Why Parisian woman look out for Japanese niche beauty products and how K-Beauty compares to the next big thing: J-Beauty

We have a chat with Keiko Suyama, beauty journalist for Marie Claire Style and WWD based in Paris and the founder of Dessigns, is a consulting agency specialised in Japanese niche beauty products and skin care rituals.

Their Pop-Up store, BIJO, which will be at Le Bon Marché from July 30th is created as a medium to promote Japanese beauty rituals and culture.

Together with their team, mainly composed of woman, they are passionate about slow living, clean beauty and ancestral rituals. We cannot wait to browse through the beauty counters of Le Bon Marche by the end of the month and learn all about Slow Beauty.

Bathroom essentials: SHAQUDA body brush (lymphatic detox), Makanai washiest towel and konnyaku sponge (exfoliation) , uka scalp brush (scalp cleansing and circulation), Suwada nail nipper, Eau de Ki moisturising lotion, a Kassa (also known as Guasha) for face lymphatic detox and EN rosemary essence that was specifically selected for Keiko’s skin type by EN therapist.


IRMA: What does “slow living“ mean to you? You also used the term “clean beauty“ -tell me more about it?
KEIKO SUYAMA: Nowadays, everything is quick in our modern life, we get quick access to information, food, leisure and even cosmetic results. We want our desire to be fulfilled right now, we want immediate access to satisfaction and happiness, and when we get it, it rarely last, does it?

To us, slow living is about enjoying the process of doing as much as the result, preventing rather than healing, purchasing with consciousness instead of desire and practicing rituals regularly. For instance, if you want beautiful nails, you can obtain it instantly by covering them with nail polish. On long term this might weaken your nails and you will have to do it again in a few weeks. On the other hand, you can go slow and use nail oil. Using natural nail oil will embellish and strengthen your nails on long term. The results won’t be instant, but it will last and you will savour every day the sensation of the roll-on on your fingers and the aroma of the essential oil (see uka aromatherapy nail oil).

Clean beauty is basically about mixing natural ingredient with non-toxic synthetic ingredients to get performance driven cosmetics. This concept wasn’t invented by Japanese, but it totally matches our state of mind. In Japan everything is about finding the balance between ancestral rituals and advanced technology. We use holistic recipes of cosmetics, with ingredients coming -most of the time- from our kitchen (Azuki, sake, rice bran, Kombu, egg shell) and gesture such as the layering (using several layers of cosmetic actives) and the Kobido massage (stimulation of facial muscle for anti-age purposes). But we also admire innovation and scientific discoveries. Therefore, we include clean synthetic ingredients that will increase the performance of our natural recipes. One astonishing example of our ability to take the best from our culture and scientific discoveries is the Slim Cera.  Slim Cera is the most advanced beauty roller. Its mechanism brings together ancestral knowledge of facial muscle massage (inspired by Kobido lifting massages), the use of mineral magnetism to increase cosmetics penetration (for 4.000 years). It also includes more recent know-how and discoveries such as regenerative micro-current (used in cosmetic surgery since 2006), the use of germanium to generate negative ions and the diamond cut on the rollers that cleans pores and smoothers the skin texture.  The results are visible after 3 minutes of use for tone and penetration of skincare. As for the results on skin texture, wrinkles and elasticity, it will take about 3 weeks of use to see the results. This is slow beauty.

A selection of all the brand we will show during the pop up at Le Bon Marché in Paris

IRMA: What makes Asian beauty products/tools/rituals so special?
KEIKO SUYAMA: In the last 5-6 years, K-Beauty has won the market and launched many beauty trends. Today, many journalists say that the era of J-Beauty will come. We analyse the reason as follows:


⁃Trend maker (Face Mask, BB cream, CC cream, Oil cleansing etc)

⁃On demand Beauty (when we need)

⁃ Instant Beauty care (short term)

⁃ Quick and immediate effect (Easy to understand Before & After)

⁃ Modern packaging & reasonable price

⁃ Unique Ritual / About 11 steps

⁃ Endorsed by young people because of SNS/ influencers



⁃Health consciousness

⁃Holistic approach

⁃Care culture to prevent damage before it happens (Anti-aging starts from 20’s, Various UV good to avoid sunburn)

⁃From the tip of the nail to the tip of the head

⁃Beauty care in long term

⁃Nature &Science

⁃Massage & Onsen culture, Inner beauty culture

⁃Unique ritual but not so complicate/ About 5-7steps

⁃Endorsed by mature market with the support from Beauty Journalists/make-up artists etc

⁃Innovation/ high tech tools


IRMA: What would you like to tell your 12-year-old self, and what would you like to tell every young girl out there growing up struggling with herself image and the many beauty rituals (self-care) you got to know now?
KEIKO SUYAMA: Everything comes from the inside, self-image and beauty. Instead of asking yourself, « why am I not like the others » ask yourself « why do I really care about not being like the others » this will teach you that the toughest person with yourself is you and that what you have to change is not your physical appearance but your mental judgement of yourself.

Similarly, I would say that the best beauty ritual are inner beauty and facial massage. Inner beauty is strongly linked with food. Indeed, alimentation is the best skin care, avoiding inflammatory aliments and choosing highly antioxidant ones will do better to your skin than many cosmetics.

I strongly advise to start face massage from age of 25. Your facial muscle is like your body muscle, you need to exercise often to stay in shape, the earlier you start stimulating your facial muscle the later signs of age will appear

Keiko`s favourite tool , the Slim Crea and silk cocoons, Japanese woman use those to cleanse and exfoliate their skins. We soak them in water to make them softer, then put our fingers inside and pass is everywhere on the face, especially nose, chin and T zone.


IRMA: What has to be done to unite women more in solidarity instead of competition?
KEIKO SUYAMA: First of all, we women must recognize that our era has been given the most opportunity for women in the human’s history in the thousands of years.

Don’t we think we should take advantage of this great opportunity together? And we must challenge this era with the pride and courage of being a woman.

Also, we shouldn’t think only about ourselves, we should think together more about the future of the earth, the climate change, the poor countries and how we can protect human dignity. We should co-exist and bring together our flexible thinking and change the world.

LEA NEGRETTO: Love is the only answer. Love yourself and you will love others. If something had to be done, I would say to teach every single human how to meditate. Meditation teaches self-love and compassion, it won’t just unit woman, but all humans. Isn’t it what our planet needs right now?

Hand essentials: uka nail oil and base coat, makanai iconic hand cream, kobako nail file and SUWADA nail nipper


IRMA: What is your favourite beauty product right now? KEIKO SUYAMA: Definitely the Slim Cera beauty roller, and this for 10 year now. And the fragrance of TOBALI, because it expresses the deep hidden beauty of Japan.


Summer essentials: Mitomo sheet mask, a rose quarts Kassa, Ruhaku serum to repair the skin after UV exposure, uka On the Beach hair oil to protect hair from UV and Sui Tokyo make up brush for blush.

Léa Negretto , communication and distribution coordinator and Keiko Suyama from Dessigns in their Paris Studio.