From how it’s maintained and presented, hair has been a long-established symbol of beauty and self-expression throughout the history of Japan. The traditionally long and dark-colored hair of a geisha has become an indispensable part of the Japanese beauty standard and is demonstrated by the thorough care that goes into keeping hair healthy and looking satiny smooth. Dedicating the time to looking after your hair has become somewhat of a ritual, making haircare into an experience rather than a task. The ultimate rule above all else is to stick to what’s natural, in both products and tools, and simply, to relax.
- Haircare takes after the same minimalist philosophy as Japanese skincare does. Hair is washed a couple times a week rather than daily, as over washing can strip hair of its natural oils, resulting in dry and dull appearing hair. Japanese haircare also tends to be selective with shampoo, in order to avoid products that are crammed with too many ingredients. These ingredients are oftentimes unnatural and harsh, which includes parabens, sulfates, and fragrances. Instead, they opt for natural shampoos that are lightweight and contain time-tested ingredients such as seaweed, camellia oil, soy, and rice.
- Frequently combing through hair is a crucial step in grooming because it helps distribute the hair’s natural oils from root to tip. This natural barrier not only protects hair from the elements but also prevents tangling, which enhances hair texture in the process. Japanese hair brushes were designed to improve the ordinary brush, which are often made out of plastic and wire, and instead is carefully crafted out of wood. And not just any wood, but tsuge or boxwood, an incredibly sturdy wood that is also naturally oily, preventing any static and hairsplitting from occurring. The microscopic pores of the brush’s wooden “teeth” or bristles is what helps catch natural sebum and coat your hair.
- Japanese haircare focuses equally if not more on the scalp care because a healthy scalp produces stronger and glossier hair. The tsuge brush is a good place to start because its teeth lightly massages, which stimulates nerve ends to promote hair growth. On top of that, it’s easy to do at home and very relaxing! Many Japanese salons specialize in scalp massages because it helps clients unwind, while enhancing blood flow in the head which helps alleviate a number of other ailments such as headaches and nausea. The benefits are endless, as many Japanese clients have been regularly receiving these massages to prevent hair loss, dandruff, and an overly dry or oily scalp.
Conditioning hair is an extremely important step in proper haircare because hair is left susceptible to pollutants, heat, and other weather conditions, after a wash. Just as your skin needs lotions and serums, your hair deserves the same kind of attention. Camellia, or tsubaki, oil is often the product of choice for many Japanese men and women because it contains a multitude of restorative properties, such as omega-9, oleic fatty acids, and a number of antioxidants. These are the components that nourish and repair hair as well as seal hair from future damage. We’ve said before that camellia oil is like a superfood in beauty, as generations of women and men continue to use it to both hydrate and protect their hair.
Hair and hair growth tends to become weaker as we age, which is why beauty-conscious individuals in Japan take the time to tend to their hair in their youth. This might also be why Japanese women are lauded to have healthy and sturdy hair even into old age. Remember, proper hair care now is greatly rewarded in the future!