Tag Archives: Asia

Tokyo women are fastest at applying makeup in Asia

When it comes to makeup, the women of Tokyo are all about efficiency. They use the second-highest number of cosmetics but spend the least amount of time applying them, according to a survey covering six Asian cities and New York.

The Kanebo Cosmetics survey was conducted in October 2016 and covered 1,219 women, ranging in age from 18 to 34, living in Tokyo, Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei, Seoul, Bangkok and New York.

It found that women in Tokyo spent an average of 14.5 minutes for a single application of makeup. Women in Seoul were the most painstaking with their cosmetics, spending an average of 21.6 minutes in front of the mirror.

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The survey also found Tokyo respondents use 10 cosmetic products, on average, the second-most after Seoul, where women use an average of 10.6 products. Respondents in Shanghai and Taipei use relatively few beauty aids, averaging 5.8 and 5.9, respectively.

The share of respondents who said they enjoy or somewhat enjoy putting on makeup for work was lowest for Tokyo respondents, at 39.9%. The figure was the highest for Beijing women, at 77.4%.

“The survey indicated that Tokyo women may be using cosmetics as a tool to ensure smooth personal relationships in the workplace,” Kanebo said.

Among women in Tokyo, the largest share said they apply make up to give their faces a “sophisticated” look. In Beijing and Shanghai, “elegance” was key, while women in Taipei and Bangkok prefer an “intelligent” look, the survey found.

The results will be used for product development and education of salespeople overseas, Kanebo said.

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Muji Is Asia’s Most Underrated Skincare Line

Muji, Japan’s great housewares chain, has started to make inroads in the US, with stores proliferating on both coasts. The chain opened its first stateside store in New York’s Soho in 2007 and has added 15 more locations since then (the latest outpost opened in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, just this month).

Defined by its minimalist designs and ubiquity, Muji’s closest amalgam might be Ikea, but with way, way less furniture and way nicer housewares, plus clothes and books. But unlike a trip to Ikea’s mouse-maze warehouse — a slightly sadistic way to test tensile strength of any couple’s relationship — a sweep through Muji, with its calming earth tones and the dreamy hiss of glowing aroma diffusers, is more meditation than mental ward.

While less celebrated in the US than some of the store’s organizational products and clothes, its affordable skincare selection is equally zen, not to mention wildly popular in Japan. Think of it as Marie Kondo-ing your beauty cabinet.

The brand’s four skincare lines are coolly delineated in easily identifiable shades: sensitive(clear/white), natural (forest green), balance (light peach), and aging (copper brown). The wording on the skincare packaging is completely stripped down to the product type, like “light moisturizing milk” or “gel cleansing.” There is no romantic copy or big beauty promises. Muji has a “no-brand brand” ethos, so you won’t even see its own damn logo on your cleansing gel.


The modest non-marketing approach may explain why it doesn’t have a more prominent reputation. It’s easy to walk by the skincare section on your way to pick up some sheets, as I did for years. But despite that, a slew of its products have reached cult status among beauty Japanophiles.

Japan is famous for its cleansing oils, and Muji’s cleansing oil is one of the best on the market. It’s light and emulsifying, unlike some of the thicker olive-oil based versions out there, and yet it can remove waterproof Japanese mascara and still leave skin soft and hydrated. (Confession: I also love using it to shave my legs. It leaves my skin ultra silky but doesn’t leave a dangerous oil slick in my tub or give me ingrowns, like some more comedogenic oils.) And the light toning water — a watery hydrator that softens skin and shares nothing in common with the US’s astringent toners — is also a favorite of sensitive skin types.


In the skincare tools section, its cotton pads — stay with me — are also a hero product. In Japan, cotton pads are commonly used with hydrating toning waters as DIY masks, and big-time brands, like Shiseido, all put out their own versions. Instead of buying a ready-made sheet mask, you douse some pads with the skin-softening toning water and then plaster them all over your face. Muji’s soft, peel-able pads are stand-out for just that. They don’t shed, and they transfer product effectively from cotton to face when used as a mask.

Another favorite for fans of good, affordable design is the the eyelash curler, and it’s only $7.50. And among makeup artists, the goth-like black cotton buds are a low-key standard — their non-bendy tips make them ideal for applying creams and colors.

If you live in the Northeast or in California, you can swing by a store and play with the testers there, but all of Muji’s skincare products are also available online. The biggest bonus: The generously portioned full sizes only run $12 to $24, but you can purchase any product in a travel size for about $7 or $8 before committing to a full bottle. Finally, a little zen in the spendy, cluttered world of skincare.



8 best foundations for Asian skin

In the past, it was hard to find a shade of foundation which wasn’t some kind of variation of the color of Kate Middleton’s nude stilettoes. However, now thanks to a new generation of glamorous, dusky beauties such as Baywatch star Priyanka Chopra and the Kardashian clan, cosmetic brands have become more aware of the needs of a more diverse range of skin tones. 

However, the perfect foundation still remains something of a holy grail for many Asian women. While the usual rule of thumb is to match your foundation to the darkest part of your face, this doesn’t work so well with the yellow/olive undertones that most Asian women have and often leaves skin looking dull and lacking radiance.

Thankfully, many cosmetics brands are wising up and looking beyond the basic light/medium/dark classifications. Brands such as MAC have made the business of matching your foundation to your face much easier thanks to their NC/NW color rating, which takes into account the undertones of your skin. A new breed of cosmetics brands are also emerging that cater specifically for Asian skin. 

Although my skin is fair, I do have very yellow undertones, which can leave my skin looking dull. My main priorities were to find a foundation that matched my skin without looking too chalky or jaundiced and also a product that brightened up my complexion. Below each description is the shade that worked best for me but the brands here all offer a decent range of colors so there should be one that works for you.

1. Charlotte Tilbury SPF15 Magic Foundation: £30, Charlotte Tilbury


We’re usually skeptical of any product that describes itself as “magic”, but this is the exception to the rule. Magic Foundation is less runny compared to other liquid offerings, so you can’t rush blending it in, but it won’t spill on your clothes if you are doing your make-up on the Tube and the results are worth it. It gives full coverage, yet maintains a natural, radiant look without the mask-like effect associated with heavier foundations. Imperfections such as large pores disappear – it is like a Snapchat filter in a bottle. It comes in 15 different shades and also contains skin-healing ingredients such as vitamin C. An excellent foundation to take you from day to evening. Comes in 15 shades. 

My ideal match: Shade 5 Medium

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2. MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 Foundation: £23.50, Look Fantastic


MAC foundation has become as much a part of an Asian bride’s look as the gold jeweler, and it’s no surprise why. MAC was the first to recognize the importance of the skin’s undertones when choosing the right foundation. All its foundation shades come with the preface NC for neutral cool undertones (which are suitable for Asian skin tones) and NW for neutral warm. Now here’s the science bit – the system is based on the color wheel, so even though you may think you have warm undertones, the NC shades neutralize the yellowness, so you don’t look jaundiced. As the brand’s senior make-up artist, Debbie Finnegan, says: “It is a firm favorite with my Bollywood clients. It offers medium to full coverage and a natural matte finish and wears well in hot climates. It also has a superb range of shades, some designed specifically with Asian skin tones in mind.”  With over 40 different shades, it creates an oil-free finish that allows your skin to breathe. It’s a good daily foundation that lasts throughout the day without needing touch-ups.

My ideal match: Shade NC25

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3. EX1 Cosmetics Inviswear Liquid Foundation: £12.50, Look Fantastic


EX1 Cosmetics was created by British Asian entrepreneur Farah Naz. Using her background as a biochemist, she created a range of cosmetics aimed at Asian women after becoming frustrated with the lack of affordable choices available for olive skin tones, which typify Asian skin. This is a great budget foundation and comes in 13 different shades, which complement rather than mask yellowy undertones. Don’t be fooled by its seemingly runny texture, as it gives surprisingly good coverage.

My ideal match: Shade 3.0

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4. Oud Milano Youthful Foundation: £42, Oud Milano


This Italian brand is relatively new to the UK, but is massive in the Middle East. Its foundation, which is made with organic and vegan ingredients, is highly pigmented – it contains over 35 per cent pigment compared to the 15 or 20 per cent found elsewhere. As a result, it’s ideal for the glamorous Cleopatra-esque look associated with the Middle East that has now crossed over into Western fashion, thanks to Kim Kardashian. It is easy to blend in, giving you plenty of time to concentrate on the tricky business of perfecting your winged eyeliner. It doesn’t sink into fine lines, which is always an issue with foundations offering full coverage and we’d wear it for Asian weddings or to create the Bollywood look.

My ideal match: Shade 202

Buy in-store at Oud Milano, Oxford Street

5. Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Wear SPF 15 Foundation: £28, John Lewis


One of Lancome’s best sellers, the Teint Idole Ultra Wear range has been expanded to cover a whopping 40 shades designed to cater for a wide range of ethnicities and skin tones. The foundation has been accompanied by a campaign focusing on empowerment featuring a range of women who challenge conventional definitions of beauty, such as director Gurinder Chadha. The coverage is fairly good, but did need a touch up during the day. The range of colours and the message of empowerment behind them are to be applauded though.

My ideal match: Shade 03 Beige Diaphane

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6. Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation: £35, Feel Unique


As the name suggests, this is a light foundation that  has the feel and look of a good quality BB cream on your skin, giving the effect of having had a good night’s sleep rather than glammed up. Although it is aimed at all skin types, drier skins will benefit from its boost of hydration and the stay-true colour blend may mean that you have to go a shade lighter than you think to make the most of the radiant effect of the product. It comes in over 20 different shades and is a good choice for a natural, day-time look, but may not be bold enough for some of the brighter colours associated with Asian fashion.

My ideal match: Shade 07 Bamboo Beige

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7. Estee Lauder Double Wear SPF 10 Foundation: £32.50, Look Fantastic


According to the brand, Double Wear will stay put for 15 hours and while our partying days are way behind us, if we could stay awake for 15 hours on the trot, this is the foundation we would trust to keep us looking as fresh. It comes in 44 different shades and has a smooth, matte appearance. While it is long lasting, it can feel a bit dry if your skin is not as hydrated as it should be, so we’d recommend it if your skin is slightly on the oily side.

My ideal match: Shade 2W2 Rattan

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8. Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation SPF 20: £6.40, Feel Unique


The latest buzzword in beauty circles is “dupes”, short for duplicates, referring to the budget products that are dead ringers for similar high-end products, but without the hefty price tags. While it is tempting to think a budget brand can match the look of a luxury label, chances are, you will be disappointed. This, however, more than holds its own compared to more expensive products. While we would need a ridiculous number of espressos to confirm it will last for 25 hours, it definitely is a long-lasting product as it kept me going throughout the day. The only down side is that it can feel a bit dry, but that’s also an issue with long lasting foundations from much more expensive ranges too. While it would be good to have a wider range of shades – there are only seven – it’s not too pinky and is a good budget option.



Tati skincare products banned for mercury content 20,000 times over the limit

SINGAPORE: A skincare product sold on various online platforms has been banned for sale in Singapore after authorities found very high levels of mercury as well as prohibited and dangerous ingredients in its contents. 

The Tati Skin Care 5 in 1 cosmetic set is touted as being “100 per cent free of harmful chemicals”, with claims of having no mercury on its packaging, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said in a news release. 

The set consists of a day cream, night cream, treatment cream, sunblock and cleanser. HSA tested the products and found that the night cream contained levels of mercury 20,000 times higher than permissable limits – posing a “serious health hazard” to consumers, it said. 

Mercury is a toxic substance and is prohibited for use as an ingredient in cosmetic products.

Regular application of creams containing mercury could lead to rashes, skin discolouration and blotching. Chronic exposure to very high levels of mercury in cosmetic products may also cause toxic effects to the kidneys, digestive and nervous system leading to organ damage as it can be absorbed through the skin, HSA said.  


The treatment cream in the set was also found to contain tretinoin and hydroquinone, both of which are prohibited in cosmetic skincare products as they can cause harmful effects if not used properly. HSA said the ingredients – which are used in prescription medicines for the treatment of skin conditions – should only be used under medical supervision. 

The inappropriate use of hydroquinone could result in changes in skin colour and hypersensitivity reactions such as rashes, redness, tingling and burning of skin, while the inappropriate use of tretinoin could lead to redness and peeling of the skin.


HSA’s group director of the surveillance of the Health Products Regulation Group Chan Cheng Leng said the authority uncovered more than 200 online sellers involved in the illegal sale of “adulterated cosmetic products” in the past two months, showing the widespread circulation of these products.

“Many of these sellers hide under the anonymity of the Internet. Consumers need to be wary about purchasing cosmetic products with exaggerated claims and which promise fast results, as they may contain ingredients harmful to health,” Associate Professor Chan said.

HSA said that all sellers must stop selling the Tati skincare set immediately, or face legal action. Anyone who supplies illegal health products may be imprisoned for up to three years and fined up to S$100,000 if convicted.

The authority advised members of the public to stop using the product immediately and see a doctor if they are experiencing adverse effects following its use. More information on the dangers of buying illegal health products from questionable sources can be found on HSA’s Health Dangers website
Read more at http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/tati-skincare-products-banned-for-mercury-content-20-000-times-8925866

Men’s makeup group aims to empathize with South Korean women

An unusual Facebook group in South Korea is meeting offline to give young men a chance to experience for themselves what it’s like to wear heavy makeup like South Korean women, who are under constant pressure to use cosmetic products at work and in social settings.

Choe Gi-seon, a 21-year-old liberal arts student at Korea University in Seoul, launched the online project so more South Korean men could realize the discomfort women feel in public because of the products they use, South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported.

Some 13 members of the Facebook group first met last week to listen to a lecture on makeup application, and shared stories of the problems they encountered while smearing in foundation or using eyeliner.


The group requested donations to buy popular cosmetic products, or used their own savings to buy BB cream, highlighters and eye pencils, according to the report.

Kim Jeong-hyeon, 24, said the “Man Who Puts On Makeup” project has provided a new perspective on the inconveniences women encounter while wearing makeup.

Kim took 40 minutes for a total makeover, using concealer to hide spots under his eyes, evening out his skin tone with three different kinds of base or liquid foundations, then bringing out his bone structure with a highlighter and “shading,” according to the report.

Kim said in South Korea women are berated for stepping out of their homes without makeup, while men are not so easily rebuked.

“I wanted to directly experience the discrimination and inequality of makeup, through my participation in the project,” Kim said.

A South Korean survey taken in March of women service workers showed about 60 percent of the respondents said they struggled with complaints about their hair color, makeup and general appearance at work.

Kim said the project has made him better understand why his girlfriend avoids doing certain things, like “eating hot soup” because it melts away her makeup. Kim said it was “suffocating” for his face to wear cosmetics.

South Korea’s beauty industry has expanded globally in recent years and continues to influence trends in Asia.