Carb-related skincare isn't new - take yeast for example, or more specifically, the ingredient derived from yeast fermentation that makes up those very expensive glass bottles of 'essence' by a certain luxury skincare brand (you know the one).
Recently though, it's rice that's taken centre stage and had a renewed interest from beauty and social media dermatologist community. There's a specific TikTok going around talking about the benefits of rinsing your hair with rice water for shine and growth - and this has been backed up by a few experts breaking down the genuine benefits (there's some!).
In Japan and Korea, rice water and rice extracts have been a beauty staple for a long time, but until recently I never quite understood why.
I love finding new vegan skincare brands on Instagram - often I'm fed them by an ad, but it only takes a few clicks for me to see if they would be something I'd spend money on. Is it filled with essential oils or fragrance? That's a no from me usually. Is it over-the-top expensive for something that I'm not even sure will work? Probably a no.
I was so pleased to find Hakko Skincare and I ordered their signature product right away - the kind of product I'm not normally drawn to, a mask. Their Sake Kasu Overnight Replenishing Mask to be exact. The thing about masks is I don't really enjoy them in a therapeutic way, like I hate the feeling of goopy sheet masks (although a clay mask on the t-zone is alright now and then).
I also messaged Hakko's founder Tomoko Matsuba (who has incredible skin), to let her know how happy I was to find an all-vegan product so mindfully formulated. Anyway, this was way back in August of 2020, and now I've had a really good chance to try the product (I would say I use it once or twice a week at night in lieu of my occlusive, you want this on bare skin).
Hakko describes this mask as an, "ultra-hydrating serum-based gel" that "repairs your skin’s protective barrier, brightens dull skin and renews cells while you sleep." The ingredient list is packed full of soothing and brightening ingredients, you've got amino acids, ceramides, vitamin C and of course the star ingredient - Sake kasu extract.
Hakko notes: "The Sake making process starts by fermenting steamed rice with Koji mold. Koji mold turns the rice into sugar, yeast is then added to turn sugar into alcohol, making Sake (which is the same as rice wine). The residue from the fermented rice remains unused and is known as Sake kasu."
All of this to say, it's a really elegant overnight treat for your skin, and it's totally void of any irritants or heavy oils or waxes (the kind of thing that easily-congested skin won't enjoy). Gentle hydration, protection and brightening - I love that it also doesn't pose any risk for regular use, we are so often gripped by the idea of an intense chemical exfoliant working magic as we sleep, but more often than not we can just wake up with sore skin when what we really needed to do was protect the skin barrier as we snooze.
It's also easy to rinse off the next day with just warm water which is especially great for those who are avoiding intensive double-cleansing morning and night (me!).
I really hope Hakko add some day-wear options to their line, a Sake kasu mist toner or essence would be perfection. If you're looking to DIY-it first, you can also try making your own rice water toner - I tried this a few times but ended up forgetting I was holding on to the leftover rice water in the fridge until it was well past its prime.
I'm pro-carbs in every way, and skincare is no exception.