The Geisha’s Skin Care Regimen

Who isn’t fascinated by Japan’s unique set of alluring women, the Geishas, who take femininity (not feminism) to the next level?  You look at them and you know instantly that these are cultured women, masters of the art of everything feminine. There’s nothing loud, casual or haphazard about them from their makeup, their hairstyle, their kimonos, to their grace in every single movement. They are seductively, deliberately mysterious.

Geishas, and Japanese women in general, take good care of their skin and hair very seriously. Very seriously indeed. The amount of skin care products available in Japan is nothing short of dizzying. Their skin care technology is one of the most advanced, and, dare I say, original that I’ve found.  

The first time I saw a Japanese woman many years ago, I was awestruck by her flawless skin and I thought, being a young girl at the time, that it was a ‘race’ thing, probably genetic. But then, people I knew who worked and lived in Japan came back donning well-improved facial skin, so I began to wonder. Is it the weather in Japan? Does it have something to do with their diet? Plastic surgery? It would be much later on that I found out the kinds of products they use on their skin. Particularly those whitening products.

Japan is big on skin whitening products. To them, and perhaps to many Asians, the whiter and smoother the skin, the more it indicates beauty, sophistication, or even ‘affluence’. Therefore, their skin care regimen would always include a skin whitening and brightening product. (Side note: Lots of brown women are proud of their complexions.)

Just like French women (and the Koreans), Japanese women start young. Mothers teach their daughters how to take good care of their skin. They prefer to use products with natural sources: camellia oil, coconut oil, rice bran, seaweed, green tea are some of their favourites.

Step-by-step skin care regimen of geishas and Japanese women:

1. Cleanse. Done gently or mildly with gentle cleansing foams and/or wipes. No harsh rubbing and pulling of the skin, please. Wash it off with lukewarm water. In the book by Raven Reigns, Geisha Chic: A Style Guide for Global Glamour, she advises never to use hot water because it strips the skin of its natural oils and enlarges the pores. She recommends using rice bran face wash called Shiro Nuka which has anti-ageing ingredients.

2. Exfoliate, at least twice a week. The use of stone ground azuki powder is recommended.  

Apply facial mask at least once a week to get that porcelain complexion. “A Shiro Nuka mask can help your skin or you can use products with volcanic ash or green tea to take advantage of the anti-ageing properties in them.”

3. Moisturize. “You can use rice bran oil or camellia oil which are both mild and will not clog your pores. Rice bran oil contains Vitamin E and camellia oil contains softening ingredients to repair dryness and sun exposure.” You can apply serum after. The author swears by Elizabeth Arden’s Ceramide Capsule Restoring Serum. 

Use sheet/tissue masks to whiten, brighten, and hydrate the skin at least once a week.

4. Shave off your facial hair to achieve “the smoothest of looks.”


There you go. But did you notice something missing from the typical skin care regimen we know of? They don’t seem to use sunblocks on their skin! Hmmm…?

Source:  Geisha Chic:  A Style Guide for Global Glamour

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