On The Boundary Breaking Biteki
Yasuo You’ve been working in Shogakukan’s beauty department for a long time.
Mahoko Yes, for thirty years now. Two years after joining the company, I became head of beauty for CanCam. It was then that I met Kayoko Amano, the miraculous sixty-three year old editor, and gradually began learning the ropes. Kayoko’s columns became incredibly popular, and readers invested more and more in her ideas. In 2001, Biteki was born. Sixteen years later, I left my editor-in-chief position there, and now focus more on the publishing side of things.
Yasuo At that time, beauty magazines were a completely new genre in Japan, and before them I always thought that beauty was just another part of fashion. That magazine definitely shifted women’s interest and changed the game.
Mahoko That may very well be true. At Biteki, I wanted to share step-by-step knowledge so that way our readers could emulate exactly what they saw on the page. Biteki made beauty seem fun, exciting, and different.
Yasuo I noticed how amazing your skin is while doing your makeup today.
Mahoko Thanks so much, but it’s not really anything to brag about! I’ve been working in the world of beauty for nearly thirty years now, but there’s still so much I don’t know. I often hear stories from people about certain treatments and products and if I think they make sense for me, then I’ll try them out. I’m pretty devoted to Kayoko’s method.
Yasuo I love your enduring enthusiasm for progress despite all of the years you’ve been working. Ideas surrounding beauty have changed so much in the last decade and a half, and it’s important to stay up to date on what’s trending.
Mahoko When I was in college, covering one’s face with layers of foundation was quite common. Finished looks are so completely different in this day and age, especially when it comes to base makeup.
Yasuo It’s less about covering up the outside and more about revealing the inside. Several decades ago, makeup was a much more methodical process, but now elements of experimentation and play are becoming much more common. Highlighting the individual’s unique features is the end goal, and it makes makeup so much more enjoyable.
Mahoko I can see that’s unmixlove’s main message. Everyone is certainly beautiful and special in their own way.
The End Of The “Trend?”
Mahoko Although I left my role at Biteki three years ago, I’m sensing a social change, particularly when it comes to contemporary fashion. These days, women are aware of trends, but don’t let them totally guide their personal style.
Yasuo I think the newest change to the beauty industry is the emphasis on makeup as a form of positive self-expression.
Mahoko After the Great East Japan Earthquake happened, there was a massive shift towards a more natural, or “nudie” look. I wonder what COVID-19 will influence.
Yasuo In my case, I lived in NY, so September 11th was a big turning point. Shocking events always bring about great amounts of change.
Mahoko Even before COVID-19, I began hearing more about “clean beauty” and “SDG’s.” I’m curious to see how that movement unfolds.
Yasuo COVID-19 anxiety and its resulting lifestyle changes are definitely going to shift the future. I hope more positive messages will spread, and that clean beauty will become more of a priority.
Mahoko You’re right. It’s all about getting rid of unnecessary things and searching for transparency, comfort, and optimism.
Yasuo In a weird way, COVID-19 has definitely forced people to reflect inward a little bit more. Change can come at any time, so you’ve got to be more sincere and start embracing yourself as you are.
Mahoko Staying true to yourself is one of life’s greatest challenges. It’s definitely easier said than done.
A Woman’s Work Is Never Finished
Mahoko Women are such resilient creatures. I want to work as long as I can and live until I’m one hundred years old. I think my grandmother-in-law inspired me. She died last year at hundred and eight years old. After she turned one hundred, she began staying at home more and more, but for much of her life she was very active and energetic. She adored my daughter, her great granddaughter, and said she wanted to stay healthy so she could visit us in Tokyo. Eating well and maintaining her complexion were her top priorities. She definitely showed me that beauty and vitality are connected.
Yasuo Genuinely wanting to live is a huge part of getting older. I know my own mother was trying very hard at that.
Mahoko Some people get taken aback when I tell them I want to live to be one hundred. Aging is a complicated subject, and everyone has mixed opinions on it. It was amazing to see my grandmother-in-law age so gracefully and spiritually. Unfortunately, many people are not blessed with the same experience and therefore view aging as a scary and demoralizing process.
People don’t want their loved ones to view them as ugly, dirty, or burdensome. Still, I believe it’s important to avoid negative perceptions of aging as much as possible.
