Photo courtesy of Atsuko Fukumoto.
We first met Atsuko through the virtual world of Instagram (thankfully one of the benefits far outweighing the sometimes toxic nature of the platform!). Having discovered our brand on a trip to Portland, she came back with a few of our products and tagged us on her account, where she documents regular product recommendations to thousands of her followers. We struck up a friendship since then, bonded by a mutual love for astrology, natural skincare, and coffee.
The Tokyo-based beauty publicist and columnist began her career at Cosme Kitchen (a select shop and purveyor of natural beauty brands in Japan), and is currently a frequent contributor to Japanese glossies like the ever-popular Very and the surf-inspired Honey, where she pens her own column on organic skincare. We chatted with the beauty specialist on how to tailor skincare to the moon phases (don’t knock it until you try it!) and the one do-everything product she would recommend to maintain healthy skin.
Tell us a bit about your journey to natural skincare.
I was working for a long time at Cosme Kitchen. Before that, I have been using organic skincare since I was in my 20s. I first discovered it at Whole Foods Market in Chelsea, New York and I’ve been using only organic since then. I love everything related to [the natural world] like Ayurveda, astrology, yoga, and aromatherapy.
“During a new moon, it’s all about detox so DAMDAM’s Skin Mud Power Mask is a good product to use. When there’s a full moon, it’s all about recharging so I use the Magic Drops Oil Serum to restore the skin.”
How do you integrate those into your lifestyle?
I use astrology as a guide for scheduling – I always start new projects when there is a new moon which is why I wanted to meet you today! [laughs] The full moon amplifies and emphasizes everything so if there’s big news I want to share for instance on Instagram, I’ll announce it during a full moon. For Ayurveda, I use it as a guide to control habits – it helps to control my sleeping habits and my work-life balance so I’m not too busy. I consult a doctor who’s an Ayurvedic specialist and I also read a lot of books on my own.
What kind of skincare routine do you recommend based on these natural philosophies?
During a new moon, it’s all about detox so DAMDAM’s Skin Mud Power Mask is a good product to use. When there’s a full moon, it’s all about recharging so I use the Magic Drops Oil Serum to restore the skin. When people ask me about skincare based on astrology, I use the moon phases often as a guide because it’s simple and easy to tailor a routine around it.
What made you switch over to using only natural skincare?
It was based on intuition. At the time when I switched over to organic skincare, there weren’t a lot of products available [in Japan]. When I went to Whole Foods for the first time, I was surrounded by so many organic products that could be used on the entire body and it was a big discovery for me. For me, using organic products is a way to get genki, to get power and vitality.
When I came back to Japan from New York, the first buyer of Cosme Kitchen got in touch with me to tell me that they were starting an organic skincare shop in Japan and asked me if I would join the team. So it really felt like the timing was destined to be!
“It’s not just about a single ingredient, it’s about the overall formula and the story behind it. Organic cosmetics are created by and for people. It’s full of love and it’s very positive – this is why I love DAMDAM.”
For people that are new to organic skincare, what would be an easy product they can start with to ease into the transition?
To start getting into natural skincare, these products are a good place to start: A cleanser, a mist or essence, and rosehip oil. Rosehip oil can give an instant effect to the skin. If your skin feels dry from using creams, rosehip oil can change that. It’s also pH-neutral and helps heal wounds.
An essence is so important. From the point of view of Japanese beauty culture, it’s important to be fully moisturized. Here in Japan, people don’t really understand what a toner is. It’s very confusing because companies also market “toners” saying that it’s moisturizing, but often it’s not.
Do you have a favorite ingredient?
Shea butter. But it’s not just about a single ingredient, it’s about the overall formula and the story behind it. Organic cosmetics are created by and for people. It’s full of love and it’s very positive – this is why I love DAMDAM.
What’s the one cure-all product you would recommend to maintain good skin?
What’s one thing you wish more people knew about organic skincare?
That it’s powerful and effective enough as anti-aging treatment!
This or that
Night or day? Mornings!
Seaside or mountainside? Mountainside.
Coffee or tea? Coffee. Very much coffee!
Yoga or running? Yoga.
Sakura or koyo? Sakura because it makes everyone happy!