Japanese skincare is all about keeping our beauty routine as natural and simple as possible. Though geisha's elaborate makeup might have us believe otherwise, the best skincare ingredients in Japan are often found in their own backyards. Established to supply the geisha districts of Kyoto in 1945, Chidoriya utilizes the native fruits and plants of Japan to create beauty products that naturally nurture our bodies. Read on to learn about the natural ingredients that make up this amazing collection, as well as the mysterious geisha lifestyle that inspired it.
GEISHA BEAUTY AND IDENTITY
As artists and cultural entertainers, Japanese geisha were revered for their immaculate skin and refined beauty. Geisha beauty is elaborate and perfectionist--a geisha could take up to two hours alone to apply her makeup-- and with beauty rituals from the painful to the bizarre, geisha have tried it all. To protect skin from the harsh makeup powders and pigments used in traditional beauty styles, geisha relied on natural ingredients found in the Japanese landscape. Beauty secrets like using camellia oil instead of water to remove makeup and cleanse the face remained close-guarded secrets, elevating geisha into the role of mysterious, almost perfect beings. Their beauty regimen changed as they matured from apprentice maiko into full-geisha, or geiko, with different hairstyles and accessories signifying the stages of a girl's development. In this way, beauty was closely tied with both maturity and identity in the world of geisha.
Tsuge is a boxwood tree native to the Ibusuki area of Kagoshima Prefecture, and traditionally used to craft imperial seals, musical instruments and combs. To make a single comb, the wood has be to naturally dried for more than 3 years and then hand-carved individually. Boxwood is naturally oily, so combs made from it are resistant to splitting and create almost no static against hair (a major cause of split ends and hair loss).
Boxwood also has precious cultural significance. In the Ibusuki region, when a girl was born, her relatives planted a boxwood tree to grow alongside her. When the girl got married, combs and furniture for her new household were made from the same tree. Every twenty years boxwood combs are sent to the Ise Shrine in Japan, where they are ritually burned in sacrifice to the sun goddess Amaterasu.
Traditionally, geisha would use camellia oil instead of water to remove their makeup and cleanse their faces. It's one of the most famous Japanese beauty secrets. Its earliest recorded use is in The Tale of Genji, where the women in the court use camellia oil to dress their hair and incense to scent it.
Today, camellia oil is used as a powerful moisturizer for treating split ends, damaged hair and dry skin. The camellia flower is rich in oleic acid, which helps maintain moisture in the skin. The oil is extracted directly from the flower seeds with a special hand pressing technique.
Native to Okinawa, gettou (alpinia zerumbet) is a traditional species of ginger that has been part of Japanese culinary and medicinal culture for centuries. Its pink flowers resemble sea shells when in bud and are grown as ornaments, while its leaves have been used as a Japanese herbal remedy for years
Oil extracted from gettou leaves is rich in antioxidants like polyphenol, which helps compound collagen for smooth, noticeably soft skin. Gettou leaves also contain natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to prevent acne, hydrate the skin, and soften wrinkles.
Hinoki oil is pressed from the wood of treasured Japanese cypress, which is commonly used in the construction of temples, sacred shrines and baths throughout Japan. Its distinct forest scent is said to promote deep relaxation and relieve stress; it's also the most well-known of the Japanese native oils.
Hinoki is rich in naturally antibacterial compounds like phytoncide, which is said to help soothe the mind. Its oil is commonly used as a calming fragrance and natural hair-growing agent.
Extracted from the seeds of organic wild Rosa Canina, rosehip oil is rich in essential fatty acids like vitamin F and linoleic acid as well as natural antioxidants like lyocopene and B-carotene. It also helps keep the skin fresh and hydrated.
Rosehip seed oil's B-carotene and lycopene have also been shown to improve skin elasticity, help regenerate skin cells, and slow down premature aging. This nourishing, organic oil is excellent for oily, sensitive or acne-prone skin and can be used in hair treatments to rejuvenate processed, unhealthy hair.
hOW-TO: LYMPHATIC MASSAGE
Treat yourself to an at-home lymphatic massage to relieve tension on stressful days. Lymphatic massages are a gentle treatment that use rhythmic circular movements to encourage the flow of blood and lymph oil beneath the skin. We recommend rubbing a few drops of pure Camellia Seed Oil, or Rosehip Seed Oil on your fingertips first to enhance moisture and hydration on your pores.