Part 1: Why Japanese?

(from Kanebo Coffret d’Or via YouTube)

Many years ago, I read an article on Japanese base makeup, which mentioned that the technologies in Japan involved in producing base makeup were about a decade ahead of those of most western brands. While it is not easy to prove this (and whether it is still true today), I do feel that Japanese base makeup items are constantly out-doing their western counterparts.

It seems that we can draw inferences from the cultural side of things. I have often heard that, if one can only choose to wear one makeup item for the day, a western consumer is likely to choose a mascara (or an eyeliner). On the other hand, a Japanese consumer would go for a foundation. (It can be a sweeping generalization, but I do find some truth in it.)

From the articles written by Kaoru Saito, a Japanese beauty expert, it seems that Japanese people perceive having shine and open pores in public as something impolite. Having a fresh and impeccable complexion, free from shine and open pores, seems to be part of the social etiquette. (Maybe this is why there are a lot more products (mainly primers) that tackle these two issues in Japanese beauty brands.)

In this case, it is the consumers’ needs that drive product research and innovation, and the result is products that work better.

I have oily skin and almost always use a powder foundation, and I think I probably want quite a lot from it. I want it to have a fair amount of coverage but to still look natural. I want it to cancel out mild redness, conceal pores, control sebum and last throughout the day. The powder should have a smooth texture, and the finish should be predominantly matte.

Generally, I find that Japanese foundations cancel out mild redness and conceal pores considerably more effectively than western ones. Also, the foundations I have tried that have a good sebum-control efficacy are all from Japanese lines. So, based on personal experience, I’d say that Japanese base makeup products generally perform a lot better.

(I have less experience with liquid/cream foundations. If you have any observation on how Japanese products fare with western ones, please do let me know your thoughts.)

In the next few days, I will talk briefly about the rhythm of product releases in Japanese base makeup, how to choose the right shade, some Japanese beauty brands that are particularly known for base makeup, and some of my personal favorites and recommendations. Do come back!

(The ad on top of this post is the TV ad for Coffret D’Or’s latest powder foundation, Lasting Power Pact UV. It was officially out on March 1st and is something I am interested in trying.)


Continue reading the series:

Part 2: When are they coming out?

Part 3: Which one is my shade?

Part 4: Which brand shall I look into?

Part 5: My Favorites (& Yours)


Related posts:

Western vs. Japanese…Who’s Winning?

All About Japanese Cosmetics

“Japanese Brand Profile” Series

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Kimberly Tia Tuesday, March 3, 2009

What a great and informative entry, and I appreciate all the links and facts too.

It’s really true, I’m quite obsessed with Japanese beauty products, and Korean products – I do have “skin envy” thanks to them and magazines.

looking forward to your part 2


The Mighty J Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I can’t wait for the series – it would give a newbie like me better understanding of Japanese products. I also want to say I like reading your blog – its on my daily blog list and I always look forward to your posts – keep it up!


Chloe Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I’m really looking forward to your series.I have written you an email about your current post as my message got longer and longer and would have made difficult reading on your comments board.


Carrie Hoyt Wednesday, March 4, 2009

These years, Korean makeup base, BB cream is so hit & claimed to be a perfect product, having the function of sun screen, makeup base & fundation together! Saying you have only wear this right after your skincare. I would like to know what's you comment on these BB cream…


PJ Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hi Kimberly,

Thank you very much for reading this post. I am glad that you enjoy it! (I am certainly a fan of Japanese beauty products as well. :))

Hope you will enjoy the rest of the series!

Thank you very much for your comment again! :)


PJ Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hi The Mighty J,

Thank you for checking out my blog so regularly. I really appreciate it!

I hope you will enjoy reading the posts in this series. If you have any question, please do keep me posted.

Thank you for posting your comment! :)


PJ Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hi Chloe,

Thank you for posting your comment here and sending me a message. I have received it and I will write back to you soon. :)

Many thanks again, and I hope you will enjoy this series. :)


PJ Thursday, March 5, 2009

Hi Carrie,

I have certainly heard a lot about all the various BB Creams. I haven’t really tried any, but I will certainly share my thoughts on my blog if I have a chance to try some.

Thank you for posting your comment! :)


Anonymous Monday, March 9, 2009

Thanks to yr blog and link,i managed to get the Lavshuka loose powder. luv it.


PJ Tuesday, March 10, 2009


You are very welcome, and I am glad that you enjoy using the Lavshuca Face Powder! (It is definitely one of my favorite base makeup products.)

Thank you very much for stopping by! :)


heavy hedonist Friday, October 14, 2011


As always, getting your lowdown on the newest and truest is fun. I do think that part of the reason your Japanese base lasts longer for you is because it’s made with oilier skin in mind. And caring for that kind of skin without skimping on other aspects that make up a good foundation is something that American products, at least, are just starting to do well. I have to wonder if my dry older skin would be as well served by a Japanese line… but I’m considering it!

I’m looking forward to more of your insight into holiday colors this year.
Peace, Mari


PJ Monday, October 17, 2011

Hi Mari,

Thank you very much for your kind words!

Indeed, many Japanese base makeup products are designed with specific skin types in mind. Also, generally, items released in spring and summer tend to suit those with combination or oilier skin and those from fall and winter often suit those with drier skin.

If you have dry skin, then these two (powder-based) foundations might suit you:

Lunasol Skin Fusing Powder Foundation:

RMK Powder Foundation EX:

Both foundations have a silky texture and feel almost emollient on the skin.

Thank you very much for posting your comment! :)


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