Chances are, your skin care is aggressive. In the West, we scrub, peel, and sandblast our skin, as if we can somehow scrape away the years. Let’s stop doing that. Instead, let’s create simple skin care rituals that honor our age and help us glow from the inside out.
Victoria Tsai’s book Pure Skin shows us how. Think of it as The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for your skin.
Tsai grew up in the U.S. and suffered from acute dermatitis. She treated her blistering, cracked, scaling skin with every Western skincare routine she could find. Nothing worked. It wasn’t until she traveled to Tokyo and met her first geisha that Tsai discovered the powerful simplicity of Japanese skin care rituals.
She learned that the classical Japanese approach to skin care differs from the typical Western approach. “Instead of seeking to look perpetually twenty years old,” she writes, “geisha focus on having the best skin of their lives at any age.”
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It’s all about creating a daily ritual that includes four simple steps: purify, polish, plump, and nourish.
In the West, we focus on miracle moisturizers and often neglect cleansers.
Geisha Secret: cleanse your face with camellia oil. Cleansing with oil sounds counterintuitive, but it works.
In the West, we over-exfoliate with abrasive products. There’s no need for that — in fact, you may be irritating your skin and causing break-outs.
Geisha Secret: polish your face with gentle rice bran. The foam won’t strip your skin but will delicately remove dead cells.
In the West, many women use fillers trying to achieve the “plumpness” of youth, often distorting our appearance.
Geisha Secret: use Eastern essences (botanical-infused water) to plump up the skin after polishing. Tsai recommends a pure fermented complex of green tea, seaweed, and rice.
In the West, we focus on this last step but put too much emphasis on anti-aging and not enough emphasis on nourishment.
Geisha Secret: Silk has a protein/amino acid structure that closely mirrors the composition of our skin. Massaging silk extracts into the skin is deeply nourishing.
Simple, right? But before you tackle these four steps, it’s important to identify your skincare psyche. Knowing that will help you customize your new skincare ritual.
THE SKIN ENTHUSIAST
If you’re always seeking the latest-and-greatest in skin care, changing your products and routines frequently, the best thing you can do for your skin is to slow down. It takes at least two weeks for your skin to respond to a new moisturizer.
If you’ve been using the same products in the same way for years and years, the best thing you can do for your skin is to recalibrate your skin care. Consider making gentle adjustments to your routine as you age, when you move to a new climate, etc.
THE DIY DERMATOLOGIST
If you confidently address your skin issues as soon as they arise — maybe over-exfoliating or over-peeling in the process — the best thing you can do for your skin is to focus not on treatment but on prevention. How can you nourish your skin so those issues arise less often?
If you’re super relaxed about skin care (maybe you don’t even wash your face at night), the best thing you can do for your skin is to add a simple ritual that allows you to purify, polish, plump, and nourish your skin — every day.
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