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Japan’s Makanai Beauty Debuts in the U.S., Sharing an Ancient Beauty Breakthrough

Photo: Makanai Beauty

When it comes to J-beauty brands, traditional ingredients often take center stage. Makanai Beauty, which recently made its debut in the U.S., is no exception. The skincare line came about as the result of a surprising discovery at the Yoshitaka gold leaf foundry. “The modern-day Makanai clean beauty formula was created from a secret recipe that began over 120 years ago in Kanazawa, Japan,” says Maryann McManus, director of U.S. sales for Makani. “There, skilled craftswomen who worked with 24K gold had their hands immersed most of the day in a natural paste that ultimately formed the washi paper that protected the gold.” Despite the extreme heat and drying conditions that existed in the foundry, the women noticed their hands remained soft and youthful looking. Making a connection to the ingredients they were using, they began creating skincare products that incorporated the same ingredients. Soon, their faces began benefitting in the same way as their hands. According to McManus, the recipe was passed down from mother to daughter at the gold foundry for a century. Eventually, the story inspired Mayumi Tachikawa, a descendent of the foundry family, to capture the effectiveness of that ancient formula in a modern skincare collection. After years of research and development, Makanai Beauty was born.

The line features a proprietary KaESS complex, which is made up of persimmon leaf, rich in antioxidants and vitamins; eggshell membrane, which boosts hydration and collagen elasticity; and soybean sterol, which also works to combat dryness and minimize the look of dark spots and wrinkles. Incorporating the benefits of 24K gold leaf, Goldys 24K Perfector Sheet, Skin Jewel Oil, and Goldys Magic Glow Balm infuses the skin with hydration.

The company’s commitment to clean beauty is also evident in the naturally derived and cruelty-free ingredients and 100 percent recyclable packaging. With a cult-like following in Japan, the brand has 13 retail stores throughout the country and is also sold in prestige European retailers, such as Bon Marche in Paris and the Tate Modern Museum gift shop in London. It is now available in the U.S. at    

About The Author

Heather, co-founder of Well Defined and the former editor-in-chief of American Spa, is an award-winning journalist and content strategist, skilled in writing, copyediting, and media relations. She is also a freelance writer and has contributed to Elite Traveler, Islands, Kiwi, Luxury Travel Advisor, Organic Spa, Porthole Cruise, Travel Agent,,,, and, in addition to various custom publications. She is frequently called upon to comment on various spa and wellness trends for various media outlets.