DRINKING IT IN
Feeling smug AF about nailing your daily water goal is all well and good, but can your skin claim the same?
Learn the secret to mochi-hada skin – the holy grail in Japan
It never pays to overcomplicate matters – we all remember Lost. And how the Japanese apply this ethos to their skincare is whipping the UK beauty scene into a frenzy. Just as necking two litres of H²O will help keep your body functioning as it should, achieving the dermatological holy grail in Japan – an ultra-smooth, supple complexion they term mochi-hada, or ‘rice cake skin’ – is all down to topical hydration – that is, feeding your skin via water-based products.
‘Japanese skincare philosophy is about fully hydrating the skin in the simplest way possible, with lightweight products that are more readily absorbed than heavier, oil-based formulations,’ explains consultant dermatologist Dr Justine
Kluk. Asian skin has a comparatively thin stratum corneum (protective outer layer), leaving it more susceptible to dehydration, so Japanese women favour a multi-step routine that focuses on layering light products, rather than fewer steps with bulkier creams and powerful astringents. ‘A watery lotion (called a kesho-sui) is typically applied between cleansing and moisturising,’ adds Dr Kluk. Can’t bear to add an extra step to your routine? We don’t blame you. Happily, you don’t have to, because Western beauty brands are getting in on the act, developing water-gel formulations to replace your usual serum or moisturiser, which are designed to ‘act like sponges in the skin to draw water molecules towards themselves and hold on to them more effectively’, according to Dr Kluk. ‘By choosing gels and lotions that contain a higher ratio of water to oil, you can layer products without leaving skin feeling oily or at risk of breakouts.’
Actively drawing water into the skin, rather than from the air or from deeper within the dermis, provides hydration at both epidermis and dermis level. The outcome? A plump, healthy complexion that drinks in other skincare ingredients and provides a smooth make-up base.
For best mochi-hada results, ensure your skin is as clean as a whistle before applying a water formula – that means a Japan-approved double cleanse (one sweep to remove make-up and another to deep clean). Ready for a face smoother than a newborn’s behind? Let’s do this.