Feel­ing smug AF about nail­ing your daily wa­ter goal is all well and good, but can your skin claim the same?

Women's Health (UK) - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy MITCH PAYNE

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.

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