For me, Japanese makeup is constantly innovative and progressive, and, on the whole, it is leading the rest of the field. Today I’d like to talk a little bit about the product development of point (color) makeup, and I’ll probably touch upon base makeup in a later post.
If you have been following Japanese cosmetics for the last decade, you will probably remember that, in the late 90s, a lot of the innovations were about creating lipsticks with a beaming watery shine. It was all about “gloss in a stick”. I still remember some ads from Shiseido PN featuring Arisa Mizuki with very glossy lips. The image you see above, from Shiseido PN’s spring 1999 collection, is what I remember the most from that period of time, and it really reflected what was then going on with Japanese makeup.
After the millennium, the development moved onto eyeshadows. The pigmentation level became more varied and there were more textures available (mousse, cream, liquid,…), both of which offered more choices for us. Also, the texture of the powder as well as blendability the staying power improved quite substantially. As far as trend is concerned, Japanese eyeshadows were getting more and more shimmery. They created dimension for the eyes, but it became increasingly difficult to find matte eyeshadows from Japanese brands. (It is almost hard to believe that Sofina’s Aube used to release eyeshadows that were completely matte.)
Now, we are back to lipsticks, as we have come full-circle within the last decade. While it was mainly about the finish ten years ago, it is now about the inner strengths. Major brands like Shiseido and Kanebo have been working on improving lipsticks’ moisture level and lasting power. Marketing-wise, lipsticks are often taking center stage as key items in seasonal collections, whereas, only a few years ago, they seemed almost secondary to all the eyeshadow palettes.
Dramatic Memory Rouge, which incorporates
“moisture wrapping oil” for continual moisture
and “fit stay oil” for lasting color
(image and info from www.nikkei.co.jp)
Unlike eyeshadows, I don’t think we are going to see a shift in the finish of lipsticks. (It seems that most Japanese customers still prefer moderately-pigmented lipsticks with a mildly glossy shine.) But we will hopefully be experiencing lipsticks that are even more lip-conditioning and with even better lasting power. So far I haven’t seen the drastic difference across major brands that I saw in eyeshadows (in terms of texture and staying power), but this is where the advancement of technology can potentially work its trick. We’ll see what happens.
Precursors of tomorrow: