Japan Research Trip – Collated Research: Beauty Store/Product Photos

Below shows a large range of different photos taken whilst in beauty stores, exploring a range of trends, models and packaging for example, in order to gain a true sense of what is on offer in Japan in regards to culture and trends, allowing for a comparison with British products and brands alike.

This is also working toward the following objective:

4. To prototype a range of design work targeted at 18-24 year old women, highlighting impacts of cross-cultural beauty/fashion trends on self-perceptions and body image.

Notes have been made below in regard to my findings.

A Japanese model can be seen below advertising a Japanese cosmetics brand, however has lighter skin than the average Japanese woman, and also has blue eyes using contact lenses to both enlarge, and maintain a Western look which can be portrayed to the consumer – with these products and this ‘look’ you could also look more Western.

Again a model with extremely light skin has been used to advertise ‘looks’ created by particular products – this is enforced with a step-by-step guide as seen in many Japanese magazines (discussed on another blog post in more depth).

Western models used to advertise products to remove underarm hair.


Above shows a ‘The Collagen” drink, produced, sold and branded by Shiseido. These drinks claim to stimulate the production of more collagen in the skin, allowing for a more youthful look overtime, feeding the Japanese obsession with looking and feeling young. There are other forms of Anti-Ageing products available in this manner also from different brands, as well as collagen tablets from Shiseido. In addition, it is also possible to buy tablets which slowly lighten the skin with regular use.



Above shows a range of lipcare products which feature Western babies in place of female models. I found this fascinating and shocking, as child pornography was only banned in Japan 2 years ago, and feel in the UK this would be absolutely not acceptable. The copywriting also used – “deep moist” and “juicy” also rings sexual connotations which I find disturbing. Nicole, the beauty blogger, whom took me on this shopping trip in Harajuku, explained the reasoning is because they want youthful, ‘baby soft’ skin and lips – the same marketing strategy is also used with face masks (images shown further down this blog post).

Majolica Menorca is a Japanese cosmetics brand that can be found in drugstores around the city. I noticed with a range of National brands, that unlike here in the UK, the product design and packaging is often ‘cute’, ‘cheap’ and somewhat ‘tacky’ appealing to a young audience.



The above shows a range of light skinned models promoting a Japanese cosmetics range.


Above shows an advert for a ‘sticky pix’ photo booth, whereby images are taken and digitally edited before printing. This particular photo booth makes the participant appear more doll like, i.e. Barbie as seen here.



The above false eye lash companies have used a range of fair haired and light skinned Japanese models, which resemble a Western look which is often desired amongst young women in Japan; these are not natural hair colours for Japanese people and therefore aim to achieve a more Western look.


Above shows again the cute, kawaii, aesthetic often used in Japan for cosmetic packaging, here using a cat on the POS reflecting a kitten theme cosmetic range appealing to a young female audience.



POS displays showcasing step by step and how to achieve the look guides as often seen in Japanese magazines. Japanese women feel the need to know outcome will be seen with the product at hand before purchase.




L’oreal in Japan, a European cosmetics brand, even in Japan uses mainly Western models to promote the brand. I did find however that a different product range is available utilising more lip glosses and stains than lipsticks, and a larger range of face powders, BB creams and CC creams, opposed to heavy foundations as seen in the UK.



Contact lenses in a range of colours and styles can be purchased off the counter in order to achieve bigger eyes like that seen in Western people. This is denoted in the pictures used on the POS.


Again babies are often used to promote youthful, baby skin and baby soft lips. I feel that this extreme is still seen as okay in Japan due to child pornography only being made illegal and punishable in 2014. In addition, the babies used on the product packaging are always Western babies, not Japanese.


Western looking Japanese models are often used denoting the classic stereotypical Western look – blonde hair and big eyes. Makeup and contact lenses are used to achieve this look, along with hair dye. The model used here is a famous Japanese model whom is half English.




As above, very Western looking Japanese models are often used denoting the classic stereotypical Western look – blonde hair and big eyes. Makeup and contact lenses are used to achieve this look, along with hair dye. The model used here is a famous Japanese model whom is half English.



A range of ‘mouth pieces’ can be bought in Japanese drug stores, designed to give a more Western look. These are designed to overtime change the shape of the lips. Mainly Western models are used again, along with how-to guides.






Above; a wide range of skin-lightening skincare products and cosmetics, including s placenta based range. This is popular in Japan due to scientifically being proven to give anti-aging skin.









Above shows a range of beauty and fashion advertisements/promotions, all of which feature Western models and icons. The brands that are shown are all known to be European brands, and use the same models as in European/Western countries in order to maintain International brand image and reputation.



Above and below; a range of skin-lightening and whitening cosmetics from MAC Cosmetics, which are not available to buy in the UK. International brands have started to cater for Japanese audiences and trends, this is the same as Chanel Cosmetics, Dior Cosmetics and YSL Beauty, for example.





Above; Shu Umera; a Japanese cosmetics brand promoted via the use of Western models featuring different ‘looks’. A range of 4D skin lightening products are also available to buy, which are not available at concessions in the UK.


Western icon Natalie Portman is shown above modelling for Dior to maintain an International standard of advertising and marketing for the brand, whilst keeping in line with the International brand image.


Above; another Western baby is used for the promotion of a moisturising lipstick, however this time the baby features blonde hair and big blue eyes – desired looks in a Westerner, or Gaijin to the Japanese.





Above shows a range of placenta based skin-lightening products used for ‘anti-aging’.




Above; a baby again is used to promote placenta based products, however this time a Japanese baby is used in contrast to the other products noted.



Above shows a wide range of skin lightening products available in a Japanese drug store. On the POS a very fair skinned Japanese model is used with white hair, in order to promote a series of skin bleaching products.


No self-tanning products were available at all to buy in Japan. When asked in stores if such products were available, 99% of consultants did not know what this was, or was for. And when explained, found this fascinating in relation to their culture and fascination of skin-lightening and anti-tanning.