Transition to normal: Top products in Japan highlight state of ‘rehabilitation’ among beauty consumers

By Amanda Lim contact

- Last updated on GMT

New data revealed that consumers are choosing products that can help them transition back into pre-pandemic beauty habits in a gradual manner. [Getty Images]
New data revealed that consumers are choosing products that can help them transition back into pre-pandemic beauty habits in a gradual manner. [Getty Images]

Related tags: Japan, COVID-19, Consumer trends

The latest collection of top ranked products on the @cosme beauty platform have revealed that consumers are choosing products that can help them transition back into pre-pandemic beauty habits in a gradual manner.

Since the pandemic in 2020, consumers have gradually adapted to the changes in daily life, including the use of protective face masks as well as the habit of staying home and isolating themselves. Unsurprisingly, in the first year, @cosme data captured that consumers shifted focus to skin care because of this.

The following year, the major theme was adaptation as consumers sought out products that could be incorporated into the ‘new normal’, such as lip products that do not transfer stains on masks.

As local authorities loosen COVID-19 measures, the pandemic may be weighing less on the minds of beauty consumers. According to data April 2021 to April 2022, the term COVID-19 declined by 13% on the @cosme platform.

As a result, products including liquid foundations, lipsticks, and blushers crept up into the top 10 rankings on @cosme.

However, a survey conducted in May 2022, showed that beauty consumers are not ready to throw caution to the wind just yet, some noting that it would take time to dispel anxieties and fears about the spread of the disease.

Half of the respondents reported that they were continuing to wear the mask to hide their appearance.

From these results, @cosme analysts concluded that the beauty consumer was going through a “rehabilitation period” ​and was slowly getting accustomed to the new, looser regulations.

An old reliable

Taking the top spot for @cosme’s latest ranking of award-winning products was FANCL’s well-known Mild Cleansing Oil, a make-up remover first released in 1997 and has since gone through various reiterations since.

The latest relaunch was in November 2021 and this version has accumulated 30,000 reviews thus far and approximately half were from repeat buyers.

The report suggested that consumers seek out old but reliable products for a sense of security and FANCL’s Mild Cleansing Oil provided “unchanging value”​ while continuing to evolve.

While technically a make-up remover, @cosme reviews suggested that consumers are using FANCL’s Mild Cleansing Oil even on no-make-up days to decongest their pores. In fact, the rate of pore care as a term has increased on @cosme by 7% over the past year.

According to FANCL’s own market research, there was an increasing trend in using Mild Cleansing Oil as a facial cleanser with more desire to care for skin among consumers.

With this latest version, it had communicated that Mild Cleansing Oil was more than a make-up remover, but an oil cleanser that could purify pores without stripping skin of moisture.

“As a result, we have received recognition as a product that responds to customers' desire to care for their bare skin, and I think that it has led to the behaviour of caring for bare skin with cleansing even on days without make-up,”​ said Ryo Doshita, executive officer, FANCL Corporation.

Hybrid hero

Following FANCL’s Mild Cleansing Oil on the rankings was Dior’s Forever Skin Glow Foundation. The French beauty brand claims that it is a clean formula and 86% of it contains skin care ingredients. It also said that it helps to improve the hydration and radiance of the skin.

According to @cosme reviews, consumers praised its lightweight and hydrating qualities and noted that it did not transfer onto face masks. Furthermore, they appreciated the skin care benefits of the foundation.

Over the last six months, more than half of respondents (56%) said their use of foundation had decreased, while 7% said they did not use foundation at all.

Given its lightweight finish, skin care benefits and transfer-resistant qualities, the report highlighted that it was a good foundation for consumers who probably have not worn a lot of foundation in the past two years.

“For those who have gone through many days without foundation, a foundation with high coverage and a solid finish may be a little bit of a hurdle.

“It can be said that what attracted support was not only that it was difficult to transfer masks, but also that it was a foundation with a finish that consumers now want. The need for a foundation that has a high skin care effect and looks like a beauty essence is likely to continue to grow.”

Barely there colour

Rounding up the top three was Addiction’s The Blush Nuancer in Aurora Veil. The cool purplish colour was regarded as the top blush by @cosme users for its ability to give the skin a sheer ‘transparent’ look, rather than a full-on wash of colour.

In fact, the term transparent had increased on @cosme by 5% over the past years, as did colour at 6%.

This reflects the consumers’ desire to return to using make-up and colour, but at the same time, they may not be looking for colours that are too bold – again this suggests that consumers are adapting to the use of make-up and colour after two years of avoiding them.

Another change @cosme has noted in the past couple of years was a greater concern for the environment. Around 40% of consumers worry about product wastage, said the report.

With The Blush Nuancer, some users appreciated that it has dual purposes and can be used as a blush or an eyeshadow.

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