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Korean and Japanese beauty traditions have undoubtedly influenced Western skincare trends over the past few years, with “glass skin,” sheet masks and the infamous 10-step routine becoming commonplace in the U.S. However, there’s a new skincare look stemming from Asia that’s starting to gain some serious momentum. “Mochi skin,” is essentially the Japanese version of Korea’s “glass skin” craze, and while there are some similarities, each approach is actually quite different. So just what is mochi skin exactly? While Korean women (and men) tend to favor an ultra-dewy finish to a velvety matte look, and are unapologtecially loyal to a somewhat high-maintenance daily skincare regimen (as mentioned, they can consist of up to 8 to 10 steps), Japanese women on the other hand, are known for seeking an ultra-soft, plush finish that looks supple, plump, and bouncy (think of the texture of the regional dessert in which the look was named after). Rather than emphasizing the shine and embracing the daily use of multiple products in the morning and evening, J-beauty is all about aiming to achieve flawless skin with the least amount of products possible.
Also referred to as “rice-cake skin,” or “mochi hada,” this quasi-minimalist approach is attained via adhering to a double cleansing routine morning and night, following with a biyoueki, (or “beauty liquid)” and lightweight moisturizer, indulging in a mask every other day (K-beauty regimens tend to recommend this step on a daily basis) or so, and applying a solid SPF to finish. Double cleansing seems to be the hallmark step in Asian skincare — Koreans swear by it too (and it’s been widely embraced in West in recent years), whether you wear makeup or not, because it ensures that excess oils, dirt, grime and pollutants don’t seep into pores.
Americans love to exfoliate, whether with an acid toner or retinol cream, but the J-beauty perspective isn’t as welcoming to this sector of skincare, because it can thin the skin and cause major irritation to ensue. While there are certainly pros and cons to exfoliating, Japanese skincare favors serum-based treatments as opposed abrasive scrubs and acids.
Both schools of thoughts have merit, but Japanese women’s notoriously flawless complexions make a case for not to over-doing it with product — at least for me anyway. We’re not here to suggest that “mochi skin” is dethroning “glass skin” or a comprehensive skincare routine (because, a lot of us live for this daily, self-care ritual) but it’s certainly a lower-maintenance approach that’s making a splash in the beauty community as of late, and giving those who want gorgeous skin without a huge commitment or extra fuss another avenue to get results. Here’s how to copy the look.
As an integral step in any J-beauty skincare routine, a solid makeup and impurity removing oil is the go-to when it comes to a good double cleanse. This affordable oil is made in Japan and backed by a solid amount of glowing reviews (with a near 5-star rating to boot) and gets dirt, grime, and even waterproof makeup off without tugging and pulling — two culprits for premature development of fine lines.
This gentle, foaming face wash is a great follow-up after an oil-based makeup-remover in any double cleansing routine. It effectively removes impurities and residual makeup or sebum without over-drying or wrecking havoc on the skin’s natural pH balance.
Unlike many toners on the market, this J-beauty elixir leaves skin feeling soft and supple — not dry and tight. It’s infused with rice-derived peptides to help strengthen the skin barrier (rather than eroding it), and sake to help promote an even, brighter complexion.
This Japanese anti-aging facial oil is chock full of skin-plumping active ingredients, including vitamins A, B, D and E along with Camellia oil to help soften the appearance of fine lines and improve textured with continuous use. It’s also super lightweight and quick to absorb, so it’s an excellent alternative to traditional moisturizer under makeup.
Plumpness and suppleness are the two defining hallmarks of “mochi skin,” and this J-beauty gel-cream gives you some serious results. It hydrates and smooths without leaving the skin feeling greasy, and ingredients like hyaluronic acid and collagen help improve elasticity and give you a fleshy-full appearance instantly.
A lot of sunscreens are known leaving behind not only an unsightly, flashback-unfriendly white cast, but also a greasy finish. This gel-cream essence defends the skin with an SPF of 50 without leaving you oily or looking overly matte.
If you search the hashtag “mochi skin” on Instagram, about half of the posts will have this best-selling, luminous foundations featured. The lightweight serum foundation looks like actual skin — and the finish in neither too dewy nor too matte.
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