When my mother and I used to make rice for dinner, she always washed the rice with a few rounds of water before cooking it. The first wash was always cloudy and milky, eventually running clear. We would wash our faces with the first wash – my mother insisted it was what kept our complexions clear and spotless. Later on, as I began researching the ingredients from our inspiration book, I came across rice extract in almost every recipe. I wanted to learn why, and my search led me to sake brewers.

Also known as toji, these men are actually farmers for three seasons out of the year, so the skin on their faces and arms is predictably weathered from being exposed to the elements. During the winter, when the ground is frozen, they brew sake to make a living. Despite their worn faces and arms, the toji are legendary for their ageless-looking hands.

To discover for ourselves if this was true, we traveled to one of the most revered and oldest sake brewers in Fushimi, Kyoto called Masudatokubei-shoten.  The owner, Tsukino Katsura, is a 14th-generation sake brewer, and he was kind enough to let us watch the brewing process. When we arrived, there was sweet-smelling steam rising from the rice, and the room was full of elderly men singing, to keep their rhythm for mixing the rice. Sure enough, they had beautiful, youthful hands, which contrasted starkly with their weathered faces.

With our scientists, we learned that rice contains essential ingredients such as gamma oryzanol and inositol, both of which are natural UV absorbers, antioxidants, and moisturizers which are incredibly healthy for the skin. We knew we had to incorporate this in our formulas and share them with the world.  At the heart of every piece in our skincare collection is a complex of these potent rice extracts, red algae, and green tea, but the Polished Rice Enzyme Powders truly demonstrate the brightening, nourishing powers of this exquisite extract.

Victoria Tsai
Chief Treasure Hunter

published August 2012

Beauty Secrets, Geisha, Kyoto
share this post
back to t house