THE LAYERING GUIDE - JAPANESE BEAUTY RITUAL

Japanese layering is a 7 to 10 steps skincare ritual performed on a daily basis by Japanese people to ensure beautiful and natural skin at all age.

The number of steps might seem surprising…perhaps because it is at odd with the Western vision of skincare which mainly consists in a quest for the miraculous product while relying on makeup to get the desired appearance.

However, layering has started proving it’s worth in Europe, where Korean (K-beauty) and Japanese (J-beauty) beauty rituals have gained popularity these recent years. And although brands and ingredients may vary, the miracle happens every day because the success doesn’t rely only on the product itself. It rather relies on our understanding of our skin needs and the mastering of skincare steps and gestures.

Indeed, layering, whether Japanese or Korean, is first and foremost about understanding the skin, its structure and its needs. But where Koreans are demonstrating strong ingenuity and innovation to create instant results skin care products (very instagrammable yet not always long-lasting), Japanese, on the other hand, prefer skin cares that harmoniously unit traditional Japanese ingredients with modern discoveries of contemporary cosmetics. Hence, an elegy to slowness, prevention and repetition. An active meditation performed twice a day to bring long-lasting results within a few weeks.

1 The (double) cleansing

The first step of layering is to carefully and gently remove all the impurities accumulated during the day to promote night regeneration and receptiveness to active ingredients. However, if a perfectly cleansed skin prevents pores clogging and oxidation, is should not be damaged with aggressive cotton pads and micellar waters. A method equally rapid and far more efficient is preferred: the double cleaning.

  • Step 1 – oil based cleansing

To remove makeup, dust, sebum and pollution, choose an oily substance (oil, balm or milk) and massage your skin with your fingertips. There is nothing as good as oil to loosen impurities without damaging your skin.

  • Step 2 – Foam and water

Back in the day, when Japanese women were using unprocessed oils to remove make-up, they needed soap (surfactant) to remove the oil. Nowadays, brands have directly incorporated surfactants into milks, balms and oils to ease their use. Therefore, simply emulsifying the make-up remover with lukewarm water to remove the oil has become possible. Massage your skin with your fingers or a konjac sponge and rinse well.

If you still want to use a soap or a cleansing gel afterwards (like many Japanese), choose a gentle product and don't waste your efforts of gentleness by rubbing dry your face with a towel. Dab the towel against your skin, it works just as well!

WHEN: every evening
RUHAKU cleansing oil



CLEANSING BALM

45€

RUHAKU CLEANSING OIL

39€

konjac makanai sponge
Cokon Lab Japanese Silk Solid Natural Soap

KONJAC SPONGE

14€

SILKY SOLID SOAP

19€


 2 exfoliation (optional)

Despite daily cleansing, a layer of dead skin naturally forms on the surface of the skin; it’s called the stratum corneum. In addition to clogging pores and dulling the complexion, this layer prevents skin care products from penetrating the dermis. To tackle this issue, the third step of the layering process consists in weekly exfoliation with the same old philosophy: softly!

WHEN: in the evening, once a week

EXFOLIATING COCOONS - 10 pieces

18€

FERMENTATED AHA EXFOLIATING ESSENCE

35€


3 The lotion

The care lotion is an essential step of skincare! And many Japanese don't understand why westerners neglect it, because in addition to all its benefits, it dramatically increases the performance of actives skin cares.

A waterlogged skin (skin care lotion are mostly composed of water or floral hydrosol) is like a sponge: soft, plump and able to deeply absorb care concentrated in active ingredients (especially essences and serums). And its capacity of reducing fine lines of dryness while rebalancing combination skin that overproduces sebum has made it the ally of all skin types.

YYou can either wipe it on your skin with a cotton pad to remove remaining impurities, or pad it on your face with the palms of your hands. Skincare expert Chizu Saeki suggests applying water and lotion soaked compresses on the skin for a few minutes every day in order to reach optimal hydration. The choice is yours!

WHEN: morning and evening

RUHAKU regenerating lotion

makanai shirosube shine lotion

ANTIOXIDANT LOTION

35€

GLOW LOTION

35€

YUZU LOTION

35€ 


4 Serums and essences - at the heart of the skin

If cleansing and lotions are essential to the well-being of our urban skins, it is absolutely not the case for serums. Yet, the Japanese love it.

This targeted treatment, whose molecular weight is light, penetrates deep into the dermis (previously prepared by the lotion) to locally and deeply treat the skin. Flawless skins can quite do without it, but if you have a problem to solve (spots, sagging, dryness patches, imperfections, scars, lack of radiance, roughness ...), the serum will be your ally!

Essence is thinner and waterier than serum which is often oily or unctuous. Apply the active ingredient right after the lotion to increase its performance.

WHEN: morning and evening

LOTUS ESSENCE

FIRMING

40€

ESSENCE OF ARTEMISIA

ANTI-IMPERFECTIONS

30€


5 the mask (optional)

The mask step is, as the exfoliation, a non-essential weekly step. In the form of a sheet mask (face-shaped sheet fabrics soaked in lotion/serum) or cream/gel, the mask is applied on the face during 10 to 30 minutes. All masks have moisturizing properties, but you can target other problematics by choosing specific ingredients. A 2-in-1 step that replaces lotion and serum!

WHEN: in the evening
makanai reusable towel mask hydrating mask with hyaluronic acid

REUSABLE COLLAGEN MASK

26€

 HYALURONIC ACID MASK

6€


6  Eye contour

The area around the eye is a fragile and demanding area. The skin is much thinner and therefore more prone to dehydration and early apparition of fine lines. However, heavy care might amply the appearance of eye bags and wrinkles by weighing down the tissues. Hence, it is important to choose a light yet highly active treatment such as essences, and apply it by softly patting with your fingertips to enhance blood circulation.

WHEN: morning and evening

GINSENG ESSENCE

ANTI-DARK CIRCLE

35€ 

SACRAN ESSENCE

ULTRA MOISTURIZING

35€


7 The oil

Once the skin is well cleansed, moisturized and treated, the next step is to apply some oil to 'trap' the water inside the skin and prevent aqueous skin care products from evaporating into the air. Which would be a waste considering our many meticulous efforts to have them absorbed by our skin!

The oil, also helps to nourish the dermis and provides comfort to skin lacking of suppleness. Choose it fine, non-comedogenic, and with ingredients which meet your needs.

WHEN: evening

RUHAKU serum

RUHAKU OIL / SERUM

49€

 RICE OIL

25€


8 The massage

The application of the oil (or a rich cream) is the perfect moment to add on a little facial massage, the hitherto well-kept secret of Japanese women! The daily massage, in addition to being a true natural facelift, brings a lot of radiance to the skin since it stimulates lymphatic drainage and thus, the purification of waste that dulls the complexion!

WHEN: morning and evening

9  The hydrating cream

It comes last in the Japanese treatment ritual and yet it’s often the only step of the Western ritual. The cream, whose molecular weight is larger, brings very little water to the skin and does not penetrate deeply. Its role is simply to create a barrier which prevents internal moisture from evaporating, while limiting the introduction of external elements such as pollution and dust.

WHEN: the morning

RUHAKU moisturizer

makanai moisturizer

ANTIOXIDANT MOISTURIZING CREAM

45€

MAKANAI RADIANCE MOISTURIZING CREAM

45€

LIGHT TEXTURED MOISTURIZING GEL 

40€ 

morning:
evening:

You now have all the keys to understanding your skin and the multitude of treatments available. It's up to you to choose what suits you best to rebalance your skin and improve its quality. However, remember that your skin is also influenced by your lifestyle and diet.