In Japan we treasure the freshness and seasonality of ingredients, and the concept of ‘soshoku’ (meaning “frugal meal” in the Zen temple typically “one soup with one side dish and rice) plays a role in making Japanese cuisine one of the healthiest in the world.
Can those healthy Japanese food be effective as skincare products?
When I started exploring homemade skincare products, there were many Japanese food that I imagined could be beneficial when applied topically. Later through my research, in collaboration with a researcher from University in Armenia, for my book Beauty Confidential confirmed the efficacies of those ingredients to my delight.
4 Japanese ingredients for simple beauty regimen
I love these Japanese food ingredients in my homemade skincare recipes. And just like ‘soshoku’, when it comes to skincare products I apply ‘less is more’ belief as to achieve natural beauty that last.
Rice bran or Komenuka (Oryza sativa): all-time favourite beauty ingredient and best-kept beauty secret in Japan, rice bran is rich in vitamins B and E as well as fatty acids that help promote healthy skin. It moisturises and protects the skin too.
Rice bran oil is light and suitable for infusing herbs (click here for recipes in my other blog).
The powdered rice bran makes an effective exfoliator as well as softening and moisturising agent while rice bran water has been used in traditional baths for centuries.
50 g White clay
50 g Rice bran powder
1 tsp. Rice bran oil per usage
1. Make sure all ingredients are finely ground.
2. Place all ingredients in a zip bag, seal, and shake well to blend.
3. Store in a glass jar.
4. Add any oil, vitamin or essential oil of your choice to create bespoke mask each time before usage.
Glucomannan, a natural fibre derived from the root of the konjac plant, is widely used in personal care products and cosmetics due to its water-retention capacity; it ensures that the skin is moisturised, smooth, and supple.
Konnyaku Peel-off Face Mask
Mix konnyaku powder with freshly squeeze fruit juice, such as papaya, strawberry or lemon to make paste.
Nigari (magnesium chloride) is a concentrate of deep seawater and is extremely rich in magnesium. It also serves as a coagulating agent in the food industry, used in making fresh tofu. Topical application of magnesium chloride proves to be more beneficial than ingestion as it enters the tissue cells immediately to increase magnesium levels where it is needed most, saturate the tissues, and adjust the balance with calcium. The benefits of using magnesium chloride in a bath or foot bath are well-documented for healing aches and pains as well as some skin problems.
½ cup each magnesium chloride flakes
½ cup baking soda
Read this bathing ritual for the most nutritious daily ritual to body and soul
Tusbaki (Camellia – Camellia oleifera) has been used in beauty treatments since the 17th century Edo period to condition black hair. Rich in oleic acids which help moisturise and nourish the skin and hair.