Japanese beauty’s best kept secret

By Aisling | January 29 2008 | 26 Comments

Whilst chatting to some beauty industry insiders the other day (oh get me eh!) I heard something absolutely incredible.

We’re all used to hearing about Japanese women and their crazy approach to beauty. But this kind of takes it to the next level.

Apparently Japanese women spend an extremely long time on their beauty routine in the mornings. About two hours in fact. No one could ever understand why.

Yes, they were cleansing, they were toning, then they might be cleansing again. They were moisturising, they were applying a meticulous face of slap.

But still – two hours?

The secret was finally revealed when cameras were placed in the bathrooms of women taking part in a skincare trial (with their consent of course).

Japanese women shave their faces. Their whole faces. Their cheeks, their foreheads. Even their eyelids. They hate any kind of facial “fluff” or fuzz to ruin their porcelain doll complexions.

Why weren’t we told this before? asked the skincare company of their Japanese staff. It’s not something that’s ever spoken of, they were told. It’s an intensely private thing.

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26 Replies to "Japanese beauty’s best kept secret"

  • Red says:

    As much as I amire Japanese Women & Japanese culture in general… this is not a routine I’ll be adapting for my own use!

  • Holly Golightly says:

    Eh, 2 hours a day every day? Have they not heard of laser hair removal. And they’d all be perfect candidates with their pale skin and dark hair.

  • Speccy says:

    Eeeew. Really? No time. No inclination. Feel bad enough about skin without aded pressure to shave! Glad not Japanese

  • Townygirl says:


  • Millie says:

    OMG – thats a step 2 far
    What r they like whe they get older ??? and cant shave between the oul wrinkles eh

  • MontyC says:

    The trend in the East (particularly in Japan and South Korea) is to look like a Westerner. And that means looking as pale as you possibly can.

    The biggest selling products in Japan and Korea are anything that whitens the skin. This also includes their hair. The lighter they can make their hair, the better. However, this is extremely difficult (and extremely expensive) to do because of the type of hair they have.

  • marie says:

    I heard that also. I wonder how they don’t end up with a full beard. What I also heard it that they don’t shave where we tend to do…

  • becks says:

    Lord – I find it hard enough as it is with my 20-30 routine.

  • clairebear says:

    But but but… does it not grow back thicker? Like on your legs? darker too! I can’t understand the hair lightening thing, Asian ladies have such beautiful thick glossy hair! I suppose the grass is always greener though :)

  • Princess Buttercup says:

    Don’t they have bristle by dinner time? Why don’t they do electrolysis or something?

  • zee says:

    The whole face shaving business is very time-consuming indeed. I just do it on the bus on the way to work myself. I wait till I get into work to do my eyelids though, as you really don’t want to make any mistakes with those – ouch!

  • MandyPandy says:

    Actually, shaving does not make your hair grow back thicker; that’s a popular and ignorant misconception. Hormones, not hair removal methods dictate hair growth.

    That said, East Asian women tend to have sparser, finer and less hair over all than their western counterparts, so I’m not sure if there’s very much there to remove. And shaving the eyelids sounds a bit tricky (if not far-fetched) to me. I’m not sure if I believe much of this; if indeed ‘it’s not something that’s ever spoken of’ and it’s ‘such an intensely private thing’, why would these women consent to having cameras film them doing it? They may shave parts of their faces, but down to the very last eyelid?

  • tor says:

    why oh why

  • sarah says:

    That is alot of work. I think arabic women has natural beauty.They beat up all the wome n in the world.

  • dinah says:

    Funny, I heard about this ritual many many years ago, from a girl with beautiful skin. It exfoliates beautifully and the hair does NOT grow back thicker or faster.

  • Lemor says:

    O_O I do shaving my face – Emergency event- and the hair grow fast and 2 long :( …I did laser in my Chin but no use.. I used suger and wax which is painful but better than shaving and laser.. you know that hair grow more and in other places when you use laser..X0 I heard of Soft lighting >>but is it better…any clue ??

  • Honora says:

    Waaaaaay back in the 1960s when I was a little girl there was a beautiful Japanese woman on television talking about how Japanese women shaved their faces. Her name was Reiko and her husband Jack Douglas was a well known humourist.

    It’s quite true but the old wives tale about hair growing in faster and heavier is not.

  • theMuse says:

    you lie…serious????

    I consider myself Japanese in name only so I, too, have to take this hobby up!

    Brb going to buy razors ;)

  • bookyeti says:

    I’m a bit late with this comment, but I came across it late. Japanese women don’t necessarily shave their faces to rid themselves of unwanted hair.

    Shaving acts like a form of dermabrasion. It exfoliates dead skin cells. This causes irritation and consequent skin tightening, and plumping of the remaining skin cells – hence a more youthful clear complexion.

  • Reyna says:

    People are always saying that the hair growing back darker and thicker is a myth. It’s not!

    Someone else here has already attested to that and you ignored her.

    Take it from those of us who have actually done it. It DOES grow back WAY thicker and darker and coarser, and the more you do it, the worse it gets!

    If you have a lot of facial hair, it’s probably due to hormones anyway (mine is), so saying hormones are what makes it not grow back worse, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, ladies.

    What I’m not getting about this is…why are they shaving their EYELIDS??!!!

    Who on earth has hair on their eyelids? (other than eyelashes of course.) And considering I’ve never even met or heard of any Westerners with hairy eyelids and Asian girls tend to be much less hirstute, somehow I can’t see them having hair on their eyelids either.

    Hairy eyelids. *shudder* Sounds even worse than hairy backs. :S

    And no, I did not know that if you have laser surgery that the hair can grow more in OTHER places than where you had the surgery???!! Wtf?

    And they don’t tell you this when you get it? =/

    I do know that they tell you when you have liposuction that you can gain weight again, but you WON’T gain it back again in the spots you had the surgery on. NOT TRUE.

    My cousin had her arms and her stomach done, and now it’s about 5-6 years later, and she’s gained weight in those areas.

    If it’s not too personal, might I ask where you grew hair after the laser surgery on your face that you didn’t have it before?

    Thanks for letting us know about it. I’ll now be thinking twice before I consider laser hair removal!

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