Japanese skincare as well as Korean skincare contain fewer chemicals and are gentler to the skin compared to most Western brands.
Japanese people are known for their healthy lifestyle; their exercise, traditional healthy diet and natural skincare treatments radiate also to their skin.
1. Traditional diet
-ichijyu sansai is a Japanese healthy eating and nutrition principle which means “one soup, 3 sides” and it is used to describe the way traditional Japanese meals are made.
A healthy traditional Japanese meal consists of 4 elements: 1 soup (miso soup or clear soup), 1 main dish (protein rich food such as in-season fish, meat, egg, tofu), side dishes (seaweed, mushrooms, vegetables, beans…). Plus, rice and pickles are always served in a traditional Japanese setting.
All these dishes combined can provide your body the proteins, vitamins, minerals and fiber needed for a healthier body, skin and hair.
Some foods that are included in almost every Japanese dish that are very beneficial to the skin and hair:
- Almost every Japanese dish include in-season fish as source of protein. Fish is also rich in Omega-3 which provide glowing skin and hair.
- seaweed (wakame) rich in iodine and keratin
- -kelp (kaiso) rich in iodine and keratin
- some superfoods such as konjac, kinako and natto
2. Camellia oil (aka Japanese rose/ tsubaku oil)
Camellia (Tsubaki) oil was one of the geishas’ beauty secrets for centuries. It can even be used for sensitive skins.
This oil is rich in vitamin A, B, D, and E and Oleic Acid (omega-9 fatty acid) which helps retaining skin’s moisture.
3. Green Tea
Green Tea has many vitamins in it, mainly vitamin C and around 40 minerals (where potassium and phosphorus are mainly present). It has strong antioxidant properties thanks to its rich amount of polyphenols. Green Tea neutralizes free radicals which cause premature skin aging.
Moreover, vitamin B2 present in green tea contributes to maintain your skin’s collagen level, which also help preventing fine lines and wrinkles.
Compared to red and black tea, green tea is very rich in polyphenols (which has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, DNA repair benefits)
4. Face massage
There are several Japanese Massage techniques that can relax your skin muscles and prevent early signs of aging when done on a regular basis.
Tanaka Massage works with the lymphatic drainage, invented by a Japanese make-up artist, Yukuko Tanaka. This helps giving a natural contour to the face.
Shiatsu is a traditional Japanese massage therapy which means “finger pressure”. It works with Qi (=the body’s energy flow), using acupressure to open blockages in the muscles, and bring balance to the body.
Kobido is a traditional Japanese skin massaging technique. It can prevent apparition of aging signs such as fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Azuki beans
Azuki beans are legumes that are high in antioxidants and naturally contain saponin (a natural foaming agent which helps clean and tighten pores).
All you have to do is to grind dried azuki beans to a semi-fine powder, then mix it with water until having a thick paste. Now you can use it as a natural exfoliator for your skin. Apply the mixture to your wet face in circular motions, let it sit for 1-2 minutes then rinse it with tepid water. Finally, moisturize your skin with your favourite moisturizer.
Azuki beans can also be used to exfoliate the body.
6. Wakame kelp
Wakame kelp is a sea algae that can be used in skincare. It is a greatly rich nutrient (that contains minerals, vitamins, carotenoids and also calcium, mineral salts, iron, potassium) that helps stimulate collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production which help in increasing skin’s elasticity and having a firmer looking skin. It also helps protecting the skin from harmful UV rays.
7. Apple oil
The Aomori region in Japan is known for its sweet apple cultivation. Apples and apple oils have an anti-aging benefit to the skin.
Apple oils naturally contain ceramides (fatty acids present in our skin that hold the skin barrier together thus limiting moisture loss) that help in hydrating the skin, thus protecting the skin from early signs of aging by also protecting it from free radical damage.
Yuzu is a citrus fruit found in Japan and also South Korea, known also as the Japanese grapefruit. The fruit is generally used as seasonings in teas and liquors. It is rich in vitamin C, and is known for having it 3 times as much as lemons.
Yuzu is used for its anti-aging properties; it helps boost collagen production and helps inhibit the formation of AGEs (Advanced glycation end products) thus it can prevent early signs of aging (such as fine lines and wrinkles) and improve skin elasticity.
