When I worked with some of the big beauty companies, talk of facials involved finding the newest technologies available, often involving bulky-looking laser and LED equipment. Several years ago, that notion was turned on its head. I met Kyoko Getz, a renowned esthetician and Kyoto native now based in Beverly Hills. Her facial room is delightfully spare, creating a simple, tranquil space. She taught me that one of the best and most visible benefits of facials comes from massage, not new-fangled machinery.
In Chapter One, Section One of the 200-year-old beauty book that inspired our skincare collection, the author describes the importance of facial massage. Taking a few minutes each day to revitalize the face with your fingers revitalizes the face, leaving skin awakened and glowing. Today, scientific research supports this by documenting the many benefits of microcirculation on signs of aging ranging from hyperpigmentation to dull, tired skin.
I was inspired by this discovery and the rich history behind it. Together with Kyoko and jeweler Elizabeth Rose, we created the Akari Gold Massager—a modern tool of beauty based on centuries of techniques and refinement and asked her to share some her expertise with us here.
V: How did you first learn these techniques?
K: When I was in an esthetician program, I learned basic massage techniques—you must first learn about muscle structures in order to do a proper and effective massage. However, I was so interested that I did my own research and took special classes on facial massage. I wanted to learn about different techniques. There are many: European style, acupressure, lymphatic drainage and more. It’s important to learn them all so that you can decide which is the best for your client.
V: How did facial massage originate?
K: Massage in general originated in China over 4,000 years ago as a central part of Eastern medicine. It came to Japan about 2,000 years ago. Women would use precious stones such as jade to perform kassa massages, using acupressure points.
V: What are some of the benefits of a facial massage? How did you develop Tatcha’s protocols?
K: Whether you give yourself a massage or you have someone do it for you, it improves the blood circulation, pumping more oxygen and nutrients into tissues. It also stimulates the lymphatic system to help drain away toxins—both very important to having healthy skin. Just like the body needs exercise, the face needs proper and regular exercise, too. This will help to brighten dull skin, open the eyes and lift the skin. Tatcha’s facial massages are based on lymph drainage and acupressure massages. It helps “lift” the facial muscles by working the origins of the muscles. The Akari Gold Massager helps to pinpoint the area you want to lift.
V: What has been the most joyful part of your work as an esthetician?
K: I love to hear, “Oh my, look at my skin!” I once had a client with severe acne who was so quiet—wouldn’t even look up because he was hiding his face. As I worked on him, not only did his skin improve, but his whole attitude changed. He was always smiling and being positive. When he told me he got an offer to be a model, I cried. I love knowing that I can help someone’s self-esteem and confidence.
V: What does “kodawari” mean to you in your work?
K: I believe that kodawari is what makes us who we are. My way of showing kodawari is by making each client feel special and at home. My parents always said that every person in my life is meant to be there, so to treasure every meeting and treat each person with love and respect. This is called ichi-go, ichi-e, which means “Just this moment, Once in a Lifetime.” I always try to treat people with the heart of ichi-go, ichi-e—that is my version of kodawari.
Chief Treasure Hunter