The cosmetics industry continues to churn out new ways of improving and maintaining our skin, and more and more we have no idea what we’re putting on our faces. Now, not to knock the scientific advancements that make our daily lives easier (or for the technology challenged like me, more complicated) but you need only to look at history to find some ingenious and simple methods of skin maintenance. We focus on the ancient Japanese product, Aburatorigami now.
Abura-tori-gami, or ‘facial oil control blotting paper’ is a very common product to find in any household, purse, or jacket pocket in Japan, but is still in the beginning stages of catching on in the US and Europe. These thin, delicate pieces of paper have an incredible absorbent quality – especially for oil and sweat – and are perfect to wick away any moisture or grease that can ruin make up or make the skin look unsightly.
Aburatorigami was created over a thousand years ago when Kyoto, not Tokyo was the capital in Japan. During this period, from around 794 to 1192, very thin gold leaf was being used very heavily to adorn the temples in Kyoto. During the process of beating gold into very thin pieces, the paper used to support the gold was also thinned to an extent that they were incredibly fine. This incidental product was the first version of Aburatorigami.
It was almost by accident that it was discovered that this thin paper could absorb oil so easily, but once the rumors spread, Aburatorigami caught on and became all the rage for everyone from housewives to Kabuki actors. Kabuki actors, like geisha, were especially grateful to have a product that would help keep their thick make up on for their performances in non-air-conditioned theaters.
One touch of the delicate Aburatorigami, and I could see the difference between the parts of the paper that did and didn’t touch any oil. Touching my face, there was also a clear ‘before and after’ sensation, and my face felt less greasy but soft, and not dried out.
There are a million Aburagami products in Japan, there are many new Aburagami in everywhere. "Furuyagami" is a made from paper used for beating gold, it is very rare, almost come from Kanazawa (center of gold leaf).