Yuzu is also known for its skin lightening properties which can benefit hyperpigmentation skin issues.
9. Salmon Proteoglycan
Salmon proteoglycan is extracted from the nasal cartilage of salmon. Studies show that proteoglycan retains water more compared to hyaluronic acid, which helps provide skin hydration and elasticity. It helps boosts collagen level to the skin providing anti-aging benefits.
Washing the skin with boiled-down rice water is one of the geisha’s skincare secrets to keep it fair, bright and toned.
Regular use of Rice water is known to brighten the skin. Plus, thanks to its rich content in antioxidants it can also have anti-aging properties (inhibiting the activity of elastase, the enzyme that damages elastin).
11. Rice bran (aka komenuka)
Komenuka (rice bran) is loaded with antioxidants (more than 70) and other essential nutrients and can be used as a mask on your face. It has powerful anti-aging benefits to the skin.
Onsen are Japan’s natural hot springs and the bathing facilities around them. It is a beauty ritual that offers people to soak and relax in nutrient-enriched and mineralized waters.
13. Gettou (aka shell ginger)
Gettou is a plant growing in Okinawa, loaded with resveratrol, an antioxidant also present in grapes that help slow down skin aging.
14. Licorice roots
Licorice root has strong anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. Licorice root contains glycyrrhizinate, a compound that gives helps soften the skin.
Glycyrrhizate is also known to preserve hyaluronic acid, thus the hydration level in skin.
15. Seaweed powder
Seaweed powder is one of the Japanese women beauty secrets. Instead of cleansing your hair with chemical loaded shampoos, you can use seaweed powder to cleanse your hair.
16. Wooden combs
Another Japanese beauty tradition is to use wooden combs having little pores and help in the distribution of the hair’s own natural oils.
17. Japanese Herbal Teas
Many herbal Japanese teas exist such as Yomogi-cha, Hatomugi-cha, Biwa-cha that help in cleaning the body and in providing anti-aging benefits to the skin.
18. Silk Sheet masks
According to the legend, Geishas were the first ones to use sheet masks. They would dampen a piece of kimono silk with distilled flower water and place it on their faces.
You can use silk as your sheet mask, as it has more benefits to the skin, holding naturally antibacterial properties.
Instead of rubbing skincare products to the skin, Japanese prefer patting as it is a gentler way. Rubbing makes frictional forces on the skin which can be irritating and can even lead to early fine lines and wrinkles, especially around the eye area. Patting is a gentle way to apply skincare products.
Exercising increases blood flow thus helping provide a healthier skin. Japanese women are known for their regular exercises, even going for walks can help with it.
21. Mienai oshare
Mienai oshare is a Japanese beauty philosophy that means “true/unseen beauty/style” which implies that true beauty doesn’t need to be seen externally or demonstrated to be recognized. It is following values not just to please others but to please themselves.
This includes a physical and non-physical aspect to it.
As material aspect:
It is the internal glow that radiates when one’s healthy, nourished, relaxed and happy. It is focusing on things that makes you happy, plus simple and daily practices that allow us to feel more confident inside and out.
It is related to the food you eat, the sleep you get, the rest you get after work, being intimate with oneself without the need to impress anyone like choosing to wear the undergarment that makes you feel sexy, focusing on things that makes you happy such as dedicating yourself on a passion project.
The main philosophy behind is pursuing things that make one’s happy and enabling to embrace your femininity. Indeed, happiness enables women to radiate a special glow that can’t be mimicked with makeup, skincare, or other external factors.
As the non-material aspect:
The non-material aspect covers your energy. It is more than your clothes or make-up. The non-material aspect of Mienai Oshare is your inner beauty reflecting outside; your feelings, and personality. It reflects with your warm energy, a smile, the poise and elegance (it is more than posture and outfits. It is how you react and conduct yourself when faced with challenging situations), your confidence, a bright glow.
Thus, Minai oshare is empowering us women to be mindful of our actions and behaviours which influence our “true beauty”
Always patch test before deciding to use any new product. Apply any new product on your wrist, elbow or jawline first then cover the area.
If you don’t have any negative reaction following 24hours after application, then you can apply it on your skin.
This content does NOT provide medical advice. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is NOT a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult your own doctor for more information.