I am often asked about the most surprising or unexpected things that I learned from the geisha. The most unexpected lesson has also become my favorite: Beauty begins from the inside out. This means two things to them: one, that beauty begins in the heart and the mind; and two, that skincare goes far beyond what you put on your skin.

They explained to me that your skin is your body’s largest organ, so it makes sense that the superfoods that are so prized in the Japanese diet would be the most beneficial for the skin—Rice, Algae and Green Tea. Each of these has stood the test of time, and this powerful trio is now at the heart of our newest discovery, The Essence.

 

RICE—A NOURISHING ESSENTIAL

In Japan, it is often said that a beautiful woman’s skin is like ‘polished rice’—bright, translucent, smooth and soft. The longtime dietary staple also made its way into their skincare rituals, appearing in face washes, body scrubs and moisturizers.

Today we know that rice contains Vitamins E and B, nourishing essential fatty acids, natural antioxidants and proteins. These skin-loving ingredients help to enhance the immune system and fight free radicals to help prevent the signs of premature aging.

We use rice from Akita, Japan, beloved for its perfect environment for beautiful skin. The high humidity, clear water and pure air combine to create world-famous rice, believed to contribute to a glowing complexion.

 

GREEN TEA—A POWERFUL PROTECTOR

Green Tea is often called liquid jade in Japan—not just because of its beautiful color, but for its powerful health benefits. Known to detoxify and prevent signs of premature aging, Green Tea has been a beloved part of the Japanese diet for generations.

The many benefits of this treasured botanical also make it essential in any skincare ritual. The unassuming leaves are a rich source of Epigallocatechin Gallate, or EGCG, widely regarded as one of the most powerful antioxidants available. Its polyphenols target free radicals, particularly those caused by UV-induced oxidative damage. It also helps support the immune system.

Whether mixed into a tonic, applied directly onto the skin or steeped in a teapot to enjoy in quietude, Green Tea has long been a staple of the geisha’s beauty rituals. Uji, Japan is the prestigious home of green tea in Kyoto, and the place where our beloved Green Tea comes from.

 

ALGAE—A TREASURE FROM THE SEA

Algae is found in almost every meal in Japan, whether in the form of a crisp sheet for a snack or enjoyed cold in a seaweed salad. It offers natural polysaccharides to benefit the body and skin alike. Today, we know that Algae is proven to enhance the skin’s barrier function, replenish the natural water reservoir and increase its moisture-retention capabilities.

Our Algae comes from Mozuku, Okinawa—it has long been referred to residents as a treasure from the god of the sea, and is believed to contribute to the longevity of the island’s residents.

 

In creating The Essence, we were inspired by the efficacious natural actives in these three superfoods. We worked with food scientists to create the formula, comprised of 98.7% Green Tea, Rice and Algae. These timeless ingredients are fermented to increase cell turnover and resurface skin for a smooth luster.

The water-light formula instantly doubles the hydration of skin above and beyond a moisturizer alone, to soften and plump lines and wrinkles. Skin channels are left flushed with lasting hydration, delivering treatments more deeply and making all skincare more effective.

Although The Essence is one of our newest discoveries, its history stretches back centuries—proving that science can only illuminate what nature learned long ago.

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Our Superfood Recipes

Matcha green tea cookies

Makes 18 large or 36 small cookies

Matcha is essentially green tea in powder form. You can easily add the powder to any baked good to add a dose of antioxidants. My daughter loves to make cookies, especially the Giant Rainbow Cookies from How Sweet Eats, and we simply sift in the matcha powder along with the flour and baking soda. My daughter also likes to add in white chocolate chunks instead M&Ms.

  • 2 cups + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) of salted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped white chocolate

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

  1. Sift together flour, matcha powder and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, mix butter and sugars until combined. Add egg, egg yolk and vanilla and stir until mixed. Slowly add flour mixture and combine until a dough forms. Fold in white chocolate chunks.
  2. Portion out the dough into ¼ cup portions for 18 large cookies, or 2 tablespoon portions for 36 smaller cookies. Shape into a ball and then pull apart into two equal pieces, then squish the smooth halves of the ball together so the rough sides are facing out. This is a weird trick but really works! Place dough rough-side up on baking sheets with space in between.
  3. Bake for 12-15 minutes (large cookies) or 8-12 minutes (small cookies) or until the edges are slightly brown. The centers should be soft and puffy. Let cool completely then dig in!

 

Japanese green rice and chirashi sushi

Makes 5 servings of rice

Two superfoods in one! The green tea rice provides a wonderful base for chirashi sushi, a convenient and delish dish sometimes referred to as “sushi salad.” It also helps clean out your fridge when it’s getting a bit full.

  • 3 cups uncooked rice
  • 1 tablespoon green tea
  • Dash of salt

Anything in your fridge (green beans, baby corn, mushrooms, carrots, tofu, eggs, etc.)

Mix dry green tea with uncooked rice, then cook as normal. The green tea will soften when cooking and add flavor, like a Japanese version of parsley rice. While the rice is cooking, prepare your add-in items as needed. Scramble the eggs, saute mushrooms, julienne carrots for topping, and so forth. Once the rice is cooked, let cool for about ten minutes and mix in the other ingredients.

 

Seaweed salad dressing

Makes 1 bottle of dressing

Sheets of dried seaweeds are my go-to snack, but this dressing is lovely on seaweed salad or crispy lettuce.

  • 5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon cane sugar

Whisk together and drizzle on top of wakame seaweed or algae.

Always,

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

published December 2016

Ingredients, Living, Food, Geisha
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