While some Japanese brands such as Shiseido, SK-II and Shu Uemura have long been staples for the grooming-minded, K-Beauty (Korean beauty) with its elaborate skincare rituals and quirky packaging has stolen the limelight for the last few years. Now J-Beauty or Japanese beauty seems to be poised for a comeback.
What is J-Beauty?
First off, what is J-Beauty? J-Beauty is short for Japanese-Beauty, similar to the better known K-Beauty (Korean) which has been extremely popular the last five or so years.
J-Beauty focuses on careful skin cleansing and specialized products rather than a one-size fits all approach.
What makes J-Beauty special?
Fern Koh, founder of Fernberry explains, “J-Beauty is a realm of beauty products, where extreme care is taken in its planning, production and use of ingredients. Every step taken has a meaning behind it. There is a heavy focus on traditional ingredients and their benefits.
Formulation techniques– whether modern or traditional – are continually being refined to bring out ingredient benefits for the nourishment of our skin. In short, J Beauty is a craft that combines science with ritual and tradition.”
Why Should Guys Be Interested in J-Beauty?
Andrew Fitzsimons, celebrity hair stylist visited Japan with the Kardashians reports, “I just spent a week in Japan for work, and beauty shopping was the highlight of my time there. What’s interesting to me is that whether it’s luxury or price-friendly, the Japanese are known for creating high quality products across all industries – and beauty is no exception.”
The Japanese take a more serious, understated approach to skincare based on tradition. Fitzsimmons says, “In the US and many parts of the world, we’re so used to chasing the latest trends and focusing on what’s hot and new.
In my exploration and conversation with Japanese people about their beauty routines, their approach is much more sophisticated and focused on what is tried and true (with a bit of fun thrown in – but not quite to the level of Korean beauty).”
What is the Average J-Beauty Skincare Routine?
While the skincare rituals might not be quite as extreme as K-Beauty, it’s still a multi-step process. Fitzsimmons explains, “While I was in Tokyo, I learned that the average J-beauty routine consists of double cleansing (makeup remover and face wash), toner (called lotion in Japan), serum and moisturizer, with the addition of a sheet mask once or twice a week, which we all tried and loved while we were there.
I also noticed that the Japanese favor products that are highly effective and provide more than one benefit (example: all in one creams or shampoos that provide scalp health benefits).”
6 Best J-Beauty Treats for Men
Here are some J-Beauty brands that are available in the US with men-friendly offerings.
NatureLab Tokyo Haircare: Volume Collection
NatureLab TOKYO focuses more on skin and hair health than purely looking good. Their Volume collection is perfect for men worried about thinning hair. It’s powered by apple stem cells which have been shown to replenish and maintain a balanced and healthy scalp.
This in turn reduces and prevents premature hair loss. Meanwhile soy proteins strengthen and restore the hair's natural thickness so it appears fuller and more robust. Definitely worth a try.
Adsorb AntiBody Essence is a new product from the top professional skin care company in Japan. Its unique formulation based on ostrich eggs was the brainchild of Professor Osamu who hypothesized that the incredibly long lifespan of the ostrich was due to a very strong immune system.
After confirming this theory, he developed Adsorb Beauty AntiBody which fights against skin-damaging bacteria, pollutants and enzymes. It’s an essence in which in J-Beauty roughly translates to serum. Great for guys looking to step up their anti-aging routines.
The popular foot exfoliant brand Babyfoot recently expanded their line to include a men’s product. For the man who wants smoother, better looking feet easily this is a great product. You wear a plastic sock for an hour, rinse the foot completely and then...wait.
In 3-7 days you’ll start to see dead skin cells peeling away, leaving you with baby soft feet with almost no effort on your part. One caveat, if you have a lot of dead skin built up, the peeling can be pretty dramatic. Plan to wear socks.
Fernberry Replenishing Smoothie Conditioning Foot Cream
Once you've peeled your feet, you'll want to keep them smooth and hydrated. Fernberry's Foot Cream uses a unique combination of a highly moisturizing ingredient, the Sodium Hyaluronate Crosspolymer, along with rice bran oil, shea butter, algae extract and lavender to moisturize and refresh your feet.
The resulting cream leaves the skin healthy and smelling good. Perfect for both dry winters or summer when your feet will be exposed.
If you’re like most guys, you know you should be using an everyday sun cream but rarely get around to it unless you’re planning a day outside. Shiseido’s Urban Environment is a light, hydrating, daily SPF to protect your skin as you go about your daily business.
And if you are planning a day outside, it holds its own against heat and humidity. While all Shiseido’s sunscreens are high quality, the tint helps eliminate that white sheen that comes from from not rubbing the sun block in well enough. They also make a great under eye mask.
Sheet masks have become a cornerstone of the enthusiast groomer's skincare kit. They look like a thin, damp layer of tissue paper that you apply over your face for 15-20 minutes are are single use.
Tatcha's Luminous Deep Hydration Lifting Mask is ultra-concentrated, making your skin smoother and more hydrated in one session. Perfect for after a long flight, stressful week or when you just need extra hydration.
If you find yourself in Japan and want to check it out for yourself, Fitzsimmons gave some advice: “Between work, Hrush Achemyan, Mario Dedivanovic and I took little shopping excursions – our favorite were all the shops in Harajuku. I came home with SO much stuff…blue eye drops, every mask under the sun, a stick that helps with blackheads, special shampoos that lightly dye hair – I haven’t even had time to try it all yet.”
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