Think of the color wells as a paint by numbers palette. All the user has to do is apply the tones to the corresponding area of the eyelid and blend. Just the thing for women who don't know how to mix and match individual tints or can't be bothered to learn how.
A big hit after it was released, Designing Eyes achieved 1.6 times the sales of its predecessor compared to the same quarter in the previous year
Japan's cosmetics business is huge, but it's also mature, so manufacturers have been looking to grow by tapping new markets. Most evident is their ongoing reach into other parts of Asia, but some companies are taking advantage of underdeveloped opportunities at home too.
According to Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, while overall domestic cosmetics revenues have been down slightly in recent years, sales of men's skincare products were up 17% in 2008.
Pictured at left is UL・OS skincare lotion, a new brand that was launched by Otsuka Seiyaku last September.
At the moment, the UL・OS lineup includes two other products besides the skin lotion (skin milk and skin cream), but in a couple of weeks one more will join the fold: a water-based SPF 25 sunscreen.
In light of other industry stats, this makes sense. In '08, Japan's sun protection lotions and cosmetics markets also grew 12%.
Speaking of holes (see October 3 post), here's an eye-catching train poster from National (Panasonic) for its Kireone skincare device.
Kireone uses high-frequency sound waves to clear oil and dirt from the pores of your skin to keep it looking silky and smooth.
As mentioned in last Friday's post, ana（穴） means "hole" in Japanese. Conveniently, the word "pore" is expressed by combining the Kanji for "hair" (pronouncedke 毛）with the Kanji for "hole", giving you 毛穴 (ke-ana).
In Romaji, the poster's main copy reads Anata no keana taisaku ni, ana wa arimasen ka? (click visual to see an enlarged version).
A direct translation would be "Might there be holes in your hair-hole (pore) countermeasures?"
Naturally, a direct translation isn't particularly mellifluous or compelling in English, but you can see how the copywriter leverages the use of ana twice to produce a clever, rhythmic headline in Japanese (where, trust me, it sounds a lot better).
When it comes to the physique, some Japanese women, much like some women elsewhere, invest considerable time, money and effort in the pursuit of shapely curves—whether the locale be the chest, legs or bottom. But one way in which they differ—at least by my reckoning—is that many spend an inordinate amount of time worried about the shape of their faces. I'm not talking about the curve of their noses, the fullness of their lips or the angle of their brows, though sure enough, plenty of gals fret about these as well. What I'm talking about is more general—and has more to do with size than detail. Many Japanese women are fixated on the size of their faces.
It's just one of those cultural things. In Japan, you often hear women gushing over the pulchritude of some model or movie celeb, "kao ga chisai!" (Her face is [so] small!). Everybody in Japan seems to want a small face.
As a result, you frequently come across items like the one pictured above. Manufactured by a firm called Sun Family, the "small face belt" is meant to help women to diminish their visages (and fight sagging cheeks and double chins too). It works just as you'd imagine. Fit the donut around your head, pump in air, and squeeze your chin and cheeks inward and upward.
Does it work? I couldn't tell you.
What I can tell you, however, is that understanding the consumer need that leads to these kinds of products has implications for anybody involved in the health and beauty field, especially when it comes to the area of functional cosmetics.
The area surrounding Tokyo, Yurakucho and Ginza stations continues to undergo a renaissance as yet two more major retailing operations have opened their doors in the past month. Marui, the Japanese department store chain most popular amongst youthful consumers, began operations on October 10 near Yurakucho Station. Additionally, Daimaru department store—a long-established player in the area—reopened last week in a sparkling new building next to Tokyo Station.
For a long time Tokyo, Yurakucho and Ginza had very distinct personalities which pretty much made them no-go zones for Tokyo's young and trendy consumers. Ginza, known for its old-school department stores, boutiques and pricey entertainment venues was primarily the stomping ground of WWII-generation housewives, expense-account executives, water-trade workers, and tourists. The area near Tokyo Station, with its wide avenues and rows of faceless grey banks and office buildings, was largely populated with zombified sarariman and uniformed office ladies. Yurakucho seemed trapped in a post-war time warp thanks to its myriad back alleys, common-man eateries and dingy watering holes.
But thanks to a confluence of factors, developers have been pouring money into the areas, with much
Japanese feminine personal care product manufacturer Kobayashi Seiyaku recently raised some eyebrows when it introduced new packaging for its Sara-Li-E panty liner brand. While most products in this category employ blues and pinks and white, Sara-Li-E went with jet black. Not only does this differentiate the brand from competitors, the atypical wrapping apparently makes it easier for some Japanese women to bring the product to check-outs with less embarassment.
When it comes to ear care and make-up, a couple of small manufacturers, including Unisel, have been earning a following with black-tipped cotton swabs. Not only do they look chic, functionally, the black coloring makes it easier for users to see what's been hiding in their ears. Check out Unisel's "black spiral" swabs here.
On the toothbrush front, Jacks has see a lot of interest in its black Refresh brand. On their website,the company calls the brushes "stylish," and the black bristles, which are made from platinum colloid ceramic, are supposed to be 15% better than nylon for cleaning your teeth.