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Consumer

Saving face time: Busy Japanese drive sales of no-fuss skin care

All-in-one products promise to streamline hectic morning routines

Rush hour in Tokyo's Nishi-Shinjuku: Time-saving beauty products have proven popular with working people. (Photo by Mamoru Yago)

TOKYO -- Makeup and skin care products billed as time savers are hot sellers in Japan, retailers say, appealing to people who juggle work and family responsibilities.

Their popularity has prompted manufacturers to offer more multipurpose beauty products in Japan, where, according to one study, women spend the least amount of time applying makeup in Asia.

Sales of Manara Hot Cleansing Gel jumped 27% last year at Loft's Ginza store, according to the Tokyo-based retailer of often-quirky everyday goods. The gel warms up and softens when applied to the skin, making it easy to apply, and does double duty as a makeup remover and face wash.

"The main buyers are working women," a store representative said.

Sales of the Saborino face sheet mask, touted as a 60-second skin care routine as effective as applying toner or serum, grew about 10%. Duo five-in-one cleansing balms, which claim to also brighten and massage skin, logged a surge of around 80%.

Manufacturers are stepping up development of products that meet consumers' diverse needs. Premier Anti-Aging, the company behind the Duo series, is set to release on Feb. 20 a face wash with a plant-based scrub that also offers a massaging effect designed to fit into busy morning routines.

The company hopes the new item will boost shipments of the Duo series, which had reached 12 million units by December.

Saborino maker BCL, a unit of StylingLife Holdings, added a nighttime skin repair product to the product line last October, promoting it as saving treatment time before bed. The company says that it has shipped roughly 400 million Saborino masks since their 2015 debut.

A survey of 725 married working women found that two-thirds want to spend more time on health and beauty in 2020. Looking and feeling good ranked second only to studying and other personal improvement among respondents' priorities, according to the Shufu JOB Research Institute, which took the poll.

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