The 2023 edition of Cosme Tokyo took place from 11th to 13th January and although the show was smaller than usual – as is the case with many international trade shows at the moment, in particular in Asia – the Tokyo Big Sight Expo Centre was very busy indeed, with 29,500 visitors attending the whole Cosme Week 2023.
Here are the three key beauty trends spotted by Premium Beauty News at the event:
High tech beauty
Japanese consumers are discerning, sophisticated, and well-educated about ingredients and beauty tech, and Asian brands exhibiting at Cosme Tokyo presented the very latest in science-driven cosmetic products.
Japanese salon brand Lady Bio introduced its new AI Mist, a water-based multipurpose spray developed in cooperation with the University of Tokyo, which can be used on dry or acne-afflicted skin or troublesome scalps. Jokari presented a face care range formulated with electrolysed reduced water (alkaline ionized water) which is claimed to have detoxifying and antioxidant properties.
Korean brand Sam-u showcased its PH Sensitive face care range – each product in the line-up has been formulated with different pH values to most efficiently achieve the desired cosmetic result. US-Japanese skin care brand Shunly‘s face care range offers products packed with active ingredients such as Q10, fruit acids, niacinamide, and vitamins.
Japanese prestige skin care brand Seleia is leveraging microneedle tech in its up-coming Scalp Luxe ST launch. This is a treatment serum for itchy and sensitive scalps, packaged in a pen-shaped tube. The applicator top is covered with tiny, thin, sharp needles that very lightly pierce the top layer of the skin so that the serum can more easily penetrate into the scalp.
Salon brand Spa Treatment has also been introducing microneedle cosmetic tech, such as the HAS Micro Patch, an under eye patch saturated with a serum containing self-dissolving microneedle spicules.
The market for cannabidiol products (including both supplements and beauty products) is finally starting to take off in Japan. There were at least a dozen domestic CBD brands at the show, with many other Japanese beauty companies also offering CBD products in their portfolio.
CBD beauty is still a small category at the moment, as cultural aversion to marijuana remains quite strong in Japan – cannabis has been a prohibited substance for many decades and is viewed as a dangerous drug by many Japanese, especially the older and more rural demographics. However, for younger Japanese living in urban areas, using CBD products has become popular in recent years, particularly amongst consumers in search of stress relief and relaxation.
At the time of writing, cultivating hemp and distilling/manufacturing CBD is still heavily restricted in Japan, so domestic cannabis brands usually import their CBD from Europe or the US. However, this situation is set to change soon as it is expected that the Japanese Ministry of Health will review current cannabis legislation this year, making it easier for domestic companies to import and manufacture CBD products.
Functional foods and beverages are highly popular in Japan, so many of the CBD products shown at the fair were supplements such as oils, drinks or gummies, positioned as aiding sleep and promoting relaxation.
Sikame was launched in April 2022 and offers CBD gummies and various flavoured and unflavoured oils. CBD newcomer brand Pillow sells CBD-enhanced drinks and gummies that are positioned as helping to improve sleep and aid relaxation while Migoto’s Sugoy has just introduced a Botanical Roll-on scented with essential oils to relax and comfort, while Maritime’s portfolio includes five different CBD oil and CBD-infused water.
However, there were also a number of CBD brands presenting face, body, and hair care. Chill Moon, for example, offers a CBD-enhanced hair oil, while Maritime’s sister brand Mariélan focuses on CBD face care. Ritto‘s recently launched CBD face and body range is packaged in bright, attractive colours.
Femtech / Femcare
Another product trend that dominated new product launches at Cosme Tokyo was femtech and femcare, an emerging category with a big potential. At Cosme Tokyo 2023, around half a dozen indie and newcomer brands presented nutritional supplements and CBD products specifically formulated to enhance female well-being while others focused on female-positioned lubricants, intimate washes and lotions.
The term femtech usually refers to products and services that focus on all aspects of women’s health, from menstruation products over reproductive healthcare and pregnancy care to menopausal products but also including female sex toys and other well-being products.
In Japan, femtech only became a generally recognized concept a few years ago, when period product retailer Fermata first launched its online store in 2019. Fermata’s period wear, sex toys and other female-positioned products became so popular that the company began selling offline in 2020, offering its curated product range in a new design and lifestyle retail space, New Stand Tokyo, which is located in Tokyo’s upmarket Roppongi district. And in 2022, Cosme Tokyo’s organizers RX Japan launched the first-ever femtech-focused trade fair, Femtech Tokyo.
While it is still highly unusual to find period wear, menstrual cups, vibrators and similar female-focused products in offline retailers, things are starting to change: Matsumoto Kiyoshi, one of the largest drugstore retailers in Japan, rolled out a new retail format in 2015. Matsukiyo Lab is a chain of health, wellness, and beauty focused drugstores that offer products and services aimed at single households. Currently, there are around 30 Matsukiyo Lab stores in Japan – mostly in high-footfall, urban areas – and in 2021, a number of Matsukiyo Labs began selling the female sex toys and intimate care products of Japanese femtech brand Iroha.
Femcare brands at the trade show included newcomer brand FI ME KA which manufactures period wear, plant-based intimate hygiene washes and lotions as well as flavoured CBD supplements. One of the brand’s most recent products is a luxurious CBD-based body care cream scented with invigorating notes of bergamot and rosemary.
Indie brand Micocochi specializes in CBD products for women, with a product range including a nutritional supplement and two CBD-infused body care products whilst Sex & Beauty’s product range features kegel balls and three intimate serums/lotions designed to make kegel ball exercises for effective and pleasurable.
Women’s care manufacturer Hanamisui was at the trade fair with its entire product portfolio, including the recently launched Femiosis range of fermented herbal supplements specifically created to boost women’s health. Another striking Hanamisui launch was the company’s 7-sku colourfully packaged Rainbow23 line of female lubricants, which features different flavours and functional ingredients.