Is the summer heat getting to you? Well, summers in Kyoto are punishing as well...and here's one little accessory that kabuki actors and geishas use to keep their faces (with all that make-up and before the advent of air-conditioning!) clear of the oily sheen: the abura-tori-gami ("oil blotting paper").
This facial blotting paper has actually been around for about 1000 years now. The paper was originally used to protect gold leaf. The delicate gold was covered with this paper (then known as haku-uchi-gami...literally "foil beating paper") as a craftsman pounded it into a thin leaf. The gold leaf, wrapped in this paper, was brought to the imperial palace in Kyoto. Somewhere along the way, someone discovered the remarkable oil absorbing properties of this paper...and its use as a face blotter spread throughout Kyoto. It also started to be called "abura-tori-gami". Now it is an essential item in many Japanese women's make-up retouch arsenal!
Available at the shop or by mail order. $4.50 CAD (plus HST where applicable) per pack of 50 sheets. Made in Kyoto, Japan. Fragrance-free. Powder-free. Absorbs excess oil without disturbing make-up for petal fresh skin!
(Photo by the ikebana shop. All rights reserved.)