Before I embraced a Japanese beauty ritual, my relationship with my skin was often adversarial. I worked against it by using aggressive products that promised overnight transformation. When I talk to women with acne or eczema, they often tell me that they feel as if their skin has betrayed them. I empathize wholeheartedly, as I often thought about my skin as being out of control, too. But perhaps the most valuable lesson the Japanese approach to beauty has taught me is that skin care is about caring. Your skin works hard for you. If you show it attention and love, it will reward you with a healthy radiance.
I am proud to share some of my favorite Japanese beauty philosophies that have impacted my life and how we approach skincare at Tatcha:
- Less is more. Western women tend to focus much more on makeup than on skin care, accumulating an impressive collection of lipsticks, eyeshadows, and highlighters from a young age. Instead, Japanese women prioritize a clear, smooth complexion using a curated skin care ritual. When it comes to both their arsenal of products and the ingredients within, they believe that less is more. Each cleanser, moisturizer, or treatment is a beloved and essential step, often formulated with the minimum number of ingredients to ensure efficacy.
- Ingredients are key. Japanese women are acutely aware of the fact that their skin is a reflection of their health. They know to avoid certain foods while maintaining a very plant-rich, clean diet for healthy skin. Many of the ingredients that are commonly found in their diet are also in their skin care; it stands to reason that what is healthy for their body is also healthy for their skin. The basis of the Japanese diet—rice, seaweed, and green tea—are beloved ingredients in even modern skin care formulas. The idea of diet-to-skin connection is still a nascent concept in the Western world.
- Rituals are Essential. To honor a ritual is to elevate an everyday action into something mindful, even healing. A geisha’s skin care routine is necessary to melt away her makeup and keep her complexion clear, but it is not a daily chore. Whether it is the first time or the hundredth, the act of purifying the skin and massaging on a moisturizer is performed with precision, care, and the ultimate desire to treasure oneself.
- Skin care is self-care. The Japanese skin care ritual isn’t about overnight transformations or aggressive treatments. Rather, it’s about meditative moments of attending to your skin and therefore to yourself, every single day. To truly care for your skin, you must go beyond eliminating a pimple or wiping away makeup. Think of your skin as a reflection of your body. Could it be stress that causes a breakout? A lack of sleep that results in dry or dull skin? Lotions and potions will only go so far if you aren’t paying attention to the state of your soul.
Each small moment I’ve spent treasure hunting for Tatcha has culminated in my first book that captures these and more Japanese beauty lessons I’ve gathered along the way. I hope you enjoy some of our journey to you.