Asia Pacific Update: June 3
In today’s edition
- The reshaping of the makeup and cosmetics industry throughout Asia
- Sustainability, inclusion, and purpose are key
- From makeup to skincare; longer-lasting cosmetic solutions
- Makeup looks inspired by teary breakdowns, optical illusions, and animal prints
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Makeup, Cosmetics & Beauty
With social dynamics severely disrupted by lockdowns, quarantines, and remote work over the past eighteen months, make-up and cosmetic usage throughout Asia Pacific has been similarly transformed.
Oriented around core pandemic-era values like sustainability, inclusion, wellness, and escapism, today’s make-up and cosmetics are being deployed less around temporary aesthetics and more toward permanent, long-lasting transformations.
Continuing trends seen prior to the pandemic, beauty sectors are heavily embracing purpose-driven product design and marketing throughout Asia Pacific.
Many APAC brands and markets are committing to practices around sustainability and elimination of animal cruelty. Less than a year after effecting a ban on animal testing, Australia’s government has launched new legislation designed to help consumers better identify cruelty-free beauty brands, for example.
China’s government, meanwhile, has just significantly revised its legislation to allow foreign brands to sell their products in mainland China without meeting the country’s (previously mandatory) animal testing requirements. Japan’s government recently released a policy document outlining its vision for the country’s cosmetics industry – highlighting a specific focus on the industry’s contributions to global sustainability.
Beyond sustainability, brands are also prioritising inclusion for their products and communications. One of the world’s largest cosmetics brands recently launched an entire publication in The Philippines devoted to showcasing all types of beauty. In South Korea, a brand has earned headlines as the first k-beauty (a term referring to products and practices from the Korean beauty sector) to cater to darker skin tones.
In the past year, many startups in India‘s cosmetics sector have reported substantial growth (including year-on-year company growth of 250% and increases in annual revenue of up to 35% for 2020) and attributed it to their collective commitment to provide makeup specifically manufactured for Indian skin-tones and climates. In China, gender-inclusive makeup movement have helped create a men’s makeup market worth US$2.6 billion.
The sector’s focus on purpose and sustainability has grown hand-in-hand with a shift towards wellness and permanence in make-up usage in Asia Pacific.
In response to the pandemic, many consumers pivoted from beauty to skincare. A recent global study of young people aged 13 to 26 found that over 40% viewed skincare as their main beauty priority. In the past month, both Australia and New Zealand have seen leading domestic makeup brands launch skincare ranges.
In China, a medical firm has launched the country’s first ‘functional cosmetics’ (i.e. cosmetics for healthcare purposes) platform. The brand responsible for the platform claims functional cosmetics represent 20% of China’s overall cosmetics market – and 60% of Japan’s cosmetics market.
These are just some examples of how makeup consumers are currently operating with a more long-term mindset than has traditionally been found within the sector. In New Zealand, many startups and technicians are offering semi-permanent makeup and cosmetic solutions like tattooing and brow growth serums to sidestep temporary makeup approaches and establish longer-lasting aesthetics.
The focus on sustainability, wellness, and permanence has also had an impact on more conventional makeup usage in the region. Once rooted in ideas of enhancement, makeup trends around Asia Pacific are increasingly leaning towards more fantastical and escapist approaches.
In Japan, a trend has emerged around Jirai Meiku (or ‘land mine makeup’). With a focus on reddened, puffy eyes and pale, translucent skin, it’s an aesthetic designed around looking vulnerable, emotional, and frail. In India, ‘illusion makeup’ (using makeup to create deceptive images and artworks) is growing in popularity. In Malaysia, one of the defining trends of eye makeup is to approximate animal prints.
With the majority of day-to-day cosmetic usage in Asia Pacific being deployed in aid of long-term health and wellbeing, makeup for specific events or celebrations has become an opportunity to explicitly showcase creativity, expression and personality through unconventional and colourful aesthetics.
Media analysis of stories covering Australia, Cambodia, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, Malaysia, Macau SAR, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam from 3 May to 3 June 2021
This briefing was prepared by the Weber Shandwick Insight and Intelligence team in Singapore. If you feel a specialised briefing and analysis bulletin could benefit your team, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About COVID-19 Recovery Report:
- The views and opinions reflected by these headlines do not necessarily represent those of Weber Shandwiick.
- The content of this news bulletin is a summary of publicly available news articles on events and developments related to COVID-19