We tried and tested these weird Japanese beauty hacks

The Japanese are known leaders and innovators in the beauty industry. Their techniques and products are some of the best in the world! They're actually the ones responsible for popularizing the concepts of oil cleansing and double moisturizing, and brands work tirelessly to further improve already well-loved formulas. 

As one of the beauty capitals of the world, they also have their own beauty hacks for achieving a clear complexion. I'm a fan of the Japanese approach to skin care, so I decided to try some of these weird beauty tricks that they credit for flawless skin.

image via soul-sunday.com

image via soul-sunday.com

Rice water facial wash

Using rice water as a facial wash is an ancient tradition among the geisha. Rice water is believed to help in evening out the skin tone, promoting skin elasticity and texture, the complexion. I never thought that the water I usually throw out after washing rice actually contains antioxidants and vitamins B and E, which are great for promoting clearer and healthier skin.

Put uncooked rice in a bowl, and rinse with water. After draining, put water again in the bowl with rice and let it sit for 15 minutes. Save the rice water (and cook the soaked rice). Splash your face with some of the water and massage it onto the skin.

You won’t need to use much, so you’ll definitely have spare for days. Store the rice water in an air-tight container and keep it in the refrigerator, but make sure to use it up quickly. Keep it for five days max. You can also use it as a rinse after shampooing.

Using rice water as face wash is really just like splashing your face with water that smells like rice. I was a bit skeptical when I tried it out because, how can you expect to get results with one wash of water? Granted, I didn’t get drastic results but my face felt surprisingly softer and more matte. It also felt a tiny bit tighter. And that’s just one wash! I don’t think I’ll nix my professionally formulated products, but I’ll probably continue to do this once a week.

Face shaving

Japanese women look like they have the softest, nicest-to-touch faces. And that can be attributed, along with other beauty secrets, to shaving the face of the fine, tiny hairs that grow all over. Kao sori (“shaved face”) is important for Japanese girls because they believe that a shaved face can better absorb products than skin that has hair.

I used to be scared of shaving my facial hair because I'd heard that they will grow back darker and coarser. I decided to just go for it, though, because what’s the worst that could happen? If it grows back, I can just shave it again. And so I tried it.

You’ll never know how soft your skin really is until you’ve shaved! I know you’re not supposed to touch freshly-shaved skin, but I just couldn’t stop caressing my softer and smoother visage. That sounds narcissistic, but it’s true. Face shaving really does make your face as soft as a baby’s.

As for the grow out: it’s not coarser! If anything, it feels the same as when you didn’t shave. It didn't get thicker either, except for the ones above my lip because that really tends to grow out like a moustache. I haven't been shaving long enough to notice if it improved my skin's ability to absorb skin care, but I'm happy enough with how nice it feels to continue doing it.

Image via marieclaire.com

Image via marieclaire.com

Slapping on moisturizer

I’ve always been the type to use circular motions when applying face products. The Japanese, apparently, slap them on. Slapping products on the face is believed to improve blood circulation and elevate the energy level of the skin. They also apply creams starting from the chin, and move upward.

I felt exactly like one would after slapping the face after I tried this technique. I used fast, light slapping movements with my middle, ring and pinky fingers. I didn’t feel sore after but it definitely felt like I put pressure on my face. It’s not unpleasant, though, and my moisturizer seemed to get absorbed more easily.

Face massage

Along the veins of slapping on moisturizer is another touch-related Japanese beauty hack: the face massage they call tsuboki. We get massages when we get facials, but for the Japanese, it's part of their daily beauty routine.

Each of the biggest skin care brands in Japan (Shu Uemura, Shiseido and Kanebo) all have their own massage techniques but they are generally inspired by a combination of acupressure and lympathic drainage. Tsuboki is believed to promote a better complexion, refine the skin’s texture, decrease puffiness, and increase micro-circulation to the skin.

If you're looking to try out one of these Japanese hacks, this is probably the easiest to try and gives the best results. It felt nice to pay attention to every inch of my skin and, after shaving my face, it was a pleasure to touch and give myself a minute to relax. Consistency is key to great skin though, so I’d have to do this for a longer period of time before I get to see results. But my face did feel refreshed after and I felt more relaxed.

I’m on the lookout for more Japanese beauty techniques to try, so if you know of others, please don’t hesitate to share! Have you tried any of these before? Which one are you most curious about?

Sources: Refinery 29, The Cut, StyleCaster, Into the Gloss, Free People, Asia Times