Skin Care Item that was Essential to Japanese Women 200yrs Ago

In Japan, there is even an old proverb that says, “White skin covers seven flaws,” which means a fair-skinned woman is beautiful even her features are not good.

In a beauty book published in Edo period (1603–1868), it is plainly said that “fair skin is the first prerequisite to be called beauty.” That is why, women in Edo period aimed to get fair skin, and what was used the most to brighten their skins was skin lotion.


Left: “Three known beauties” by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806) Right: “Woman wiping sweat” by Kitagawa Utamaro (1753-1806)

In those days, woman made skin lotion by themselves. The most popular lotion was made from wild roses. Using a still called “ranbiki,” they distilled water from wild roses and add fragrance such as clove into the water. There was skin lotion made from sponge gourd too.


“Sponge Gourd”

Sponge Gourd

"Nemo's great uncle" some rights reserved. flickr


Not only does homemade skin lotion help to get fine, fair skin, it was also used to add some glossiness on a face by brushing it over powder, and used to bring a swelling down. So homemade skin lotion was indispensable thing for women in Edo period.


Source: Pola Research Institute of Beauty & Culture


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