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An Early Summer Beauty Sojourn, Yearning for Clear, Refreshed Skin

长田杏奈

Ginza Six Editors Vol.80

For those who happen to find themselves there in the midst of the summer heat, GINZA SIX offers an ideal sanctuary. Both a feast for the eyes and a splendid shopping destination, it’s the perfect place for cooling off, for finding refreshment, in between new product launches or interviews. Today I’m here to buy some products essential for prepping my skin for the early summer—products to ensure I can greet the sweaty season with clear, refreshed skin.

Today I head straight to the first belowground level, the beauty floor. What I have in mind is Make Up For Ever, whose store in GINZA SIX represents a triumphant success of the brand and carries lots of items professionals love to use. The brand’s products are highly regarded. In addition to being a staple among models backstage at fashion shows, they’re widely used at theaters, movie shoots, and in the glamorous world of professional sports. The store offers the biggest lineup in Japan, which is just one of the reasons it’s a mecca for beauty lovers.

My top priority is to keep perspiration from making my makeup run, so I start by applying a quick spritz of Mist & Fix (3,800 yen; all prices listed before tax). That all but guarantee the state of my makeup for the rest of the day. It also adds gloss and moisture. It contains nasturtium extract, which maintains the supply of oxygen to the skin and really firms up the skin. That’s what makes it different from run-of-the-mill makeup fixing sprays. When I learn an easy-to-carry 30 ml travel version is on sale, I pick a bottle up right away.

I also need to replenish my stores of the bestselling Ultra HD Loose Powder (4,500 yen), something makeup artists and beauty enthusiasts call HD powder. I like to use finishing powder to keep makeup from running, but I don’t like powders that affect subtle shades and textures. And I absolutely hate powders that dry out the skin. The ideal solution for a stickler like me is the microparticle powder, which offers ninja-level transparency and sets perfectly on the foundations. I recommend it not just for finishing base makeup, but as a final touch for eyes where cream eyeshadow tends to make unpleasant edges or as a rescue for those who suffer from the dreaded panda eyes syndrome.

Another thing I can’t overlook is Aqua Seal (3,800 yen). I discovered this while doing research on the favorite makeup products among overseas figure skaters, rhythmic gymnasts, and synchronized swimmers. It’s a magical item you blend with any type of powder or pencil to make it waterproof. It keeps your favorite eyeshadow, glitter, or eyebrow makeup from running even when you’re swimming or sweating; keep a bottle with you during outings so you can keep the ideal makeup any time of the year. These three items alone are an effective way to guarantee your summer makeup won’t run.

On Netflix, I’ve watched all eleven seasons and the spinoffs of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” I love “Pose,” a drama about 80s ball culture. And I found “Kinky Boots,” a Japanese-version musical starring Haruma Miura, incredibly exciting. I’m really into drag queen makeup right now, so I stopped dead when I saw this corner where you can sit before a mirror and try on false eyelashes. Two types are on offer: natural, yet substantial ones, and creative ones that let you delight in total self-transformation. I purchased two gorgeous pairs that demonstrate off-the-charts creativity.

I manage to resist the temptation to check out the array of brushes displayed on the wall and finally made my way to the cash register. Making a note of tips, the likes of which you can only get from a Make Up For Ever artist, and after giving an inner thumbs-up to the brand’s edgy approach to makeup, which emphasizes self-expression over mass appeal or conformity, I make my way to my next destination.

If I’m asked to choose the best cosmetic product of the first half of 2019, without worrying about my budget, I’d pick the Wonder Falls cleansing cream from Valmont. I don’t recommend it to everyone because it costs 16,500 yen for 200 ml of something you rinse off immediately…

It’s certainly priced at a surprising prestige price point, but it’s just as clearly worth the investment. I decide to buy a replacement before the disappointment that I’ve used up the last one lingers on, so I head to La Maison Valmont, also on the first belowground floor. I’m also a repeat buyer of Bubble Falls (8,000 yen for 150 ml), a wonderfully mild facewash that emphasizes maintaining the natural balance of the skin’s indigenous bacterial flora, something that’s drawn a lot of interest lately. In summertime, rather than investing in products that address this or that specifically, I think it’s smarter to invest in “removers” that make your skin feel so good you wonder if you need to apply anything at all next. The key is removing the unnecessary without losing the essential.

