A year ago, I found myself in Kyoto wearing full geisha regalia, including makeup (stay tuned for that story!). The makeup takes a pro about 20 minutes to apply, far longer for a sub-novice like myself. There are two layers to the base makeup: the inner layer is called binzuke, a Japanese wax softened between the hands and pressed onto the skin to help makeup adhere. Next they apply the oshiroi, the iconic creamy white powder, which is actually almost translucent in person. Finally come the iconic red lips, full eyebrows, and dramatic eyes that create the full effect. This highly pigmented makeup is applied and removed, day in and day out. This frequent use and removal can be harsh and damaging to the skin.
We were fortunate enough to meet with the two wonderful woman pictured here: Ayano, the beautiful maiko on the right, and Hisako, a former geiko. Despite their age difference, they had in common exquisite, flawless skin. Naturally, our curiousity was piqued, and we simply had to learn their secret.
We created the original Camellia Cleansing Oil not only because of its heritage and wonderful benefits for the skin, but because the geisha assured me that it is effective enough to remove even their performance and stage makeup. Additionally, it is non-stripping and gentle, allowing them to use it regularly without fear of harming or drying their skin.
I had never put this to the test myself, until this incident. I placed a couple of drops in my hands and rubbed them on my full face of makeup, incredulous that this gentle substance would somehow remove the layers on my face. When I rinsed it off, however, I was back to my (rather pedestrian) self, with pure, soft skin. Here was yet another reminder of the timeless wisdom of the geisha.
The reason I share this story with you now is because, as summer comes to an end, many of our wonderful clients are asking how to care for skin that has seen too many days at the beach. Additionally, we are transitioning into fall, the season for many galas and events. Many beautiful women will transform into Western geisha, layering on silicon-based foundation powder, and colors. As we make this transition, the best advice I can give you is the same as the secret of the geisha: cleanse, cleanse, cleanse!