Skin Care

By Andrea Toochin

Chidoriya may be the best thing to come out of Kyoto, besides the Geisha. One look at Osamu Horikiri and you’ll be eager to try the famous Mihara Camellia Oil.

He began selling cosmetics in 1949, and his success is no surprise – during times of war and turmoil, cosmetics are one of the few non-staples that continue to sell. Inspired by women’s demand for beauty products during the age of geishas, Mr. Horikiri worked to create a name and opened the Chidoriya store in Kyoto, later changing the name to boutique Dina. Five decades later, his daughter, Tomomi, established the company in New York, under its original name, Chidoriya. One beauty expo was all it took and a distribution deal that started with the best-known beauty boutique in NYC – C. O. Bigelow Chemists. Now their line includes over 100 products from adorable black and red make up kits, designed by sister, Nobu, to their star product, the chameleon of beauty products, 100 percent Pure Mihara Camellia Oil.

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Derived from Camellia seeds, 100 percent pure Camellia oil is comprised of fatty acids; the composition includes 86 percent Oleic acid and traces of Palmitic Acid, which is easily absorbed because the skin naturally produces it. The oil is extracted for its many uses, including cooking, but we prefer to use it for beauty purposes. The multi-function moisturizer can be used on the face, body, or scalp hair and hair, making it an excellent product to take on trips.

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A few other traditional Japanese products are beyond unusual for Westerners accustomed to fruit and plant-based skin care items. The Red Bean Micrograins comes in a powder form; when mixed with water, it transforms to a light exfoliant that unclogs pores and helps promote a clear complexion. The other Japanese mainstay used for skin clarity is Nightingale Droppings. Yes, these are bird droppings and no, the powder doesn’t smell like roses, but they are treated with ultra violet light to create a safe, bacteria free cleansing product with an innate lightening element.

New to the line are two face soaps, Green Tea and Pearl Barley for combination and acne prone skin, and Pure Silk and Rice Bran for dry or ‘mature’ skin. Another great option are their business card-sized blotting papers made from gold leaf beating paper. Their Web site also displays an array of barrettes and accessories like combs (suitable for fine hair only) and pocket mirrors.

Chidoriya products are available at www.chidoriyaworld.com. Prices range from $7 for blotting papers to $98 for the large cosmetic cases.

Originally published September 2005
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