Addiction Tokyo has created, well, quite an addiction in Japan with their makeup products. Toting “skin melt technology,” overseas the brand is known for its long-wearing eyeshadows, with a formula that blends oil within the powder for a better fit on the eye, longer wear time, and comfort. Now, the Japanese brand is set on a global expansion and launches in the United States beginning today. Despite its success overseas, Addiction Tokyo recognizes its shortcomings due to its homogeneous audience and in 2019, tapped international makeup artist Kanako Takase to serve as the brand’s Creative Director. Furthermore, they are launching solely with eyes, lips, and cheeks products, as they prepare their complexion products for global consumption.
The brand was founded in 2009 by makeup artist Ayako and inspired by Ayako’s travels and experiences. Though Ayako is no longer with the brand and it has since evolved, it still carries a free-spirited nature with creativity at the forefront. The brand’s mission is to create makeup as a medium for self-discovery and a celebration of the artistry within every individual, while embodying the essence of Tokyo. With such an extensive product offering, the brand is a place where beauty is not defined, but liberated to allow for full creativity in its most authentic and vibrant form.
In the same way Louis Vuitton is known as a luxury travel brand, Addiction Tokyo’s heavy influence from voyages has informed and inspired the brand since its inception. When you look through the brand assortment, with products priced anywhere from $20.00 to $33.00, it’s filled with all the beauty basics in a healthy amount of varying pigments. For example, the matte lip liquid comes in 18 shades, while they have blushes of varying finishes in 28 shades.
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Takase is a world-renowned artist known for her imaginative approach to makeup. Many of her looks are created on set and she draws inspiration from her travels. “The features and shapes of the faces I work with inspire me and determine what looks I will create for a shoot. I am connected through touch when prepping the skin and applying makeup,” she exclusively tells ELLE.com. Though she desires it, she claims to have a non-minimalist mind and shares she’s attracted to “a complicated mix of color and texture.” In 2019, Takase was named the Global Creative Director, and in 2020, launched her first collection. This year at New York Fashion Week, she’ll use makeup to create the looks for the highly anticipated AREA show.
Takase set her eyes on India for inspiration for future U.S. collections. “I enjoy brainstorming with the product development team and even showing them images from my travels, which will often inspire a new shade or texture,” says Takase. Recently returning from India, she shares how inspiring she found her surroundings: “There is so much visual inspiration from the people, the architecture, the clothing, the food and of course nature. I am attracted to a complicated mix of colors and textures; and India reflects such a vibrant and colorful landscape.” This goes back to the essence of Takase and her hands on approach and spontaneity in her work.
Addiction Tokyo’s best sellers are their eyeshadows. Coming in 99 shades and 5 textures (cream, sparkle, pearl, matte, and tint), there is a shadow for you. If you’re unsure where to start with the Cheesecake Factory-like assortment, the Japanese best seller is Mariage, while Takase is partial to Lost Star. The eyeshadow is smooth to touch and the colors don’t crease. It picks up a lot of product quickly on a brush.
I wore a pink liquid eyeshadow that gave my Barbie look the perfect pop. It went on smoothly, blended in without trouble, and had a gorgeous glitter. I also wore a pearly brown that gave my eye a beautiful brown sheen—a great everyday shadow I find myself reaching for repeatedly.
However, for Takase, it goes beyond the makeup. She deeply connected with the brand philosophy and this “idea of knowing yourself, loving yourself, and embracing change.” A sentiment that many have been using makeup as a conduit to achieving for themselves. “I am hoping to help people everywhere by delivering professional quality makeup products while ensuring their user-friendliness so that everyone can find the artist in themselves and create makeup looks with ease and excitement,” she says.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been playing with the products and gravitated toward their eyeshadows (all the textures), lipsticks, and blush (okay, so…everything). The products are easy to wear and give a good color payoff. With the matte lipstick, like most mattes, you must prep your lips accordingly. I used the Lano 12 Hour Overnight Lip Mask the night prior, and in the morning, they were primed perfectly for the product. The formula is lightweight, almost watery, like the Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint, but dries down quickly. The Lipstick Extreme Shine reminded me of the Glossier Ultralip. I wore Shade 017, a soft, warm brown. It looked like a high-shine, soft lipstick, not overly pigmented, but definitely there.
With such a large offering, Takase under direction, a NYFW debut, and a deep desire to go global, Addiction Tokyo will surely make a splash in the U.S. market. With similar prices, it feels like the MAC of Japan. In Japan, it’s offered mostly in department stores, specialty stores, and e-commerce. In the U.S., you can shop on www.addictiontokyobeauty.com.
Danielle James is the Digital Beauty Director of ELLE.com. Previously, she was the Fashion and Beauty Director of HelloBeautiful.com and MadameNoire.com. She’s bylined for The Cut, InStyle, Allure, Business of Fashion, Nylon, Essence, Good Housekeeping, The Grio, and Huffington Post. Danielle enjoys sailing, thrifting, Japanese whiskey, Naomi Campbell’s runway walk, and Rihanna in the comment section.