The skincare world has always sought inspiration from Japanese cosmetology. This is no surprise: the Land of the Rising Sun has been the custodian of a limitless and fascinating repertoire of beauty secrets.
Japanese women are famous for their porcelain skin: so smooth and luminous it would seem ageless. This is also thanks to high-quality cosmetic products, which undergo some of the world’s strictest legislations and are the result of in-depth research and trials.
Italians are no less experienced in cosmetic regulations and product quality, but we still have much to learn from Japanese beauty philosophy. And the best way to do so is by starting from our lifestyle: from what we eat to how we protect our skin from the sun and other environmental aggressors; to the search for internal peace through spirituality and kindness in human relationships. All these ingredients can boost a person’s health and beauty, inside and out.
It is one of the world’s healthiest cuisines: based on plants, algae, raw fish, rice, green tea, it is truly the country’s elixir of youth. The Okinawa diet is up there with the Mediterranean one when it comes to healthiness and curative properties, and it is responsible for the extraordinary longevity of those who follow it on daily basis. It’s interesting to note that the most common ingredients in Japanese culinary tradition are the same employed in their cosmetic practice: anti-radical substances, amino acids, hydrating mucilaginous extracts, essential oils. All natural, dermo-compatible ingredients, never too concentrated, always carefully calibrated and calculated for their scope.
Cosmetics and its essential steps
For Japanese men and women, taking care of oneself or one’s skin is a cultural factor, and it is closely bound to a rituality which is started early and continues with perseverance for the rest of one’s life. The Japanese woman “takes her time” to cleanse, moisturize, massage her skin, especially when it comes to the face. This care regimen is taken very seriously, and is articulated in several essential steps.
To remove make-up and dirt, Japanese women first use an oil (camellia is the most commonly used), and then with lukewarm water and a delicate cleanser, most often in a mousse form.
The skin is then dried by dabbing gently with a dry, clean towel; next, it is revitalized with a softening lotion. After this a specific serum is applied, chosen based on possible personal blemishes (dryness, opaque skin, dilated pores, wrinkles and fine lines). Lastly, a moisturizer will reinforce the cutaneous barrier and set the products applied before it.
A primer is used as a base for make-up, which in the case of Japanese cosmetics also contains UV filters, to be used year-round. It is up to foundation to cover blemishes while lending the complexion a subtle tint.
In the evening, the ritual can include exfoliating treatments for the face and body, chosen according to the skin’s characteristics, alternated with masks applied once or twice a week and left on for 10 to 30 minutes. Rice face masks are widely used. Last but not least, a nourishing and emollient night cream.
There is no doubt that the Japanese skincare routine takes time, attention and dedication but, as I mentioned earlier, behind this approach there is a whole world of respect, balance, naturalness and wisdom: all the ingredients that preserve one’s beauty, but also one’s spirit and happiness.