Unveiling the Beauty Secrets of the Modern Asian Woman

For 1 in 4 Asian women, a typical morning routine involves the daily application of 16 beauty products to their face that average a total product cost of US$229.

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Interested in what drives this and other beauty habits, Facebook IQ commissioned TapestryWorks to survey 4,158 and interview 64 women in Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea.  These respondents provided insights about their beauty regimes in the cultural context of living in their respective countries, and then our experts enriched the study with Facebook and Instagram behavioral data.

We found that while women in these markets share similar beauty goals, their visions of beauty vary widely. We also found that Asian beauty shoppers like to experiment with new or alternative looks—and most are still on a quest to find their perfect beauty match. Although many visit the beauty counter, nearly 40% ultimately make their purchase online or on mobile.

The foundation of beauty

More than 1 in 2 women we surveyed say they can do beauty differently—that they can look better without changing who they are inside. But their secret to appearing more beautiful still lies in a carefully chosen beauty set and make-up regime. What we’ve observed on Facebook, and especially on mobile, highlights the volume of beauty discussions by topic. Women across the four markets discussed “make-up” five times more than “fragrances,” “hair” twice as much as “clothes” and “lipstick” three times more than “mascara” or “eye shadow” on Facebook mobile.1


The variety of beauty regimes

Women may talk about the same topics, but we’ve seen that beauty standards have been replaced by beauty cultural codes. And these beauty cultural codes are specific to each country.


Beautiful at every age

How a woman chooses to engage with beauty content on digital platforms signals important transitional moments and beauty needs in her life.

On Instagram, Younger Millennial* beauty followers’ focus on bold styles like:


On Instagram, Gen X* beauty followers’* conversations reveal a more holistic approach to beauty, including healthy eating and an appeal for more natural ingredients with:


As conversations about beauty evolve over time, so does the core definition of the word. As women get older, they also become a lot more confident about their beauty and realize they can change the way they look—a drastic contrast with Older Millennial* beauty followers who seem to suffer from beauty anxiety in their earlier years.



The new personal beauty counter

In the context of the Asian beauty path to purchase, offline and online touchpoints have very distinctive and complementary roles to play. The shopping journey is digital, but the need for physical and “real” sensory experiences remains. Beauty shoppers still need to touch, feel and smell products at least once. Nearly 40% of Asian shoppers make more online purchases than before. 40% of South Korean women make those purchases on mobile.

Mobile devices unlock a thread of tailored information that beauty shoppers crave. More than half reach first for their mobile device to see beauty-related content, as it is more convenient than any other channel for content. We also saw that Facebook and Instagram were amongst the top five triggers for a beauty purchase. Indeed, mobile is the new digital and personal beauty counter.


What it means for marketers

Personalize your content: Because beauty is about identity, it’s important for brands to provide as many options as possible to micro-cater to every woman’s needs, whether through varied product ranges or in cultural and generational messaging.

Leverage signals to target moments: More than ever, women are aware that they can have an influence on how their beauty evolves over time, be it make-up free and natural or more noticeable and sophisticated. Brands that speak to a woman’s life stage in a personal way have a better chance to connect with the right message at the right moment.

Influence on mobile: Plan your omni-channel strategy to mirror every single step of the beauty shopper’s path to purchase, making sure you always have an online, mobile-friendly presence for every step of the journey. Ensure you measure the effectiveness of your brand-building efforts with the right metrics to identify potential future performance marketing opportunities.


* Definitions
Millennials are ages 18–34. Younger Millennials are ages 18–24, and Older Millennials are ages 25–34.
Gen Xers are ages 35–44.
Beauty followers are defined as Instagram users who follow at least one account categorized as a beauty account.
1 Facebook data, ID, JP, KR and MY, Jun–Dec 2016. Topical comparison of beauty topics on Facebook mobile activity per average age from people ages 18+ on Facebook who mentioned “make up.”
Source unless otherwise specified: “The Four Faces of Beauty” by TapestryWorks (Facebook-commissioned study of 4,158 women ages 18–55 in ID, JP, KR and MY), Aug 2016.