Japanese Cosmetics Focus: Sonia Rykiel

by PJ on Thursday, May 29, 2008

in _Japanese Brand Profile, -Sonia Rykiel, all about Japanese cosmetics

(part of Sonia Rykiel’s Summer Makeup Collection:
Divines Vacances)
(image from www.soniarykiel-cosmetics.com)

Like Paul & Joe and Elégance, Sonia Rykiel is a French fashion brand (which I personally like very much). But, just like the brands mentioned above, the Sonia Rykiel beauty line is essentially Japanese and is developed and manufactured in Japan for Japanese and Asian consumers in general.

During my trip to Paris several years ago, staff in the Sonia Rykiel boutique confirmed that the line was not sold in France. At the moment, it is available in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Macau. (Please check Sonia Rykiel Beauté’s international shoplist for details of retail points outside Japan.)

The Sonia Rykiel beauty line features full skincare, base makeup, and color makeup ranges. All three areas have been performing relatively well in the Asian market. But the brand is particularly famous for its base makeup range. Their Treatment Makeup Base and Water Gel Foundation (both have been updated a couple of times in the past years) have been Sonia Rykiel’s best-selling products. (The brand claims that 80% of Water Gel Foundation, seen below in the center, is water and that it is an ultra-moisturizing foundation.)

(Left to right:
Treatment Powder Foundation,
Water Gel Foundation,
and Moisture Arising Cream Foundation)
(image from www.soniarykiel-cosmetics.com)

Skincare-wise, I have tried several samples, and the one that left me with a very good impression is the cleansing oil. It cleansed well, rinsed easily, and left no oily residue. (It has also been updated so I can’t say for sure how well the current version works.)

One of Sonia Rykiel’s best-selling skincare products is Hydra Premier Primer Moisture Essence (seen below). As I mentioned a couple of times in the past, many Japanese brands feature more elaborate skincare routines, and this product reflects this. This is a light serum-type product that is used right after cleansing and before any other skincare item is applied. It is supposed to work as a “primer” for subsequent skincare products and help them absorb better.

(Hydra Premier Primer Moisture Essence)
(image from www.soniarykiel-cosmetics.com)

I got a trial sample of this several years ago, and, to my surprise, alcohol was one of the major ingredients. (Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise, since alcohol features heavily in Japanese skincare products.) I have to say I would never put this on my face. In the ad above, to me, it’s a splash of (irritating) alcohol, not a splash of water…

I am a lot more pleased with Sonia Rykiel’s makeup products. I have Mono Eyeshadow in #16 and Aqua Cheek Color in 01. Sonia Rykiel revamped the entire color makeup line about two years ago, so both were discontinued (which is why I haven’t touched upon them since I started my blog).

I especially like the Mono Eyeshadow. Its smooth and silky texture rivals that of some of the best eyeshadows I have tried in the last couple of years. (The finish of this particular shade is luminous matte with very little shimmer.) The Aqua Cheek Color is a stick blusher with a cream-to-powder texture. This pigmented blusher takes a bit of time to blend, but the velvety finish is beautiful and long-lasting.

Overall, this is a brand that I do constantly pay attention to, especially its base and color makeup items. (Currently, I am quite interested in the eyeshadow palettes, loose powder, and lip glosses.) Their seasonal makeup collections are often very visually pleasing.

If you are going to Asia this summer and are interested in checking out beauty lines not available in the west, this brand is worth a look. (In Tokyo in particular, Sonia Rykiel Beauté is available in major department stores such as Takashimaya Shinjuku, Isetan Shinjuku, and Seibu Ikebukuro. All have heavenly beauty departments which cover a great variety of brands.)

Edited on May 30, 2008:

Sonia Rykiel is a high-end line and its pricing is similar to Lunasol’s. A Sonia Rykiel lipstick costs about 33 USD and a 4-color eye palette costs about 50 USD in Japan. All the items’ retail prices in Japan are listed on the Sonia Rykiel Beauté website.

