8 Japanese beauty secrets you need to know about
Japanese women are famed for their clear, flawless faces and their ability to look 30 even past their 60th birthday. Then, of course, there are the geisha, these mysterious women, whose whole lives are dedicated to beauty in all forms. By the way, the geisha were not courtesans, regardless of how the word’s definition has got mixed up after World War II. Perhaps Japanese women’s beauty has to do with genes or they have some dark secret, such as subjecting themselves to rigorous, cruel beauty routines that we wouldn’t be able to endure for even a week? No, the truth is much simpler and nicer: natural ingredients and constant care. Here are some traditional Japanese beauty tips:
Think for a second what are the foods we associate with Japan – fish, rice and seaweed. These, together with cabbage-family vegetables, make up the bulk of the traditional Japanese diet. No fatty meat, no sugar and no tons of bread. What distinguishes these foods is their abundance of omega-3 fatty acids, health-promoting, anti-aging molecules, fibres, vitamins and minerals in high quantities. Basically, everything that’s essential for your health and good looks.
Rice is one of the most popular Japanese beauty secrets and it needs a special mention, while we’re on the subject of food as an element in the beauty routine of Japanese women. It’s not just a superhealthy food, packed with vitamins and minerals, that helps the skin glow from within. It, or rather the water you’ve boiled it in, or simply rinsed it in, can be used as a facial wash. You can also add it to your bath water. Why? Because it contains the minerals that have left the grains during cooking and it also contains starch, a soothing substance for the skin.
3. Nightingale droppings
Nightingale droppings is another one of unusual Japanese beauty secrets. Yes, you read that right. Bird droppings have been used as facial treatments in Japan since the 17th century, mostly by geishas and kabuki actors at the time but they are now slowly getting international recognition. The secret is a compound called guanine, which has the wonderful properties of brightening the skin tone and treating wrinkles, whether they were caused by the sun or by age. It also cleanses the pores and adds glow to your face. Definitely worth considering, regardless of its origin, right?
4. Natural oils for beauty
Forget oil-free cleansers and moisturisers. Traditional Japanese skincare heavily relies on natural oils, as long as they are not mineral. This basically means herbal oils, such as the camellia oil used by geishas as makeup remover and cleanser. In fact, it’s possible that the modern-day oil cleansing method was derived from this practice, with a scientific explanation added. The explanation why oil cleanses skin? Because oils dissolve other oils and the “dirt” on your face, as well as the oil secreted by the sebaceous glands, the glands in the skin.
5. Forget the sun
Next one of important Japanese beauty secrets is to avoid direct sun exposure. Vitamin D is important for newborns and small kids but you don’t need a lot of direct sun exposure. Japanese ladies seem to have been aware of the damaging effect of UV rays for centuries. Today, they prefer to stay out of the sun as much as possible, rather than using heavy sunscreen, but if it can’t be avoided, than a very high protection factor is used. After all, it’s UV radiation that is the most common cause of premature ageing. That’s right, not smoking, not bad diet, but UV rays!
6. Exfoliation is the key
Bathing is a ritual for the Japanese – it relaxes you after a long day and helps you sleep better at night, while, of course, at the same time fulfilling its primary purpose of keeping you clean. During that ritual, women take the time to treat their whole bodies to gentle scrubbing and exfoliation with a certain type of red beans called Azuki. Apart from removing dirt and dead skin cells from your skin, regular exfoliation makes it easier for anything you use after the bath – oil and other moisturisers – to soak in, thus boosting their effect.
7. Green tea for beauty
No list of Japanese beauty secrets would be complete without mentioning green tea, this truly precious drink that ladies throughout the Orient swear by. For one thing, green tea is full of antioxidants and it also has anti-inflammatory properties. What this means for your skin is that regularly drinking a few cups of green tea will greatly help keep your skin supple and youthful for longer, and also – spot-free.
8. Wooden combs for beautiful hair
Japanese women pay particular attention to their hair and prefer to use special, handmade wooden combs, whose tiny little pores catch the natural oil that your scalp glands produce and distribute it along the length of the hair. This helps keep it well moisturised, strong and healthy, not to mention extra shiny. The Japanese ladies also use seaweed powder to cleanse their hair and they don’t use the synthetic, chemical packed shampoos we use, too often at the expense of our hair’s health. To moisturise, they rub camellia oil into their locks – it works best on wet hair.
Do you know some other Japanese beauty secrets?