Introducing a new blog series titled “J-Beauty Spotlight,” where we interview key individuals in Japan who are passionate about skincare and self-care as well as rituals and practices that are uniquely Japanese. Join us as they reveal their stories and secrets revolving around J-beauty.
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.
My name is Asuka Ishiyama and I work at a PR company. I do PR for fashion, beauty, music festivals, and hotels—just to name a few industries.
2. It seems like you work with a lot of beauty and cosmetics brands—can you tell us when you became interested in beauty?
I was already interested in beauty early on, probably during my high school and college years. My skin was totally fine until my 3rd year in high school when it started flaring up with acne out of nowhere. I tried everything to fix the problem. I even went to the dermatologist and several clinics, but to no avail. Everyone around me would tell me it would go away when I became an adult, and that the changes my skin was experiencing were normal. Although my skin has cleared up significantly since then, and it’s not as bad as it used to be, my acne-prone skin bothers me to this day. I continue to try different products to see which ones work the best for me.
3. Out of the products you have tried, could you share some of your recent favorites?
One of my favorite Japanese brands that I’ve been using recently uses tsubaki from the Goto Islands in Japan in all of their products, and I particularly like the lotion (toner) and the cream. I’d say these particular products don’t give off much of a scent, but they do smell very natural and they work well with my skin type. I also use the La Vie Précieuse Moist A.P.G. Emulsion in between the lotion and cream. The emulsion smells amazing—I instantly feel relaxed the minute I apply it on my face. On top of that, it is very moisturizing whether I use it morning or night. When I use it in the morning, my makeup stays put and is fresh all day—it’s quite amazing, actually.
4. Is there anything else besides your skincare routine that is important to you?
The first thing I do after I wake up in the morning is brush my teeth. It may seem like common sense, but a lot of people don’t realize that there are various kinds of germs inside your mouth when you wake up in the morning, and when you drink water, for example, all of those germs basically go straight into your body, and that just can’t be good. I usually gargle, brush my teeth, and drink water with some lemon in the morning. Also, I try to take baths as much as possible, even though sometimes it’s difficult due to my busy schedule. Something I’m really into recently is bedtime yoga. I do this yoga routine from YouTube, and I’m pretty much asleep by the time I am doing Savasana. I’ve been doing this every day for quality sleep.
Making sure I’m relaxed and as stress-free as possible is very important to me, especially right before I go to sleep. My work involves being on my laptop and my smartphone for hours at a time, which causes a lot of stress. Sometimes I’ll have nightmares or have a restless night that won’t allow the quality sleep that I need. That’s why I try to really focus on getting a good night’s sleep and to bring my body into a state of relaxation.
5. What does J-beauty mean to you?
This is probably the case for other countries as well, but Japanese brands use a lot of special ingredients or materials that are unique to a specific area, and a lot of research is done to develop good products. I think Japan has a kind of power that other places don’t, and we’re able to make products that suit Japanese skin types by taking the environment, the quality of water, and other things into consideration. There are a lot of products that are developed with integrity and fine-tuned to perfection, and I hope that more people overseas will learn to appreciate the fine qualities of Japanese beauty products. Just how Japanese cuisine is widely popular around the world, my hope is that J-beauty will also receive the same amount of attention.
6. Do you have any final thoughts or a message you’d like to share?
This is something I learned from a skincare brand: for your skin to look beautiful, you must maintain the health of your heart and overall balance, instead of just applying skincare products and maintaining your skin from the outside. I really believe that the condition your heart may be in, the quality of sleep you are getting, or your body’s state, truly reflects on the stress, hormonal imbalance, and mental state you are in, which can in turn show on your skin. True beauty is not only what you see on the outside, but how healthy your heart is because that will be reflected externally as well. I didn’t realize all of this until quite recently. If you ever feel like you’re feeling even a little bit of stress or you’re feeling a bit irritated, it’s important to first realize these changes happening in your mind and body, and then make time for yourself to unwind and relax.