I’m back from Japan, with a major beauty observation

So you may have noticed I got a little slack there on posting, but I’ve got a good excuse. I was in Japan skiing the slopes and touring Tokyo. Plus there was also an engagement thrown in and that was super distracting. Even now I’m struggling to type with the sparkler almost blinding me with every key stroke 😉 Ok, I’m just gloating now.

While I was skiing the slopes of Hakuba I noticed an interesting phenomena. At lunch time, when everyone pulled off their face masks, helmets and goggles for a much needed meal break, the white women were all a disheveled mess whereas the Japanese women looked unnaturally impeccable. Now I’m probably not in the running to win some anthropological award for that observation but it got me thinking. What are they doing that we aren’t?

Japanese beauty

This environment may look beautiful, but it’s hell on your skin.


Was it makeup? Day 1 I diligently applied my standard daily makeup. I looked good. I hit the slopes and skied my little heart out. Lunch time, the gear came off and I caught a glimpse of myself. My makeup had slide off, red spots exposed, and for some reason my mascara had all but vanished. As I was wearing goggles the whole time I don’t know how my eyelashes ended up looking like I walked through rain.

Day 2, I skipped the full makeup and instead opted for BB Cream and a little pressed powder. After all, nobody was going to see my face anyway… Day 2, my boyfriend decided to propose. I don’t want to sound superficial here, but hopefully some of you ladies will understand. My worst nightmare is getting caught without makeup; worst nightmare x2 is photographic evidence. My obligatory ‘we just got engaged’ shot was entirely makeup free (we all know BB cream doesn’t count). That photo was run through numerous filters before it was posted to Facebook!

But I digress. Was it makeup making the Japanese women look like snow goddess’? Nope. Snow and makeup don’t mix.

Was it the onsen? For those who haven’t experienced the joy of a Japanese onsen yet, let me share. An onsen is a hot spring used for public bathing. After a hard day on the slope, nothing is more heavenly than soaking in a super hot bath to soothe your muscles. The hotel we stayed at had it’s own onsen and I made use of it daily. Because these are natural springs, the water often contains high levels of minerals. This particular onsen I was using boasted a pH of 12, making it super alkaline. I haven’t researched the benefits of that yet, but they made out like it was something pretty special.

So, post onsen: immediately after I looked like a boiled chicken. My skin was all plump and soft and my face like a shining tomato. Still not Japanese lady pretty.

A few hours+ later, oh hello. My skin is feeling softer and smoother. Day 1 &2 brought pimples to the surface but now they were all clearing up quickly and my skin was looking radiant. Also, my psoriasis was even clearing up on my scalp! This onsen thing may be a winner.

So onsen’s are a possible reason Japanese women look so great. But Japanese women don’t necessarily have access to onsen’s on a daily basis….

We stayed in an AirBnB in Tokyo, so experienced the full Japanese experience. What did we find in the bathroom? I shower nozzle, but not positioned high enough to stand under… and a big bath that automatically filled to a steaming, pre-set temperature. Turns out, the Japanese aren’t really into a Western style shower. Instead they prefer a good soak in a hot bath. And after I embraced this way of life for a week, I can completely understand why.

The bath isn’t used for cleaning – that’s what the shower is for. Instead, the bath is used for relaxation and deep soaking. As a bonus, it also has a tonne of health benefits too. It’s also super relaxing, opens and cleans out your pores and softens your skin. Maybe it’s the bathing that makes the Japanese women look so good?

However, as any tanaholic will attest, baths and fake tan don’t mix. Might limit this Japanese indulgence to winters only.

Was it the food? In Japan, I ate as the Japanese. This meant hot soups, plenty of raw fish and a serving of miso or soy with every meal. And yes, rice. To quote from a Livestrong article, “The Japanese use the same word, “gohan,” to mean cooked rice and meal. Prefixes are attached to gohan to form words for breakfast, lunch and dinner: asagohan, hirugohan and bangohan. In other words, a meal without rice is not a meal at all.”

Japanese beauty secrets

Was it the delicious crepe-cones that make skin glow? I had to find out!

Rice is Japan’s primary carbohydrate, and fish is the protein of choice. It’s an island country so fish is an obvious choice. (I learned on a food tour that chicken was only fairly recently, i.e. last 200 odd years, introduced into Japanese cuisine). According to the National Marine Fisheries Service, Japanese seafood consumption was 55.7 kilograms per capita in the last year of data available. (The U.S. ate just 24.2 kilograms.)

sashimi fish

Is plentiful seafood the secret to the Japanese women’s glowing skin?

We all know that seafood is an excellent source of nutrients including vitamins A and D, omega-3 fatty acids, phosphorus and selenium. It’s also touted as a beauty food, especially the oily fish like salmon and tuna, thanks to the Omega 3 and EFA content. But fish isn’t the only great thing coming from the sea. The Japanese also eat seaweed.

The U.N. reports that Japan consumes about 100,000 tons of seaweed per year. The Hurrington Post reports: Seaweed packs between 2 and 9 grams of protein per cup, and some varieties deliver exponentially more potassium than a banana. It’s also the rare food to contain natural iodine — a useful thing for regulating thyroids. Additionally, Harvardresearchers theorize that seaweed’s ability to regulate estrogen and estriadol levels may explain the island nation’s significantly low rates of breast cancer. (They may also ease symptoms of PMS.)

So yea, I’m starting to think the Japanese diet may be unfairly advantaging them in the looks department. After all, healthy insides means glowing outside.

Embracing more seafood, including seaweed, and indulging in regular baths sounds like a pretty easy and appealing way to boost your beauty points. since it’s clearly working for the Japanese ladies I am more than happy to give this a try in my own life back home. Anyone else keen?



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