Yasuo Right, we need to change generational biases against aging and instead work to embrace what’s natural. It needs to become a topic of positivity and hope.
Mahoko People have this false impression that life dulls with age, particularly because you can’t do the same things as when you were young. I don’t know how I’ll feel until I get to that specific age, but I have faith that life is fun at all stages, and you don’t really know what you’re missing out on until you get there.
Yasuo Certainly, many benefits come with age as well. Shortly after I turned forty my eyesight began deteriorating, and as a result my makeup has become less precise. When I couldn’t apply eyeliner or eyelashes in the same ways as before, I was so frustrated with myself. I eventually realized with that age came a certain wisdom that I didn’t have before.
Mahoko Now, I see things a little more calmly and clearly. I can’t do my work as quickly, nor can I handle the same volume of it, but it’s easier to see the world from a bird’s eye view perspective and not let the little things get to me. It’s a whole new mindset.
Yasuo We want to encourage our readers to embrace change, whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual. People need to find beauty in who they are and what they are becoming.
Mahoko Right, and that search is not about changing your makeup or even searching for an entirely new you. Kayoko [Amano] and I discuss this idea a lot. I admire her so much, and her positive mindset towards aging has really made a big impact on me. She completely shines at the age of sixty-three.
Yasuo In order to live life to the fullest, we have to believe that we shine at each and every age. Humans are naturally born with insecurities that only become more intense as we grow old. The greatest challenge that life can offer us is the road to self-acceptance.
Mahoko That’s true, but still, it’s a hard challenge! If you don’t start liking yourself young, then it only gets harder as you age. Even gorgeous models and actresses have insecurities.
Yasuo You never truly know what another person is going through. What you perceive to be your greatest flaw might be someone else’s favorite part of you! If your mouth is small, then compare it to the sweet smile of a little baby. If your eyes are small, then think of how overjoyed you must seem when your eyes close from laughter! Challenge yourself to shift the negative to positive. Self-acceptance is a journey that you must choose to embark on yourself.
Mahoko That’s really good. Nobody’s perfect, and absolutely nobody likes every single part of themselves!
Yasuo It may seem silly, but complimenting yourself is important. It can really influence the ways in which you perceive yourself.
Mahoko Hyogo’s Must-Haves
Yasuo As a professional beauty guru, what are some of your favorite items?
Mahoko I always joke that I plan to live until I’m one-hundred years old, so I’m really preoccupied with my physical health and inner beauty. Every day, I drink a packet of organic tea prescribed by the BHY clinic, which was created by a Japanese medicinary who specializes in Chinese practices. We met after they published a book from Biteki. The tea is cold pressed with herbs and uses the principles of Kampo. I also go to the clinic once every two months for holistic medicine treatments that emphasize the power of five organs. I believe it helps enhance my immunity and balance my body’s natural cycle.
Mahoko Lypo-C’s Vitamin C supplements are also a part of my morning routine. They’re really great for combating colds, hay fever, UV rays, sunburns, and dull skin. Not only that, but the lipocapsule container makes it highly absorbable into the body. I’ll double up on capsules whenever I feel a cold coming on.
Mahoko Banford’s pillow mist is a nightly must. Right before I go to sleep, I spray it onto my pillow and let the aromas of lavender, marjoram, and frankincense calm me. I definitely feel like it helps improve my sleep.
Mahoko After shampooing in the bath, I’ll massage Kerastase’s Adjuness scalp treatment into my forehead’s hairline, mainly around the ears and crown. When the body is warmed, the synergistic effect improves blood circulation, which helps to loosen the scalp. My very trustworthy salon recommended it to me, and also told me that it helps prevent gray hairs.
Mahoko I’ve been using the Refa for almost two years now. I’m worried about a slacking face line, so I use it every morning around my chin, legal lines, cheeks and forehead. It’s great for reaching even the smallest of areas.
Even in the age of working remotely, we never stop interacting with others. I feel like my beauty routine helps keep me grounded and gives me a sense of purpose. I may never be twenty years old again, but I still want to be able to face the world with confidence. It may be for a meeting through a screen, but I’m still keeping up my regimen!
Photos / Interview : Yasuo Yoshikawa
Text : Mikako Koyama
Location：MI CAFETO Café & Brasserie Hitotsubashi