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Traditional Edo Makeup: “Komachi-Beni” in Three Limited-Edition Spring Designs

2018.01.10

 Isehan-Honten beni with brush

Good news for everybody already looking forward to spring: Isehan-Honten’s traditional Japanese lipstick “Komachi-Beni” is now available in three limited-edition floral designs just a little ahead of the change of seasons.

Isehan-Honten has fascinated the women of Japan since its founding in 1825. Its traditional cosmetics were developed by Edo artisans and continue to sell today—most notably beni, which literally means “crimson” and refers to a natural pigment that can be used, among other purposes, in the same way as rouge or lipstick. The rich red of Isehan-Honten’s all-natural Komachi-Beni has subtly brightened the smile of countless Japanese women over the centuries, and now it’s available in three limited-edition spring designs, each one shaped like a temari, a kind of ball used in traditional New Year’s games that’s also a traditional symbol of good fortune for the new year.

Komachi-Beni is a completely natural cosmetic product, made solely with the 1% of red pigment found in the petals of the finest safflower. Isehan-Honten uses safflower grown in the upper reaches of the river system in Yamagata Prefecture, setting of the popular movie Only Yesterday (Omoide poroporo). To apply Komachi-Beni, you simply use a moistened brush to melt the beni inside the container and then apply it to your lips, where it enhances and blends with your natural coloring to create a red that’s uniquely yours. By using more or less water or beni, you can create colors from rich crimson to subtle pink—whatever suits your mood and the outfit you are wearing.

Now that most modern lipsticks and glosses applied directly from the tube, using a brush instead can be an elegant way to explore how previous generations of women used natural cosmetics to express themselves.

Sachiume   Karahana   Momoka

Particularly noteworthy are the three kinds of floral motif on the Arita ware pots that Komachi-Beni comes in: “Sachiume” (lucky plum blossoms), “Karahana” (a traditional design, originally from China, not representing any single flower), and “Momoka” (peach-blossom fragrance). All are drawn on warm backgrounds of pink or red, and feel like harbingers of spring after a long, cold winter. The “Karahana” design in particular, with its trailing tendrils, has been held since ancient times to symbolize longevity and steadfast faithfulness, making this an ideal gift for a loved one as well.

These adorable temari of Komachi-Beni are available until March 4.

 Sachiume “temari” Komachi-Beni set

Komachi-Beni “Temari” in 3 Limited Spring Designs (Sachiume, Karahana, Momoka)
Price: 9,000 JPY each (excluding tax)
Contact: Isehan-Honten Co., Ltd.
Phone: +81 (0)3-5774-0296
Web: http://www.isehanhonten.co.jp/products/temari.html

English site available: http://www.isehanhonten.co.jp/en/index.html