The 411 on Japanese Beauty Secrets

| Beauty
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(Photo: Tatcha)

Japanese women have been dominating the beauty world for decades. With innovative and wholistic approaches to skincare and makeup that does not involve going under the knife that create age defying results.

Beyond their skincare and beauty products is a way of life and experiences that attribute to their results. What may seem odd or going against how we were taught to care for our skin actually is effective and could replace that entire slew of skincare products sitting at the bottom of your drawer.

Food 
More and more we are finding that beautiful skin comes from the inside out, what you are putting into your body affecting your skin, in particular. The Japanese have four major staples in their diet: fish, rice, seaweed and cabbage-family vegetables compared to our traditional American diet high in sugar and unhealthy fats. The Japanese diets include high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, health-promoting, anti-aging molecules, vitamins and minerals in high quantities. Azuki beans are commonly found combined with rice, the beans are a great antioxidant and are used in their daily skincare routines. Not only are the foods healthy, the preparation is clean and simple. Olivia Munn is such a fan of the Japanese food that she said in an interview with ABC, "I've talked about this before, and I still stand by it: Japanese potatoes that are high in hyaluronic acid help keep wrinkles away." 

Skincare Routine
This is probably the one area that Americans will need to take time to do as it involves actually taking time to apply and use your skincare products. Not a rushed two minute routine twice a day, but a thoughtful and timed step-by-step process for your face and neck as explained by Chicago-based esthetician Meredith Stanley:

1. Exfoliate - "Japanese exfoliants are typically products you can find in your own kitchen -- rice in particular." You can also use the beans combined with rice to exfoliate for an extra boost.

2. Cleanse the skin with a cleansing oil - "Natural oils help keep moisture in the skin and when you cleanse with oil, it will provide a balance between water, moisture and oil." Camellia oil is a traditional Japanese ingredient found in many products including this version by Tatcha.

3. Cleanse with a foam cleanser - "The second cleanser should pull environmental debris such as sweat from a night's sleep, pollution from the day or dirt in the air. Foam cleansers work well for this step."

4. Apply a softening lotion - "Before a serum is used, a softening lotion should be applied. The lotion consistency tends to be more like water, then what we think of as 'lotion'." To apply, press the lotion into your skin as opposed to wiping it.

5. Apply a mask - "Only at night do you need to apply a mask, but this mask will not come from a tube or a jar. Face sheet masks are the way to go." We like this mask from SK-II that works for any skin type.

6. Serum - "Now you can apply your serum or 'essence' like SK-II's. Apply the serums with your fingertips and press into your face lightly, circling your fingers almost like a massage. You want to work the product into your skin slowly and consistently. Take at least 15 seconds on each area of your face to do this." During this step, Japanese women will use a guanine compound -- also known as nightingale droppings. The properties include brightening the skin tone and treating wrinkles.

7. Special areas - "Eye cream or spot correctors can be used during this step, however if following the routine correctly, you will find yourself not needing the spot correctors for much longer!" 

8. Moisturize - "Similar to when you applied the serum, massage the moisturizer into the skin in slow circles, allowing the product to completely work its way into your face and neck."

9. Protect - "During the day, Japanese women are known for their dedication to SPF, always wear an SPF over your moisturizer." 

Hair
Rice is not just for consuming or exfoliating, the left over water from rice is used for washing Japanese women's hair. Typically called, "hair water" like this spray bottle version, contains rice protein and hydrogenated castor oil that should be used on the scalp line to promote stronger hair. For conditioner, the same oil that is the base of many Japanese oil cleansers -- camellia -- can be found in hair conditioning products. With similar effects to your skin, this antioxidant filled oil will supposedly make your hair softer and thicker.

Makeup
Much like their incredible fashions, makeup trends in Japan seem to always be on the forefront. Their staple looks and products are used to create rosy cheeks, thinly winged eyes and bold lips. Miranda Kerr's recently posted a photo of her new favorite Japanese eye liner with a thin brush great for bottom lid lining. Trends seen from the recent New York Fashion Week had Japanese influence with rosy cheeks working their way under the eye with rose-colored eye shadow under the bottom lash line. The winged eye hosted a bold and long lash and the bold lip was muted in nudes like this gloss from Maifanshi. 

Be sure to check out the complete list of Womanista Approved Japanese beauty products with our editors' and celebrity picks!

Megen DiSanto |

Megen (yes, it's spelled that way even though autocorrect claims false) is a cowboy boot wearing native Chicagoan with a passion for all things DIY.