Special Edition: Colour Cosmetics Trends

Losing its colour? Data suggests Japanese consumers have developed new make-up needs and preferences

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Data from @cosme suggests how beauty brands can adapt to new make-up trends.  [GettyImages]
Data from @cosme suggests how beauty brands can adapt to new make-up trends. [GettyImages]

Related tags make-up Research trends COVID-19

Reviews on cosmetics portal @cosme have revealed several new make-up needs and concerns that have emerged in Japan during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and suggests how beauty brands can adapt to these trends.

Owned by Japanese beauty retail and media firm istyle Inc, @cosme is a cosmetic portal that has amassed millions of product reviews from 6.1m members.

Since launching in 1999, @cosme has spun off into a retail business which has an offline and online presence in markets such as Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Thailand.

In the past year, the website has observed new trends forming in the wake of the outbreak. For instance, it has seen a shift in the demand for make-up products towards skin care products because of the pandemic.

“At present, due to the spread of the coronavirus, people are refraining from going outside and the frequency at which they wear makeup has decreased,”​ said Uiko Nishihara, a research planner at @cosme.

According to a survey conducted by the firm in October last year, 66% and 42% of @cosme members have stopped using or decreased the usage of lip and face make-up respective.

However, Nishihara noted that this statistic does not mean that consumers have lost interest entirely in colour cosmetics.

Referring to the same survey, she highlighted that while 25% of respondents said their interest in make-up has dropped, 34% reported an increased interest in the category.

Instead, consumers have developed new needs and preferences when it comes to make-up.

Skin-first cosmetics

In a report by Nishihara published in the January 2021 edition of the Fragrance Journal, she noted that skin has taken a “leading role”​ in beauty.

This has created a demand for face base products, like foundation and concealers, that can enhance the appearance of the skin.

According to Nishihara, this means consumers are looking for formulations that blends in synergy with the skin, instead of sitting atop of it.

She added that products that also have skin care benefits stand a higher chance of catching the attention of consumers as the ultimate goal for consumers is to “look beautiful even without make-up”.

Furthermore, it is more important today for make-up products to have long-lasting properties that can withstand the frequent use of protective masks.

As such, make-up products such as Cosme Decorte Face Powder have been highly regarded by the @cosme community.

“It has received good reviews for both the beauty of the make-up's finish and the fact it's gentle on the skin. The fact their makeup doesn't stand out if it sticks to your mask makes is an added source of popularity,” ​said Nishihara.

The need for mask-friendly products is also creating a huge demand for lip tints or lipsticks that leaves a hint of colour on the lips as the formula wears off.

According to @cosme’s rankings, one of the hottest lip products on its website is the B IDOL Lipstick by popular YouTube Akari Yoshida.

“The juicy gloss feeling, rich moisturising power, and tint formulation that rarely sticks to masks are all highly regarded,”​ said Nishihara.

Comfort and stress-free beauty

Aside from these typical functions, Nishihara highlighted that brands need to pay attention to certain consumer concerns that have emerged in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For instance, brands should take into the consumers’ mental health and comfort into consideration when designing products.

“From the feeling on the skin to the smell of the product, brands can use these qualities to help the consumer relieve their stress. Long-lasting effects can also reduce the stress of having to fix your make-up later in the day,”​ said Nishihara.

One of the trends that have been gaining on the @cosme platform is that consumers are more sensitive to wastage.

With fewer opportunities to use make-up, consumers are less inclined to buy products they think they will end up wasting. This is driving the popularity of make-up products that come in smaller sizes.

Another benefit of smaller sizes is that consumers are more likely to try it as the risk is mitigated. Furthermore, in the case of make-up, it will encourage consumers to try out more colours as well.

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