With so many new sushi/Japanese restaurants that are poppin up, you may by now know what sake is. You see those large bottles on the display and/or you will see some sake beverages on the menu.
You either like to drink it cold or warm and I’m sure you like to drink it out of those pretty little cups.
Did you know that sake has been used as a main ingredient in Japanese skincare products too, because of its benefits like skin brightening, soothe the inflammation of acne and minimize sign of aging?
But.. What is Sake?
Sake, also known as Japanese rice wine, is an alcoholic beverages made by fermenting rice that has been polished to remove the bran.
In Japanese 酒 ~ sake means alcoholic drink and refers to all beverages that contains alcohol. Japanese rice wine, in the west known as sake, is called 日本酒 ~ nihonshu.
There are many different types of sake, like wine, there are cheap and expensive ones and also sweet or dry ones. But the most important is of course the quality. The basis of good sake is quality rice, clean water, koji mold and yeast.
In Japan sake is served chilled, at room temperature or heated. It all depends on the season, the characteristics of the sake and the preference of the drinker.
Sake often served in ceramic flasks, known as 徳利 ~ tokkuri, together with small cups called choko or お猪口 (おちょこ) ~ ochoko.
Believe it or not, there is a proper sake pouring etiquette! So if you go to Japan, or having a drink with your Japanese friends, keep the following things in mind.
Always pour sake for others, but don’t fill your own cup! Always let someone else pour and fill your cup for you, even if you were the one that poured sake for everyone else in your party.
When pouring sake, always place two hands on the tokkuri, regardless of how small it is. Using both hands is a way to show respect.
When you receive the sake, cradle the ochoko on the palm of you hand and with the fingers of your free hand on the side of the cup. Slightly lifting towards the pourer is also a sign of respect. Amongst male company (friends only! Not business related) it’s common to pour with one hand or holding your ochoko with one hand but remember, always lift your cup towards the pourer!
Sake in skincare
Sake is the national drink of Japan, together with matcha green tea, but sake also has a history in skin care. Koji mold, aka that mold containing skin pampering Kojic acid, is the national mold of Japan. The benefit of Kojic acid is to lighten visible sun damage, age spots or scars.
Sake has been used in Japanese skincare for centuries. Like the double cleansing method and using oil cleansers, Geisha used sake in their beauty routine. They use it before applying make-up, as a lotion and bathing with sake.
The ingredient is believed to soften and plump the skin, helping to moisturize and brighten. It is still very common to use sake or sake-based products in skincare and bathing routines.
What are the beauty benefits of sake?
There are many positive benefits for your skin when using sake or sake-based products, such as helping to soothe the inflammation of acne, brighten and tighten the skin, reducing the blemishes of sun and age spots and helps to minimize signs of aging.
So, when you feel that your skin looks a bit dull and in need of that glowing boost, using beauty products infused with sake can give you the glow you need. Now how about sake for acne, one of the benefits of sake is to help tightens your pores and helps control sebum production. The brightening effects of Kojic acid can also help improve past acne scars.
Sake also contains many different kinds of amino acids, which help to improve the skin’s overall texture and appearance, to maintain hydration and give the skin a supple appearance and it also works as an anti-aging ingredient.
There are many kinds of rice-derived ingredients used in J-beauty products. Some products with ingredients derived from white rice, such as rice water and rice bran. Other products feature fermented ingredients which are derived from processes like sake production, including fermented rice water.
So next time you are enjoying a cup of sake, remember that it makes your skin happy too! And if you have a bottle of sake at home, dip cotton pads or cloth in some sake and gently pat it onto your clean skin or leave it on your skin for 5-10 minutes like a mask. Allow the sake to air-dry completely and be ready for your mochi skin!
Well that’s it for now, thank you for reading. In the name of beauty, Kampai (Cheers)!!