No matter her age, it is rare to meet a Japanese woman with bad skin. When it comes to Japanese women and their complexion, 50 is the new 30.
Often described as having flawless, radiant, dewy and youthful skin, Japanese women have long been the poster models for luminous Asian skin. How do they maintain their porcelain-like skin well into their later years? What are they doing differently from the rest of us that allows for such great preservation of beautiful, youthful skin?
It is more than using the right cleanser and moisturizer. It is more than regular exfoliation and masking. It is more than genetic difference. The notion of Asians having a youth “beauty gene” is not true. Being Chinese, I know a lot of Asian women who suffer and battle with bad skin (pigmentation, acne, blemish, oily T-zone…the list goes on). Yet, Japanese skin comes up tops for having the healthiest, most flawless complexion.
Now, Japanese skin secrets are revealed (and some may surprise you).
Do Not Use Many Products
Japanese women tend to keep their skincare routine simple, and not use many different products at one go. Typically, they use a mild and unscented facial soap to cleanse and a facial oil to moisturize. These moisturizing oils are made from natural ingredients such as rice bran, Azuki (red bean), kelp and green tea extract. At bedtime, they may apply night cream. That is it.
Do Not Use Much Makeup
Less is more when it comes to makeup. Japanese women choose their products carefully and do not overdo their makeup. With their already flawless skin, makeup products are treated as an add-on to beauty. Not an essential. Makeup tends to clog pores and it adds another layer of product on skin which Japanese women strive to keep at a minimal.
While most of us choose “oil-free” skincare products, Japanese women love products “oil-based”. They use facial oils for cleansing and moisturizing because oil dissolves oil; allowing makeup, sebum and sunscreen to easily melt away. The key is to avoid mineral oil. Mineral oil is known to clog pores and leaves a residue layer that requires another cleanser to remove. This process strips our skin from its natural essential oils which creates more harm than good.
Cleanse Every Night. No Excuse.
This is a simple rule that all Japanese women follow. Although most Japanese women do not use a lot of makeup to begin with, they are still extremely committed to cleansing their face and keeping their skin fresh and clean. Especially at night when the skin is “resting and breathing”.
Prefer Hats & Umbrellas Over Sunscreen
What?! Yes, it is true. If given a choice, Japanese women prefer not to slap on a layer of sunscreen on their face. Rather, they will opt to stay out of direct sunlight, or wear a wide-brimmed hat and carry a UV umbrella to shield their skin from the sun. This probably goes back to their #1and #2 secret of keeping it simple and not putting too much product on their face.
Slap It On. Do Not Rub.
You can invest in the most expensive and innovative beauty products in the marketplace, but the secret to youthful-looking skin is all about the technique. Most of us are taught to apply our skincare products with our fingers in a light, upward circular motion. Right? For Japanese women, they slap it on! Going upwards (from the chin), they gently pat their skin while applying product. This apparently helps to simulate blood flow and elevate energy levels for skin cell rejuvenation.
Lots Of Green Tea
Not only do they opt for green tea-based skin care products, Japanese women drink a lot of green tea. Green tea is loaded with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that naturally protect the skin from UV rays – which is one of the main causes of wrinkles and pigmentation.
Japanese beauty is not just about what one does with the skin. Japanese women make it a conscious effort to keep calm. Stress is the number one enemy of beautiful skin. 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‘.
It’s Fishy Business
Unlike Western diet that consist of mostly red meat, deep-fried foods and high-sugar beverages, Japanese dine on seafood (fish, shrimp, seaweed) which contains essential oils, fatty acids and nutrients – all of which are main contributors to youthful skin. They follow a staple diet of all sorts of fish, cooked in all sorts of ways including eaten raw, grilled and pickled.
So, you want beautiful skin and do it the Japanese way? Start by stocking up your fridge with seafood and cabinets with green tea. And ditch all the unnecessary beauty treatments. It may be causing your skin more harm than good.
For a different perspective, Japanese women can also go to extreme limits in pursuit of flawless complexion.