Innovating professional hair care inspired by J-Beauty in the new Henkel Consumer Brands’ “J-beauty innovation hub”

How cosmetic trends from Asia change the beauty industry

Innovation Jun 12, 2023

The ideals of beauty have changed constantly over time. And so have the offers for consumers when it comes to their beauty and skincare products. Over the last years, the beauty trends from Asia have become particularly popular. Thanks to social media, influential content creators, and word of mouth, they have taken the world of beauty by storm: K-Beauty (or Korean Beauty) and J-Beauty (or Japanese Beauty) are gaining momentum.

J-Beauty trendThe difference between J-Beauty and K-Beauty

Korean beauty – K-Beauty for short – encompasses the beauty traditions of South Korea. It goes beyond the outer appearance and focuses on a holistic approach, including skincare and health as well as offering products that rely on more natural ingredients, like ginseng or green tea. Popular products like sheet masks or the practice of double cleansing are driven by this trend.

Following the K-Beauty craze, we are seeing J-Beauty on the rise. Japanese beauty combines precision, simplicity, and elegance, embracing a rather minimalistic skincare routine. While K-Beauty routines can be made up of ten steps or more, J-Beauty keeps things short and sweet with cleansing oils, lightweight moisturizers, and sunscreen, for example. Japanese skincare relies on innovative research and science to incorporate ingredients that work. So ultimately, consumers don’t need a lot of products. For many consumers that’s what makes this trend so attractive: It focuses on the convenient use of fewer products that often address multiple skin aspects in one and are based on high-quality ingredients that reflect the country’s high manufacturing standard. “J-beauty incorporates overseas trends and casual trends, as well as techniques that harmonize with cultural elements. People are fascinated with its high precision, refined personal touch and multifaceted nature,” explains Naoki Hanamura, Vice President, Marketing Head of Shiseido Professional.

J-beauty innovation hubHenkel opens a J-Beauty innovation hub in Tokyo

As a global consumer goods company, we strive to meet consumer needs worldwide and work on understanding and anticipating trends. Recently, we opened a “J-beauty innovation hub” in Tokyo with Consumer Brands. The newly opened hub for the Hair Professional business will combine the expertise of Schwarzkopf and Shiseido Professional when it comes to hair color innovation, trends, as well as premium hair and scalp care, or anti-hair loss, styling, and perm solutions.

Two hair care professionals treat a consumer’s hair with the SalonLab Smart Analyzer.

Henkel opened its very own J-beauty innovation hub to focus on developing premium brands and innovations in Asia for Asian consumers.

The hub brings together experts from different nationalities and allows a unique fusion of Asian and Western beauty concepts, trends, and solutions for Asian salon partners and consumers. “The attention to perfection, elegance, and simplicity is, for sure, one of the key competitive advantages of having our J-beauty innovation hub in Japan,” elaborates Koji Takata, Head of R&D at Consumer Brands Japan. The newly opened hub in Tokyo is part of a global ecosystem of hubs, next to our Schwarzkopf Professional hubs in Los Angeles, USA, and Hamburg, Germany.

Three researchers stand in a hair care R&D lab and speak to each other.

Our state-of-the-art R&D labs allow product development, focusing on hair products and color development for the Japanese market and Asia.

Two hair care professionals perform a hair color analysis on a consumer.

Special lighting in the color observation room allows the observation of true hair color in constant conditions.

Among the approximately 100 colleagues in the hub, 40 experts work in the R&D field, underlining the innovation focus. The hub itself is perfectly set up to understand consumer needs and drive innovations. State-of-the-art R&D labs allow product development, focusing on hair products and color development for the Japanese market and Asia. A product evaluation studio features beauty mirrors and shampoo basins that allow the sensory testing of new products. A color observation room is equipped with special lighting to observe the true color of hair in constant conditions. In addition, a behavior observation cube simulates a typical household bathroom. In here, test users allow our experts to study their experiences, collect feedback, and apply this in the further development of customized solutions and optimizing product design.

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