© Robert Bailey

Rice wine is appearing more than ever in beauty treatments around the globe. 

January 16, 2017

Sake’s softening, hydrating and glow-giving powers largely come from kojic acid—a by-product of rice malt that’s been used for centuries in Japanese rituals. “It’s a gentler, more natural counterpart to the skin-brightening agent hydroquinone,” says David Bank, assistant clinical professor in dermatology at New York’s Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. Whether you want to do as the geishas did and bathe in the stuff or simply dab a little on, we’ve rounded up a whole menu of options.

The Goods 


Glow like you were born with Vermeer lighting after peeling off Boscia’s Sake Bright White Mask. $38; boscia.com.

Noting even the most grizzled sake makers have youthful hands led to SK-II’s antiaging line, including R.N.A. Power
Eye Cream. $135; sk-ii.com.


Fresh Sake Bath, which is 
50 percent sake, co-opts the geisha tradition of scenting bathwater with persimmons. $82; fresh.com.

The Treatments

Head to the Shibui Spa at The Greenwich Hotel in New York City for a Drunken Lotus Massage with hot sake-soaked compresses and a dip 
in a candlelit sake bath. 
Go ahead and take a sip from the sake-filled flask—you’ve earned it. From $220; thegreenwichhotel.com.

A sake-spiked softening and hydrating foot soak kicks off the two-hour Winter Seasonal Journey at the stunning new Aman Tokyo in the Otemachi district. $400; aman.com.