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The Revolution of 'KATE' Defining an Era: Makeup Trends from Heisei to Reiwa

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Every time a new product is released, KATE's cosmetics become a hot topic, especially on social media.
Many have probably tried at least one of KATE's products, which seem to embody what users want.
Products like eyeshadow, eyebrow powder, and lipstick stimulate our desire for makeup. How has KATE's makeup evolved from the Heisei era, and how is it changing now in the Reiwa era?
We spoke with Mai Wakai, who is in charge of PR for KATE at Kao Corporation, about KATE cosmetics that have walked through time with us.

From the Heisei Era's 'Flash Crush' to Reiwa's 'LipMonster'…KATE Continues to Create Hit Products

KATE, which debuted in 1997, became a hot topic from the moment it was released.
At a time when brown makeup shades were trending, KATE offered a variety of brown lip colors. In an era where concepts like warm undertones and cool undertones weren't yet mainstream, finding the right brown shade became an instant hit among young people.
As the gyaru style surged and glitter makeup became trendy, KATE introduced 'Flash Crush.' During this period, blue eyeshadow and glitter were popular among high school girls, making KATE's three-color palette, which included glitter and two shades of eyeshadow, an instant hit. Its success was also fueled by the fact that multi-shade eyeshadow palettes were rare outside of department store brands.
KATE Product Image, Summer 1999
KATE Product Image, Summer 1999
Although the user base is now diverse, was the initial target audience high school girls?
"Just before KATE debuted in 1997, it was a time when standardized 'template makeup' was the norm. Around 1997, as the gyaru trend emerged and makeup styles diversified, KATE was born.
"Represented by gyaru, it became an era where people created their trends based on their styles.
"Even today, the core target for KATE remains young people aged late teens to early twenties. The fact that high school girls led trends and information back then was a significant factor in KATE's wide acceptance."
In 1997, KATE cosmetics became a buzz mainly through gyaru magazines. Its items gained explosive popularity through word of mouth and magazines alone, and even today, they remain a hot topic among cosmetics accounts on social media.
The 'LipMonster' currently on sale is also explosively popular. However, the key to consistently producing hit products lies in KATE's dedication.
"Our brand foundation is to propose products and create opportunities for better communication through makeup that stimulates customers' desire to transform, enjoy makeup, and change.
"With this belief, we have been able to create products like 'LipMonster' and 'Double Line Expert' for tear bags, double lines, and cut creases, as per customers' desires."
"Whether it's masks that make your face look smaller or beyond-face makeup, we constantly propose products from various angles to offer total beauty suggestions."
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