Due to sliding sake sales in the last few years, rice wine brewers are exploring new uses for the traditional beverage. Japan is the world's second largest cosmetics market after the U.S., and similar to the U.S. market, Japanese men and women a penchant for beauty products made with natural ingredients. Geishas have used sake for centuries as a beauty product, and endorsements from Japanese celebrities and big name cosmetics companies have caused this novel use for sake to take off. Some hopeful sake brewers are hoping to make sake skin-care products reach 50 percent of their total sales.
Sake has been a staple of Japanese tables for some 15 centuries.
But with sales sliding dramatically in recent years, brewers are hoping to find a new niche for this venerable drink: the bathroom shelf.
As the world's second largest cosmetics market after the U.S., Japan is a huge consumer of skin-care products.
Neither this fact---nor consumers' liking for beauty goods formulated with natural ingredients---has been lost on sake brewers, who are rushing to develop skin-care lines featuring their rice wines.
With high levels of naturally created amino acids, these New Age elixirs are aimed at moisturizing and protecting the skin without irritation.
The product range includes body soap, shampoo, facial creams and serums---all made with a combination of rice, rice bran, sake and the lees left over from brewing.
Geishas once applied the drink to their faces before putting on makeup; and the nation's toji (head brewers) have long been renowned for their soft hands.
"It doesn't sound so funny to us," says Keiko Takahashi, a Tokyo dermatologist.
"We wanted to promote sake to people who didn't drink it," says Yasuko Okitsu of Fukumitsuya Sake Brewery (ff-style.com), which has at least three rice-based skin-care lines, with some products made with nonalcoholic sake.
"Sake is good for the skin and health; it has a lot of benefits."
Endorsement from top Japanese celebrities---like actress Mami Kumagai, who has been using Fukumitsuya's Amino Rice line---hasn't done any harm either.
Some producers are now trying to boost skin-care goods to 50% of all sake sales, and hope that the current buzz is more than just a passing fad.
If it isn't, they'll certainly have plenty of sake left over in which to drown their sorrows.
About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a passion for teaching people how to improve their health He is a prolific writer and has published thousands of articles, interviews, reports and consumer guides, and he has published numerous courses on preparedness and survival, including financial preparedness, emergency food supplies, urban survival and tactical self-defense. Adams is an honest, independent journalist and accepts no money or commissions on the third-party products he writes about or the companies he promotes. In 2010, Adams co-founded NaturalNews.com, a natural health video sharing site that has now grown in popularity. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also a veteran of the software technology industry, having founded a personalized mass email software product used to deliver email newsletters to subscribers. Adams also serves as the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a non-profit consumer protection group, and practices nature photography, Capoeira, martial arts and organic gardening. He's also author a large number of health books offered by Truth Publishing and is the creator of numerous reference website including NaturalPedia.com and the free downloadable Honest Food Guide. His websites also include the free reference sites HerbReference.com and HealingFoodReference.com. Adams believes in free speech, free access to nutritional supplements and the innate healing ability of the human body.
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