March 02, 2011

Book Review: Chizu Saeki's Japanese Skincare Revolution

"What is this?" my mother picked up the book on my bed.

I glanced over my shoulder. "Oh, that. I bought it for you in Australia but forgot to give it to you."

"You shouldn't have," she automatically said* as she flipped through the book. "I don't think I will read it."

I hid a grin.

Sure enough, the book disappeared from my bookshelf and reappeared on Mum's bedside table the next day.

Mother's Day is 2 months away but if you are one of those people who like to shop around and look at all options waaaay in advance, I recommend taking a look at Chizu Saeki's Japanese Skincare Revolution. It is very easy to read with lots of simple skincare tips and picture tutorials to follow. Think of it as the Dummies' Guide to Skincare: Going Beyond Cleanse, Tone and Moisturise.

I remember seeing some blogger buzz about this book when it came out 2 years ago. For those who may not have seen any writeups on the book or author, Chizu Saeki is a Japanese skincare esthetician who once worked with Parfums Christian Dior as an international training manager. She is no longer working with Christian Dior but still runs a beauty salon in Japan. She also written over 30 books on skincare in Japanese. "Japanese Skincare Revolution" is her only book written in English.

Saeki's skincare techniques are quite simple. According to her, all you need for good skin is cotton wool, water, some basic skincare, a pair of hands and patience.

Demonstrations speak a 100 words so here is a video demonstrating her 3-minute lotion mask:

I tried the lotion mask* when I was still a student (read: had a lot more free time on my hands) and there was a vast improvement in my skin texture. It was cleaner, brighter and makeup stayed on better. Maybe I should start being diligent again but between getting an extra 5 minutes of sleep or nicer skin...

Whom am I kidding? Sleep always wins.

Another bit which I found useful was on eye and lip makeup removal. Instead of the usual "hold and wipe" method we are used to, Saeki recommends placing a cotton square under your eye and gently wiping your makeup off and onto the cotton square to minimise tugging the skin around your eye area.

Confused? Look left. I took a picture of the page in question. It's blurry but squint and you should be able to figure it out.

Something Saeki advocates is to take time to remove your makeup. A quick wash, wipe and go doesn't work. According to her, we should spend the same amount of time to remove makeup as the amount of time we used to apply makeup. That is, if we spent 15 minutes applying makeup, you should spend 15 minutes removing it.

"You do know that doesn't work when you are drunk, right?" a friend observed when she flipped through the book. "I am lucky if I manage to spend 5 minutes on removing my face makeup."

What caught my mother's attention was the face lymph massages. According to her, the routine has helped her "number 11" forehead wrinkles.

"You should do it too," she informed me helpfully.

Ooof. I am aging faster than I thought. Time for me to do those massages.

The Japanese Skincare Revolution retails for RM 116 (could have sworn I saw it for cheaper last year) and AUD29.95 in Australia. Pricey but worth flipping through if you are looking for ways to maximise your skincare products.

*Note 1: Linda Goodman got it right when she said that Cancerian women will automatically say, "You shouldn't have" whenever you give them a present. In all my 24 years of being with my mother, I have never heard her say anything else.

*Note 2: If you are wondering what toner/ lotion I was using for my lotion mask, it was the Dove Clarifying Toner which is sadly unavailable in South East Asia


Kahani said...

Umm... why not just use a sheet mask? All that mess with cotton... and what lotion is she talking about? The Japanese lotions are more like moisturising toners, right?

Jaslyn said...

Agreeing with Kahani.

What lotion?! Is it a toner? Or some sort of light moisturiser? Lol I think me clumsy fingers will rip the cotton into nothingness before I can separate it into 5 different layers.

Anonymous said...

May I ask where did you get this book in australia? I would like to get a copy!


Eli said...

Kahani: Sheet masks are easier but if you are going to do it everyday, cotton squares make more economic sense, I guess.

Jaslyn: Kahani is right. Japanese lotions are like moisturising toners. They call it a pre-moisturising step or some such nonsense. Basically any non-drying (ie. no alcohol or witch hazel) toner would work.

Remind me to add a note over the weekend!

Anonymous: I got mine from Kinokuniya at TGV Sydney. Haven't seen this at Ozzie Borders or Dymocks outlets so hopefully you have a Kino near you!

domncroxd said...

i've seen this around and was really curious! am wondering if i should get it ;)

Anonymous said...

Where can you find this in Malaysia??

Eli said...

Anonymous: I think that the Malaysian Kinokuniya should stock it. If not, you can probably order it in from them. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

When she says toner, she means toner. The other lotion they use as a premoisturizer is caled softener and that you apply and leave on the skin after washing your face with a foamy soap. A toner in Japanese skin care is used for cleaning the face, therefore, after applying this specific mask you wash your face and continue with your daily routine (wash with foam soap, apply softener - the japanese lotion toner - serum and cream plus make up).

Thanks for the great article!

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