Japan: Rice Powder as a Facial Exfoliant and Detoxifier
Japanese beauty rituals range from earthy (facials of nightingale droppings) and practical (anti-aging beverages packed with collagen) to downright scary (pedicures that include soaking feet in a basin swimming with flesh-eating fish). But one of the most beloved beauty ingredients is also one of the most common: rice.
Each tiny kernel boasts an array of skin-friendly characteristics. The rice starch milled into a fine dust is used as an oil-absorbent face powder. Rice bran, the brown outer layer, is rich in hydrating minerals and antioxidants, and the hull is often ground into a gentle but highly effective exfoliant. Even sake, a rice-based liquor, has been prized as a beautifier since the time of the geishas, who would reportedly splash their faces with it to let the liquor’s naturally-occurring kojic acid help lighten discoloration and eliminate age spots.
Cultural practice: Many Japanese women add a few glassfuls of sake to a warm bath for a glow-inducing and detoxifying effect.