At a recent launch event for Japanese beauty brand SK-II, famed makeup artist Gucci Westman talked about her time in Japan and how taken aback she was by the youthfulness of the women around her. She says she was amazed at their smooth, wrinkle-free complexions, and insisted that she knew their secrets.
Unfortunately Westman didn't spill all of her intel at the event, but it gave me the itch to quickly uncover what they were using. And what better source to go to than SK-II national brand ambassador Steve Jan, who also happens to be a skincare guru and Japanese beauty expert?
Keep scrolling to read the ancient Japanese skincare secrets that turn back the clock!
"Japanese women believe the first step to beautiful skin is what you put inside your body. The Japanese diet is full of vegetables and fish, and extremely low in meat and sugary foods. Japanese women also believe green tea is a source of clear, beautiful skin," Jan says.
"Japanese women believe facial massages are the key to wrinkle-free skin. As they apply each step in their skincare routine, they gently massage the product into the skin in circular motions. This anti-ageing trick also helps to relax the muscles and improve circulation," says Jan.
While there's something to be said for not trying out a slew of products at once in search of a perfect complexion, Japanese women actually believe the more products, the better.
Says Jan, "The multi-step skincare ritual is probably the most famous—and important—beauty secret of Japanese women. They believe the ritual of applying each product, from the facial massage to the actual time that it takes you, is as important to beautiful skin as the products themselves. Taking that time to de-stress and do something for yourself each day helps you beautify from the inside out at the same time that you're taking care of your skin."
While the steps have morphed over the years, these days, it goes a little something like this: makeup removal, cleanser, exfoliator, toner, essence, serums, sheet mask, eye cream, moisturiser, and finally, sunscreen.
"Another important step to beautiful skin in Japan is how you bathe. Japanese women make steamy baths part of their ritual. They believe this calming step before bed leads to more beautiful skin," says Jan.
Long, steaming hot baths enriched with oils, essences, or tea are commonplace in Japan and the key to smooth, glowing skin.
Tan skin isn't a priority in Japan like it is for women in the UK or the U.S. In fact, the paler the skin, the better.
"Of course, sunscreen and hats are extremely important to Japanese women because porcelain skin is beautiful skin, so protecting your skin from sunspots, wrinkles, and other signs of ageing is key. Women in Japan apply sunscreen daily, no matter what the weather is," explains Jan.
You know how easy it is to just hit the pillow with a full face of makeup? You won't find that negligence in Japan. Says Jan, "Japanese women believe cleansing is the most important skincare step, and it's one that British women sometimes skip after a late night." Guilty!
Keep scrolling to shop some of our favorite Japanese skincare products.
So tell us: What's your skincare secret? Sound off below!