Japanese Onsens are the epitome of relaxation and wellness. Their detoxification properties (and beautiful ambience!) create a physical and mental experience that will transport your mind, body and soul to an unprecedented level of serenity. Get ready to reset and recharge—we’re sharing everything you need to know about this popular Japanese custom and how to recreate it at home.
So, what is a Japanese Onsen?
“Onsen” (温泉)literally translatesto “hot spring.” Japan, being a volcanically active country, is home to thousands (yes, thousands) of these natural treasures to sink and soak into. They’ve been used and enjoyed as natural health spas for centuries and have recently developed into some of the most sought-after tourist hot-spots because of their purifying beauty and health benefits. The mineral content of the geothermal spring water is really the backbone to the whole experience; it’s said to be packed with minerals known for enhancing skin, promoting blood circulation and improving overall health. One thing really worth grasping about these holistic treasure is that they’re not just a physical destination, but also a state of mind worth tapping into and exploring in the name of true self-care.
Recreating the Experience at Home
Because we can’t really bring the onsens to us (though, there are some really great local ones in most big cities!), we’ve put together some health and beauty rituals you can follow that will help recreate the Japanese hotspring experience without having to book a trip to Japan.
An important element of an onsen, and relaxation in general, is the atmosphere. One simple yet effective way to recreate an environment set for serenity is by lighting some candles. Lighting a few of your favorite scents around your space creates a peaceful and pleasant ambience essential to an onsen-like experience. Healing and recharging have a lot to do with how you feel mentally and igniting your senses through scent and sight can help set the tone for the experience.
Soak It Off
The bath is essential to the onsen, and since we can’t fully recreate the Japanese hot spring and its natural mineral water benefits, bath salts are the next best thing. The first step is running yourself some warm water—natural onsens can run as hot as 108 degrees Fahrenheit—and though we aren’t suggesting you run your bath water thathot, the temperature gives you an idea of how significant the warmth of the water is to the experience. Next, choose your go-to bath salt; adding this to your water will mimic the mineral properties of onsens and help to detox and purify your skin.
Steam & Gleam
Facial steaming is a simple yet effective way to increase circulation and to open your pores; it helps to keep your skin clean, fresh and glowing. The best part? All you’ll need is a towel and a bowl of hot water. It’s important to make sure your skin is clean before starting the process. We suggest using our Urumai Soap packed with rice peptides; a botanically derived ingredient that helps maintain skin’s firmness while fending off aging and dullness. After cleansing, bring a small pot of water to a boil; once hot, pour it into a big glass bowl. Then, take your towel and drape it over your head as you lean into the steam, trapping the steam so it saturates your skin. Do this for no longer than 10 minutes to achieve soft, supple skin!
You Dew You
Now that your pores are open, they’re ready to soak up hydrating, restorative and revitalizing ingredients (this step isn’t traditional to onsens, but it’s about the experience, remember?!). Using a gentle, non-drying facial toner like our Urumai Lotion formulated with rice peptides and other beneficial ingredients will hydrate your skin and act as a pre-moisturizer step in your Japanese skincare regime and at-home onsen experience. The final step is to moisturize to lock everything in—our Urumai Cream is a light-textured cream that offers superior moisturizing benefits to the skin that protects it from dryness and minimizes the appearance of pores.
These simple steps are just a few things you can do to create a state of serenity, similar to one felt at an onsen. An important thing to remember, though, is that these natural treasures create a mental experience just as much as they do a physical one. Taking the steps and making the effort to relax and unwind is the key to feeling rejuvenated and beautiful—inside and out—whether you’re in Japan or in the comfort of your own home.
By Alexandra Schultz