On Other Japanese Cosmetics:



{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Becky Thursday, May 29, 2008

Hello! Do you know what price range this will be at about? Or what brands that are in the price range, like Maquillage, Coffret D’or, Lunasol…because I am going to be in Taiwan and want to buy some of these! Thanks! (by the way, great review on the Maquillage lipstick!)


hightea_xx Thursday, May 29, 2008

hey girl! i just went to japan and hong kong for the past month and let me tell you i was surprised at how they do cosmetics departments over there compared to over here! i didn’t get a lot, just a couple of exclusive dior items, like the diorskin x4control compact and concealer brush as well as some of the shiseido skincare… my oil asia skin was in heaven over there!


PJ Friday, May 30, 2008

Hi Becky,

I am sorry that I didn’t give any indication of Sonia Rykiel Beauté’s pricing. (I have added a few words towards the end of the post.)

Sonia Rykiel’s pricing is similar to Lunasol’s, so their items are a little more expensive than Maquillage’s and Coffret D’Or’s.

The items’ prices are listed on Sonia Rykiel’s website. The prices in Taiwan are not too far off from those.

Thank you for your kind words about my Maquillage lipstick post! :) I am glad you enjoyed the review.

Thank you very much as well for taking the time to post your comment. Hope to hear from you again. If you have a chance to try or buy any Sonia Rykiel item, do let me know what you think! :)


PJ Friday, May 30, 2008

Hi Hightea_xx,

It is great to know that you had a good time in Japan and Hong Kong! I’d love to go to Japan again soon…

The DiorSkin powder you mentioned is something I have been quite interested in. It is not sold in the UK either and it seems like something that might suit my oily skin. Do let me know what you think of it later on.

Hope you will enjoy your Shiseido skincare products as well!

Thank you very much for stopping by my blog again! :)


Chica Friday, May 30, 2008

I love their website, all the make up looks beautiful. I wish they shipped to the UK! :)
Ah well, another reason to save up to go to Japan. Thanks for the post Pj x


Vichaya Friday, May 30, 2008

I’m so happy to find that you write something about the brand. I love their water gel foundation so much. It’s very light weight. Very good during winter here, although in Thailand, you can just call it early fall. Anyway, my dry skin love it! I also have the treatment makeup base. It’s packed with delicate shimmer, making my face very bright and somehow has more definition. However, it’s not really good for a very hot day since my face will look too shiny. Anyway, I love them both. They still don’t have counter in Thailand so I get them from Taiwan.


PJ Saturday, May 31, 2008

Hi Chica,

You are very welcome. :)

I also think that Sonia Rykiel’s packaging is very appealing. It is modern and classy. The makeup colors are very beautiful too.

You are right…this is definitely another reason to go to Japan for…:)

Thank you for your comment again, and enjoy your weekend! :)


PJ Saturday, May 31, 2008


Thank you very much for visiting my blog. :)

It is great to hear more about the Water Gel Foundation from you. I actually have a sample of it, but it has been left (unopened) for quite a while and I probably shouldn’t test it anymore…

Thank you as well for letting me know about the Treatment Makeup Base. I think the packaging changed not too long ago, but I expect the formulation to be similar. It does sound like a very good primer for people who want more radiance for their faces in cooler weather. I am glad that you are able to get both products from Taiwan.

I would love to try more Sonia Rykiel products, and I will certainly share my thoughts on my blog.

Thank you very much for your comment. Hope to hear from you again soon! :)


nywele Thursday, June 19, 2008

wow! I didn’t know that Sonia Rykiel launched her make-up line. the colors are gorgeous!

I looove her bags..if only they could be in my budget…


PJ Friday, June 20, 2008

Hi Nywele,

Thank you for reading my blog!

I think Sonia Rykiel’s beauty line has been available for about 10 years or more. But it is mainly sold in Asia.

I do like Sonia Rykiel’s fashion. I particularly like her knitwear range.

Thank you for posting your comment. Hope to hear from you again soon. :)


Ha Saturday, November 7, 2009

Where can I buy this sonia rykiel skin care in the US?
Please, help.


PJ Monday, November 16, 2009

Hi Ha,

You can try ichibankao.com, which is based in Japan and ships internationally. I have been happy with their services.

(Sonia Rykiel is not listed on the website, but you can send them an e-mail to ask about the products you want.)

Hope it helps, and thank you very much for your question! :)


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