This Japanese Beauty Secret Will Give You Glowing Skin

Here in the U.S., sake, often referred to as rice wine, is best known as a Japanese alcoholic drink brewed from fermented rice. You might drink it when you go out for sushi, maybe you sake bomb if you're really feeling wild, but you probably don't use it in your beauty routine.
You might want to, though. Turns out, sake as a skin-care ingredient is rising in popularity in Japan, according to a Google Consumer Trends report. Why? Because it's rich in enzymes that gently exfoliate the outer layers of skin by breaking down the ‘glue’ that holds dead skin cells to the surface without stripping your complexion of any moisture. Not only that, the fermentation process produces kojic acid, an antioxidant that can penetrate down past the dermis to limit melanin production. It’s a natural alternative to hydroquinone (a skin-lightener plagued by bad press) that works to erase dark spots and even discoloration if those are your concerns.
Ahead, find the sake-infused products your skin will drink up.
1 of 6
This bouncy gel moisturizer is a crowd pleaser that's perfect for dry, oily, and sensitive skin alike. Sake and vitamin C lead to major brightening, glycolic acid resurfaces, and jojoba leaf soothes the skin.

Boscia Sake Balm Bounce Moisturizer to Hydrate and Brighten, $46, available at Sephora.
2 of 6
Don’t stop at your face: Bathing in sake has the same smoothing, brightening, exoliating effect on your whole body (it’s a Geisha secret). And you won't smell like a brewery, either — this soak has added ginger and peach extract, so it's an indulgent affair.

Fresh Rice Sake Bath, $82, available at Sephora.
3 of 6
As the legendary SK-II story goes, scientists working for the Asian skin-care brand were on the hunt for naturally-derived ingredients in the 70’s when they noticed that older sake brewers had wrinkles on their faces, but their hands were perfectly smooth, thanks to being in contact with the sake in the fermentation process. They bottled that single yeast strain, trademarked it Pitera, and the world-famous, award-winning Essence was born.

SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, $179, available at Sephora.
4 of 6
Think of the fermented extract from the sake yeast in this serum like a light switch that turns skin's glow on by promoting quick cell turnover. You can pat it straight on cleansed skin or add a couple of drops to your moisturizer as a booster.

Yuri Bibu Cellum Amaid Ampoule, $38, available at Glow Recipe.
5 of 6
This exfoliator is a bit messy, but totally worth it. Massage a small amount of the rice peel on cleansed skin first, then pour a few drops of the sake activator into your hands and pat over top. You’ll notice bubbles start to form from the yeast, which is a sign that sebum is loosening below. Rinse off and follow with your usual skin-care routine.

Neogen Rice Peel & Activator Sake, $33, available at Soko Glam.
6 of 6
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!