaluronic acid essence. The product is listed as a lotion, but it is more similar to an essence or serum in Western Beauty. It quickly absorbs into the skin without any stickiness and leaves it feeling plump. When I travel and I can’t bring it with me I notice my skin is less elastic and soft.

Bioré makes fantastic sun-screens and cleansers, but all of the products I have tried from them have been fragranced.

UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+
This is a fantastic SPF as it is lightweight but effective; it really feels like nothing on the skin! This isn’t a sunscreen for those with sensitive or dry skin because it contains both fragrance and alcohol. However, if you have normal or combination skin I think you’ll really enjoy this one!

I has no white cast, and it also contains hyaluronic acid.

Face Wash
These face washes are foaming cleansers. Foaming cleansers can be drying for the skin because of their high surfactant content, but if your skin can handle this I think you’ll like these cleansers!

These last a really long time as you only need to use the smalles amount (like a pinky fingernail’s size), and it leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated. And the foam is so pleasant to use.

MUJI skincare
I have tried several products from MUJI and have loved them all! Although MUJI isn’t a dedicated skincare brand, they have a fantastic range of different toners, essences, makeup removers, lotions and face washes. Lots of MUJI cosmetics are fragrance free, and all are super gentle on the skin. They are the best examples of how simplicity can be a luxury.

From MUJI, my favourite products are:

Face Soap in ‘Moisture’
This cleanser uses apricot juice and peach leaf extract as hydrating ingredients which make your skin feel hydrated post-cleanse.

Toning Water in ‘Light’ and ‘High Moisture’
This toner is more like an essence or serum and it is light and extremely hydrating. This kind of product is great to use in the mornings you’re going to wear makeup as they banish dehydration, allowing your products to look better on the skin.

MUJI’s makeup storage solutions are also well-worth a look.

And OMG if you have glasses, please check out their lens wipes. In fact, don’t check them out. Just buy them. Thank me later!

I am more into skincare than I am makeup but I have tried a couple of J-beauty makeup products which I have loved.

The formula of this eyeliner is rich, but the most impressive part of this liner is the brush. Designed by a brush maker, it is so flexible and easy to use; it’s by far the best brush liner I’ve come across. The liner is long wearing and budge-proof!

Flower Jelly Lipstick
This is a soft pink lip tint which lasts for hours and hours. It is nourishing like a lip balm, but it leaves a stain. The packaging is beautiful, and the lipstick bullet is absolutely stunning.

But warning: this one has a funny taste!

Overall, I really love J-beauty! It’s simple, effective and beautiful. This can be a refreshing change from Western beauty which tends to be a bit more complex and full-on. I love how J-beauty focuses on enhancing your natural features, as that is the look that I go for in my everyday life anyway!

Do you like J-beauty? What J-beauty products have you tried?

Thanks for reading,

Jazmin xxx


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