At the March 7 product launch event, I casually rubbed some Wonder Falls into the back of my hand. A single application, I was stunned to find, left my skin soft and springy and conferred a radiant, near-celestial glow and beauty. I try it out once again on my fingers and find the effects are proven undeniable and striking, neither illusion nor placebo.

On my way back from the launch, I remember saying to a colleague: “If the cleanse feels like that, imagine what the full product line does.” I searched frantically for Valmont’s esthetic menu. The La Maison Valmont here also offers treatments. I’m lucky enough to be able to talk to a beauty adviser, who’s just finished an esthetic session. What first catches my eye is her hands, which are far smoother than my facial skin, as radiant and flawless as the highest grade of freshly pounded mochi (sticky rice cake). The power of Valmont, which leaves the hands of an esthetician more beautiful than the skin on one’s face, leaves me trembling.

Valmont is a brand I began to adore through its cleansing products. Now let’s get a recommendation for what to try next. According to the previous beauty adviser, the lady of the mochi-like hands, even if I just use the basic serum and cream regularly, I’ll get skin like hers. These products aren’t cheap, but I’m really interested. Other staff, who has beautiful hair you’d see in shampoo commercials, gives a recommendation for their haircare products. I’ve heard the average customer spends 70,000 yen at Valmont, but I begin to think those capable of limiting their spending to 70,000 yen must be really thrifty…

Today I decide to just buy the cleanser and the facewash, and I leave the sales counter behind me. I can’t emphasize enough the striking beauty of the skin of all the staff inside and of the customers coming in.

Now I need something calming to bring me down from the manic buzz created by the cosmetics floor. With that in mind, I descend to Tsujiri on the second belowground floor, the first and only store in the Kanto region where you can enjoy the flavors of teas from this long-established vendor, the pride of Uji in Kyoto prefecture.

I find I’m best able to focus when I’m relaxed yet alert. I do my best work in that state. My drink of choice when I’m working isn’t coffee or black tea, and it certainly isn’t energy drinks. It’s always green tea. Green tea from Tsujiri benefits from special care starting from the tea leaf cultivation stage. The leaves are processed with the utmost care. The tea is rich in theanine, which promotes relaxation and relieves stress. The gyokuro (high-quality green tea) lets you embrace and delight in the flavor of the theanine, with just the right amount of caffeine. The Tsujiri gyokuro is noted for flavors that leave both sides of your tongue satisfied with umami, much like dashi (Japanese soup stock). My inner Kaibara Yuzan, the gourmet who appears in the manga Oishinbo, begins fidgeting in anticipation.

If you’re looking for gifts, go for the Kyo Koicha Terrine Irodori Fruit (2,000 yen). It contains plenty of Uji matcha (green tea powder) and features rich-flavored terrine blended with white chocolate, filled with generous helpings of seasonal fruits and nuts. It’s a dessert found only at GINZA SIX.

Today I buy some cold Uji sencha in a special bottle to take away with me (417 yen). It combines a clear Uji color, described as a sheer gold, with a mild aroma that wafts out from behind the mellow flavor. You won’t go back to green tea in PET bottles once you’ve had a taste of this.

Imbibing green tea rich in catechins, an antioxidant with anti-aging properties, is the ideal way to end my beauty sojourn. After I appease my thirst and refresh my palate, now I feel like I can hang on.

Text:Anna Osada Photos:Chisato Hikita Edit:Yuka Okada

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长田杏奈

打火机。用美容主要,并且经手采访以及海外名流的文章。"自尊心的练肌肉(P-VIN)打算书籍在2019年6月出版美容"。
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MAKE UP FOREVER

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La Maison VALMONT

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十字路口利

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2019.05.20 UP