ASIAN BEAUTY REPORT
There’s more to it than a 10-step beauty routine
Beauty practices out of Asia have completely transformed how women around the world expect to experience beauty. These days, we want our senses tickled by hybrid-textured essences, high-tech makeup formulas and playful applicators. We wouldn’t buy a foundation that needs three different tools to apply it when there’s a cushion version. We’ve been spoiled by beautifully packaged, quality products at affordable prices. And our expectations for masks and at-home pampering have increased dramatically.
A clear sign of this success is the number of major non-Asian luxury brands who have followed suit with their own takes on Asian beauty inventions (not that we’re complaining).
In a world where the cultural West is still seen as leader for innovations, this may sometimes seem like an overnight phenomenon. But we’ve arrived here after decades of steady innovation. Japan, surely the first great Asian beauty influence, is a locus of international beauty trends; the birthplace of well-loved techniques (facial massages) formats (essences) and brands (we would run out of pages with examples).
Then in a whirlwind that began just over a decade ago, South Korea’s soft power spawned a category in itself. And Taiwan is beauty’s dark horse, with a particular knack for efficacious skincare rich in botanical extracts.
But as the phenomenon gathers pace, I would propose that we look even further and embrace the richness of beauty traditions from all over Asia. In general, there’s a holistic approach pre-dating ideas of “self-care” or “wellness” by centuries. The concept of qi in Eastern traditions, ayurveda in India, and
jamu in the Nusantara region, to begin with. Fuse this with a flood of modern, cuttingedge research, manufacturing facilities and marketing talent, and there’s no looking back.
Already there are signs of this growing movement. Heritage brands like China’s Pechoin and Thailand’s Srichand have updated their offerings and packaging to suit the times, to the excitement of new fans. Malaysia, meanwhile, is a hotbed of liquid lipsticks. The ones to watch? Definitely Singaporean creators, where boutique brands like Allies of Skin and Dr. GL provide the template for sleek, potent skincare lines. We can’t wait to see what lies ahead.