The East is rais­ing the skin­care stakes with a fo­cus on science, in­no­va­tion and rit­ual.

ELLE (Canada) - - Beauty - BY ELLEN HIMEL­FARB

The so­phis­ti­cated—and lengthy—beauty reg­i­mens of women in coun­tries like Korea and Ja­pan be­gin early. Ja­panese girls are in­tro­duced to four-step bathing rit­u­als when they are tod­dlers. In Korea, they watch their moth­ers work through daily beauty rit­u­als that in­volve mul­ti­ple cleans­ings, ex­fo­li­a­tion, ton­ing, mas­sage, masks and re­vi­tal­iz­ing am­poules. Ac­cord­ing to Jaana Jä­tyri, founder of Lon­don-based trend fore­caster Trend­stop, “Asian women view their skin as a prized pos­ses­sion.” They treat it as such too, stay­ing out of the sun and spend­ing more than seven times what we do in North Amer­ica on beauty prod­ucts. Head to the con­ti­nent in the sum­mer and you’ll see more um­brel­las than dur­ing the mon­soons. You might even spot a “facekini” or two.

TIME ZONE In the West, the fo­cus is largely on fight­ing wrin­kles, but the East has a dif­fer­ent ob­ses­sion: clar­ity and tex­ture— which, we now know, are the true sig­ni­fiers of youth. (This is thanks, in part, to a study that tracked the hu­man eye’s propen­sity for in­stantly hon­ing in on dark spots or im­per­fec­tions on a per­son’s face and per­ceiv­ing it as older than it ac­tu­ally is.) For the past sev­eral sea­sons, fresh, bare and beau­ti­ful faces have dom­i­nated the run­way, fur­ther driv­ing home the mes­sage that good skin is the most cov­eted beauty trend of all.

BOSSY BEAUTY As the say­ing goes, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.” Per­haps that’s why Asia is so much fur­ther ahead in the skin­care game. “The East rules the skin­care mar­ket be­cause the prod­ucts are de­vel­oped for the most de­mand­ing con­sumers in the world,” says Jä­tyri.

Emma Fric, head of re­search and fu­ture in­sight at con­sult­ing agency Pe­clers Paris, agrees that skin­care is se­ri­ous busi­ness. “Ja­panese brands like Kanebo are con­stantly in­vest­ing in re­search,” she says. “Korean men and women have long been im­mersed in a cul­ture that em­pha­sizes the im­por­tance of a metic­u­lous skin­care reg­i­men fo­cused on the preven­tion of ag­ing and de­hy­dra­tion,” says Nathalie Paiva, se­nior man­ager of mar­ket­ing and PR at AmorePa­cific, the Korean pow­er­house beauty brand that in­vests 3 per­cent of sales back into re­search be­cause “con­sumer de­sire keeps evolv­ing,” as does its search for bet­ter and more ad­vanced prod­ucts.

SHOP­GIRL New in­no­va­tions keep com­ing. Take Shi­seido’s Full Makeup Wash­able Base, a primer worn un­der makeup that al­lows even the heav­i­est wa­ter­proof for­mu­las to be washed off with a splash of wa­ter. Those in the know love “skin fin­ish­ers” from brands like Su­lawha­soo that con­tain herbs and an­tiox­i­dants and leave skin look­ing pore­less and flaw­less without that cakey, heavy feel. Or Uka nail oils, time stamped so the aro­mather­apy ben­e­fits don’t clash with the time of day (de-stress at night, in­vig­o­rate in the morn­ing). Time to cash in those Air Miles and clear some space in your bath­room cab­i­net. n

ELLE loves cush­ion com­pacts. Orig­i­nally launched in Korea, these are

BB creams in a com­pact form, com­plete with a springy

blot­ting net and a cool­ing puff ap­pli­ca­tor. AmorePa­cific Color Con­trol Cush­ion Com­pact ($72). For de­tails, see Shop­ping Guide.

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