Beauty

Is this surprising Asian ingredient the real secret to smooth bright skin?

Coveting the perfectly poreless, perfectly porcelain complexion that’s synonymous with Japanese women, geisha or no? Then you may want to check out this ultra-luxe skincare line that boasts a boundary-pushing ingredient that’s quite intriguing indeed
 

Use this, look like this

Want soft skin? Just add silk.

It’s a provocative premise – but hey, not any ol’ silk will do, if the lab-coated scientists squirrelled away in Cle de Peau Beaute’s R&D quarters are to be believed.

Okay, let’s backtrack a tad for some scene-setting, shall we. Yours truly is in Tokyo, clinking champers and rubbing sequinned shoulders with a bunch of the best beauty scribes from around the world.

I’ve been flown to the fabled capital of scrumptious sashimi and startling street style for a press pow-wow feting Cle de Peau Beaute’s Basic Skincare range – now revamped and more ridiculously rad than ever.

(Quick note on availability: These beauty baubles will arrive on Singapore shores come January 2016; approach your friendly CPB cabin crew for the latest updates.)

What’s new? Enter silk – or more specifically, cocoons from a specially bred species of silkworm – which is the incredibly intriguing new star ingredient in the J-Beauty brand’s suite of lotions, emulsions and creams.

Fun fact: These so-called Platinum Golden Silk cocoons (they’re gloriously golden in hue too!) are exclusively reared for use by the brand, and restricted to a single mulberry farm in Northern Thailand to boot. You can’t get more prohibitively posh than that when it comes to living #TheHighLife, really.

What’s more, this “cocoon cordial” (it is caterpillar juice when it comes down to it, but as with cordyceps, let’s not dwell on the details!) is derived from the cocoon fibres rather than from processed silk so as to maximise its beauty benefits, says Dr Ishimatsu Takayuki, director of Cle de Peau Beaute Laboratories. The good man tells me that this direct extraction method was chosen because some amino acids may be destroyed in the refinement of raw silk.

That’s all well and good, but what beauty benefits does silk confer, exactly? It may slash skin sallowness, for starters. “Our laboratories discovered that this strain of silk can slow down carbonylation, which is the process that causes yellowing of the complexion,” explains Dr Ishimatsu. Okay, now for the sciencey bit. The silk-derived Illuminating Complex Ex (included in all of the products in the reformulated range, FYI) also promises to “undo” past damage inflicted on your skin. “Amino acids in the extract are capable of resetting ‘skin memory’ by soothing cell receptors (which are the cells that detect changes on the skin’s surface layer) that are in a stressed state,” adds Dr Ishimatsu.

Intrigued? Here’s a run-through of the new complexion-correcting skin saviours you need to give you that gorgeous geisha glow!

Hydro-Clarifying Lotion, $180

Now, if you’re in the least acquainted with yours truly, you’ll know that Cle de Peau Beaute is everything to me. The Shiseido-owned Japanese prestige brand really pushes all of my beauty buttons, and the latest reinvention of its not-so-basic Basic Skincare line should go down very nicely with fellow lovers of luxury.

Case in point? This lovely new lotion (also offered in a Hydro-Softening iteration for amped-up hydration) which you’re meant to apply post-cleansing with cotton pads to polish away dirt and debris on your skin’s surface.

The terrific toner-type consistency lends itself brilliantly to express DIY masking. Here’s how. Douse three or four pieces of cotton – off-the-counter stuff will do in a pinch, although I’m partial to the poshest pads courtesy of Cle de Peau Beaute’s Le Coton (also reformulated and now woven with natural silk!) When the cotton pads are wet all the way through, slap them on your face – but only on select areas: One across the forehead, one for each side of your cheeks, and one you press into place across your nose bridge. Twiddle your thumbs for two minutes, then take the pads off. Pat in any excess and proceed with the rest of your regimen.

The moisture from this speedy spot treatment will imbue your mien with a subtle inner sheen that’s reminiscent of the delightful dewiness so coveted in today’s K-Obsessed world. With any luck, you’ll also see an instant depuffing effect, alongside a reduction in ruddiness, pore size and such – essentially any and every cosmetic concern!

Protective Fortifying Emulsion, $190

OMG, this exquisite emulsion is seriously superb stuff. What do I dig about the new Protective Fortifying Emulsion? The terrific texture, for one, which straddles that sweet spot between watery emulsion and gloppy cold cream. The gorgeous glide also makes this potion perfect for priming purposes; pat it on under makeup and you’ll find that pigments “grab” better.

Not wearing a whole lot of warpaint? No sweat. The tint-free formula (also available as an equally elegant cream) imparts a lovely luminescence that’s beautifully beguiling in a #NoMakeup way.

Of course, this also does the work of a conventional moisturiser, what with its slew of hydrating ingredients plus an herbal root extract that reportedly ramps up collagen production in the skin. Then there’s the perfectly decent SPF25/ PA+++ rating, which means you can skip sunscreen if you’re pressed for time. My fave of the lot!

Intensive Fortifying Cream, $210

Mm, this night cream slips on like the slinkiest of lingerie. Buttery beyond belief, the silk-powered poultice sinks straight in, no smearing or spreading required – such a treat to apply at the end of an exhausting workday. (Opt for the emulsion if you’re into lighter textures.)

No complaints whatsoever when it comes to packaging, either; the almost obscenely opulent cobalt-and-chrome carafe demands pride of place on your dresser. Big beauty bonus: The product more than passes the smell test; slapping on this subtly scented salve is ridiculously relaxing, especially when it’s hot as blazes outside.

Sensorial pleasures aside, this works wonders for my combination skin; I pat a tiny pinch of the product into my face and neck as a last step at night, and awaken to a visage that’s visibly lifted – and as smooth as the silk that’s the star of this skincare line.

Signing off now by noting that the oft-mangled name of the Japanese brand (say “clay-day-poe bew-tay”) is French for “the key to beautiful skin” – which may very well turn out to be silk in this instance. And hey, if you’re into all things Japanese, you may be acquainted with an ancient Edo-era saying that goes thusly, “If you look closely at a maiko’s skin, you’ll find that it’s made of pure silk.” Kanpai to that!