Hit Habit Forecast: Stealth beauty

Jun. 15, 2021
  • Viewpoints

Hit Habit Forecast is a regular column of the Hit Habit Makers, a group of young planners at Hakuhodo HQ that gamely stood up to say they were going to create hit habits—not hit products—as consumption shifts from purchasing things to purchasing experiences. Analyzing social media accounts and purchasing data of highly sophisticated users and conducting analysis on popular articles, etc. in a variety of media that have their fingers on the pulse of social trends, this is the bold, new challenge of forecasting hit habits that are about to break.


I’m Ayaka Kaneda of the Hit Habit Makers.

How are you all doing?
I was shocked to learn recently that the disposable masks I use let UV light pass through. I kind of thought that I didn’t need to protect the real estate under my mask since it was covered, and had not been applying sunscreen there. I’m a bit downhearted about it.

The topic today is “stealth beauty.”

“Stealth beauty” refers to the increasing numbers of people who, far from letting their guard down and exposing themselves to UV like I did, actually see the current pandemic as an opportunity, and have been quietly making efforts to enhance their looks. In this edition, I’ll introduce three kinds of stealth beauty that people undertaking it have been doing.

First is “canny stealth beauty.”

These days, you often see products that boost things we use every day, like shower heads and hair dryers, with an additional beauty value. It seems like the number of products that make skincare, haircare and other beauty value claims in addition to regular showerhead and hair dryer functions seems is increasing.

Perhaps people are starting to wake up to the value of “canny beauty” where, by buying products with these slightly bougie functions, they can up their beauty game without doing anything special, just adding a beauty function to actions they do every day.

Second is “stealth beauty my way.”

First, take a look at the change in scores for “serufu esute” (DIY facials) and “biganki” (facial devices).

Source: Google Trends (Searches for “serufu esute” (DIY facials))
Source: Google Trends (Searches for “biganki” (facial devices))

As we can see from the fact that interest in both DIY facials and facial devices has been rising steadily recently, more people are doing beauty treatments that they previously had done by professionals at esthetic salons, etc., by themselves at home.

The reason for this popularity is, I believe, that as “DIY” suggests, people can work on things that bother them as much as they like, whenever it suits them. I have been concerned about sagging on my face myself and bought a facial device that I use to my heart’s content while watching TV. When I look in the mirror after using it, my cheeks seem to be tighter, which makes lifts my mood.

Lastly, we have “all-out stealth beauty.”

Recently more people have been having laser skin discoloration removal and plastic surgery, a trend that has been also been reported in the news. Perhaps the reason is that with lower barriers to cosmetic medicine and cosmetic surgery than before, more people are looking to use this time to fix all the things that bother them in one fell swoop to get closer to their ideal look. I’m starting to hear from those around me about people who have had or are considering getting laser treatment or minor cosmetic surgery. When I spoke to friends who have actually done so, they said they did it because it felt like they had the opportunity to do it now, since they are not meeting other people.

So why are more people doing stealth beauty?

I had a think about this. And the main reason, I think, is that with people staying at home, they have fewer opportunities to meet others and wear makeup.

Thanks to staying home, we have more opportunities to see our own faces, whether on the computer screen during online meetings, or in mirrors at home. Due to this, I think we are starting to be bothered about things we never noticed before and becoming more bothered by things we were already concerned about, and this has lit the fuse on the desire to be beautiful.

The definition of “beauty” has changed over time and differs from person to person. But the desire to be beautiful is the same today as it has always been, and as this time of self-denial continues, perhaps spurred by the desire to be beautiful, more people are spending their time working toward being their most alluring selves when they can finally meet others again without a mask on.

Lastly, I considered business opportunities from the perspective of stealth beauty.

Examples of stealth beauty business opportunities
■ Homebuilders selling homes that make you more beautiful just by living in them
■ Developing apps that visualize the gap between users’ current reality and their ideal, and the steps to get them there
■ Consulting that offers complete, tailored beauty regimens that efficiently deliver beauty results

I, too, want to have fun with beauty while waiting eagerly until I can meet others and have fun outside the house without a mask on.


Ayaka Kaneda
Member of the Hit Habit Makers
Planning Department 2, Business Design Division 2, Kansai Office
Ayaka Kaneda joined Hakuhodo in 2017. A native of Osaka, one thing she’s a bit sad about is that, having been transferred to Hakuhodo’s Kansai Office, she feels she’s gradually losing the standard Japanese she picked up in four years working at HQ in Tokyo.
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