Monthly Archives: February 2017

Japanology: Quest for Perfect Skin

Not a Japanophile, but I find the NHK Japanology series hugely entertaining. In particular, this 2016 episode Quest for Perfect Skin caught my attention. In Japan, skincare heavily outsells makeup, haircare and fragrances, with a whooping 46.2% of the Japanese cosmetics market is contributed by skincare. Such an informative episode warrants a mini reflection of the learning lessons.

1. The sun the the (greatest) enemy

Women from the Shimane Prefecture have the best skin in the whole of Japan.  This observation comes from an annual assessment of more than 700,000 women across all prefectures, where skin samples are assessed based on factors such as moisture and texture.

The reason why Shimane Prefecture have been crowned for four consecutive years, is that the region enjoys a cloudy and wet climate, meaning less sun exposure and skin damage from UV rays.

In another instance, Kako Iizuka, a lady with great skin at the age of 56 introduces her sun gear. This includes gloves, hats, huge sunglasses as well as cloths that covers her face and neck. Like this:

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Lesson Learnt: I am at a disadvantage because I live in the tropics and UV is abundant all year round. Daily sunblock is a must even if I am staying indoors. I don’t think I will go as far as wearing a hat and sunglasses daily, people here just don’t do that.

2. Lather your soap

Unlike the Western variety, Japanese foaming cleansers usually work into an ultra-dense foam like beaten-up egg whites. It is thought that a dense foam will reduce the friction during the cleansing and minimize stress to the skin. Japanese ladies spend a full minute to aerate the soap until stiff peaks form before spreading it on their face. Also, more attention is devoted to the nose and forehead, where sebum production is in excess.

Lesson Learnt: I’m still not very keen on using a pile of foam for cleansing, because generally foams are created using SLS or other foaming agents. They can mess with the pH of the cleanser. BUT I must say, the Japanese lathering method is a super luxurious way to clean your face. The dense foam really glides across the skin as you massage your face, and it is a magnificent feeling.

Look at all these foam created with Kose Softymo White Cleansing Wash

Look at all these foam created with Kose Softymo White Cleansing Wash!

3. Ancient remedies do work

In the past, women in Japan used rice brans to exfoliate their skin after their bath. In recent years with the advancements in technology, compounds extracted from rice can help with the skin’s ability retain moisture. These include fermentation products derived from rice, such as sake.

Lesson Learnt: I happen to have Kose Moisture Skin Repair Cream on hand, and its key ingredient is rice. Not surprisingly, the product claims to “improves the skin’s natural ability to retain moisture from within“. I have had difficulty writing a review about it because I could not find a ingredients list in English, nor any research on the efficacy of rice extracts on skin. But heck, I do like it as a moisturizer and now I know why.

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Kose Moisture Skin Repair Cream, whose key ingredients include rice extracts.

There are other interesting points in the episode as well, but these are the ones that truly stood out for me. Do you know of any informative shows or podcasts for this skincare junkie?

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An Asian Vanity

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I’m not much of a make-up person, but I do own items to look presentable for work. Here’s a few in rotation that hail from Japan or Korea, hence the title.

Kose FASIO UV Protect Gel (¥1,000 for 50g) is lightweight, non-sticky and invisible. When I wear this I can do away with the foundation primer as it is an excellent base. It is said to contain collagen and hyaluronic acid to retain moisture. Wild claims aside (collagen CANNOT be absorbed through the skin =͟͟͞͞( •̀д•́))) I LOVE IT except that it is so hard to get hold of even in Japan. It is definitely not a staple in Matsu-Kiyo. On my most recent trip to Hokkaido, I did not spot FASIO products even once.

Paul & Joe Moisturizing Foundation Primer I’m mostly using just to finish up the last bit. I don’t think I will be buying any primer from now on, it is too much of a hassle. Missha M Magic Cushion in 21 is a decent cushion foundation with a medium matt finish. I don’t have much to say about it except that it is Missha is GENEROUS. The puff is almost disintegrating from the multiple washes, and yet the product still doesn’t dry out.

Club Yuagari Suppin Powder (¥1,600 for 26g) was purchased solely for its wonderful white floral scent. Supposedly developed for women afraid of showing their boyfriends their bare faces, it helps to reduce the appearance of an uneven skin tone and pores. It also claims to contain collagen (COME’ON! =͟͟͞͞( •̀д•́)), hyaluronic acid and other skincare goodness that you can go to sleep without removing it.

It does indeed give a perfectly lightweight and natural finish, though the effect does not last too long in the Singapore humidity. It is very similar to Jurlique Rose Silk Finishing Powder in terms of the finish and scent, except with the added benefit of coming in a pressed compact.

Canmake Cream Cheek in 13 Love Peach You can see that I’ve hit pan right? I’m very excited because this is the first time I have ever hit pan on a blush. To be frank I have rotated between CL01 Clear Red Heart (a cherry red color) and Love Peach, but recently I’ve been reaching for the Love Peach more. It is a milky, light peach color that is barely visible after blending, but gives a very subtle flush which does disappear by the afternoon. I find cream blushes great to carry around in the make up pouch because you can work with your fingers and do away with the additional weight of a blush brush. The heat from your fingertips actually work better to melt the product and blend as compared to a brush.

Dior Addict Extreme Lipstick in 366 Pink Icon. 366 is a muted sheer pink and very wearable. It is basically my HG MLBB colour. The Dior Addict Extreme line I find is generally moisturising and creamy but their lasting power isn’t spectacular. For people looking for lasting power and pigmentation, another Dior line or another brand will work better.

So there we have it! Unlike skincare, I don’t have a wishlist for make-up nor am I well informed about brands and releases. I am currently out of ideas in the foundation department. What foundation should I try next?