Amongst the animated insanity of the beauty market in Japan, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the ‘kawaii’ persona screaming in your face. However, the regime of the everyday Japanese woman includes the unconventional use of many traditional and natural Japanese ingredients. Like many Asian cultures, skincare takes first place and the natives, both old and young, don’t take it lightly. Much of the goodness utilised for skin comes from natural Japanese ingredients and a diet rich in Omega 3 fats, fermented foods and green tea. Here are our favourite tips used by Japanese women throughout history and even still today:
Adzuki red beans are a nutritious food source often made into a sweet paste and found in Japanese confectionaries. However, this humble bean also contains amazing benefits for the skin as an antioxidant and exfoliant. Perfect for sensitive skin, Azuki also contains a natural foaming agent that assists in unclogging pores and absorbing oils. It can also brighten the skin overtime and promote circulation when used as a scrub. Interested in trying it out? We recommend making a simple facial scrub (like this one!) and applying 1-2 times per week to start with.
The Art of Patting
Japan has always been known as a culture that promotes doing things with delicacy and grace. This applies to skincare more than ever when it comes to application. Instead of rubbing products in, women throughout Japan and Asia swear by patting gently and when you think about it, it really is just common sense. Treating your skin gently will help it to retain its health and elasticity, and overall longevity. Tapping and patting will help to stimulate blood flow while also preventing unnecessary force on the face, especially in delicate areas.
Camellia oil is an ever-growing popular oil in Japan that is created with the wild-harvested seeds of the Camellia japonica flower. It’s all natural and has a myriad of uses for face, body and hair. As an emollient, Tsubaki oil is great for softening skin and promotes collagen synthesis; you can also use it to add shine to your hair or remove your makeup at night. We currently love Tatcha’s range of Camellia Oil skincare. Learn more about the ingredient here.
Perhaps one of the best-kept beauty secrets is Rice Water and the Geisha of Japan have sworn by this method for years. Throughout history, Geisha used the strained water from cooked rice to keep their skin flawless. As a diet staple, Rice also offers skincare benefits such as brightening, boosting elasticity and improving tone and texture. Keen to experiment? Save the leftover water from some boiled rice, soak a cotton pad and apply to the face like a toner.
Seaweed is a common part of Japanese diets and can also be used in your skincare routine. Rich in B complex vitamins, Seaweed can have a positive and detoxifying effect on acne, rosacea and dull skin. How can you incorporate seaweed into your routine? A popular way of utilising this superfood is to create a Wakame facial mask, which usually involves blending the seaweed into a powder and creating a paste with a few additional ingredients. Get some recipe inspiration here.
Stress is the Enemy
Above all superfoods and natural remedies, Japanese women also believe that keeping calm is a factor in keeping their skin and wellbeing in good condition. Stress can cause all kinds of skin issues and breakouts, and consequently Japanese women make it a priority to avoid stress as much as possible. As explained by katjuju, “They place a high importance in maintaining poise, or what the Japanese call “Mie-nai Osharé” roughly translated as “unseen (or hidden) beauty”. The idea is that beauty does not have to be displayed to be appreciated. It is also in ‘the act of‘.”