Japanese beauty: What’s it all about?

Updated: Jun 10

J-beauty stands for Japanese beauty. If you'd like to find out what Japanese beauty products to buy, or what Japanese beauty is all about, keep on reading!

If you haven’t heard about J-beauty before, it involves gentle, simple products, which focus on protecting the skin. When it comes to makeup, J-beauty is extremely natural and subtle. Although K-beauty is all the rage nowadays, J-beauty should not be overlooked. There are some similarities between the two, but J-beauty does differ from Korean beauty products.

How do K-beauty and J-beauty differ?


For me, the biggest difference between K-beauty and J-beauty is that J-beauty is more centred around minimalism. While K-beauty is known for its famous 10 step routine Japanese beauty routines, J-beauty tends to be more simplistic. Lovers of Korean beauty will use ampoules, serums, toners, essences, masks (to name a few) but Japanese beauty focuses on a few products, the key being cleanser, a good moisturiser and sun-screen. Japanese moisturisers tend to be lightweight water or gel-based formulas.

K-beauty has a focus on new, innovative ingredients so many products tend to have active ingredients that will have spot lightening and brightening benefits. K-beauty is more involved in trends and has fun and quirky packaging. J-beauty products by contrast are more simple and classic.

Sheet masks are an important part of K-beauty, and although they are beginning to become popular in Japan, this is a relatively new development and in Korea there is much more variety in sheet masks.


As with skincare, Japanese beauty is focused on the ‘natural’ look. Makeup tends to look very subtle, and this is reflected in the products sold. Japanese lip colours tend to be soft shades of pink while Korean makeup is known for its bright lip tints. Eyeshadow palettes are popular in Korea while in Japan, eyeshadow singles are popular.

My J-beauty top-picks

I really enjoy J-beauty for its simplicity, as for me, skin care should be simple. It’s easy to get discouraged to do your full routine when you have 130 steps to do! Japanese skin care is gentle on my skin and I love that that many of their products are fragrance-free as fragrance can irritate the skin. It serves no benefit to the skin, so I just prefer products without added fragrance! As Japanese skin care is about hydrating and protecting the skin, I have tried several of their sun-screens and really enjoyed them (although they do tend to have fragrance) and I enjoy many Japanese essences.

I also enjoy J-beauty’s simplicity in makeup and I’ve found that all the products I’ve tried so far have been gentle on my skin and extremely flattering. Apart from their foundations of course as I am mixed black and white so obviously I can’t find my skin tone in Japanese base products. I will say though that they aren’t as pigmented as Western products as they are natural looking, which can be a disadvantage when it comes to eyeshadows.


-Light Body Milk Peach & Jasmine

If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t have time for your moisturiser to sink into your skin in the morning, then this lotion is for you. As it is a lotion, it’s more lightweight than a moisturiser, but this doesn’t mean it isn’t hydrating. I have never found a lotion that leaves my skin as moisturised as a moisturiser! This is huge because I have super dry skin on my body, particularly on my legs, and this lotion leaves me moisturised for about 24 hours. I particularly like this lotion when the weather is hot as it doesn’t hassle my skin like a thick body butter can sometimes.

This lotion is fragranced though, which I don’t mind for use on the body. It has a beautiful floral scent which I really can’t get enough of.


-Hada Labo Gokujyun Hyaluronic

This is my absolute favourite Hyaluronic acid. The product is listed as a lotion, but it is more similar to a serum in Western Beauty. It is lightweight and quickly absorbs into the skin and it really leaves my skin feeling plump. When I travel and I can’t bring it with me I notice my skin is less elastic and soft.


Bioré does fantastic sun-screens and cleansers, but all of the products I have tried from them have been fragranced.

- UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF 50+ & UV Aqua Rich Watery Essence Botanical Peony SPF 50+

These are both fantastic SPFs as they are lightweight but effective (but I think they are the same product, just with different scents). They really feel like nothing on the skin! They also contain hyaluronic acid and leave no white cast. I am deterred slightly by their strong fragrance, so I do not use them on the face. They do smell beautiful though, so I use them on my body. A little goes a long way!

- Face Wash in Acne Care

This face wash is a foaming cleanser which is meant to be acne-busting. I didn’t find that it had any effect on my pimples, but I really enjoyed using this cleanser. It has many benefits. It lasts an extremely long time as you only need the smallest amount (like a pinky fingernail’s size), and it leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated. And the foam is so pleasant to use.

MUJI skincare

I have tried several products from MUJI and have loved them all! Although MUJI isn’t a dedicated skincare brand, they have a fantastic range of different toners, essences, makeup removers, lotions and face washes. Lots of MUJI cosmetics are fragrance free, and all are super gentle on the skin. They are the best examples of how simplicity can be a luxury.

From MUJI, my favourite products are:

-Face Soap in 'Moisture'

This cleanser uses apricot juice and peach leaf extract as hydrating ingredients which make your skin feel hydrated post-cleanse.

-Toning Water in 'Light' and 'High Moisture'

This toner is more like an essence or serum and it is light and extremely hydrating.

MUJI’s makeup storage solutions are also well-worth a look.

And OMG if you have glasses, please check out their lens wipes. In fact, don’t check them out. Just buy them. Thank me later!

I am more into skincare than I am makeup but I have tried a couple of J-beauty makeup products which I have loved.


- Moteliner

The formula of this eyeliner is rich, but the most impressive part of this liner is the brush. Designed by a brush maker, it is flexible and easy to use. The liner is long wearing and budge-proof!


- Flower Jelly Lipstick

This is a soft pink lip tint which lasts for hours and hours. It is nourishing like a lip balm, but it leaves a stain. The packaging is beautiful, and the lipstick bullet is absolutely stunning.

Overall, I really love J-beauty! It’s simple, effective and beautiful. This can be a refreshing change from Western beauty which can be a bit more complex. I love how J-beauty focuses on enhancing your natural features, as that is the look that I go for in my everyday life anyway!

Do you like J-beauty? What J-beauty products have you tried?

Thanks for reading,


If you enjoyed this post, I’d be very grateful if you’d help spread it by sharing on Twitter or Facebook or wherever you'd like. Thank you!

Hi, I'm Jazmin. Welcome to my blog!


Subscribe to my mailing list